In Sunday’s New York Times magazine Molly Worthen wrote a story about a movement of female conservative Evangelicals — women who are trying to ward off gender equality in order to live what they understand to be traditional Christian lives. The catch, though, for these “Housewives of God,” as the article is titled, is that, beliefs asides, the gender dynamic in their day-to-day lives closely resemble those of the average 21st century couple.
August is my time for cleaning house. Before the start of the new school year and the next winter season, I like to clear out piles of old things, papers that are no longer relevant, clothes that will never be worn again in this house, projects completed or abandoned. It’s a spiritual as much as a physical task, all about letting go, making space inside myself, and starting over. So it has been with a certain interest that, as I filled my fourth garbage bag for the day, I read the story by Elissa Strauss and the follow-up post by Debra Nussbaum Cohen about women’s housecleaning.
Housework has always been a sticky spot for feminists, an elusive thorn in our forward-moving sides. To some, it is a prison from which women have to free themselves. For others, including countless stay-at-home moms and professional domestic workers, it is work that has never earned adequate respect.