Perceptions of Housework Changing?
Cleaning guru Jolie Kerr: “The legacy of housework being the domain of women continues” – Salon.com
Housework is traditionally gendered — but as someone who writes for Gawker media sites directed at men and at women, and as someone who wants a wide audience for your book, do you think that’s fading out?
I do think that there are changes — and I think that’s a very good think. I think it’d be Pollyanna-ish of me to tell you there isn’t a gender construct in cleaning. The legacy of housework being the domain of women continues. And it’s going to continue for a long time, probably well after my lifetime. I wish that wasn’t the case, but that’s reality. You’re talking about hundreds of thousands of years’ worth of socializing the perception of housework as women’s work. And women are more socialized, to this day, to think about cleaning and be aware of cleaning. They’re trained to clean. It’s less true now than it was forty years ago.
And one thing I love hearing about is women who are in their 20s and 30s saying “My mom never taught me to clean, and now I’m turning to a feminist website to teach me to clean.” That statement was made when I was working for the Hairpin. I’m hesitant to put words in the mouths of Jezebel readers, but I’m sure some Jezebel readers feel that way too. That personalization of women being the ones to clean has gone away to some extent. We like that, right? What isn’t so great is that the socialization of people to know how to clean has gone away. But cleaning is a human problem, not a male or female problem. I try always to act as if it is the case that cleaning is a human problem.