Editor’s Scratchpad

Tuesday, May 15, 2001

A housewife by
any other name...

In all the acres of words written on the Asian Development Bank conference, one quote grabbed me by the eyeballs. A political science student, commenting on how the protest didn't reach from academia into suburbia: "You're not getting the housewives from Kapolei showing up."

I wouldn't have noted the comment if he had said Kahala or Kailua or Kansas City. I have a house in Kapolei -- up the hill in Makakilo actually, but close enough. And I'm a wife, I raise children and cook meals in that house. Sometimes I even clean it. Does that make me a Kapolei housewife?

That random comment ignited a chain reaction of thought: What is a housewife, anyway? A woman who doesn't have a job--other than raising kids, keeping house and feeding a family? Or is it more a state of mind -- a woman who cares about raising kids, keeping house, feeding a family and not much else? What if she doesn't have kids? What if she works from home? Or if she does volunteer work?

I invite comments, which I will string together for this newspaper. I'll write them, most likely, with a kid in my lap, here in the house in which I am a wife.

--Betty Shimabukuro

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