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Soapbox 10: Why Being Called Domestic Rubs Me the Wrong Way

September 15, 2015

Domestic. A Google search defines the adjective use of the word as follows:

Adjective:

  1. of or relating to the running of a home or to family relations
  2. existing or occurring inside a particular country; not foreign or international.

When someone calls a woman domestic, they mean the first definition of the word, not the second.

The urban dictionary defines domestic being used as an adjective as follows: A woman worthy of keeping in your house. A traditional type of woman; not an independent type of woman. A woman who could potentially be girlfriend or wifey material. Possibly a mistress.

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There have been many times in my life when someone starts to get to know me and then calls me ‘domestic’. This has always rubbed me the wrong way because my first thought when someone says domestic is the old fashioned, smiling housewife who has a dinner made from scratch ready for her husband and is stuck washing laundry and dishes all day. This is not me. My husband doesn’t lord over me or rule me. We rule our house together, hand in hand. He does some things, I do others.

If you mean that I can run my home, then yes, I am domestic. My husband honors my opinion as if it was made of gold. He knows I think things through before I come to a strong opinion, so if I warn him or make a strong suggestion, I am correct.

If you mean that I CAN cook and clean and mend clothing, yes, I can because I am self sufficient. Do I do these things alone? No, I don’t.

When you go to call someone domestic, think about what you are saying. Many people won’t take it as a complement. If you mean that they put effort into something, say that. If you mean it is beautiful, say that. Even saying something like, “You are so good with your hands,” “I couldn’t possibly…. Knit… crochet… fix a fence…mend… paint… etc,” would be better.You will come off as more clear and your message will be clear as well.

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