A Japanese woman, who is currently living in Northern Europe, experienced a culture shock when she first started seeing her foreign-born boyfriend, and she remembers the experience to this day.
The woman was only identified by her Twitter handle @odencentury
, where she shared her tale in the hopes that it would help other women in Japan to open their eyes and break away from gender specific stereotypes.
“When I first started dating my boyfriend, I went over to his house where he was living by himself, and while he was taking the washing in from the verandah he said, ‘Fold that’ so I just started folding it like I normally would. Then, when he came back from the verandah he said, ‘Hang on, how come you’re really folding it!?’ and rushed over and picked it up,”
the woman wrote, as translated by SoraNews24
“He said things like: ‘It was just a joke. It’s my laundry so there’s no reason why I’d make you fold it. Don’t you think that would be strange? Even if you get a request like that, you don’t have to do it. This sort of thing is wrong. Get a hold of yourself.’ But for me, who was brought up in Japan, I wouldn’t think it’s a joke for a man to say something like ‘Fold my laundry.’”
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“When he said that, it was as if saying ‘I made my girlfriend fold my laundry’ would make him feel really guilty, but he seemed just as shocked that I would be docile and just do as I was told. I remember he said to me pretty strongly, ‘From now on, even if someone tells you to do something like that, it doesn’t mean you should do as they say.’”
“Even though I thought of saying to him, ‘You just told me to fold your laundry,’ after he talked himself hoarse, I’m sure he would’ve just said, ‘I’m going to do it myself.’ For him, ‘Fold my laundry’ was like a joke because it was such an incredulous statement.”
“However, at that time he told me, ‘Treat yourself with more importance.’ This, just from folding your boyfriend’s laundry? By doing this, he thought I wasn’t respecting myself. In Japan, it’s normal for a girlfriend to clean her boyfriend’s room and go over to his place to cook for him. So I was super shocked. I won’t ever ever forget it.”
“For him to be this shocked at his girlfriend folding his laundry made me wonder, ‘What on earth was the type of culture he was brought up in?’ But when I came to his country, I saw that all members of a couple or family prepare meals, and no one person is in charge of doing all the housework and laundry. Instead, people who live together take turns at doing the chores.”
In Asian culture, primarily in Japan, women were traditionally expected to carry the responsibilities of doing household chores such as preparing the meals for the family or, in @odencentury’s case, folding the laundry.
Besides household duties, women were also taught to submit to male authority within the family, which is referred to as “The Three Submissions
”: when young, she submits to her father; when married, she submits to her husband; when old, she submits to her sons.
However, times are changing not just in Japan, but in several other Asian countries as well. Men are now doing household chores such as folding their own laundries, and women are now joining the workforce and taking charge in Japan, according to SoraNews24.
Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons / Bluescan