The Pastoralization Of Housework Analysis

1500 Words6 Pages
In “The Pastoralization of Housework” by Jeanne Boydston, Boydston explores the effect of the romanization of housework. The pastoralization of housework that occurred during the Antebellum period was the result of the development of early industrialization. In order to have something remain constant in the changing times the formation of two separate gender spheres allowed a routine to an ever changing society. A result of these two spheres was the pastoralization of domestic labor in the early 1800s that made labor ‘invisible’ and began to discredit the women’s work at home, but also raised them to a higher pedestal in the family dynamic. By embracing the idea of True Motherhood women were able to flourish by the naturalization of the social…show more content…
In the pastoralization of housework, woman found a new dynamic in the family system by becoming influencers. Boydston writes, “‘...in which wives were described as deities “who presides over the sanctities of domestic life, and administer its sacred rights….”” With the romanization of housework woman found themselves placed on a higher pedestal, and with this newly found power, women were able to influence their husband’s decisions. Women during the Antebellum period were described as “holy and pious” and they were seen as the more religious being out of the two sexes, so it was customary for women to use their power to help the family stay on the right path. Mrs. A. J. Graves supported this idea and directly connects women’s role of taking care of the home to a station which God and nature assigned her. Not only, did Mrs. A. J. Graves support the pastoralization of housework and gender spheres so did Catherine Beecher. Beecher argued that housework was hard work, but believed women’s work in the home administered the gentler charities of life. Boydston writes, “Beecher enjoyed the new standing afford middle-class women by their roles as moral guardians to their families and to societies, and based much of her own claim to status as a woman on the presumed differences between herself and immigrant and laboring-class women.” For middle-class women, women were given more of an influence in their…show more content…
Boydston writes, “But if middle-class women were encased in the image of the nurturant (and non laboring) mother, working-class women found that their visible inability to replicate that model worked equally hard against them.” The standard during the Antebellum period was a woman that didn’t do any kind of laborious task other than housework which was thought as being an enriching and awarding process. However, wage-earning women visibly were unable to live up to these new standards because they were forced out of their own gender sphere of domesticity just to find work. During the Antebellum period, it was believed to be a men’s sphere to work and men masculinity was based on the fact of being the main “breadwinner” for the family. By a woman going into this sphere they went against the formation of the two gender spheres. As a result, women that needed work became symbols of threats to men and men claimed that that women did not really need the jobs that they were being given. Men said that the women just wanted a little extra money and by becoming a wage-earning woman they were taking jobs away from the men and destroying the balance between the two gender spheres. In the end, by being a wage-earning woman, women were unable to achieve this new standard of a non-laboring

More about The Pastoralization Of Housework Analysis

Open Document