The mainstream media has hardly ever, if ever portrayed the black woman as a domestic goddess. So is the black housewife a purple cow?
After slavery we were given the mammy figure, domestic, but hardly glamorous. She was overweight and resembled a patent leather shoe at a time when nobody wanted to be darker than a paper bag. She gave us laughs, love and wisdom. She was not married.
In the 50s we were given June Cleaver, white as the driven snow which totally excluded us all together.
Now here we are in the millennium. We have a chocolate set of housewives, but they are as un-domestic as it gets. They are rich, glamorous, but the only time I see a kitchen on RHOA(Real Housewives of Atlanta) is during a wine sipping chat.
So is there a such thing as a real black housewife?
I am one, and I am sure there are more.
I remember attending a baby shower in my mid-twenties and having a conversation with one of the guests. As we were all gushing over the joy of family and celebrating our friend, we each shared a bit aboutwhat we would like our futures to look like. When I remarked, “I want to be a housewife”. I was met with condescending comments. One guest in particular told me with venom that I must want to marry a white man because no black man would ever let me be a housewife and that I was living in a fantasy world.
I was not much younger than her, could I have been so naive? Or was she bitter because she was a single mom in her 20s. Now I have the answer…or so I think.
Being a housewife is not so much about black men as it is about values and finances. Yes, I know my husband is not black, but I can explain why I can still support my argument here.
First of all, my husband is Japanese and no matter what people think, he is not rich. Sure he saved his pennies, but I do not have a closet full of Louis Vuitton, nor can we afford to NOT budget on a regular basis. His value system was shaped by his family structure, not his race.
Secondly, my husband grew up with a mother who had a very demanding career. He basically vowed that he did not want his kids to go through the pain of wondering when mommy would be off from work. That is the value part.
So after having our first child, I never went back to work. I stopped my daily shopping as many NYC women do, we cancelled cable TV, and we went to restaurants less often. That is the finances part.
For a couple to decide on this type of family structure the values have to be there. No matter what the race, very few Americans(I would guess)would cancel their beloved HBO to be a housewife. Furthermore, few people know how beneficial it could be to their families if mom(or dad) stayed home!
I am looking to connect with more black women who want to or are currently stay at home moms. I think it is important that the young sistas out there know that it is an option, no matter what race your mate is.