Die deutsche Hausfrau
There were times when Feministin was a word to scare the patriarchs. There was a time when Alice Schwarzer was, in the eyes of “real” men der Buhmann–sorry, I mean of course die Buhfrau–who endangered (West) Germany and the foundations of its society with her feminist ideas. Today, to many, including a good number of modern-day feminists (of which there is not one single kind, I am sure), Frau Schwarzer is rather a Witzfigur, a joke, or at least a remnant of the past, just as super-masculine heros such as chain-smoking Altbundeskanzler Helmut Schmidt. But: her vision (Frau Schwarzer, please feel free to correct me if you read how I misinterpret you) has become true: women in Germany are now an important, if still often underpaid and undervalued, part of the workforce, from the Chefetage (where the bosses meet) to serving as soldiers in the Bundeswehr. Many a woman with Abitur or a university degree rather wants to Karriere machen–to push her career–and to postpone what was for centuries seen as the role of human females: child-bearing and rearing. Kinder kriegen und aufziehen.
Fair enough. Although I have an aversion against what some call Feminazism (or any extremes, for that matter–I mean YOU, diehard Roland Barthes/any music group/etc. pp. fanboys and fangirls), that is, solely reading the world through male dominance and female suppression (that is a part of the whole picture–but not the whole picture! The world is not as easy as boiling it down to a single theory–oh, well, it is: being born, procreate, die–it’s just that humans have too much time on their hands to think about stuff), I have no problem with intelligent women, having a female boss, or any kind of LGBT(please continue this acronym according to the latest state of discourse). What I do have a problem with is people trashing die deutsche Hausfrau, the German housewife.
Oh no! Is he going to support an Auslaufmodell, a phased-out model that stands for the oppression of women, of limiting them to KKK (no, not the Klan–Kinder, Küche, Kirche, children, church, kitchen), that made them feel inferior to men, this power instrument of a patriarchal, macho society, with the Geschmäckle, the bitter aftertaste of the Tausendjähriges Reich, of Mutterkreuz and bearing children as future soldiers for the Führer?
I am writing in favor of those women who dedicate(d) their lives to their families, whether they had to because so war das damals, because that was the way things usually worked back then, or because they cho(o)se to do so (these days); I want to thank them for being there for their children when the latter needed someone–some nice words, some caresses, or just plain food-in-my-mouth-NOW; I am for seeing cooking, cleaning, washing, ironing, changing diapers (of children and elderly parents) not as some work that can be done mit links, with ease, as some actual machos claim–Hausarbeit, housework that many a modern-day emanzipierte Frau, emancipated woman, has no idea of how to do. I am ranting in favor of, and admiring, those women who struggle to unter einen Hut bringen, to satisfy both the demands of the traditonal male-dominated world (be a good housewife) and the modern-day world (make a career and especially ends meet–AND be a housewife who has children)–thereby ein Ziel darstellen, offering to be a target of being a Rabenmutter, a bad mom, or looking backwards, never making it right for anyone–es niemals allen Recht machen.
Sure, we could endlessly debate about what perfect childrearing should look like (although I am possibly not qualified to talk about that, as I have no children of my own–but then, I do not need to try heroin to know that that might not be a good idea [shooting heroin, that is]). Being a Schlüsselkind, a latchkey kid, might make you more independent, but maybe also a bit lonelier–or used to loneliness. Maybe you get lonelier more easily as an adult when you are used to having had someone around all the time when you grew up.
All I am saying is: there are some things about the German Hausfrau that are nachstrebenswert, worthy of striving after. Their cooking skills beat your fastfood and Ramen skills on the difficulty and the tastiness levels (ever had a homemade German Kartoffelsalat, potato salad, prepared by a caring Mutti?). Their knowledge of how to remove all kinds of stains (or how the washing machine works) is worth more in real life than your videogame highscores. Nicht verzagen, Mutti fragen (mom knows best). And I want to see the Vater who works all day and is actually willing to do all the cooking and cleaning for a household of four or more persons when he comes home in the evening … So, don’t belittle housewives.
Rather, shouldn’t young women and men try to take the best of both (phased-out model) worlds–be able to know how to seinen Mann/deine Frau stehen (to wo/man up) in the workplace where you have to den Ellenbogen ausfahren and at the same time know how to easily and properly keep their apartment clean and be able to prepare at least some nice dishes that do not include heating the microwave? Entdecke den Mann/die Frau in dir–explore (and appreciate) the male/feminine side in you. In the meantime, I’ll try myself at matching Mama‘s Kartoffelsalat …