“Invisible, repetitive, exhausting, unproductive, uncreative,” Angela Davis writes, “these are the adjectives which most perfectly capture the nature of housework.”[i] In what ways can this nature of housework become visible, representable, describable, comprehendible? How does housework pose a problem of mediation?
Housework will remain a site of feminist struggle as long as there is capitalism. “Housework had to be transformed into a natural attribute rather than be recognized as a social contract because from the beginning of capital’s scheme for women this work was destined to be unwaged,” as Silvia Federici argues, “Capital had to convince us that it is a natural, unavoidable and even fulfilling activity to make us accept our unwaged work.” Federici continues that “the unwaged condition of housework has been the most powerful weapon in reinforcing the common assumption that housework is not work, thus preventing women from struggling against it, except in the privatized kitchen-bedroom quarrel that all society agrees to ridicule… we are seen as nagging bitches, not workers in struggle.”[ii]
What are the conditions of this struggle? What are its conditions of legibility as struggle? How can we understand housework in relation to a revolutionary project?
Blind Field is seeking submissions about housework. We accept submissions of varying lengths, genres, and media. We encourage experimentation, and invite collaboration. Feel free to contact the editors at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Themes and problems to consider:
— waged / unwaged domestic work
— cultural representations
— gendered labor
— social reproduction
— the temporalities of cleaning
— housework strike, sex strike, human strike
— cooking, eating, not cooking
— collective living / living alone
— households and home architecture
— the feminization of the workplace
— the family / patriarchy
— children, roommates, lovers, house-guests
— domestic violence
— black mold, mildew, cockroaches, cobwebs
— DIY, consumerism, domestic ‘creativity’
— ‘the labor of love’
— laundry, dishes, junk drawers
— etiquette, how-to manuals, manifestoes
— care / ‘self-care’
Please send a brief proposal to email@example.com by April 1, 2016. Final submission timelines can be coordinated thereafter.
[i] from “The Approaching Obsolescence of Housework: A Working-Class Perspective” https://www.marxists.org/subject/women/authors/davis-angela/housework.htm
[ii] from “Wages Against Housework” https://caringlabor.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/silvia-federici-wages-against-housework/