Unfortunately, the notion that women will be the first to be judged for a messy home and the first to be commended for an orderly one isn’t much of an incentive for men to pick up a mop. In the instances in which men actually do the majority of the housework in their partnership, women are still the ones getting credit. David Michael Perez, the publisher and editor of Kindling Quarterly, says that though he does more decorating and cleaning than his spouse does, “often when people say ‘your house is nice,’ it’s directed more at my wife.” If they’re not even going to be rewarded for it, why bother at all?
By the millennium, housework should have been abolished. In a sane world, meaningless repetition of non-productive activity would be seen to be a variety of obsessive-compulsive disorder...
Changing standards and notions of cleanliness have made cleaning more time-consuming than ever before. Kitchen worktops need to be constantly wiped; kitchen floors need to be mopped whenever a footprint or a pawprint appears; the bath has to be cleaned between baths; once a day is not often enough for the toilet...
...Men have not agreed to do a share, let alone a fair share, of domestic work, because they have never agreed on the amount of work that needs to be done. It is difficult to know how they could, because most of the work done in the home does not need to be done.
Occasionally some foolhardy academic tries to suggest that housework is a leisure pursuit, the paradigmatic "leisure industry", which is one way of saying "keeping very busy doing nothing". Women will not accept this version of their reality; they want us to believe that they hate and resent housework, but that "someone has to do it". The people who make money out of this kind of leisure industry are multinationals like Unilever and Procter & Gamble, and by manipulating women's insecurities they make unimaginably huge amounts of it. Currently, women are fighting a war on bacteria, nasty, deformed aliens who hide under toilet seats and on work surfaces. Where lazy boys play murderous videogames, diligent housewives deal out death and destruction to an equally fictitious enemy. The boys know they are playing; the women think they are working.
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