Saturday, April 20, 2013

Cleaning technology, feminism, and gadgets

OK, a bit of a rant.  I just read the rather interesting article "Cleaning: The final feminist frontier".

The article does have some stats, has some truth, (my favourite, which I agree with BTW: "women will be the first to be judged for a messy home and the first to be commended for an orderly one").

In the end, though, the article still ends up sounding a bit sucky.  I do wonder why a feminist rant needs to yet again paint men into a filthy corner, simply underscoring the very stereotype she is trying to undo.  The author laments that she doesn't see men in cleaning ads, that the media encourages the idea that it's okay to joke about and have fun being a man and filthy, but then whines all along that men don't clean, or don't clean as well as women, or don't even like to be clean.   So now that all men who read this either feel guilty, or helpless to their gender deficiencies.  Or a roll of the eyes.

Let's get real here.  Men can and do clean.  My wife hates vacuuming, so I'm the vacuum-er.  We also know that she is more thorough than I am.  Check that - I choose to get the job done quickly where it is more difficult for her to do the same.  A cleaning chore becomes a huge can of worms that takes much longer than it would had I tackled it.  I feel great when the house is clean.  She feels great when I clean the house.  It's win-win.  But let's not forget - division of duty is not an affront to one's gender.  It's hopefully a function of actually discussing what we prefer to do, what we are good at, and what is simply practical.  It's not a gender thing - it's a personal thing.

The most interesting part of this article was the recommendation in the last paragraph from Magary, "who so emphatically declared that cleaning sucks: make cleaning more fun. He says that when the Swiffer first came on the market, it was sort of enticing. (Swiffer reps said they had no information to share with me about men and cleaning.) “We like gadgets and stuff,”  .....

Two things:  1) I shiver to think that people enjoy cleaning more with a 'gadget' like Swiffer.  Swiffer is an abomination - a cheap plastic contraption loss-leader that sucks you in to purchasing throw away products and a cycle of dependence on consumables.  (as an aside, here's an affordable eco alternative)
2) Fun and technology can happen, but let's look at a micro-technology!  I have a lot more fun seeing a cloth pick up and effortlessly lock in dirt because it saves me money and it goes twice as fast as any other method of cleaning.  Now that is fun - and it makes cleaning a job that is less overwhelming than it otherwise might be.

So, how about we stop the whining about how men don't clean, purchase some real technology like a high quality microfiber cloth, make cleaning fun by making it easy, quick, and thorough.  Perhaps the final frontier will become just that - final.  And then we can quit whining and get cleaning already.  Buy a cloth that you will both love to use, clean environmentally and economically, and join together in the necessary task of cleaning. You'll both take part, you'll both be happy.

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