Growing up women and men: gendered housework in Xhosa households in Langa

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Housework and care work are gendered since men and women are expected to perform different tasks that characterise their gender. This is called the gendered division of labour in household which comprise practices of gender framed within binaries of gender, and where hegemonic masculinity is held superior to femininity and non-hegemonic masculinities. These binaries in the division of labour in the household, show that care continues to be feminised and devalued. Given the gender-based division of labour, women, rather than men, are picking up the added tasks of caring for family members. Furthermore, these binaries perpetuate themselves with the younger generation as children become socialised in gender roles that are aligned with their assigned gender. This research sought to explore how, through housework and care work, gender is understood and constructed by children between the ages of 14 and 17 years old. The research used Xhosa households as the site of research. An outcome of this research is understanding that the construction of gender is influenced by many factors such as, the family, culture, societal norms, and the social environment in which children find themselves. This research demonstrates that these factors influence how the participants construct gender. Furthermore, the research demonstrates that when boys reach manhood, they are free from housework. On the other hand, when girls reach womanhood, they are not afforded that freedom and have a responsibility to continue with housework. The dissimilarity here revolves around the notions of ‘rights’ versus ‘responsibility’, which further highlight how the two genders are constructed differently. However, some of the participants resist the imposition of gender roles and envision a different future for their own households.
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Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2021.
Xhosa (African people) -- South Africa -- Langa, Household employees, Care of persons, Sexual division of labor, Langa (Cape Town, South Africa), Men -- Identity, Femininity, Children -- Xhosa -- Social life and customs, Children -- Xhosa -- Political and social views, UCTD