When I was single and messy, I was told on three occasions that I would “never get a man” because I didn’t have the skills to “properly keep house.” As offensive as these statements were (ugh!), what upset me the most was that the people who said them never would have said something similar to a man.
In the comments to last week’s post “10 more uncluttering things to do every day,” a few readers were upset because they believed the list put a greater burden on women to vacuum more often. If you read the post, you’ll notice that gender isn’t discussed a single time in the text. The post’s author never says that women should vacuum more, just that it might be a good idea to run the vacuum every day (especially if you have kids and pets). The assumption that vacuuming is a woman’s chore is just as ridiculous of a stereotype as thinking that a woman is required, simply based on her gender, to “properly keep house.”
It’s 2010, and I say it’s time we let go of gender-related stereotypes associated with men and women and their duties at home. Women can mow the lawn and men can run the vacuum cleaner. Women can take out the trash and men can wash the dishes. In relationships, housework can be shared equally. Or, if a couple decides that one person should be responsible for more housework because it’s what works best for them, that we support that couple’s decision without passing judgment. If a single male or female chooses to be messy (as long as it’s not threatening his or her health and/or safety or infringing on someone else, such is the case with hoarding), we accept that it’s none of our business how someone of either gender chooses to live.
Gender-based stereotypes, especially related to uncluttering and keeping house, are antiquated. I think it’s time we make the change and stop perpetuating unproductive ideas that clutter up our lives. Are you with me?