Dear Surly Amy,
This was posted on Facebook by a teaching member of the faculty at my University.
“Allow me to apologize in advance for this post: Doing laundry does not constitute “work”. You put the friggin’ clothes in the washing machine and turn it on….ARE YOU KIDDING ME!!! For any spouse who doesn’t have a paying (money) job, DOING THE LAUNDRY IS NOT FRIGGIN’ WORK!! It’s a BLESSING!! So instead of complaining about it, thank your spouse EVERY DAY for allowing you to do it!!!” This was followed by another comment of his, “It’s my job to teach.” and “It doesn’t apply to my mother……she’s a saint”
Besides contacting the University, which I am doing presently, what do I do with this? It’s so, just, sickening.
Oh and did I mention I’m the VP of the SSA on campus? And he (was) our faculty advisor? Sigh. Help Surly Amy!
First of all HUGE props to you for being involved with the Secular Student Alliance on campus! Very, very cool. Taking a leadership role and helping to promote secular values is a wonderful thing. You should be very proud of yourself.
Second of all, I am sorry to hear that your past faculty advisor is a person who seems to be so angry at people who do laundry. It also sounds like a thinly veiled attack on women in general.
For many years before the invention of automatic washers and dryers, laundry was an even more extreme job (yes, I said job) that often required strenuous exercise. Scrubbing, hiking to get water, hanging clothes on lines, ironing and folding were activities that could easily take the entire day. In current times it pretty much goes without saying that laundry has gotten a heck of a lot easier but that does not mean it is not work. Anyone who has ever had to drag their dirty clothes to a public laundromat knows this to be a fact.
I’d like to ask this faculty advisor, if it is not work then why aren’t you doing it yourself in your spare time? If it isn’t work, why aren’t there laundry clubs we can all attend. Should we invite all our friends to come over for a laundry party? Hey everyone! Come on over Friday night and and hand-wash undies! And later, for a real treat we can iron pants! If you are really good, maybe I’ll let you vacuum!
The denial that housework is actual work is embedded in the idea that traditional women’s work is of lesser value than a job done outside of the home. Thus feeding into the idea that women in general contribute less then men do. It’s bullshit.
I’m willing to ignore the religious wording this person used, although the ideas that women are subservient to men, that laundry is a “blessing” and his mother is a “saint” are clearly coming from a religious mindset. As long as he isn’t spreading religious messages inappropriately on campus, is no longer involved with the SSA and is just saying these things on facebook I think it’s ok. It’s not correct in my opinion, but he can say it if he wants to. It really sounds to me like this is just an angry person who thinks he works harder than the rest of the people who raise families and take care of the home. Sounds like he isn’t fond of his job either. My advice, other than reporting this incident, would be to continue kicking ass with the SSA and to use this as an example of how not to act.
In the words of Elyse:
And I agree. Doing laundry is not work. That’s why I signed up for that at our house. However, folding? That shit is work. I don’t fold. Except diapers. I swear I spend 35 hours a week just folding and stuffing goddamn diapers.
It’s all fun and games until you actually have to do the work yourself. Right, professor?
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