“Those hours a week where women are cooking and cleaning are hours where they are not progressing in their careers.” – An actual quote from an actual woman. Yeah, I know.
If you haven’t heard of Mrs Hinch then let me fill you in. On the 10th of March 2018, Sophie Hinchcliffe posted her first Instagram post. It was of a trolley in her kitchen from IKEA. Since then, she’s gained 1 million Instagram followers, is a verified user, has sold out ‘Minkehs’ in under 7 minutes and has single handedly created an entire Instagram movement: ‘hinching’. And how does she do it?
Well, she cleans on her stories.
When you say it like that it sounds niche and very boring but Mrs Hinch has proven that this isn’t the case at all. Hundreds of thousands of people – not just women, people – tune in daily to watch her Zoflora her dining room table, scrub her hob and even put Duck down her toilet while Drake plays in the background. I promise you it’s more interesting than it sounds.
Mrs Hinch is the fastest growing influencer of 2018 and, like many people who attract a large following, she is subject to a plethora of criticisms. Some, in my opinion, are worthy. For example, she does use a lot of wipes and strong chemicals that aren’t great for the environment and even though I enjoy tuning into her stories every day, that I can accept. However, the Metro recently published an article by Rebecca Reid titled “Mrs Hinch and her cleaning obsession is dragging women back to the 1950s”. In the article, Reid explains how she believes that Mrs Hinch making cleaning look fun is setting the feminist movement back and encouraging women to take up traditional gender roles of cleaning the house while hubby works.
“Those hours a week where women are cooking and cleaning are hours where they are not progressing in their careers,” Reid states. But the thing about Mrs Hinch is that she doesn’t encourage to slave away on their hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen from top to bottom everyday. In fact, she encourages cleaning for 30 minutes per day to keep on top of things. But even if she didn’t encourage this and was cleaning for hours a day, why should that matter? Reid argues that any time women are using to cook or clean is a waste.
So, she wants us all to all grab a takeaway every night from JustEat and live in a dirty home? Or is she lucky enough to be able to afford a cleaner and a personal chef? I personally can barely afford Dettol, let alone that kind of help.
In our house, I do the majority of the cooking and cleaning. I do this because I am usually home before my male partner is and I’m also at home 2 days a week more than he is. Some nights he isn’t home from work until 8pm. If I didn’t have food on the table for when he got home, we wouldn’t eat until 10pm. And as someone who suffers from acid reflux, late night meals are never ideal. Similarly, while he was signed off of work for 4 weeks over the summer due to a knee injury, he did more of the housework.
I choose to clean not because it’s fun, but because I don’t like to live in a dirty house. I don’t want to shower in a mouldy shower. I don’t want to use a toilet that has shit all down the inside of the bowl. I wash clothes because I don’t want to smell. I wipe down my kitchen sides to avoid bacteria. I do the washing up because I don’t want to eat off of paper plates. If I don’t clean, a fancy cleaner isn’t going to come and do it for me. Johnny helps but when he gets home from work I want to spend my time with him snuggled on the sofa drinking wine and watching Bake Off – not getting him to Hinch the sink.
“Ladies, you can still be taken seriously in the work place and also tell your colleague over lunch what your Zoflora preference is. Cleaning your house and not hating it does not make you any less of a woman.”
I usually spend, on average, 1.5 hours a day on cooking and cleaning. Some days, cleaning literally involves wiping down the kitchen sides with disinfectant and whipping the hoover round and cooking is throwing some bits in the slow cooker and hoping for the best, but some days I do a roast dinner and deep clean the bathroom. Taking away 8 hours for sleep, even on a day like this I’d still have 14 hours free. If I wanted to spend those 14 hours “working on my career”, I could. In reality, I probably spend 5 of those hours working on my career and the rest procrastinating.
And guess what, Rebecca? I still do great.
The sentence and quote I keep repeating irks me because Reid is insinuating that to be a successful woman, you need to have a high powered career. If your main passion is homemaking – or God forbid you’re a stay-at home-mum! – then you’re a failure according to Reid and you’re setting the feminist movement back 60 years. Only 71% of women in the UK are currently employed. According to the logic of Reid’s article, that 29% or so that decide to stay at home and raise a family; raise the next generation of young women and keep a tidy home are failures to feminism.
The word “dragging” implies that Mrs Hinch is forcing women to clean; that she is shaming those who don’t and she is single handedly, with her perfectly manicured nails, dragging women against their will into Savers to buy a pot of the Pink Stuff but she doesn’t. Mrs Hinch has shown many of us, men and women alike, that cleaning doesn’t have to be a chore and that if you stick on a bit of Drake and name your cloths that it isn’t as terrible as I thought it would be.
In my opinion, it’s not Mrs Hinch that’s setting feminism back; it women like Reid who write an article shaming women for not living in an cesspit or hiring a cleaner, or attempt to take down successful women just for a click or a view on their page. Ladies, you can still be taken seriously in the work place and also tell your colleague over lunch what your Zoflora preference is. Cleaning your house and not hating it does not make you any less of a woman.
And Rebecca, having a fancy writing job for the Metro doesn’t make you any better than housewives and homemakers, despite you might suggest.