Today was a wonderful spring day with blue sky, a bit of a breeze and pleasant temperatures. So, it was a good day to do laundry and put it out on the balcony to let it dry. And I noticed that in the building opposite of mine several men were doing this chore!

This surprised me. When I grew up, laundry was definitely a women’s job, and probably not just in my family. And I know that Japanese society is rather… macho, with predefined roles for men (working in a company) and for women (working for the kids). However, a (male) friend of mine has told me that in private, things may be very different. According to him, he knows businessmen who play tough all day, but are very happy to go home and cook dinner there – every night! I also know some Japanese men who are excellent cooks, but I am wondering how prevalent this really ist.

I know that Japanese society is quick to punish people who do not conform, but as long as you keep things private, a lot is possible, really! But that also means that change will be very, very slow. And the young woman I once saw driving a cement mixer will probably remain an exception for quite a while… Cement Mixer in Japan.

2 thoughts on “Stereotypes?”

  1. Ah, yes, the traditional gender roles… how I loath them.
    I grew up with a constant background noise of
    “You have to do this…
    You can’t do that…
    …because you are a girl.”
    Didn’t really work on me though – I was quite strong-willed as a kid – and I think my mum gave up at some point. ;D

    1. Good for you!

      I never heard the “because you are a girl”, thank goodness. I climbed our appletrees as a child, and I was good in school in pretty much everything, including math and physics. And that was greatly encouraged “because you have to go get a really good job some day.” Still, it did totally baffle them that I would prefer to buy books rather than clothing or makeup or things like that. Giving away 2/3 of my books when I moved to Japan was a rather traumatic experience.

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