The One Who Isn't Chosen (gabrielleabelle) wrote,
The One Who Isn't Chosen

Buffy and Carpet Cleaning

molly_may in a comment somewhere referenced a now-lost meta that apparently compared BtVS and AtS with regards to "women's work" (written by dkissam, from what I've been told). I am disappointed that this meta is, apparently, not to be found now. However, just hearing about it prompted my brain to start with the working, and I have some thoughts on this particular insight.

Let me talk about carpets first.

No, this isn't a gay thing. I'm talking about housework. About women being believed to "belong" in the home so as to take care of the chores. Women are naturally inclined to keep things clean. See, it goes back to our cavemen days when the cavewomen would get bored waiting for their cavehusbands to KILL THINGS for food, so they'd entertain themselves by sweeping the cave floors. This became genetically ingrained in all women, and now us ladies just can't help ourselves. We're biologically driven to CLEAN THE CARPET.

It's what we're for.

Oh, and now, thanks to those feminists, women are allowed to work outside the home, and that's all good. However, women still take care of the bulk of housework. But now they have a second job, so the housework becomes the oft-discussed "second shift".

Keep in mind, of course, that this housework is unpaid labor. It's taken for granted. It's what women are supposed to do.

Let's now talk about professional carpet cleaning.

What am I talking about? I'm talking about this or this.

This isn't some sissy girly work. This is man stuff. You can tell cause they have MACHINES, which, of course, means women can't do it.

It's the big leagues of carpet cleaning. It's paid labor. It's a real job. And, yes, it's men doing it. Men are the professional carpet cleaners. Women, not so much. Men get paid when they clean carpets. Women, not so much.

Okay, okay, where's the Buffy, right? Let me make the subtext, you know, text:

Buffy cleans carpets because she's biologically compelled to do so. Angel, on his show, is a professional carpet cleaner. Buffy doesn't get paid. Indeed, she (and the other Scoobies) balk at the idea when Anya brings it up in S6. Angel not only gets paid, he eventually gets a snazzy job working at an evil law firm.

Buffy's chosen to fight demons. This is a fate handed to her that she can't get away from. The Council ultimately controls her (or try to). They pay her Watcher; they don't pay her. Why? Cause it's her duty. Cause she was born to do it.

I do want to note that I don't mean this as a criticism of...anything. I don't think it was necessarily intentional. However, I find thinking of the Slayer destiny in the framework of unpaid female labor, especially when contrasted by Angel's paid labor of the same type, leads to some interesting places.

I was gonna do a fun couple of images with a woman cleaning the carpet with Buffy's face pasted on and then have a professional carpet cleaner (helping a woman clean her carpet, of course) with Angel's face pasted on. Alas, my Photoshop skills are not leet enough for such a thing. So just...picture it in your mind.
Tags: btvs, gabs gets feminist, general pondering

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