Sunday, November 11, 2007

A Broom-Burning Feminist

I am a feminist.

No, I'm not ashamed to say it. Feminism, at its core, is the concept that men and women are equal beings. Neither one is smarter than the other, but there are some physical differences. I accept that-- but I don't accept that men are better than women because they are stronger. Perhaps, at one time, there were jobs that only they could accomplish through brute strength, but the technological advances of the last few decades have made it easier for women to participate in traditionally males jobs. And I think that's wonderful.

It bothers me that feminism has such a bad rep these days, that I have to punctuate my declaration of feminism to explain that I am not a bra-burner or a man-hater. To be honest, it is both sexes's faults for this negative casting. There are men out there who, uncomfortable with being challenged, throw aspersions at feminism and cause it to seem unnatural. Equally, there are women who lack a sense of humor and can't seem to smile at themselves-- they cast feminism in a bad light as well.

And would you believe that the above paragraphs were just an explanation for what I am now going to say? Isn't that sad?

Anyway, I've been watching television lately and have begun to notice just how many cleaning commercials there are that solely feature women. Women vacuuming, women scrubbing, women cleaning toilets-- all while smiling cheerfully at the camera. Where are the men? Why isn't there a man with his arm half-way in a toilet, a man unloading the dishwasher, a man scrubbing the soap scum from the bathtub? Just one measly man, that's all I ask!

Don't get me wrong, there are some commercials that seem a little more enlightened. One broom/vac commercial shows a whole party of people rocking out while cleaning up messes, which is awesome. There is even a carpet scrubber that shows an entire family cleaning spots off the rug.

When I have a house of my own, I will do housework as long as I live alone and can't afford a once-every-two-weeks cleaner. If I get married, honey, you know I am not going to be scouring pots and pans. If there are things to be cleaned, we are both cleaning it. I hate housework. I hate the way my knees ache when I clean the tub. I hate that I am all itchy from the bleach. I. hate. washing. dishes.

And if I'm made to do housework for the rest of my breathing days, someone is going to die. Die slowly and painfully.

Because why should I do it just because I'm a XX? I'd rather be slaving away at a desk than don the rubber gloves and dally in the fumes of cleaning solution.

And that's what I have to say about that.

K.

9 comments:

  1. It is strange how people really flinch at the word "feminist" anymore.

    I think the cleaning commercial theme will eventually fade out. It seems at least a part of it is left over from other generations. When my Mom and Dad divorced, my Dad literally did not know how to do his laundry.

    Sad, in many ways.

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  2. rachel: I agree, and I hope you're right.

    K.

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  3. The only commercial that comes to mind is (I think) Brawny. Evidently big, strong men can only wipe up a mess if there's a puppy involved and an I-hope-this-gets-me-some-tonight cake.

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  4. gwyn: Oooh, I forgot about Brawny. I think their marketing campaign is to get women to buy the product, imagining that the man in their lives will be inspired to be that guy, but they end up cleaning up themselves.

    Boo.

    K.

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  5. Wow. That is exactly the post I've been meaning to write for a while... and I'm one of those people who flinch at the word "feminism", despite being in full agreement with YOUR definition.

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  6. BRAVO, Kate! Well said. Stand on your soapbox often, I will gladly cheer you on.

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  7. Irina: I hear ya. It's just that people make so many judgments about about the term that it's difficult *not* to flinch. And you should write that post-- you're more eloquent than I am.

    Moonshadow: Why thank you! I will definitely try.

    K.

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  8. I love you. This post relates to me in so many ways. When I mention something about feminism (I am a feminist too) or writing a feminist theory essay everyone's like "so wait, you're a lesbian?" >_<

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  9. abzdragon: Aww, thank you! I'm glad that I've found other people who understand what I'm trying to say.

    K.

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