04 April 2009

Cleaning your house is not enough

I haven't gotten out my soap box in awhile so I thought it was time I dusted it off.

Last Saturday morning at the gym I happened to see a piece on the CBS Early Show about working out while you clean. I was listening to my iPod and not the TV audio, but it wasn't necessary to get the gist of this piece. It had two extremely thin women in work out gear doing lunges while mopping, using a full laundry basket to do chest presses, carrying grocery bags like dumb bells, etc. The women were very serious in their cleaning and exercising. Towards the end of the segment a laughing male anchor joined when they were lifting bottles of laundry detergent. He was laughing with an "aren't you girls cute" expression on his face. Very smug.

I wanted to hurl my water bottle at the television. I restrained myself (lucky for the people working in the area below the ceiling-suspended televisions) and the piece disappeared, but was almost embarrassing to watch. The after shocks stuck with me. It made me really angry, but I wasn't sure if I was over-reacting. I brought it up with Rob later that day to see what he thought of it. He agreed that it was absurd and insulting. I felt more justified in my anger, but I still felt angry. I brought it up again with Becky on Sunday and she shared my anger and shared a similar story that had left her simmering in the same way. I felt even better about my anger and thus the need to pull out the soap box.

This piece says to me, "Hey lazy girl, cleaning the house isn't really work so why don't you make it worthwhile and work on that fat ass of yours at the same time. Don't worry, your husband will think it is cute and he'll be happy to have a clean home."

Seriously, is this where we still are with male/female relations? Are women, working outside or inside the home, still just Barbies who's real "job" is to look pretty and keep a nice home for her man? Those work outfits are fun for dress-up, but when playtime is over, get back in the kitchen and fix dinner. It sure seems that way in the eyes of the media. And with so many women anchors and women fitness coaches and women everything on these shows (aren't we diverse and appealing to women?!) you would think someone would wave a red flag when the idea of showing a stick skinny woman doing lunges with her mop was first pitched.

What do you think, am I over-reacting or am justified in my anger?


musingsfromthesofa said...

Justified. Way, way justified. I didn't even see the segment but the whole idea of it pissed me off and you're still annoyed with it a week later.
Oops, must be off, it's time I got into something slinky and did bicep curls with the saucepan.

Emily Barton said...

Oh, you are absolutely justified! Reminds me of an article I once read in some women's magazine about working out while grocery shopping (carry two hand-baskets instead of getting a cart, walk down every aisle, etc.). It infuriated me. Nobody would write an article in GQ about getting a workout while ___________ (insert whatever stereotypical masculine task you'd like to insert here. My personal favorite is "taking out the trash").

Cam said...

Absolutely justified! Sadly, I think that you will probably get lots of hits on this post from people trying to figure out how to combine exercise and cleaning. I need to do more of each, but to think that one could do them at the same time is crazy. Even more absurd is that this was a 'news' story. Who thought of that nonsense? I recommend that you email your complaint to the station that aired it. As you described it, it sounds sexist, demeaning, and insulting.

sarawithnoh said...

Totally justified. Without watching it I am mad. It's tough to find time to work, exercise, make dinner, clean, run a family, etc., etc. but come on! My favorite is showing the thin women with the mop because they'd never show some "offensive" woman in her mom jeans all harried with kids at her ankles trying to make lunch while throwing in the wash. Oh no, not only are chores domestic bliss but there's room in there to eek out some "me time."

ZoesMom said...

It is good to feel justified! Thanks everyone for your comments.

Dorothy W. said...

Wow, that IS pretty horrible. I am angry about it too. It's so belittling and condescending.