New Year’s Resolution #1: put myself first by indulging in the joys of monotonous, never-ending and unpaid domestic work. Said no one ever.
The one exception might be UK TV presenter and ‘domestic goddess’ Kirstie Allsopp who has bravely stood up for women everywhere by defending their right to clean toilets and iron their husband’s undies.
Allsopp, 42, who is famous (well, English tabloid famous) for upskilling clueless women with shows such as Kirstie’s Homemade Home, Kirstie’s Handmade Britain, and Kirstie’s Crafty Christmas, has revealed that women love the drudgery of domestic work.
“I’m not doing the ironing because I have to, but if I get a chance, I find it immensely therapeutic,” she told UK’s Daily Telegraph.
What a relief it is to hear somebody finally speak the truth after all those years of feminism depriving women of the pleasure of scrubbing their floors.
In fact, Allsopp, who no doubt would mistake the Feminine Mystique for a new brand of fabric softener, claims that domestic work is critical to working women’s mental health.
“I’m absolutely convinced that those repetitive tasks that one does everyday, organising and regularising one’s home, and keeping it tidy, is enormously therapeutic,” she says.
According to the Telegraph, “[T]o know that their child is going to school with clean hair, clean teeth, clean uniforms, and their house is clean is what keeps her sane.”
If we all love cleaning so much, why then is the inequality of domestic work one of the major sources of conflict in relationships?
Far from being outraged, if Allsopp is right women should feel lucky that they get to do an average of 311 minutes per day of domestic work, while their blokes only do 172 minutes.
I guess that’s those pesky feminists again: there’s no pleasing them.
Fortunately, Allsopp has some advice for all those ladies who have strayed from their true calling of sock folding.
“It’s why the whole “me time” thing annoys me,” she tells the Daily Mail. “All those women who harp on about needing their own identity. For God’s sake, just get on with it.”
Who needs the hassle of manly things like an identity, financial independence and intellectual stimulation when you can stay at home and impress your friends with your new Glade scent?
With a partner, two children and two step-children, you’d think Allsopp would be able to indulge in the joys of ironing, washing and cleaning from dawn to dusk without looking for other little projects to occupy herself while she waits for her man to come home.
Interesting, then, that she doesn’t practice what she preaches. With her nine TV shows, three books, one app and an extensive home wares range I’m betting she doesn’t get around to doing that much housework anymore — therapeutic or otherwise.
Like many other anti-feminist professional domestic goddesses, Allsopp’s hypocrisy stinks worse than hospital grade Domestos. She has made a career out of convincing other women that they should abandon any ambitions of developing a career of their own and instead content themselves with doing the cleaning.
Personally, I hate domestic work; I love a clean house, but I love the process of cleaning about as much as l loved my root canal.
But I’m perfectly willing to concede that there may be some people, somewhere in the world who enjoy it. I can also understand how, given the choice, some people may prefer the solitude and predictability of cleaning rather than, say, bathing a tired and feral toddler.
But presenting domestic work as women’s secret little pleasure — rather than one of the major sources of inequality and disempowerment — does nothing to further the cause of women. The only beneficiary here is the ever-expanding media and publishing empire that Allsopp — and her fellow housewife entrepreneurs — is building.
Let’s be honest. Housework is called housework because it’s just that: work. It’s just that some women and their financial backers are getting paid for it, while the rest of us aren’t.