After observing my host brother’s language and behaviour toward his mother and other women for three weeks, I thought that I had a pretty good idea of his opinions of a women’s role in society. When he arrived home from school every day he would walk in with his shoes on and sit on the couch. His mom would immediately ask what he wanted to eat and most of the time he would just respond with “la”/”no” over and over again. He very rarely used “please” or “thank you”. A few times for dinner he didn’t want what we were eating and his mom made him something else even though the food was already prepared. Similar to his father, he rarely cleared a plate or cleaned anything. When talking about the women he would marry, he mentioned nothing about her work or education, only that he wanted an Italian wife because he liked pizza and pasta.
Once I had gotten to know my host brother well enough I asked what he thought about having a women run the country rather than a man. I was extremely surprised when he said it would be a good thing. He gave examples of other women leaders around the world and talked about how strong they are and how much influence they have had on their countries. I also asked if would like his wife to work and again he said that he would like that and that it would be a good thing.
I was confused as to why he spoke as if he didn’t expect women to play a large role in the work force, yet when asked directly he seemed to support the idea women working. It may have been that he speaks according to societal norms and how he would speak with his male friends, however ultimately it seemed as though he had very progressive thoughts toward women and their equality. Hopefully more of the future generation will think this way and women will be able to play more of an equal role in family income making and household work.