I’m always amazed when someone says that women hate housework because of feminism. You’ve seen those articles or heard those opinions: everything was just fine until those libbers came along and mucked it all up. Women were happy doing the cooking and cleaning and raising the children. Now they’re trying to have it all – and no one can have it all – and it’s all the feminists’ fault.
I’m amazed partly because I’m pretty sure I just hate cleaning toilets on my own, without any guidance from Gloria Steinem on the subject. And partly because I lived through the 1960s and 1970s, and I remember when women couldn’t get credit cards in their own name. I know that as late as 1974 in New York State, doctors couldn’t perform a tubal ligation unless they had two independent physicians sign a statement agreeing that another pregnancy would render the woman insane. I watched my mother’s friends willingly desert the kitchen and the laundry room for paying jobs.
And then I’m reminded that people did indeed know that housework felt like drudgery to some women before the second wave crested and broke. Advertisers knew it, at least.