It’s been a couple of weeks now since I last updated on my living arrangement, so I thought I’d update ShoutOut with what’s going on. If you didn’t catch it before, I live with eight other men in a tiny 100-year-old colonial, and sometimes things can get a little hairy when boy meets world and feminist ideology clashes with real life patriarchy.
Last time, I talked about how my housemates were lazy and used literally all the dishes in the house, refusing to clean even a plate or fork (you should check the picture it’s actually quite impressive). I’m pleased to report since then things have gotten better. We’ve been policing each other and the mess has left the kitchen and moved its way to the living room.
As the saying goes, old habits are hard to shake, and sassy comments aside things have improved. We’ve settled into living with each other a little better and things are looking up.
Personally I’ve settled into a routine of cleaning on the weekend or just before people are coming over. Working from the back to the front it typically starts with the bathroom, kitchen, living room and finally the front porch. Others have take notice of this and other “habits” they’ve come to know me for.
Typically every other Friday I bake some kind of dessert or pie just before a small group of friends. I’ve organized almost everything to a point that I know where most everything in the house is or can be found. I’ve also been told I ask too often if people need anything to drink or eat when we have company over.
While I explain this behavior to my enjoyment of efficiency and hospitality, my housemates think otherwise and have called me “the domestic god.”
Initially I was excited and happy, who wouldn’t want to be recognized for the work they do? But then I thought about the context of the name. Do all these things necessarily mean domestic?
I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt because these are routine thing I just do as part of my character, but there’s that slight possibility that they consider these acts as part of a subtle, unintentional critique of gender roles. Why can’t they just be common courtesy of living with others? Why can’t it just be responsibility for cohabitating?
Once again, my mates have taken to positions of patriarchal oppression within the household, drawing the line and compartmentalizing between gendered roles. In an effort to curve their actions and induce self-motivated action, I’ve taken to trying to invite them to take part in cleaning or entertaining; my personal socialization project. Things have little changed unfortunately.
While I try to teach them to bring things in, keep the mess to themselves, the opposite seems to happen. I come home and within a matter of 12 hours the previously clean living areas are sprawling with artifacts of their previous engagements.
I’ve begun to understand and appreciate why my mom constantly got on about me putting my toys and clothes away as a child. Was it upbringing that taught be to contain things in my life? Was it societal norms that molded the behavior of my friends? I probably will only have theories, but it seems clear day by day that the patriarchy has far-reaching effects on all of us. Imagineherstory just had a great post about this you should take a look at, but before I leave I want to through this video a friend of mine found expressing this idea of growing men and shrinking women that echos the imposition women feel because of patriarchal thinking. Don’t forget to tell me what you think and leave a comment below!