Men, Eternally Never Doing Enough Housework

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There is a great poster I think about often, that artist Virtue Hathaway (real name Shirley Boccaccio) made in the 1970's, featuring a witchy woman with a broom stick broken in half in her hands, with the words “Fuck Housework” above her.


The rallying cry to “fuck housework” is as relevant then as it is now, considering women are still responsible for the bulk of households duties, according to The New York Times. Using data from the Department of Labor, the NYT finds that women spend 2.3 hours a day on house tasks and that men spend 1.4 hours. Even when men do contribute to household labor, tired gender dynamics still play out: men do the outdoor chores (lawn mowing) and women do the indoor chores (dish-washing, vacuuming—you know, all the work that needs to be done regularly.) The real grunt of housework is still largely considered women’s work.

But there’s more at play here than just gendered work. How people view messiness and cleanliness is also gendered, with women penalized for not being clean. The NYT quotes a study done in Sociological Methods & Research which showed people pictures of a messy room and the same room as clean. When participants were told a woman occupied the messy room she was “less likely to be viewed positively by visitors” and the room was seen as messier when a woman was attached to it, but when participants were told a man lived there they said he was not likely to be judged by visitors. Both the hypothetical man and woman were judged for keeping the room messy, period, but there were greater social consequences for women because they are ultimately seen as responsible for cleaning mess and judged more harshly.

Fuck housework forever, but also fuck men who don’t do it!



“ How people view messiness and cleanliness is also gendered, with women penalized for not being clean.”

This is a huge complaint I have. I tell my husband all the time that his mom won’t judge HIM if our house is dirty but she sure as shit will file that tidbit away about me. And I say this as someone who gets along great with her mother in law.

We have our house cleaned every two weeks. I would literally, I am not kidding, starve myself before I gave this up. The idea of adding regular cleaning into my full time job, insane commute, two toddler life is enough to bring tears to my eyes. If we could afford it I’d have someone come every week. It is the single most helpful service I’ve ever employed outside of our nanny.