Women Exercising While They Work – Sexist?

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I ran across this funny (at least to me) article about vintage images of housewives staying in shape while they do their household chores. Of course my vintage-tracked mind went straight for this skirt.

vintage picture woman exercising

Now, I consider myself a feminist. I believe that women should be paid equally as men for the same job. I do believe some women are strong enough to do very physically demanding work, and I don’t think women are bad mothers or wives if they choose to work and love their careers. Above all, I am happy that as women we are allowed to make these kinds of choices for ourselves, rather than society dictating what our role should be. I am thrilled that I have the option to stay at home with my kids or have a fabulous career. Having a  choice is what our foremothers fought for.

So I look at these smiling women, dusting, mopping and wiping, and think, “Look at them multitask!” They are getting their recommended 30 minutes of exercise while taking care of their casa! Because I tried vacuuming for 30 minutes for my cardio – you KNOW that is not exercise. Stop lying.

Did I just regress 60 years or am a true feminist and look at this as one of the many choices I am now lucky enough to have? And look at that SKIRT!

What do you think? Sexist or Hooray for Choice? Leave a comment!

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1 Amber { 05.31.13 at 5:42 pm }

I don’t think it’s sexist. If I was out in my back yard beating a rug, while doing a couple of lunges would that be considered sexist? I don’t think so.

Was it sexist that the main bread winners of the time were men and the women had the job of caring for the home and family? I don’t think so. I think it was normal for the time period. This woman was probably doing what most of her peers were doing. In its context, I don’t find it sexist at all.

In addition, I find that many of my girlfriends WISH they could stay home and take care of their home and children instead of working. But in today’s world, it’s not like most of us really have a choice. We HAVE to work. A family cannot run on a single income anymore, so women are forced into the workforce whether they want to or not.

Feminists may have earned us the right to work where we want and pursue the career we want to, but now we MUST work. There is not really much of a choice any more. It’s no longer the choice between the house or the workforce, it BOTH.

2 Sandra { 06.01.13 at 5:22 pm }

thanks for your comment Amber! I think these images really show how far we as women have come. I do know some families who have downsized to be able to have one parent at home. So we do have choices, they might just be hard to reach.

3 Tali { 07.25.13 at 1:21 am }

Great article, Sandra! I find that the term “sexist” can be used when we speak about tasks being sex-related. Like “when women clean their house, they can also workout”. If it is so, cannot men do the same? Another thing is having no free choice. If a woman stays home, takes care of children etc out of her free will, it’s completely ok. In the time of this image above women had not much choice. And if speaking of vacuum cleaning, it’s not really that much cardio :D

4 Tali { 07.25.13 at 1:25 am }

@Amber it seems to me you’re blaming feminists for taking away the woman’s privilege of hanging on the men’s neck. Why, some men would LOVE to stay home and get busy with their hobbies too! I believe every grown up human being has to be responsible for getting his/her own bred on the table. Having a man else paying your bills can be as sexist as making a woman stay at home no matter what she actually wants.

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