How to Clean Like a Feminist

Now that women are living alone and/or taking care of themselves (thanks, Spice Girls and Have It All Barbie!), we've got a new problem on our hands: stereotypically female chores that need completing. Fraught gender history or not, your house isn't going to clean itself. So here's your indispensable guide to how to keep house without betraying your mother and sisters and daughters and all the work that's been done or will be done.

Before we snap on a pair of gender neutral yellow gloves and our Rosie The Riveter housecleaning muscle shirts, a little background: this weekend, Nigella Lawson, feminist and chef, said some stuff about feminism and chef-ing that made some feminists and some chefs mad. In response, there have been a smattering of articles about how to cook "like a feminist." Guys. Guys. Cooking has a fraught history, yes, but if you're alone in your kitchen, the ghost of Betty Friedan isn't going to watch you like the NSA and make sure you're wearing pants while you do it. For the vast majority of the West, cooking isn't feminist or non-feminist— it's just self-maintenance. Delicious self-maintenance, but self-maintenance.

Unfortunately, while there's no FEMINIST and NOT FEMINIST way to cook a meal, there is a distinctly FEMINIST and NON FEMINIST way to do just about everything else.

SWEEPING
Feminist:
Hold broom firmly, make long strokes on floor until all dirt has been gathered into a small pile.
Not feminist:
Hold broom firmly, make long strokes on floor until all dirt has been gathered into a small pile. Tell the broom that its body is shameful and whorish.

LAUNDRY
Feminist:
Sort clothing into lights, darks, and colors. Wash whites on hot, and colors and darks on cold. Dry according to instructions.
Not feminist:
Sort clothing into lights, darks, and colors. Wash whites on hot, and colors and darks on cold. Dry according to instructions. Tell your daughter that if she doesn't stay skinny then no man will ever love her.

DUSTING
Feminist:
Spray a dusting solution over the dusty surface you wish to clean. Using a soft cloth made of natural fiber, wipe in small circles until you've covered the entire surface.
Not feminist: Spray a dusting solution over the dusty surface you wish to clean. Await a man's further instructions. Any man.

WASHING DISHES
Feminist:
Fill sink up with warm water and dish soap. Scrub dishes. Rinse. Dry.
Not feminist:
Fill sink up with warm water and dish soap. Scrub dishes. Rinse. Dry. Make a call to your congressman opposing the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

LITTER BOX MAINTENANCE
Feminist:
Scoop out clumps daily, discarding in plastic bag. Change litter once a week.
Non-feminist:
Non feminists don't have cats.

MOPPING
Feminist:
Fill a bucket with warm water and surface-appropriate cleansing solution. Dip mop head in bucket, wring out. Move mop across floor, occasionally rinsing.
Not feminist:
Fill a bucket with warm water. Make sizable donation to Personhood USA.

TAKING OUT GARBAGE
Feminist:
Gather top of garbage bag and draw closed. Remove garbage from bin.
Not feminist:
Gather top of garbage bag and draw closed. Garbage bag is full of unprocessed rape kits.

IRONING
Feminist:
Using an ironing board, lay clothes out, carefully pressing each surface in a way that doesn't steam in wrinkles.
Not feminist:
Using an ironing board, lay clothes out, carefully pressing each surface in a way that doesn't steam in wrinkles. Burn down the national headquarters of the Girl Scouts.

CLEANING YOUR TOILET
Feminist: Fill bowl with toilet cleaning solution. Let sit for a few. Scrub with brush, being careful to wash undersides of top. Flush.
Not feminist: Fill bowl with toilet cleaning solution. Let sit for a few. Scrub with brush, being careful to wash undersides of top. Flush. Defund Planned Parenthood.

Got it, ladies? Now go forth and do everything in the feministiest of ways!

[The London Evening Standard]