A recent survey has revealed that women feel more relaxed and satisfied after spending a couple of hours blitzing their homes as they found the experience therapeutic
I grew up on a daily dose of the Dagwood Bumstead cartoon strip. The main theme of this cartoon is Dagwood’s love for food and his family, and Blondie’s for vacuuming; a beautiful woman, Blondie more often than not had a vacuum hose in her hands. I took it for granted that was a symbol used to depict women. Now I realise Chic Young who wrote those strips was much smarter and had an insight into the women’s psyche that has now been discovered by the Zoflora Disinfectant survey of 2,000 women. One
out of three women has revealed that she attained great pleasure and a sense of achievement out of cleaning and dusting. They also said that cleaning was very relaxing, satisfying and therapeutic.
It is a fact that women workers are tidier, organised both in their work output and their work-area maintenance. Files in women’s racks are more neatly stacked and the noting in the files neat and tidy. Perhaps the workplace becomes an extension of their home; importance given to cleaning their homes is replicated at their workplace. A boss prefers a woman for a secretary rather than a man because he knows that she would keep his desk and his appointments organised and uncluttered.
Does this then make women some kind of species who ought to be classified as better performers in areas of cleaning and dusting and therefore relegate them to such tasks even in an office? Many tasks actually need a lot of cleaning-up in a metaphorical sense that men are prone to overlook. That is why even if women are fewer in numbers in the higher rungs of managerial positions, they manage to achieve far more than their male colleagues. Their natural inclination towards organisation and attention to meticulous detailing ensures that the end result is excellent.
As a little boy I always had a secret sympathy for my mother, who was a career woman. I saw the juggling she did on the home front, along with her job, as an extra burden she had to carry that my dad was not expected to. I never heard her complain. As I grew up, I assumed that it was for the love of us children that she made the extra effort. I also saw an aunt always dusting and cleaning. Her house is so neat and clean that I am afraid of stepping in it or sitting on the well-dusted furniture, though she is a very warm and welcoming host. Despite being prone to all kinds of body aches and pains she never ever gave up her obsessive cleaning of the house. Now wisdom has dawned on me and I realise that perhaps my mother and aunt actually enjoy these gruelling chores.
I still would take the findings with a pinch of salt, because all those surveyed are adults. A reality check should be made with little girls. Internalisation of societal norms, codes and rules begin quite early — some believe even before birth. A girl observes her mother and a boy his father and both learn their respective behaviours. So that is why you see little girls playing house with small pots and pans, while the boy plays doctor, engineer or soldier who importantly struts about with a toy stethoscope, tools or a toy gun.
Most little girls like to be princesses and fairies and I would bet you my last rupee that cleaning is not on their minds at all. It is only as they grow up that tasks assigned by society are absorbed in their consciousness and the clever way that nature seems to have, they imagine that they love all those dirty tasks that we, men, shirk. And women now make it out as if they are doing what they like and therefore we should allow them to do it. How very convenient for the manipulating Male!