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The domestic divison of labour

<p>I have a love-hate relationship with my vacuum.<br /> </p>

I have a love-hate relationship with my vacuum.


It’s not because it, er, sucks. It’s one of those futuristic Dyson contraptions that costs half a paycheque but works well enough to justify it. It’s just that I’m the only one who uses it.


You see, I live with my boyfriend, and though we have an otherwise simpatico relationship, we often hit the housecleaning roadblock. He does the dishes and laundry, but that’s about it. Between my love for cooking and his genetic blindspot to toilet stains and dust-bunnies, I’ve picked up the slack in the domestic department — but that doesn’t mean I enjoy it.

As a society, we’ve left behind the disgruntled housewife and male breadwinner roles of yore, but in practice I still struggle with what it means for a feminist gal and her partner.

Boyfriend Dearest wouldn’t consider himself feminist, but he’s got the basics down: He was dismayed to hear about recent funding cuts to Pride Toronto; he’s pro-choice; he makes fun of sexist beer commercials.

We both understand that growing up with strict gender roles can make a person. Being aware of them is the first step in overcoming them, but it’s proving much harder to shake off these engrained ideas.

Feminist cohabitation, commitment, and marriage are never perfect ideas. Even among couples who live together equitably before tying the knot, most married couples end up with a “traditional” division of household labour. On CBC radio this week, I heard that just 19 per cent of husbands and dads do the laundry.

Though Mother’s Day is behind us, appreciate the mothers in your life — for being caregivers and for everything they’ve achieved since those white picket fence days. If there’s one thing we could do for our mothers dearest, maybe give her house a spring-cleaning. Not just because it’s a loving thing to do, but also a feminist one.

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Today, March for Life protestors will voice their displeasure with Canada’s abortion policies on Parliament Hill. I may not agree with them, but I support their right to protest; I also encourage those who disagree to show their views as well.

With the public debate that’s erupted over the G8 maternal health plan, and ongoing funding cuts to women’s organizations, the conversation about women’s rights ought to be full. Whether you value a woman’s ownership of her body, value children, or value anything in between, make your voice heard.

 
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