Saturday, May 16, 2009

A gloomy vice

In “The Second Sex,” Simone de Beauvoir dismissed housework, writing that “the healthy young woman will hardly be attracted to so gloomy a vice…

Few tasks are more like the torture of Sisyphus than housework, with its endless repetition: the clean becomes soiled, the soiled is made clean, over and over, day after day. The housewife wears herself out marking time: she makes nothing, simply perpetuates the present…”

Sounds like a real drag, huh?

Historically, housework has been defined as “women’s work,” which partially explains why it has been undervalued. To me, it’s no longer simply a gender issue.

I want my daughters to know they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up, but that whether they become career women or stay-at-home moms, they – along with their partners – will need to know how to cook, clean and make a bed.

On my first official day of this new endeavor, I managed to accomplish one domestic task. I emptied the dishwasher.

Okay, it's not much, but I still feel proud of myself for taking this teeny step in the right direction. The late Simone de Beauvoir might not have approved, but my husband sure does.

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