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by Fernanda Mathias

The thing we might have missed in Marie Kondo’s Netflix series

While we all binged Marie Kondo’s Netflix series, Tidying Up, Fernanda Mathias had her mind on the other things the programme was showing us: that domestic sexism is still rife in 21st century America.

The thing we might have missed in Marie Kondo's Netflix series Subscript
Marie Kondo’s ‘KonMari’ method of decluttering is being utilised all over the world. (Picture credit: Diarmuid Greene / SPORTSFILE / Web Summit)

Ok Marie, we’re messy. We buy way too much and we have thousands of things we don’t need in our homes. We get that. We didn’t need another TV show telling us the awful truth, but since we got one, let’s just dive into it.

That’s probably how many of us felt with Netflix’s latest series, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo. Since its release in January, you have probably read all kinds of criticism, both good and bad, to the show. We love it. We hate it. She hates books. It’s just folding clothes! The list goes on and on.

However, it is pretty delightful to see that side of American lives, so lost in consumerism and disorganization. I could watch her talking about things that spark joy or teach us the best way to store socks for hours.

But what I really wanted to talk about here is the (not so) little thing that kept bothering me through the episodes. I’m not sure you realized it too, but it’s right there in our faces: sexism, overwhelmed women, a family organization that still hasn’t changed. Yet.

It’s 2019 and we still need to see women crying on TV because it’s too much work for them. The kids, the house, and their jobs…I mean, really?

Are we paying attention to overwhelmed women back home?

Or maybe, are we the overwhelmed women at home? Under that pile of unfolded laundry clothes lies the woman who feels alone in a house, doing all the work, while everybody else is just unaware of where to keep their own shoes.

It’s sad that we keep trying to be feminists and to fight for equal rights, but in the end it is very theoretical. Because what affects women is happening on an everyday basis, in their houses, while we decide what sparks joy or not.

These women are living a double, maybe triple journey – working, cleaning, managing the house and kids, or just thinking about it because their partners are not aware of the house tasks. It’s called the mental load, and nearly every episode showed that so clearly. It’s usually the mum who is bothered by the mess, and the mother who is exhausted and when it’s time for the family to get the job done. It’s just chaotic.

We’re programmed to acknowledge that domestic tasks belong to women. Or at least, they will be the ones telling the rest of the family what to do.

“The responsibilities of a house, kids and everything else should be shared”

The thing we might have missed in Marie Kondo's Netflix series Subscript

The thing we might have missed in Marie Kondo's Netflix series Subscript

It’s time to break the cycle

We need to break this cycle. Obviously, this is just a small part of the issues women face today. There’s so much more, and it’s great that we’re talking more about it, thinking about it and trying to make a difference. But those cycles need to be broken.

The exercise of changing should be on an everyday basis. The responsibilities of a house, kids and everything else should be shared. Equally. Women don’t know more about cleaning or raising kids than men, they’re just more used to get all the work because that’s how we’ve been living for so many years.

And many other people are drawing attention to the issue as well, as we’ve seen in the Gillette commercial. This just shows us how important it is to keep talking about these matters until we find ourselves living in a more balanced society, where men can take care of the households, and Marie Kondo can give instructions or ask things about the house to a guy, an not only to a woman.

By Fernanda Mathias

Fernanda is a Brazilian writer, living in Portugal. Music lover, bookworm, always in search of the next cute bookshop, she also loves to travel and to photograph the sky.