In feminist author Jessica Valenti’s recent Feministing.com post Clorox’s history of women’s unwaged labor, she criticizes a Clorox ad which shows generations of women doing the laundry. Jessica (pictured) writes:
“Clorox does end up unintentionally showing how women have been doing household grunt work for generations. The worst line in the commercial says that ‘even a man or two’ has done the laundry. As if all the women watching are supposed to have some little laugh to ourselves about the inequitable division of labor. ‘I do shit work for free, tee hee!’”
When I read feminists say this like this, I wonder where they think the men were. What about the tens of millions of male blue collar workers who put their bodies on the line in the coal mines and steel mills so their wives and children could live in safety and comfort?
What about the tragedies of millions of American men who were killed or maimed on what German socialist Rosa Luxemburg called the “battlefield of labor?” The miners who died in cave-ins, explosions, or of black lung disease. The sailors and fisherman who died at sea. The oil refinery workers killed in explosions. The factory workers killed in industrial accidents. The construction workers who died carving train tracks and then highways through majestic mountain cliffs or the scorching desert. The construction workers who died building our bridges, dams, high rises, stadiums, and apartments.
Feminists (and our popular culture) have forgotten (or buried) all of them. Instead, we pretend that in the old days men had everything and women had nothing.
In the pre-feminist era, women certainly had many legitimate grievances, and some of those grievances remain today. However, men have always sacrificed and suffered for their families and their wives, and there were plenty of wives who had better, easier lives than their husbands did.
Valenti’s post can be seen here. The Clorox ad she’s unhappy about can be seen below.