Some of the frustration Susan Bordo expresses in Unbearable Weight toward the feminist lack of organized anger today came out for me when I read the cover story in TIME Magazine’s August 2011 issue. Essentially, this article encourages wives to stop complaining about their husband’s lack of effort around the house. According to a national survey average, it looks like men and women “work” the same number of hours each week. What the author of the article fails to acknowledge, however, is that the “work” described in the survey is still incredibly gendered. Her interpretation of the survey is based on the average hours of work across the nation—all women versus all men. As a result, women (who only work 20 hours outside of the home, according to the survey) shouldn’t complain about housework because the time they spend on housework and out-of-the-house work is equivalent to the average man’s out-of-the-house work. Assuming all women work 20-hours-per-week, the author fails to acknowledge the lack of monetary value in housework, or the inner conflict many women experience when their homes are not organized, cleaned, and livable, or especially the many women who work as much as their partners but who feel more intense pressure to live up to the wifely standards set by generations before them.
AboutI am an Assistant Professor of English Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. My research in public rhetorics and community engagement has appeared in Enculturation, PLUCK!, Reflections, and Computers and Composition.
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