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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

A celebration of (non-political) dirt

What is housework, anyway? And why do it?

Plainfield Councilor Rebecca Williams' humorous Facebook post (see here) of the famous 'A clean house is the sign of a wasted life' graphic tickled a memory.

Just so you should know, gay households have just as much baggage around housework as any other kind of household.

But the image did make me remember my mother on her hands and knees, cleaning not only the tub, but the rest of the bathroom.

And I recalled the distress she felt when she had to go to work full-time after my father left us and she filed for divorce. After all, when would there ever be time to iron the sheets (and all the underwear) and vacuum the drapes? And, without my dad around, who would take care of the yard?

Forced by her circumstances and the fact that, at 10, I was the older child, I was delegated responsibility for the daily dishes and keeping the kitchen clean and picking up the living room and doing the yard work. Small wonder my teen rebellion took the form of hating housework.

But what Rebecca's image really triggered was a search for a New York Times OpEd from a year ago that tackled the issue of housework and held out a promise of redemption for all who are oppressed by it -- of whatever gender or orientation.

'The Case for Filth' by Stephen Marche can be found here.

And here is a sample of his conclusions --
...Caring less [about housework] is the hope of the future. Housework is perhaps the only political problem in which doing less and not caring are the solution, where apathy is the most progressive and sensible attitude. Fifty years ago, it was perfectly normal to iron sheets and to vacuum drapes. They were “necessary” tasks. The solution to the inequality of dusting wasn’t dividing the dusting; it was not doing the dusting at all.
It is serious and funny at the same time, and can help you get your priorities straight. I seriously recommend a read -- before you make those New Year's resolutions.

  -- Dan Damon [follow]

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