Tap to Read ➤

The Cult of Domesticity

Swapnil Srivastava May 13, 2019
The cult of domesticity can be considered as a subtle satire by few of the intellectuals, and at the same time, a notion of male dominance over the fairer sex. Read on to know more about it.
Conventions in a society are not formed overnight, and once formed, it's not easy for the members to break-free from them. One of the strongest conventional beliefs is based on the definition of the role of women in a society.
Although it has been practiced since the evolution of homosapiens, the cult of domesticity saw its peak in the 19th century with the basic concept that natural domain of women and their activities is home and family.
Domesticity was a virtue followed by the upper and middle class white women in Great Britain and the US. The fact which added to the complexity of the whole scenario is that the cult was fully supported by the feminists of the 19th century. Freedom to the women was not an issue, but the domestic work and child care was supposed to be their topmost priority.
According to the doctrine of society at that time, women were less vigorous and forceful than men, incapable of performing physical labor or deal with rough public life. So they were confined to the domestic arena to shoulder the basic virtues of piety, purity, submission and domesticity.
Following the cult of domesticity, women were put in the center of the domestic sphere and were expected to fulfill the roles of a loving and faithful wife, an obedient and virtuous lady for the elders of the family.
Besides considering motherhood as a religious obligation, these women were also anticipated to be religious, teaching the Christian beliefs to the people around them.
This was an era when the material possessions and outer appearance played a very important role in framing a family's social status. The women were supposed to shoulder the burden of this social status by following the conventions of domesticity and being the pivot of family.
Daughters were taught to be modest and virtuous, and young wives to be sacrificing and keep their family as a priority. The Cult of Domesticity delineated the work of men to earn bread and butter for the family, whereas women were to stay at home and take care of the household affairs and the children.
Besides the woman also had to impart the virtue of tolerance and self-sacrifice to her baby girl, so that she can carry forward them to the posterity.
The opportunity of civil liberty was seen by women after the right to vote was granted to all white males in America. The women began to dream of the horizons wider than their ovens, and beyond their dishwashers.
In a way, it made them realize that the most creative activity they were capable of was not just stirring flour for the cake, but a tinge of financial independence was also required for a perfect recipe.
As the feminists started assuming that the society is ready to give the freedom to the fairer gender, the cult of domesticity arose again in the 1950s when television programs and movies began to depict fictional and perfect families, showing the mother staying at home with the children, while the man went to work.
It's rightly said that, if all of a sudden all the men vanish from the face of earth, the society left only with women will be able to survive and utilize the given resources, with a constant population. However, if all women vanish like that, a society comprising only men will never be able to sustain because of the lack of basic fostering nature.
It's not the question of gender bias, but the difference in the thinking process, that nature has made. If women can raise kids at home, then if taken seriously by their colleagues, they can also be better entrepreneurs than men for nurturing a company from scratch.
One should always remember that the word 'Feminist' is not a contumely towards the gender, but an honor given to treat and worship the fairer gender as the mother nature.