BITS OF ME
Has Uganda’s social construct that originally kept women in the kitchen as housewives birthed couch potatoes out of the male gender?
Prof Augustus Nuwagaba an acclaimed economist said men should stop the archaic behaviour because this new generation is of mutual growth and development.
“Gender and discriminatory ideologies do not have space in the 21st century. What’s wrong with a man cooking a certain dish which you are good at. A man washing clothes is good because you do not have to complain if for example some clothes are not washed well,” Nuwagaba advised.
‘Shameful and demeaning’, several of the male gender will rumble and rebut against the claim “bandaba batya nga njoza engoye oba nga nfumba, kikafuwe!” loosely translated to mean, unspeakable it would be if I am seen washing clothes or cooking, abomination!
But, Nuwagaba and other like minded people I spoke to for this episode of #BitsOfMe, think otherwise.
“It is very positive for boys and men to help in house chores. And this should be done early enough. When the boys get married, they are already adjusted to gender roles and mutual partnership which enriches marriage. The Bakiga say;“akati keinikwa kakiri kato”, literally meaning that you cannot learn basic behavioral patterns at old age”, he explained.
It’s no wonder many women say that with the exception of their partners turning on an electric kettle to boil water, all activity in the home is served at their feet.
Bits of YOU
Is it true that some of you would rather starve the whole day than cook or prepare yourself a cup of tea if your partner left you home alone?
“My husband doesn’t know his way around the kitchen so I have to rush back or he will be so hungry and get irritated…”, Gilda Nassolo (not real name) said.
Paul Akitwine, a systems architect says other than for purposes of being lazy, a couple needs to work together in performing domestic chores.
“There should be no excuse. One washes the clothes, the other rinses and hangs them. It strengthens the bond between partners. You’ll both go to bed happier. Your sex will be more enjoyable. A happy home” Akitwine said.
Edris Kiggundu a journalist recalls growing up doing household chores. He marvels why men shy away from doing errands upon getting into a relationship/marriage yet they learned them early on during their upbringing.
He disagrees with people who advocate for strict division of gender roles.
“Weren’t we all taught how to lay our beds, wash clothes/plates? What would men do if they never had a woman? What do bachelors do when alone in the house? Call a maid or eat in hotels…? The campaign should be men should learn…” he added.
Akitwine emphasizes, that if you are made of flesh and have blood running through your veins, you have no excuse not to do house chores.
“…how are you the head of the home if you have no idea how things are done? A real BOSS of the home must know how to do these things. It’s only pretentious for one to claim that they feel embarrassed to do these things”.
Akitwine says, he loves to cook and does it effortlessly with a bad habit of inviting himself if he finds another person cooking.
“I try to do it every other day…even though I have a maid, I stand around her and guide her on how to make certain dishes, the way they should be made…how does she mix her spices for the meal she’s cooking…I’m a bit too particular when it comes to food preparation” Akitwine explained.
Kiggundu who equally loves to cook adds that he is extremely critical when it comes to quality of food.
“If I can’t cook Matooke and it comes out perfectly, then I lose the moral authority to criticise any one, even my wife, if they prepare it improperly…so I cook it very well,” he said.
Prof. Nuwagaba says he usually cooks over the weekends when he is not rushing to work and notes, “it is a very good sign of love. You cannot leave the person you love to suffer with work alone. Sharing work also increases bonding”.
While these gentlemen believe men or boys should be equally equipped with these life survival skills, Kiggundu points out that unfortunately, some women encourage the discrimination in gender roles against their daughters in favour of the boy child.
“Even mothers have encouraged that division of labour against their daughters because they have been socialised to think that way. They believe girls are the ones supposed to cook or do chores and don’t teach the boy child,” he said.
Benefits of shared gender roles
- Strengthens bond between partners, also in children &family
- Creates an independent child/man without expecting someone else to do things for them
- Teaches life survival skills
- A child who has grown up doing chores values the house help a lot more.
- Reduces the chore burden on women/girls in the home
- Breaks the biases against the female gender
- Creates a peaceful and happy home
- Discourages laziness