There are claims that domestic duties performed by women are experiencing a resurgence, with feminists embracing all things housework, particularly anything to do with the kitchen.
Some say domestic duties are even a little bit sexy?
I do clean the shower in the nude just before I get in for a wash, you know, two birds, one stone. Is that what they mean?
The notorious Women’s Institute (WI) in the UK is behind the claim. Taking into account this organisation’s history of revitalising rural communities by encouraging women to become more involved in producing food during WWI – think jam making – it makes sense they’d be promoting all things domestic, particularly kitchen duties such as cooking meals for your family.
And by “sexy” they mean embracing kitchen duties promotes happy relationships and families. They don’t mean you have to strip naked and serve dinner on your bare hands, although if that’s something you choose to do then go for it.
Feminism is defined as women being able to choose how they live.
Also it's good to keep up those domestic skills, you know, just in case men are called to fight in a war any time soon, and just in case women are no longer allowed to join the army, undoing decades of equality in the armed forces and before women become too attached to those careers they've spent years building.
A just-in-case-men-lose-the-use-of-their-arms-(and brains and legs)-and-lose-the-ability-to-cook-for-themselves.
Still, membership to the WI is on the increase so they must be onto something. I blame Nigella Lawson and reality cooking shows, as well as Nigella Lawson appearing on reality cooking shows (think Masterchef's recent "Nigella" week).
Those Two Girls have domestic duties down pat. Home hacks...can you hack it? Article continues after this video.
Also there is increased awareness of just how healthy cooking from scratch can be.
Can making a green smoothie be constituted as "cooking" when it is done in a NutriBullet?
The WI does have a unique view of feminism which goes something along the lines of:
...to show that women doing their own traditional and specific job of running a household and bringing up a family should be considered as important, as responsible and as much worthy of respect as women doing the kind of job that can be done equally well by either sex; and that their work is just as vital if not more so.
Can't disagree with that. Women are still shouldering the responsibility for majority of domestic duties in Australia according to recent studies and that's okay if that's their choice and if it is properly valued and considered "vital".
It is vital. Running a home isn't easy. Clothes don't clean themselves. Meals don't magically appear (unless you've cleverly subscribed to My Food Bag in which case they sort of do).
Men are doing more of the domestic duties, true, but their contribution is often minimal and reluctant.
I said "often", not "always".
WI historian Professor Maggie Andrews explained the views of the WI at a recent festival. Also the author of The Acceptable Face of Feminism: 100 Years of the Women’s Institute, she said:
Both feminism and the Women’s Institute have come together a little bit in that domesticity isn’t such a bad thing as people thought or possibly that the workplace is not as much fun as we all thought.
Elements of the domestic have become much sexier and are seen as an escape from the horrors of society. It has made feminists rethink themselves.
That's all well and good but I think I'd feel a bit better about it all if men were also being urged to do the same. There is a lot of satisfaction to be gained from running your home well. It's something we all need to do.
It would just be nice if the running of the home was no longer considered the domain mostly of women and was treated more equally.