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On sexism and housework

On sexism and housework
By Manolo Recio Sjögren • Issue #5 • View online

A typical scene from the film with the man seating while the wife works.
A typical scene from the film with the man seating while the wife works.
This weekend my wife and I watched a film titled The Great Indian Kitchen. The film follows the steps of a woman that marries into a ‘respectable’ middle-class home and as the wedding ends she slowly but surely finds herself confined to the kitchen.
As a person that instinctively tries to avoid housework (in my wife’s words), I found the film quite painful to watch. I felt sorry for the lady and instantly developed a resentment towards the male characters in the film. There are several slow-mo scenes that focus the camera on her hands as she cooks, grinds, cleans, wipes and disposes of greasy waste.
What's your take on housework?
Having been raised in a Western culture, I quickly empathised with the young woman and felt disgusted at how she was being treated. Then, as we continued watching, my wife kindly mentioned that, in a way, my loose attitude towards housework and childcare also was a kind of sexism 😳
I swallowed the pill. Tried to counterattack. Reflected. And ultimately agreed 😌
For context. We are ex-pats living in London. We both have demanding jobs and a 1.5-year-old daughter. No extended family around. It is fun. We survived the pandemic. It is also hard work.
Now, while I mildly participate in the list of tasks needed to keep our household going (cooking, washing clothes, buying groceries, tidying up the house), my contribution doesn’t share the same level of responsibility. The relentless force that runs our family home relies on my wife.
The movie helped me to scrub the surface of my own assumed values about gender equality. I would recommend any of you to watch the film and consider where you line lies on housework matters.
Thanks for reading,
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Manolo Recio Sjögren

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