As I drove to Richmond to see my mother’s side of the family, for the first time in about seven years, I was a little nervous. Nervous because I hadn’t seen them in so long but also because there was a reason I hadn’t seen them in so long. My mom does not particularly like many of the people on her side of the family and in some aspects, I agree. My mom’s side of the family have always been your stereotypical, white, wealthy, Christian, materialistic type of people. They were very traditional in every aspect. Once I got to my Aunt Raye’s house, I was greeted by cousins, aunts ,uncles, everyone. I immediately felt like I had to act a certain way and talk a certain way and basically keep up the appearance that I was “one of them”.
I came to Richmond with an image of what I was going to see already etched into my mind. I expected to see a basic traditional Thanksgiving, women in the kitchen and the men in the den watching football. However, after I was greeted at the door, I came into the kitchen (smelling all the awesomeness of Thanksgiving) to see that I was wrong. Although the men were still in the den watching football and there were women in the kitchen, there were also plenty of women who were watching football and during commercials all of the guys would run into the kitchen to check on the food they were assigned to cook. Before I had gotten there each person was given a dish to help prepare and once I was there I was given the job of making my grandmother’s famous (to me) sweet potato casserole. I was surprised and happy to see everyone came together to help on a holiday that’s all about family.
In an article by Cindy Sutter titled “Do gender roles change during the holidays?”, she claims that even if a husband and wife usually equally share household chores during the rest of the year, during the holidays “the division of labor somehow reverts back to the nuclear family of the ‘Mad Men’ era”. This means that during the holidays the women supposedly become the stereotypical housewife, cooking for the men, while the men go off and do “men” things. This exact scenario is what I expected when I went to visit my family this Thanksgiving. Although I cannot speak for everyone’s household, I feel as though in my family the roles people have in the house are not based on gender but rather divided equally so that each person has a job to do to meet the goal at the end of the day. The goal of this day being to eat delicious food with family and loved ones.
Sutter, C. (2009, Nov 05). BRIEF: Do gender roles change during the holidays? McClatcher