The Vagenda

The Trollop Manifesto, Or, 5 Household Chores You Should Never Ever Do


Last week, whilst stuck in bed for a couple of days with the dreaded lurgy, I found myself doing something so utterly retrograde that I could almost hear Liz Jones over at The Daily Mail screaming “Oi, feminism, in yer face!” Because instead of using the time to recuperate, read books, catch up on Orange is the New Black, or plan my, ahem, glittering future, I thought about housework. FFS.

It’s not that I enjoy housework, you understand. Housework sucks ass to the max. “Whenever we ask women about the most stressful thing in their lives, housework is at the top,” said Siobhan Freegard of Netmums, proving that I’m not alone. In fact, because I love to labour a point, here are some things I like better than housework:

1. Childbirth – Childbirth may shred up your vagina big time, leaving you with a new open-plan living space I like to call a VAGASS, but at least it’s not boring. At least childbirth doesn’t get you wondering why the fuck you bothered learning to read and write in the first place. Unlike housework.

2. The School Run – If you like doing 145 things in less than an hour and at a rate that defies the laws of physics, you’ll love the school run. But even if you loathe it, it does at least get you OUT of the house.  Unlike housework.

3.  Cystitis – “OMG. I think Satan is holed up in my fucking urethra” is another way of saying “I’ve got cystitis”. But as horrible as cystitis is, there’s still a chance folks will think you’ve had so much sex you did your bladder in. Which can’t be said for housemaid’s knee.


Here is a picture of my daughter’s bedroom 

Even though most women say they dislike housework – another recent study for Zoflora revealed that only one in three women like household chores – they still spend 18.2 hours a week doing housework, and if I’m anything to go by, a further 2-3 hours in the grip of an inexplicable sense of panic over it. Which begs the profoundly nuanced question: What the fuck???!!!

Of course, most women would argue that the reason they do so much housework is because no other fucker is doing it. The news that women still do two-thirds of the housework even when they’re the main breadwinner – thirty-five years after Arlie Hochschild wrote The Second Shift – is depressing shit by any measure. Whilst nobody is letting men off the hook (in spite of their alleged lack of natural flair when it comes to the art of cutting through embedded grease and grime, bless their stiff crunchy socks), I still believe that there is a sense in which women have internalized the notion that housework is their job; a situation aggravated by a gender pay gap and glass ceiling that means that for many women, home might also be the one place where they feel they can wear the trousers. Or, as someone delicately put it, become a Queen Of Their House *massive citrus-scented barf*.  All of which suggests that even if couples were to negotiate their way to an equitable division of domestic labour, women might still end up doing more housework than is necessary.

So, for all ye who seek reprieve from the endless spin cycle of futility, who would like to strangle Henry the fatuously grinning hoover with his own trip hazard of a fucking hose, who believe that hands that do dishes could be doing something more fun and worthwhile, who HATE housework as much as I do. Here’s the thing:


Housework is not even your job if you are a stay-at-home mother with pre-schoolers, because being a mother is actually your job. And, what’s more, even if you define yourself as a housewife, and you don’t work outside the home, and your kids are at school or whatever, you are still entitled to the same leisure time as your partner, which means that he has to step up to the laundry basket once in a while. (Or, you know, risk his all-time-favourite Thomas Pink shirt coming out with a hint of er, real indelible pink. And also small enough to fit Baby Annabel’s baby’s baby. IYKWIM.) And if all of that is not clear enough, here is something I prepared earlier, entitled The Trollop Manifesto, which is a nationwide call to take strike action against unnecessary household chores, and to take up the gloriously skuzzy mantle of trollop-dom.

It goes like this:

1. Thou must not iron. Ever. There really is NO functional advantage to eliminating clothing wrinkles, because all you’re really doing is trying to achieve perfection, which is impossible. In fact, according to serious scientific research conducted on behalf of Vagenda, there are only three people who heart ironing, all of whom are deranged and/or have control issues. These are a) Anthea Turner, whose love for ironing is only surpassed by her love for the de-cluttering potential of wicker baskets; b.) Pingu’s dad, who loves to iron even though nobody in Pingu’s household wears clothes; and c.) Tom Utley over at the Daily Mail, who likes to iron whilst watching militaristic war films. Go figure.

2. Thou must not clean behind the fridge, or under it.  According to bug-eyed UKIP pisshead Godfrey Bloom, those of us who never ever clean behind the fridge are skanky hoes in need of a Good Hard Lesson on the uses and functions of a Rubbermaid refrigerator coil brush. (Presumably from Godfrey). By implication, those who do clean behind the fridge, ditto under the fridge, are UKIP role models. Which is easily the best reason ever not to clean behind the fridge.

3. Thou must not dust the ceiling mouldings. Ever. (Although for those of you who didn’t know that dusting the ceiling mouldings is A Thing, listen up, because it turns out that what you’re actually supposed to do is wrap clean pantyhose around the top of a long-handled brush and by working clockwise in a spiral formation, remove the dust from the mouldings.) As opposed to, you know, grabbing the same long-handled brush, wrapping it in a pair of nasty malodorous knickers you found under your bed or in your bag, and using it to jab anybody who comments on your squalid plasterwork IN THE FACE.  (Same goes for behind the radiator btw…)


 I don’t know what the brown thingymummy is attached to the light fitting. And I don’t care. 

4. Thou must not make the bed.  Cleaning websites suggest that you make your bed every day, which will keep you in a tip-top frame of mind and stave off any silly existential crises. But what they don’t tell you is that making your bed can just as easily leave you with a weird lingering sense of despair and meaninglessness, and that using micro-fibre Swiffer dusters to get rid of hard-to-reach cobwebs behind the headboard, or dust bunnies under the bed, can turn up precious items that remind you of the life you once had, overwhelming you with a sense of loss and mortality. So personally, I think the risks are too high.

5. And finally, do not ever use your hairdryer to remove dust from lampshades and delicate curtains. If you do, you are dead to me, and a totes bad feminist. Unless of course you actively like using your hairdryer to remove dust from the lampshades (or any of the above chores), in which case you are exercising a free choice, which is your right as a woman, and I applaud you (Fucking minefield…)

Er, anyway, using my super math brain, I have quickly calculated that eliminating the above chores from your household routine should save two hours a week, to be spent however your please, but NOT on alternative housework chores, please. I’m also urging you to post pictures of your freshly squalid interiors on social media, including any interestingly matted ceiling mouldings, beautifully creased garments, and/or the mysteriously shadowy hinterland behind your fridge, which will encourage other women to sign-up to the manifesto too. Because, gals, if we carry on spending almost twenty hours of every week doing things that we hate, some of which are in any objective sense unnecessary, it’ll soon be a case of BANG! And the Life is Gone. To paraphrase that twat off the Cif advert.

PS: Don’t forget to use the #trollopmanifesto and to add your own uber-trollopy rules on household chores that should never be undertaken! Yay!

- Sian H

22 thoughts on “The Trollop Manifesto, Or, 5 Household Chores You Should Never Ever Do

  1. I like to remove dust from books/lampshades/paintings with compressed air. It’s so fun to spray around and gets the dusk off a treat. Also instead of making my bed i like to slither out of it so that the covers remain neat looking without having to waste any of my time.

  2. Very funny!
    However, I do actually like cleaning etc. ’cause of OCD!
    Also, this is the magic of being in a same sex relationship: tasks like cooking, cleaning etc. aren’t divided along arbitrary gender lines, but done by whoever likes it/is best at it/has time that day!

    • I pretty much feel this is true of me and my fella *disclaimer: we have no children*. He loves to vacuum but rarely takes out the bins. Washing and cooking is split equally; we each do as much ironing of our own garments as we can be arsed.

      I think there is a potential for this to become more complicated if we ever breed, but I like to think that the fact that he was raised by an (awesome) single mother meant he grew up having to pull his own weight.

  3. Agreed.

    Cleaning the floors isn’t really necessary either unless you actually want to eat off the floors. Also, if you leave it long enough, the dust accumulates into easily grab-able handfuls.

    Often, eating straight from the pot is a viable and attractive option, and saves on washing up.

    Drinking from the carton also saves on washing up, and also means you only ever drink the exact amount of juice or milk that you want.

    Plastic bins are unnecessary. Hear me out. You’re going to put in a plastic bin liner anyway, but people invariably miss from time to time (what IS wrong with people?!) so you’ll end up, at some stage, cleaning all that bin gunge from the plastic bin. What I’m saying is, cut out the middle man. Just have the plastic bag casually draped over a radiator, or under the table or something. No more bin gunge.

    • Will embrace all your suggestions of course! OH has always drunk straight from the orange juice carton and I like to think it’s left us all with very healthy immune systems. He’s just so altruistic.

      Bin gunge *faints*

  4. Maybe we should make the ultra modern western feminist move and just hire a maid who can sweep all our shit and glass ceilings under the carpet. Honestly, this article reeks of middle-class entitlement. Who else but you should be cleaning your mess? And if you’ve gone and ended up with a cave-man for a partner who won’t share the work then I say that is un-feminist, not giving in to what has to be done. Hating cleaning is beside the point because no one likes it. Going overboard with mouldings and ironing is insane but sometimes you have to muck out the back of your stove because roaches love it back there or your dangling ceiling cobwebs start brushing your face. That’s when it’s time to get over yourself and clean up. Even a feminist’s shit stinks sometimes.

    • Oh come on… Are you for real? ‘Hating cleaning is beside the point’, Er no. Disliking cleaning is exactly the point of this article.. Not enjoying cleaning and expecting your partner to do their fair share does not equal ‘middle class and entitled’. It is a light hearted article having a wee whinge about housework and pointing out that women take on the majority of the burden. She is not suggesting that feminists shouldn’t have to clean up after themselves.

    • Is it middle class entitlement to complain that you are expected to do a far greater share of the housework than your male partner? So no-one likes cleaning; is it surprising then that it is still often seen as women’s work? Statistics show that women are still doing a far greater proportion of housework than men. Believe it or not, the choice isn’t between a woman doing all of the housework in her home or hiring another woman to do it for her. If she lives with a man, where is he in all this? If a woman lives alone then of course she should expect to have to do all her own housework, but that’s not the point of this article, which is talking about the gender division that still exists when it comes to work around the house.

    • I promise there are no roaches behind the oven, although there may well be cobwebs, and yip, my Marigolds get quite a few outings. The ‘point’ I was trying to make was that we could all benefit from doing a little less housework, primarily by getting The Menz to do a little more, but also by acknowledging that many of us have internalised the notion that housework is our job, which means that we often do more than we strictly need to (i.e mouldings, ironing, dusting, endless tidying etc). In other words, I’d love it if women gave themselves permission to be messier! Hope this makes sense!

  5. I absolutely LOVE this article, it’s very well written and extremely funny. I also enjoyed the angry “middle class entitlement” comment, from someone who clearly has a chip on their shoulder about the middle classes (? how this is different to being abjectly judgemental about women when you are a man), and no sense of humour. Lovely stuff

  6. My (bloke) partner doesn’t mind housework and therefore, as we divide the domestic administration tasks along the lines of who is best at doing them, does most of it. However, because it has been so intensely ingrained into me by social expectations, cultural norms, my upbringing etc, that housework is women’s work, I often find myself feeling guilty that I am not doing it, even though I do an equal share of other chores. Not guilty enough to actually do it of course (I really hate cleaning) but I have to stop myself from apologising to him when he’s hoovering. Just sharing this because it seems a bit relevant!

  7. 100% of my cleaning is done in the ten mins before someone is coming over to my flat.. I try not to invite people over.

    FYI those tumble weeds that are created when you have hard floors and never dust were known as Sluts Pillows back in the day when slut was a term for a female who gave very few f*&ks about housework.

    I am a slut for sure but have carpets, the sluts pillows just form kind of tide lines which i occasionally ‘clean’ up by scraping at them with my bare foot until they bunch up into a ball.

  8. The hoover is your friend. I personally like to kill two (or three) birds with one stone and hoover not only the floor but also the kitchen table after my children have eaten. Sometimes I use the hoover to clean clothes, or the bath, or to tidy away small toys, such as loom bands.

  9. This really made me laugh! Though I am happily oblivious to the drudgery of cleaning, because it is (drumroll) my husband’s job. He does the cleaning and makes the bed, I do cooking and laundry. It happened that we moved in together, no-one did any cleaning for 4 months, and then we went out for dinner with some other couples, who talked about sharing their household chores, and that was when our division of labour was born. I remember I was getting ratty about it, I didn’t want to do it but I knew it was ‘my’ job, then after that dinner I had an almost damascus experience – only half of that dirt was mine. So after reading this article, I just want to say how much I agree, and remind everyone that “only half that dirt is yours”

  10. As a wise woman (and I would acknowledge her if I could remember her name) once said “If you stop ironing your clothes, before long your clothes will stop expecting to be ironed”.

    It’s true! The first week or two they will look crumpled, sad and a bit petulant – and then they get over themselves and start to look perfectly wearable.

    If this is true of clothes it’s bound to be true of all sorts of other household things, isn’t it?

  11. Yes, yes and YES!

    Man I hate cleaning. Luckily I’m a student again so I have that excuse going for me too. But for the last year, whilst working, the only chores I did were laundry once a week, and washing up crockery. And the very occasional hoover up. As a wise woman once said AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT. With all my extra free time I read books, volunteered for a charity and got accepted onto a Masters degree. Oh and napped. Lots of naps (in my unmade bed).

    My mother used to hoover up twice a day so I think that’s where my aversion has stemmed from. It used to tire me out just watching her…

    I have only lived with one partner and he didn’t mind cleaning but in the future if my partner refuses to help out then either it will not last or we will just have to live in a hovel if he has other desirable qualities going for him.

  12. I love, love, love this article. When we first moved into our house, 4 years ago, I would spend almost every weekend cleaning. My fiance & two kids relaxed and played. I would do the most ridiculous chores. The first party we hosted, I actually scrubbed the floor moulding. Nobody asked me to keep the house spotless. In fact, my fiance would just shake his head and force me to sit down. New Years Eve came around and I made the only resolution I have ever kept. I stopped cleaning so damn much. I spent my weekends enjoying time with family. We split up all chores so we each do a little bit here and there. I work in a male dominated construction trade – when they hear that he does the cooking, cleans the kitchen or has helped out with other things, what I hear most often is “Well, we know who wears the pants in your house.” I usually respond with the most innocent look I can and tell them that we share our pants.

  13. Kudos for the call to do less. One of the weird things about housework is that it has far too long been viewed as a moral failing FOR THE WOMAN if the house wasn’t spotless. I say fuck that pony! (eg fuck that & the horse it rode in on). I do a whole lot less, and a big whole lot less of worrying how that reflects on me.

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