Her in-laws insisted that she help prepare a huge meal while the men sat out, chilling. When she refused, she was deemed disrespectful.
Gender stereotyping remains an entrenched issue in many societies, often manifesting in subtle but significant ways. The story of u/hatethistradition, a 28-year-old Reddit user, sheds light on how traditional gender roles and expectations can impact individuals and relationships. Her experience highlights the need to break free from these stereotypes and embrace equality within partnerships. The woman begins her post by admitting that she doesn't particularly love cooking, a task that is frequently stereotyped as a woman's responsibility. She clarifies her stance, saying: "I dislike cooking. Don't get me wrong, I cook for survival. But it is not something I like or enjoy." Her honesty about her lack of enthusiasm for cooking should be respected, as personal preferences and passions vary among individuals.
Her experience took a dramatic turn after her marriage. She finds herself in a family where both her mother-in-law (MIL) and sister-in-law (SIL) embrace the traditional role of stay-at-home partners who love to cook. This dynamic is further compounded by the fact that neither of their husbands participates in household chores. The woman's MIL and SIL seem content with this arrangement. Before her marriage, the daughter-in-law was treated as a guest in her in-laws' home. However, things changed dramatically after her wedding. Suddenly, she was expected and even demanded to participate in cooking activities with them.
While she initially tried to accommodate these new expectations, she quickly realized that she despised the laborious and time-consuming nature of cooking for large gatherings. The breaking point came when her in-laws planned a get-together and discussed the menu. The daughter-in-law courageously suggested ordering food to simplify the process and allow everyone to relax. This well-intentioned suggestion, however, was met with shock and dismay. Recalls their reaction, she wrote: "They looked like I insulted them." She even offered to buy ingredients if they provided her with a list, but her in-laws insisted otherwise. The Reddit user shared, “They said that's not how traditions work and if I hate it so much, I can relax with men.”
Faced with unwavering resistance to her suggestion, she made a bold decision. She chose to spend her time with the men at the gathering, helping with setting the table and serving, rather than engaging in cooking activities that she found cumbersome and unenjoyable. This act of self-assertion infuriated her in-laws. During the meal, when her husband praised the taste of a dish, her mother-in-law took the opportunity to criticize her, declaring that the daughter-in-law "wouldn't be cooking anything for him." The sister-in-law also chimed in, highlighting how her husband and father had never cooked a day in their lives and suggesting that the daughter-in-law's reluctance to cook was emasculating her husband. In response to these unjust criticisms, u/hatethistradition and her husband chose to leave the gathering.
This united front demonstrated their commitment to equality within their partnership and their refusal to adhere to outdated gender roles. However, the fallout from their decision was far from over. The woman's story sheds light on the insidious nature of gender stereotyping that persists in many societies. Her experience highlights the challenges that individuals face when they attempt to break free from traditional gender roles and expectations. In the comments, she clarified that not only was she the higher earner in her family, but also shared the burden of household chores with her husband.