Mr P and I decided before we moved in together 4.5 years ago that we would split the household chores in such a way that he would do all of the cooking and I would do all of the cleaning. This suits both as us, as I cannot cook to save my life and Mr P hates cleaning. It works well.
When people find out about this arrangement though, it’s like sexism had never been defamed. Mr P is showered in glory and I am told continuously how lucky I am. Now, I don’t dispute my luck to have landed a bloke of Mr P’s calibre but when the same people find out that I do all of the cleaning in return (and I mean everything from the laundry and the ironing to changing the bed sheets, Hoovering and cleaning the bathroom), I don’t get the same praise and Mr P doesn’t get the same “lucky old you” comments either.
It would seem that even in the enlightened 21st century cooking and cleaning are still seen very much as the responsibility of ‘er indoors.
Another way that I lose out in this instance is that when we have people round for dinner, Mr P obviously cooks and he gets the thanks, admiration and praise for producing a plate of delicious food whereas I don’t get the same treatment fir spending the day Windolening the mirrors or Hoovering the carpets. I know being a master of the culinary is a bit different to flicking a feather duster around but it makes me wonder whether I would merit the same gratification if I was in charge of the cooking. Unlikely. I would probably warrant a cursory nod. And yet ir Mr P had managed to empty the washing machine and peg the clothes out, he would be worshipped, statues would be erected in his honour, the village would be festooned with bunting.
We often marvel at how far we’ve come as women since our own mothers were likely chained to the kitchen sink for 14 hours a day back in the bad old days and yet it would seem that sexism is alive and well in 2011.