Saturday, March 11, 2006

Food and Feminism

Barbara over at Tigers & Strawberries had an extremely interesting post. I urge you to click on the link and read her wonderful article, along with the thought-provoking comments. In responding to her commenters, Barbara said something that really hit home with me. She said "...when there is unvalued work to be done in the household, the lower-status individual is the one to whom it falls."

For years (and even sometimes now) I was resentful and angry that household "chores" fell upon my shoulders. I'd just worked an 8 hr. day too and would like nothing better than to flop in front of the television set with a cold beer while someone made supper. Then, after supper go back to the living room for some more tube time while someone cleaned up the kitchen. No matter how much bitching and complaining I did, it never changed. Even through 3 (!) husbands. Both husband #1 and husband #2 were better cooks than me (much better in the case of #2), so why was I the one standing in front of the open refrigerator at 5:30 wonder just what the hell I was going to have for supper?

(In the case of husband #3, his idea of lunch is Oscar Meyer Bologna and French's Mustard on white bread with Campbell's Tomato Soup! For him, there's a reason why I cook all of the meals. And (bless his heart) he cleans up the kitchen after supper. Third time's the charm, I guess.)

If my work has value in the workplace, why doesn't it in the home? Is this just the male mindset? It's both our home, so why am I the one to have to: cook, clean, do laundry, mow the lawn, take the pets to the vet, put the doorknob back on the door again, plant the garden, make the appointments for the car service, hair cuts, doctor's visits, etc., etc., etc. Is it beneath a man's dignity to pick up dog poop, socks on the floor, towels on the chair? And yes I know, lots of men do lots of these things. Even DH does some of them.

My point is that all of these "chores" have value. They keep your home and your life clean and smooth running. Instead of being delegated to the least valued individual, it should be a priority for the entire household. Work shared is work halved. I heard that somewhere, and it's so true.

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