Saturday, July 29, 2006

Who does the dishes?

25 years ago, I came across a quote that asked "Whenever there's a discussion about feminism, why does it always come down to a discussion of who does the dishes?" I thought it was from Marge Piercy, but I can't seem to substantiate it.

But it's a good question. All of the stereotypes I've seen of relationships in which the male is the submissive partner, he's supposed to take on all the household duties. This makes for some fine fantasy reading. I imagine that given the right personalities and situations, it could even work out that way; certainly "fd" represents his relationship that way. But it strikes me that:

A) This isn't something he got to overnight;
B) He has a partner who is willing to help structure the division of labor this way; and
C) for a long time he didn't work outside the home.

I've been particularly cheered by seeing more and more written recently by both men and women who, for one reason or another, are getting in to "power exchange" relationships (read LFA or wife-led marriages) but who aren't willing or don't want to, or don't think it's realistic to, end up with such a drastic division of labor. For whatever reason, there are women who want to be involved in running the domestic side of things, even if they have all the authority in the relationship - whether that's because they're still dealing with ambiguous feelings about having their partner do all that work, or they want the feeling of involvement or they just like the way they themselves do it.

And I don't think that doing so is in conflict in any way with a LFA or wife-led marriage. It's a matter of what you want to do and feeling free to do that.

On the other hand, having the conscious conversation about who is responsible for what, and holding the man responsible for doing what is expected of him is, in the long run, vital. The "stealth submission" model works only so far and for so long; it can, I think, be a valid way to get started, but in the end requires "the conversation."

So I'm saying it's not really about "who does the dishes" but what the conversation, expectations, and relationship is around "who does the dishes." I think there's a difference.

More on "the conversation" and on stealth submission later, but the point for now is that I need to realize that just doing what I can do, but doing so consistently is probably the best step I can take to get started changing from a submissive male wannabe to someone who actually lives this in his life. Certainly that realiztion has provided a certain frisson to last night and today.

Let's see if it lasts...


saratoga said...

In contrast to some others, in particular, Elise Sutton, I don't think that stealth submission is either truly satisfying, or effective, for more than very brief periods of time.

It's a form of mental masturbation, in some sense.

I agree with you completely, that FemDom can be, and for, really most intelligent people, needs to be about more than domestic chores.

I had one Domina who pointedly said that, if she and I were to live together, we'd hire cleaning help. In her opinion, both being intelligent, very well-educated professionals with graduate degrees, she was not about to waste our time on ironing, mopping floors or cleaning bathrooms.

I think, as I have written so often, and discussed with Lenora just last night, it always boils down to goals.

What are the woman's goals? Are they compatible with the male's goals?

Polyfetishist said...

I was lucky in that it was when an old friend and I each confessed that we had D/s needs that our relationship evolved in to love and (for us) play.

Best of luck with the conversation. If you wife can bring herself to think of it I think Candace's caring and thoughtful blog is an excellent one for introducing a woman to the possibilities.