Cooking And Cleaning: Gender Role Or Life Skill?

Cooking And Cleaning: Gender Role Or Life Skill?

The only thing that constantly causes an argument between men and women on social media aside from money is cooking/cleaning. 

This argument is had every eke market day, on various social media platforms, and even in person. It is usually disguised in different ways. You hear questions like; isn’t it a woman’s job to do the cooking and cleaning? Who should cook in a relationship? If you go to a man’s house for the first time, should you clean? and so on…..

You would think that over the years the need to ask this question would have waned but guess what, it hasn’t. Especially when it has ruined marriages, relationships and even caused the death of women. 

Now, in a traditional Nigerian home, the entirety of the housework (cooking/cleaning) falls on the woman. Many Nigerians grew up in houses where the mom did nothing but cook and clean all day. This is why the nursery rhyme ” mommy in the kitchen cooking food, daddy in the parlor watching ball..” came into existence. 

It seemed like a taboo to let the male child into the kitchen in most Nigerian families especially when they had female children. The boys had everything handled for them down to the laundry and this has caused so many problems. 

Many young Nigerian men go into relationships hoping to have their every domestic need catered to. It makes you wonder how they coped when they were single and living alone. Did they outsource the work? Do it themselves? Or find a way to meander themselves out of it? 

If you are one of the many Nigerians who saw their mother slave away in the kitchen for hours every day, even during celebrations and Ill health. There’s no doubt you won’t want that for yourself or anyone you care about. 

So it is quite shocking to see men who saw their mothers go through this, decide to heap the same level of stress on their girlfriend, fiancée, or wife. 

An insurmountable number of women have complained severally about how men expected them to handle several domestic tasks even while working full time. 

A lot of men use the amount of cooking and cleaning done by their women in the relationship to ascertain how marriageable they are. Some even go as far as giving them outrageous cooking tasks at an obscene time to “test” them. Imagine your boyfriend, or fiancé waking you up by 3 a.m to pound yam or cook pepper soup. 

This just makes you wonder, would a single man wake up by that time to cook for himself? Or would he wait just like every normal human till it was daytime? 

This is why I ask the question: is cooking and cleaning a gender role or life skill?

It is impossible to say every human doesn’t clean, male, or female. Even animals clean after themselves. So why does it seem like it is a woman’s duty to cook and clean? When we all know a man who lives alone must clean himself and his home. So why does it seem that once he enters a relationship the sole responsibility of cooking and cleaning falls on the woman? 

To some people, it is taboo for a married man to cook and clean in his own home. They see it as him doing “wifely duties”.  

The worst part of this debacle is how men would make their fiancées stay with their mothers for some time. So the mother can critically examine her cooking and cleaning skills. Sadly, even women subscribe to this idea of belittling a woman’s entire personality and achievements to her domestic skills. 

Don’t be mistaken, there is nothing wrong with a woman cooking and cleaning in a relationship or marriage. But shouldn’t it be a cause for concern when women are constantly harassed and insulted when they make known their lack of interest in cooking and cleaning? 

It is disheartening that in this century, a woman can achieve many great things but would only be perceived as having real value if she cooks and cleans. 

So my question to men in relationships is, are you making your partner do domestic chores you wouldn’t even do yourself? If yes, why? 

And to the women in relationships, are you happy bearing the sole responsibility of cooking and cleaning? Is it a requirement from your partner? If yes, how do you feel about it? 

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