The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:25:15
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With this gendered structural system that perpetuates the society until today, women are faced with the hard choices between their careers or home. It actually also produced so-called gender wars among women. It divided women against each other on the differing views on the proper role of women. One particular gender war is between the advocates of maternalists and that of equal-parenting. Maternalists embrace the traditional feminine role of care giving that does not include men while the equal-parenting advocates seeks to identify strategies for the sharing of parenting roles between men and women (Williams, 13).

It is common to hear stories of women giving up their promising careers to take care of the children. While some claim that there is no inequality to this given that it is made out of their own choice, divergent views claims that the system does not really leave one with much choice. Rather than an act of choice it is viewed as merely learning to perform as the gendered system provides. With this current gender system that we have that involves the realms of family work and market work, how do we indeed address this to achieve equality?

Williams Unbending Gender presents three paradigm shifts which she calls reconstructive feminism or family humanism. The first is eliminating the ideal worker norm in market work. Williams further proposed that to do this it requires reconstruction of work around the values people hold in family life, especially in parental care. It espouses the principle that children should be cared for by their parents, not by strangers therefore it needs the market work restructures to reflect the legitimate claims of family life.

The new structure should not be discriminatory against women but rather it links the ability to be an ideal worker with the flow of family works other privileges typically available only to men (Williams, 4). The second paradigm shift that Williams proposes is eliminating the ideal-worker norm in family entitlements. It opposes the unstated principles that the ideal worker owns his wage. It paradigm advocates for the recognition that the ideal workers wage is the product of two adults: the ideal workers market work and the marginalized caregivers family work (Williams,4).

And her third proposal is to change the way we talk about gender, shift away from the current focus on sex and violence to a focus on the design of works and its entitlements.


The Cult of Domesticity and True Womanhood. An article. Williams, Joan. From Difference to Dominance to Domesticity: Care for Work, Gender as Tradition. Chicago-Kent Law Review .

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