Given that I’m doing a course of consumption, I was re-reading A Theory of Shopping Daniel Miller, and then I found the following phrases:
‘Here, as is often the case, there is no evident resentment at being identified unambiguously with housewifery. On the other hand, there is a considerable desire that this should be appreciated by the family members, and to taken for granted’ (p 21), And not long after, discussing the feminist studies on domestic work: ‘This degree of exploitation and the asymmetry of power was reinforced rather than redressed in consumption, where housewives were found to give the best of their labour in meals and comforts to others while ofter denying themselves the pleasure they strove to create for others” (p 22).
Miller focuses on the point that the owners of house -immersed in a culture of ‘love for the family’- not see it as exploitation that feminist critiques -immersed in a culture that is reflective of equality (*). But what I find interesting is another thing.
It is so close that it seems the domestic work to paid modern. Equal in the fact that the fruit of the work is not the property of the worker, equal in their demand for recognition (the taste and the demand for the job well done, a good work, which in both contexts is not recognized), and equal in the fact that these features are taken for granted and do not produce a greater problem (in the end, workers have never claimed, by the fact that the fruit of their efforts is for others). In fact, apart from the existence of an ideology and a culture that gives more sense to the domestic work (**) (geared to what is still the centre of ostensible life of the people -the family) and the receipt of money paid, retain the same basic characteristics.
(*) Which shows that the culture of western societies, modern -the work of Miller is on british homes in a suburb of london – continues to be so thoughtless, so little streamlined, as every culture it has always been. But delve at this point would be to begin to criticize a bunch of sociologists in their disquisitions on modernism.
(**) Apart from the feminist classic, who might think, especially if we think of the kind of work that the greater part of the population does, that work is a source of personal fulfillment?