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March 8, 2012

International Women's Day 2012 (logo)

International Women’s Day is one of my favourite special days and, although it isn’t generally celebrated much in this country, I do like to do something to mark it every year. Last year we yarn-bombed the town and this year a friend organised an IWD pizza night. I’ve not much political to say about it right now – for once, I’m just enjoying the pizza. 🙂

(Although, if anyone wants a “But aren’t we equals now?” 101 then, just for today, you could do worse than to start here.)

Someone did ask me today – and it’s a great question – how all this sink-shining fits into my personal politics and philosophy. There’s nothing very feminist about housework, after all; nothing free-spirited in the concept of a well-shined sink; and nobody ever overthrew the evil powers-that-be by the mere application of Ajax and elbow grease.

What’s more, in FlyLady specifically there is a tone that decidedly jangles with my worldview – not so much an explicit agenda, but definitely an underlying tone. I am irreligious and, worse, deliberately unmarried. I despise conformity. I find most social norms and conventions shallow, vapid and – take your pick – either self-serving or oppressive (or, worse, both). I don’t much like people in general, and certainly not those of the kind that you might expect to find in a group drawn together for the sole purpose of improving their home-making skills. (Of course, you might well be wrong about those people, and you probably are, but that’s a whole nother story.)

So, yes, when I first heard about FlyLady I laughed and mocked – and my little voice was right there with me.

But I’m not in this for the compliance points. I’m not trying to catch or keep a man. I’m not trying to be a good or even a passable wife. I’m not even in this because I want to be a better mother. This has nothing to do with my femaleness or my femininity and it has nothing to do with my politics or philosophy. If I had a partner (a male partner, anyway) then there would be some gender politics or relationship implications, but I don’t – so it isn’t about that either.

Let’s cut the crap. The reason I’m doing this – the one and only reason – is because I’m sick of living in a pigsty. I want to be able to invite people round occasionally. I want to be able to walk across the floor in a straight line without having to watch where I put my feet. I want to stop this game of hunt-the-spoon whenever anyone wants a yoghurt.

And since I can’t really afford to pay someone else to sort it out (and I would feel weird about that anyway), I’m just going to have to do it myself.

If there was a politically correct, gender neutral way to do this, a way that was more feminist and less feminine, then believe me – I’d be there.

In the meantime, I am keeping my little voice close, to avoid getting swept up in the twee.

IWD - A woman's place

One Comment leave one →
  1. MUM permalink
    March 9, 2012 8:37 am

    One shouldn’t confuse the natural process of providing a healthy and comfortable home and environment for oneself and family with conformity. This is a natural and important process, conveniently and naturally achieved by the female of the species in most instances. I do not think we should degrade it. Neither are social norms shallow, they are part of our nature and important for the success of the species. Some are shallow, of course, some people get caught up in the detail when they have insufficient purposeful work to occupy them but we shouldn’t allow them to drive us from our natural behaviour.

    Although I believe that men and women are equally valuable I can see they have, in the main, differing talents which together make a successful partnership. I believe we should celebrate this difference and not continually fight it.

    Yes, it is much nicer not to live in a pigsty but try telling a man that.

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