Friday, October 12, 2007

Why Be Feminist? Because Too Much Cleaning Causes Asthma


The Washington Post has truly lost its dignity this week; publishing the latest in a series of sexist drivel pieces that accuse feminism of robbing women of the joys gleaned through submissiveness and inequality. In “Women’s Liberation Through Housework,” it is suggested that women are genetically programmed to realize their deepest fulfillment through days of drudgery, and that the desire for a clean environment is somehow a sex-linked trait:
Though I hate to come across as a biological determinist, despite decades of attempts to reeducate men, you simply cannot make one of them care about how the towels are folded.
I felt sick as I realized that I and all the women with whom I’ve ever shared an apartment must have some sort of strange genetic disorder that leads us to toss our towels on the floor. Or might we all actually be men? Relief came in the form of Amanda Marcotte’s amazing take-down of this sort sexist idiocy. Marcotte meticulously dissects the article’s absurd arguments, explaining the glaring logical mistakes in statements like this one:
A lot of girls in my generation took to heart this message of liberation from the perceived drudgery of housework and grew up to have careers that our mothers never even dreamed of. But apparently, even with the monetary and psychic rewards of paying jobs, we still yearn for that cozy, clean nest.
As Marcotte points out:
That someone enjoys having a neat, clean home is not evidence that someone enjoys cleaning. In fact, as men in the pre-feminist era were quite aware, the pleasures of having a neat, clean home are only compounded if it magically appears that way without you having to lift a finger.
Hear, here!

Yet, just in case you needed another reason not spend all your days devotedly cleaning, "[g]iving your house a weekly clean could be enough to give you asthma." According to research published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, “Exposure to cleaning products could account for as much as 15%, or one in seven adult asthma cases.” The danger stems from breathing in irritating cleaning products and aerosols. So, just perhaps, it might actually be healthy for women to take a break from their scrubbing to indulge in other interests. And what do we have to thank for giving us the opportunity to do so? Feminism.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

"So, just perhaps, it might actually be healthy for women to take a break from their scrubbing to indulge in other interests."

This seems to be setting the standards a bit too low. Men should take an equal role in the household chores. One way that feminism has not completely realized its goals is that, while there are more opportunities for women, there are also more responsibilities since the expectation is that women will both have careers AND tend house and family as well. Men now have half the responsibilities that women do.

In fact, if men truly believed in chivalry, they would not let their wives come in contact with hazardous cleaning materials, but would instead insist on doing all the dangerous cleaning themselves.
-Nusrat Lab Rat

La Pobre Habladora said...

"This seems to be setting the standards a bit too low. Men should take an equal role in the household chores."

I couldn't agree more! It is important to note that the expectation that women have both a career and full responsibility for housework and child care is an example of continued sexism. It is NOT, like AJC conservative columnist Shaunti Feldhahn suggests, one of the tenets of feminism itself.