Apparently, Barbie never can decide which is more fun: laundry or manicures!!!
I like doing the dishes. I dislike doing laundry, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, and almost all other chores, but I find that doing the dishes can be somewhat relaxing. But don’t get me wrong; I much prefer to spend time in a eucalyptus steam room when given a choice of therapeutic activities but nonetheless I don’t mind doing the dishes.
This, however, does not mean that I will do the dishes. In fact, oftentimes, I will NOT do them on principle. If I am ever to cohabit with another individual (and I mean shackin’ up, not just living with a roommate), I will undoubtedly cook our meals. My chances of finding a man who is on my level in the cooking department are slim-to-none (cocky but true) and even if he is up to par, I love cooking and will do at least the majority of the cooking. But after the meal, dishes are on him. It’s the principle of the matter and it’s feminism. One of my notions regarding feminism is the idea of taking the gendered nature out of tasks, jobs, and roles. I’m cooking because I want to and in order to earn your place at my table, I’ll make you work for it. I don’t care if you have a floppy Y chromosome somewhere down the line, that doesn’t make you incapable of scraping salad dressing off of a plate.
This idea of sharing the domestic duties and not doing certain tasks simply on principle is my way of incorporating feminism into my everyday vocabulary. And now, let me briefly digress to tell the tale of another activity in which I refused to partake completely on principle. And out of self-respect:
In my college’s Greek system, each fraternity and sorority are required to do some sort of community service or philanthropy. One fraternity had the brilliant idea of making their charity work a competition… among the sororities. I kid you not: Each day of the week, there was a different task. On the first day, the sorority to make the most sweet treats for the fraternity’s bake sale for charity got the most points. The next day, the sorority who got the most members to attend a movie showing got the most points. And so on for five days… The winner of this competition got the privilege of attending a “pre-party” with this fraternity and also received free t-shirts promoting the frat. (To me, these seemed a bit more like punishment than prizes). Let me just say that convincing other people to compete to do your bitch-work is sheer Tom Sawyer-esque brilliance. But why on earth would any self-respecting woman, let alone a highly-educated one, participate? Even if any of the events or activities had held even the slightest appeal, I would have refrained from partaking on principle.
One more quick anecdote: When I was a sophomore in high school, I decided to take French, in addition to Spanish which I had been studying for years. This meant that I had to start at middle-school level and the first year of French class was extremely easy. One day, during an in-class listening quiz, a popular, senior basketball player tried to cheat off of me. I’d like to say that it was my mere scrupulosity and fine-tuned moral compass that caused me to turn him down, but I think it was more about the principle of the matter. He was trying to cheat off of me in a middle-school level class. That’s just sad. And while I give him credit for trying to use his moderately decent looks and social status to sway me into helping him– (a similar strategy to the one employed by the aforementioned fratstars) and, hey, I have been known to use my “feminine charm” to my advantage, too– it just wasn’t enough.
So as much as I might want to dip my hands into a sink full of soapy dishwater or as much as I am obviously desperate to bake cupcakes for some fraternity to sell for charity, I simply say “no”. Or some variation of the word perhaps studded with a few expletives to cast away any notion of being “ladylike.” It’s called feminism.