What it Means to Be a Real Housewife of Bushwick
What does it mean to be a housewife?
That depends on your generation. In the 1960s, being a housewife was pretty much standard. Once you got married, you quit your obligatory secretary job and started scrubbing up the house and cooking, like, Jell-O flavored pot roast all day. At least, that’s what Mad Men tells us.
But by the 1980s and 1990s, housewives were becoming endangered. As more and more women strapped on their clunky white sneaks and commuted to office jobs, staying at home became less common.
Today, you won’t encounter anyone who calls herself a housewife IRL. Well, except the “Real Housewives,” but the women of those shows are not homemakers, but cartoonish versions of the 60s housewife. They’re not ladies who lunch, but ladies who flip tables and fling prosthetic limbs across the room at lunch.
The closest thing to an actual housewife today is a stay-at-home mom. And if we had to resort to stereotypes, we’d proclaim her an athleisure-clad former sorority girl who also has her masters.
So, barring a reality TV contract, what makes a housewife in 2016? In our opinion, it has nothing to do with your employment or marital status, and everything to do with who you are when no one’s looking.
In this housewife-themed photo series, Amber Asaly shoots and Phil Gomez styles it girl and fashion designer London Zhiloh in the maribou heels and thrown-together sex kitten getups that can only happen when you’re chilling at home, being whoever you want to be.
“For a while it was so looked down on, so frowned upon to be a housewife,” Phil tells Galore. “But some of the strongest women I look up to have been housewives.”
My mom worked throughout my childhood, but when I think of her doing chores, I picture her blasting Prince, singing and dancing along un-self-consciously, maybe with a pair of silk undies on her head to hold her hair back because she didn’t have a hairband.
Phil’s mom had a similar routine, but with Creedence Clearwater Revival, the Beatles, and curlers.
“My mom was a housewife when I was growing up, and she was still a boss bitch,” he said. “I knew my mom was in her groove when I couldn’t go from one room to the other because the floors would be wet and I knew she was in the groove with the music. There was a sense of euphoria — nothing could bother her.”
Well, unless you walked across her fresh floors…
“If she saw footprints, she’s immediately like, RAWRRR, but if you just sit back and watch, she’d be dancing, doing her thing, smiling,” he said.
Nowadays, even if you don’t call yourself a housewife, you still have to do chores and maintain your space — and it’s during those lonely but exuberant moments that you can truly be yourself.
“When you’re at home and in your own space, you’re in your own world,” Phil says. “To me, that’s what’s captivating about a housewife. [Doing chores] is this time you have to yourself and you can create any persona you want. You can have fun. It’s empowering because you’re by yourself, and you’re not afraid to clean the house in gaudy jewelry and sequins.”
So besides Mrs. Gomez, who are Phil’s favorite housewives? Well, Lucy Ricardo, of course. As well as Peggy Bundy, who showed us all that not having a job doesn’t mean losing your identity in your family.
“I like her because in a way, she took care of herself before anyone else,” Phil says. “But she always looked on point with those hot pants.”
As our generation gets older and settles into mansions, apartments, shacks, houses, whatever — we will put our own imprint on the concept of the housewife. And we definitely won’t be boring about it.
“The modern housewife, in particular the Bushwick housewife, is gonna take it to that next level,” he said, banishing thoughts of yoga pants and hoodies. “She’s gonna wear her hoop earrings and her thigh-high boots… Once you get behind closed doors, all these layers start unveiling. She’s more fierce and unapologetic.”
Of course, no matter what, our inner housewife will mortify our hypothetical future kids — Phil remembers his mom dropping him off at school with rollers in her hair. “As a kid I’d be so embarrassed,” he said, “but looking back, I’m like, ‘My mom was kind of a G.'”
And isn’t acting like a rock star while you sweep the floors an ultimately empowering move?
Yes, Phil says. “You can still be strong and powerful and sexy and make a statement while holding a broom.”
Earrings: StyledbyPhil, Necklace: ISLYNYC, Top: Supreme, Fur Bra: David Christopher, Pants: Goddess, Belt: ISLYNYC, Fishnets: Wolford
Earrings, Choker & Ring: ISLYNYC, Coat: David Christopher, Bodysuit: Vintage, Skirt: J.Papa, Socks: Stylist’s own
Earrings: Styled by Phil, Jumpsuit: Claire Fleury, Bracelets: Trixy Starr, ISLYNYC
Jacket: Mary Me Jimmy Paul
Visor: Heidi Lee, Earrings, Choker & Necklace: ISLYNYC, Cuffs: Adidas, Coat: David Christopher, Swimsuit: Lisa New York,Bag: Jump From Paper, Shoes: Stylist’s own
Top: Something Happening, Hoops: Style byPhil, Bra top: WXYZ x Body Binds, Belt: Sext Pixels, Skirt: Mary Me Jimmy Paul, Flip Phone: ISLYNYC
Photos by Amber Asaly
Styling by Phil Gomez
Modeled by London Zhiloh