You may be under the impression that we left the whole "women belong in the kitchen / laundry room" thing in the 1950s, along with June Cleaver. But according to British clothing company Madhouse -- or at least their pants labels -- domesticity is still a women-only club.
Yesterday, Emma Barnett, Digital Media Editor at The Daily Telegraph, tweeted about a pair of pants that her boyfriend had purchased a few weeks prior:
-- Emma Barnett (@Emmabarnett) March 5, 2012
The label on said pants, right underneath where you usually find mundane laundering instructions like "Dry Clean Only" (which I usually end up discovering only after I've destroyed said garment) reads: "OR GIVE IT TO YOUR WOMAN. IT'S HER JOB." And I thought that Piperlime's misguided attempt at advertising to single women back in December was retro. Then again, in a society where we still have very set ideas about what constitutes "men's" and "women's" work -- even when it comes to dividing up the domestic duties -- Madhouse's literally inside joke isn't so surprising.
It wasn't very clever, either. As Barnett wrote in The Telegraph:
If the comment had been remotely funny -- I would have been the first to laugh and shrug it off -- as it really wouldn't have bothered me enough to photograph it, tweet it and then write about it. But it was the lack of any implied humour and the horrible surprise of such an incongruous message hidden away inside some trousers, that left me just plain stunned.
I'm assuming that the vast majority of men don't think of their female significant others as servants -- most men I know who co-habitate with their girlfriends or wives certainly don't. Shouldn't a company that makes clothes for guys give the wearers a little more credit? As for those men who do expect the women in their lives to take care of all the housework, it seems that "their" women aren't necessarily sticking around to pick up the dirty laundry. A study released in December showed that "domestic and gender equality" were key predictors of marital success. Basically (and I don't think this is a new idea by any means) everyone wins when couples share responsibility for their shared homes.
So, how to set this pants problem right? Here are several messages I'd like to find on the label of a boyfriend's jeans. Madhouse, take note.
LOOK: 8 Labels That Should Appear In Men's Pants