A Little F'd Up, Feminism | Posted by Julia P on 08/12/2009

Dishwashing Feminism



You know, I kinda wanted my debut at the FBomb to be intellectual and interesting and all that, but somehow my first article has turned out to be one of those feel-of-the-moment snippets.

Anyway, recently I’ve moved up from the Junior/High School group at my church to the College/Not Married Yet group, and it’s a big change – lots of outings, more mature stuff… and with more mature stuff comes more societal influences. It’s always been there, but gender responsibilities are stronger than ever. And I don’t like it.

Last week my church group made dinner at somebody’s house, and when we all finished, I got comments like “the women are supposed to go in and do the dishes now.” Oh, by the way, we’re all Korean, which makes it regular sexism x2. Regardless of anything, though, at that shocking comment, I was just like “what?!” and shot back a middle finger, but they kept coming at me! And they treated me like I was WRONG for rejecting the job of washing dishes because I was a girl! In the end I really had to wash the dishes, because the pastor’s wife was doing it and I felt really sorry for her.

I wouldn’t be talking about this unless my mom (whom I’m sure is in the midst of menopause right now) didn’t just burst out at me today for refusing to wash the dishes. I mean, I’m just not that sort of person! But then today, all of a sudden, she’s like: “you’re eighteen! How are you going to get married if you don’t know how to do the [%$#%@] dishes?!?!?!”

I bet she won’t tell my brother that when he turns eighteen.

It makes me wonder. A lot. What could possibly have gone wrong in history that it’s turned out like this? 1. Man brings money. 2. Woman shops for food. 3. Woman makes food. 4. Man eats food. 5. Woman washes dishes.

Duuude! That’s just not fair!

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  • Tabitha @ at 3:38 pm, August 12th, 2009

    Well it’s just fucked, is what it is. I’m active in my home church, and have been going to the same one for almost 20 years, and the older I get, the more I see these “common” injustices. It’s not right, it never was, and it never will be…but sometimes (unfortunately, because at church should be the place where everyone is accepted and treated and loved equally) the church is the absolutely worst perpetrator.

  • Zoe @ at 10:35 pm, August 12th, 2009

    That really was strange and unfair what happened at the church outing. And obviously lame that your mom threw in the bit about how you won’t get married if you can’t do the dishes.

    But honestly, like it or not, you WILL have to do the dishes in your life. Hopefully, it won’t end up being for the rest of your life after marriage. I’m going to try my best to create a fair marriage where chores are equally split up. But as a college student with a room mate, I’ve realized that SOMEONE has to do the fuckin’ dishes. Haha.

  • Elise @ at 11:49 pm, August 12th, 2009

    I can definitely understand that church situation because I’ve experienced it in a lot of family dinners. It’s kind of funny, but during Thanksgiving the men are all outside talking and watching the turkey fry (deep-fried southern turkey is tradition for us). And the women are inside baking everything and setting the table.

    Afterwards, the women clean. It’s strange though because I’ve never really thought about it, but my mother has always just told me to do the dishes. So I did it. I think there are certain sexist tendencies that are so engraved into us that we subconsciously make decisions. The men would always sit in the living room and watch football or we’d scatter to nap because my family is apparently sleepy…

  • acetyleen @ at 3:21 am, August 13th, 2009

    i sympathise.. I don’t want to call out on ‘ASIANS’ in general, but being an Asian girl living with my vERY very traditional grandmother, I have to respectfully endure comments like “If you don’t do the dishes who will want to marry you?” and “come here, let me shoe you how to iron men’s shirts so you can be useful after you are married”, and the worst, “what husband will let you cook them instant noodles every day?”

    Regardless about how it’s just polite to offer to do the dishes after dinner – it’s just NOT cool when you tie it into a feat to make you “marriage material”.

  • valentine @ at 12:19 pm, August 16th, 2009

    For me all the wrong convinctions that men are used to have are a product of their upbringing. If a boy is risen up by parents who allow him to do everything he likes just “because after all mom will tidy up EVERYTHING FOR YOU”, then this boy will apply the same rules of behavior with is girlfriend/wife/friend. It’s just a question of education.

  • Melz @ at 1:09 am, August 19th, 2009

    Im not korean, but i relate. Also ‘Ethnic’. It comes in chunks of phases, like the moon. ure 11, family comes together and tells you you arent allowed to play with the boys on the street anymore “this is your last year” ure 12? mom says “now that you got your first tight dress, you gotto sit like a woman, make sure your crotch doesnt show”
    you’ve graduated or something, “well now you have to adapt to people, you have to know how to present yourself to soceity so that you can find a good husband”. I don’t understand how they can sit around and lunge their weight around like its a fruitcase on easter sunday. Ya, mom/grandma, im sure you LOVED doing all that when YOU were young, nubile, innocent and happy.

  • Carl @ at 3:48 am, August 19th, 2009

    This reminds me of the time we had a family gathering at our cabin and the women decided that the men should help cook the dinner and the men decided the women should come out back and help split the wood. In the end it took twice as long to actually get a nice fire going and to get dinner ready.

    I don’t see anything wrong with a division of labor as long as both genders are doing their fare share. The problem we face no a days is that both men and women work and the children are raised in child care centers and then we still have all the work of cooking etc when we get home from work. I guess a lot of people just order pizza or make eazy-mac and cheese or something.

    All I know is that families work harder than ever before now because we don’t feel like we can just work toward a common purpose by doing different work..

  • Carl @ at 4:00 am, August 19th, 2009

    I think food and feeding is just something women took on. I don’t know maybe there is something to feeding and nurturing people that made it a woman’s job.

    During Christmas in my family it is always the men’s job to go tramping out in 2 below zero to find a Christmas tree and to take on the laborious and sometimes dangerous task of hanging the Christmas lights. Not to mention my uncle and I hunt the Turkey for Thanksgiving. I don’t know I mean I never questioned it but maybe the women should want to do these things and next time we will do the cooking.

    I think our family is different though and most families buy all these things with money.

  • ikt @ at 4:19 pm, August 28th, 2009

    wait you’re a religious feminist?!


    I await the planet being hit by a massive asteroid, people are fucking dumb.

  • amplifyme18 @ at 10:22 am, September 12th, 2009

    Love that you wrote about this! I feel the same way. I have a brother too…he never gets asked to wash the dishes.

  • Julie @ at 4:49 pm, September 12th, 2009

    I don’t understand, I mean, who would want to marry a man that would only ever marry them for cooking him dinner and washing his dirty clothes and dishes. I don’t mind doing any of those things, but the idea of being forced or even expected to is what’s so wrong about it.

    If you plan on being able to stand up to double standards and sterotypes about gender & sex, I hope you plan on being able to stand up to the teachings of your church.

  • Hannah Leigh @ at 6:20 pm, September 13th, 2009

    I completely agree with this. I would have been SO offendded too.
    Church gets to me because I’m a christian.. And sometimes it seems that Christianity is a religion where women follow men.
    And I don’t think anyone should follow anyone.
    Why do people automatically expect women to do the dishes..and other tasks like that?
    I feel that this is the 21st century and people should start acting like it.
    Things have changed for the better.

    Too bad some people still seem NOT to know that.

  • KS @ at 11:08 am, October 13th, 2009

    I really relate to this because, first I’m 17 and second, I’m Korean too. This is my 6th year in the country and my thoughts on gender roles began only because I moved to the US. Back in Korea, I remember always cleaning the house and never being allowed to play sports in school. I was always a little more aggressive and my mom was secretly (?) feminist so my situation wasn’t as horrible as other girls, but I never realized it was wrong.

    When I came to the US, I felt so cheated!!! Girls were kicking soccer balls and boys were doing dishes! Things at home changed too. My mom began having more authority and she would often have my brother do the dishes. But still, the pater still expects the women to do the dishes -but it’s not because he’s a macho-male supremicist. He’s been raised that way for however many year and I can understand why it would be difficult for him. He’s in the process of changing and I really appreciate that.

    My point, I guess, is that it’s harder when culture is involved. Because, while you know that gender equality is indisputable, both men and women who have lived in certain cultures for year don’t quite accept that. I don’t think they believe that feminism is wrong. I just think that they are afraid to let it in since feminism is a concept that breaks their worlds apart.


  • Marcy Smith @ at 7:06 pm, October 14th, 2009

    Seriously, you’re so annoying! What are you so angry about? Do you even know what femenism is really about? Why don’t you sit down and write to Dr. Laura Schlessinger. She would enlighten you.

    Let me guess…You’re a lesbian too right? Get a life.

  • athena @ at 1:21 am, October 26th, 2009

    i don’t see how a feminist could also be religious because religion was created as a way to control women. also, almost every religious idea is sexist.

  • Megan @ at 9:16 pm, November 1st, 2009

    I am a catholic and a femmenist and I think its worng for you to tell people what they can and cannot belive, whist being a femmenist. Just because you dont understand a relationship with God doesnt mean that you know what we can believe in.

  • Elle @ at 1:11 am, November 7th, 2009

    omg i hate this, men think that all the housework is left for the girl and they do nothing.
    They come back from work sit down and dont help.
    It pisses me off and when i get married i am going to get it straight.
    My husband will do just as much housework as me!!!!!

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