Housework need not be tyranny

One thing that helps is recognizing that the social norms for a “clean, well-kept house” — and the social norms for what kinds of furnishings a “proper, successful” homeowner must have in their house — are a product of patriarchy, which is in turn one element of white supremacy culture.

My response as a permaculturist has been to scale back on “stuff” so the work becomes minimal and a joy to DIY. #OptOut ; #degrowth #decolonize. And we need to determine *for ourselves* what we feel is clean and nice, not let corporate marketers and manufacturers set those “preferences” for us.

Another thing that turns daily living tasks into drudgery in “modern” culture is that we are isolated, toiling away each in a nuclear-family household instead of doing them in community. A friend who grew up in a less consumerist, less industrialized, non-Western place talked about how much they used to enjoy doing laundry together by the river, with the kids either helping or running & splashing about, depending on their ages and inclinations.

It takes a village … and capitalist/consumerist culture destroyed the village.

Soeaking of kids: Elsewhere on this blog I have shared about how we in “modern” culture have done ourselves and our kids a disservice by sidelining them from really participating in household tasks from a young age. Young kids often really want to help, and are teachable — and by not letting them share their energies in this way we create a “problem” that has to be “managed” (kids having “too much energy” and needing to be entertained with “activities”).

(This post goes for landscaping norms too.)

PS. Back in 2006 at EcoVersity’s Earth-Based Vocations program (Renewable Energy segment, taught by Mark Sardella), Mark told us that the amount of fossil energy available at the fingertips of typical USA Americans today is equivalent to each of us having 80 slaves. At that time I knew nothing about systemic racism. What he told us back then makes sense on a whole deeper level now.

Further Exploration:

Danita Platt on TikTok (I love her content!!) explains how we arrived at the division of domestic labor. Historic roots in slavery; Jim Crow. Also check out her video “The Stuff that No One Wants To Do“; she made this in response to someone’s comment on her first vid.