Are Women Who Say They Love Housework Fooling Themselves?

Today in the Washington Post, Rena Corey writes "Each time I feel a sense of satisfaction at how my Magic Eraser is removing the smudges from my white kitchen cabinets, whenever I smile to see all the dirt and dust clinging to my Swiffer, I realize I am a traitor to the cause." She admits that as a girl growing up in the '70s, she learned that women who were into floor wax and getting their husband's shirts clean were leading unsatisfying lives. "Why didn't they get themselves real jobs?" she asked herself then. Yet women still long for "that cozy, clean nest," she writes. "How else can one explain the appeal of someone like Martha Stewart?" Corey claims that "maintaining a home is a worthwhile and creative pursuit" and though some of us refuse to admit it, "we have a perfectly respectable desire to create an attractive, peaceful haven for our families and ourselves."

Be it genetics or societal brainwashing, 40 years of liberation has not changed the fact that the female of the species is most often the one who cares about matching towels and well-equipped kitchens.

But no matter how much Ms. Corey claims that her home is her "little kingdom," she cannot convince those of us who hate housework (cough*this writer*cough) that it's a great way to spend one's time. We've heard about the so-called "zen of doing dishes" and we do not believe in it. In fact, we call bullshit on it! There's nothing zen about chapped hands and Brillo pads. We had a friend who, when she could not sleep, would scrub the bathroom floor. When we can't sleep, we watch QVC. We don't, as Ms. Corey once did, look condescendingly upon women for whom a ringless tub is a victory. But we do wish they would come over and take care of our shower grout, because we're soooo not interested.

Women's Liberation Through Housework [Washington Post]