Yesterday my 10 year old daughter was quietly playing some Nintendo DS game. Then all of a sudden she asks me quite suddenly "MOM! Why does the word dishwasher have the word HER at the end?" I looked at her for a moment processing her question and seeing the hurt and annoyed look in her eyes, she was quite obviously offended by the prospect that this word intentionally made it clear it was woman's work to do the dish washing. I thought about it for a moment, marveling at her perception of words sometimes as she tends to point things out to me, that I never once in my 43 years have ever questioned or asked myself. I smiled and told her "Yeah it does sound kind of sexist now that you mention it doesn't it?" "Well duh YES!" was her response.
In our household we do not do gender specific duties per say, each person is just as capable as the next to do anything that may be required. We tend to do those things that bring out our natural strengths such as for me that means cooking yet at the same time not only am I skilled at cooking but I am also strong physically so have done things from helping hubby do scrap metal work or even worked one year as a general laborer on a construction crew. By no means am I a large woman being only 5'6" and 135 pounds but I have never been shy of hard physical labor and have never told myself I could not do man's work.
Each member as an individual in our family has areas that they are strong in and that we try to nurture and grow upon those strengths. It made perfect sense why my daughter may perhaps be offended that certain chore words end in HER like Dishwasher or Washer to imply it is a feminine duty only suited for woman.
With a household that embraces strengths rather than gender roles, there are no lines between a mans work or a woman's work, there simply just IS. While as I mentioned I do cook, yet sometimes my husband cooks or even my son. I am also a stay at home housewife and mother right now while my husband works however this is only because this is how we want it for the moment. If my husband wanted to stay home, I would go work, there certainly have been times when we both worked.
I love my daughters perceptions of words and things we simply never seem to notice though. She brings refreshing points of view to light that we would never consider on our own. Which by the way she is also offended that there is a Sunday ( SON'S DAY) mothers day and even fathers day BUT NO DAUGHTER'S DAY! LOVE IT.