Celebrate domesticity

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With Carnival less than three weeks away, life is getting a little crazy. However, as every day brings us closer to that eventful April weekend, I am reminded of one thing: Women are badass.

Every day, Carnegie Mellon women risk their lives to drive buggies, and sacrifice their beauty sleep to build booths and organize Greek Sing. Forget the traditional triple threat of singing-acting-dancing — Carnegie Mellon women can sing, act, dance, write, build, paint, mass balance, write code, play sports, draw, and integrate. This leaves the question, When do I have time for my life?

This question is not a new one. Women have been pushed to their limits for centuries. However the relevance of domesticity has evolved, it’s just as important now as in the past.

As little as 20 years ago, all women were expected to be domestic, no matter their career path. A woman could be on the road to being a CEO, but she still knew how to take care of a family — and that she was expected to do so. Now, domesticity has taken a backseat to everything else we women get ourselves into.

Sure, there’s nothing wrong with having a career. I have two majors in CIT and hope to go to grad school and work in a medical device company. However, I learned to cook, clean, sew, and do laundry at age seven. I’m surprised by the number of girls I’ve met who are over 20 and can barely take care of themselves.

Many will argue that being domestic shouldn’t be a priority for most women in their twenties today. With all the pressures of school, activities, sports, and life in general, who has time to be domestic? Some traditionally domestic skills are now considered somewhat archaic, like sewing: Why does any woman need to sew when she can buy clothes at a low cost? Regardless, I’m appalled to meet girls who can’t at least sew on a button.

When Carnegie Mellon was first founded, it was a technical school for the sons of Andrew Carnegie’s steel workers to get a good, affordable education. He later started the Margaret Morrison Carnegie Institute as a vocational school for women. Imagine that: Once upon a time, women went to school to virtually learn to be good housewives. Back then, it was ridiculous for a woman to not know how to be domestic, but today people get offended to hear that women ever went to school to be good housewives. The inscription on Margaret Morrison reads, “To make and inspire the home; to lessen the suffering and increase happiness; to aid mankind in its upward struggles; to ennoble and adorn life’s work, however humble, these are women’s high prerogatives.” I suspect that at the time it was written, this statement meant that a women’s job is to aid mankind by taking care of the home — and I agree this is important, even today.

So where do our priorities lie? Women have proven to be more than competent in the work place, in the classroom, and anywhere else that they want to be; they can do anything that men can. But what have we sacrificed in the process?