May 22 2009

Spinster aunt emits guffaw at Sarah Haskins vid

Troubled by that TV commercial where the laundry detergent teddy bear mascot tries to drown a woman in a giant hot tub filled with pink laundry, but instead of calling the cops or trying to kill the teddy bear, the woman is grateful, and the teddy bear puts up a Do Not Disturb sign so she can wallow in the laundry a little longer?


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  1. TheBellWitch

    It’s become a feminist cliche to say you love Sarah Haskins, but fuck it, I love Sarah Haskins.

  2. minerva


    I now want to take my laundry and shove it out the window, watch it fall in slow floaty motion to the street, and scream, “I don’t have to do laundry for 6 months you bastards, the TV says so!”

    Beware the Bear.

  3. Bruce the Dude

    Sarah Haskins brings heart-warming laughter to patriarchy blaming dudes.

  4. Yeshe

    What’s with all the sassy perky “gotta go!” women picking out the whiter sock?

  5. Orange

    Her take on cleaning product commercials remains my favorite of the “Target: Women” videos. Who doesn’t lovingly stroke a filthy counter, or give a hand job to the bath faucet?

  6. Cycles

    I really would like to have someone explain to me exactly why laundry is such a bane for your stereotypical dude. Out of all the stupid crap you have to do around the house, it’s the easiest and least time-consuming if you have a washer & dryer. Laundromat trips I can understand, but resisting when you have the equipment on your premises? It involves a big machine! There are expensive parts to replace! It makes a lot of noise! How can this not be considered a dudely activity?

    My friends use a laundry service. Not for, say, dress shirts that require labor-intensive ironing and starching. I’m talking about T-shirts, jeans, towels. They take a bag to the cleaners and pay someone to throw it in the washer for them.

    Please explain.

  7. Jezebella

    If being born with a penis meant my salary was 30% higher than it currently is, I, too, might pay someone else to do my laundry. Imagine all the free time that extra salary can buy a person!

  8. Orange

    My dad was rather a jerk as a husband, but he did wash his own clothes. (Household towels and linens, of course, were his wife and daughters’ job.) I don’t know that he ever scrubbed a sink or tub in his life, but he had no problem with laundry.

    Am trying to inculcate a comfort with laundry machines in my son. He’s 9. I still have time.

  9. yttik

    Worse than the people who take their laundry to the cleaners are those who take it home to their mother’s. This practice is still alive and well and I’m just astounded.

    We have a collection of antique tin boxes that boys used to take off to college with them. They were used to put your dirty laundry in and ship home to mother. She would then wash and press it all and send it back to you.

  10. Sabayon

    I spent way too much time Freshman year laughing at all the guys who “couldn’t” do their laundry. Now, most girls I knew also had not done their own laundry until leaving home, yet somehow the instructions “put clothes in machine, add soap, turn on” did not leave them all confused and desperate. The American Male’s learned helplessness towards ordinary household chores is almost pitiable, almost.

    Incidentally, who has six months worth of clothing?

  11. root

    Is it me, or is Haskins wearing more make-up these days? Seriously, I think they’re starting to tart her up.

  12. buttercup

    I love Sarah Haskins, and I love the turkey head on the banner too.

  13. RKMK

    I flove the Haskins. FLOVE.

    That said, of all household chores – which I hate doing, to a one, REPORT ME TO THE PATRIARCHY I HAVE NO DOMESTIC TALENT MY LADYBITS MUST BE DEFECTIVE – I do prefer laundry to pretty much anything else. Much better than cooking, and then scrubbing at the dirty dishes after the cooking, and scrubbing grout in the bathroom, and dusting stuff that won’t stay dusted, and vaccuuming with a heavy machine awkwardly around furniture legs, etc, etc, etc, UGH CHORES I HATE YOU.

  14. virago

    I hate the snuggles bear, and I hate laundry. That’s one bear that Sarah Palin can have for a rug.

  15. Larkspur

    Dog help me, I love love LOVE cleaning the dryer lint filter.

    If someone will plan meals, shop for groceries, and cook for me, I swear I will either (a) do everything else, or (b) arrange and pay for someone else to anything and everything else.

  16. Lexie

    I, too, was amazed at all the guys in college who needed “help” learning to do their laundry. I had done mine since I was old enough to reach the machine. My MIL thought my mother was neglectful because she worked! and sometimes made us hamburger helper! and used to predict in a snide way that I would make my kids do laundry before they could walk.

    So, when my (boys) were around nine months old, they could lean up against the dryer and hand me things that were in it and let me hand them things that were in the washing machine to put in the dryer. I took a picture of this and sent it to her. No word back on my level of neglectfulness as a mother. My kids are still not quite old enough to reach the machine and do their own laundry, but they do fold towels. And in a couple of years (when they’re about six or seven) I have no qualms about handing off their laundry to them. I have enough to do.

  17. Casey

    The sock chart reminds me of the 70s commercials where they guy would hold up a shirt and whine to his wife, “Honey, ring around the collar!” Whereupon my mother–not looking up from her sewing or pea shelling or what have you–would yell, “Wash your neck, jack!” at the television.

    That’s one of my earliest memories. All three males in my current household are dab hands at both laundry and neck washing.

  18. VibratingLiz

    Hope for the future: here’s a 30 sec video of my year-old grandson learning how to love doing laundry.


  19. Zylphs

    ‘I hate the snuggles bear’ seems like a phrase that your mouth somehow wants to defy saying, at least with any conviction. Which is maybe the point. Anyway, ever since I picked up my first NY Press, I’ve thought that Rehabilitating Mr Wiggles was the ultimate (and inevitable) devolvement of the snuggles bear (after wondering what amazing drug cocktail Matt Taibbi was taking).

  20. Sarah

    Larkspur, I will take you up on your offer. Cooking is the one thing I love to do. Laundry is the bane of my existence. Sure, I know how to do it, and sure, I have a washer and dryer in my house, but for some reason, the idea of actually picking up all of my clothes and washing them, and having to fold and put them away when they are clean? I just can’t do it. I do my laundry as little as humanly possible.

    My two male roommates, however, are laundry fiends. Either my patriarchy blamin’ ways have rubbed off on them more than I thought, or the Downy Bear has them entangled in a web of shame and lies.

  21. PandanCat

    Joining the chorus: Sarah Haskins is super-cool.

    Me, I don’t mind doing laundry, but I hate ironing. When I was a student, a male friend of mine was an ironing maniac. He did it for /fun/. Whatever I gave him — stiff silk, cotton, whatever — would come back perfect. So this is why guys are so protective of their subservient wives!

    Which reminds me — I have to buy an iron tomorrow. Curses.

  22. Comrade PhysioProf

    Laundry is definitely the easiest of the household chores if you use a washing machine and drier. Comrade PhysioProf does all the laundry in the PhysioHouse. NOW GIMME MY COOKIE!

  23. slythwolf

    Does anyone else think those cryptic little symbols they are now printing on clothing tags (instead of, you know, actual care instructions) are a conspiracy to keep dudes from having to learn to do laundry? “But baby, I can’t figure out how the hell to wash this thing, it’s just got little Xs and triangles on it. You always do it so well, why don’t you wash it again this week?”

    I concur with the general consensus that laundry is not actually hard and there is no earthly reason why dudes can’t do it. However, I think this is one of those things where they perform helplessness in order to get out of shit work. Nigel lived alone for several years before he met me and did all our combined laundry for several more, but just give him a tough semester at school and no free time and suddenly it becomes my job and he starts pretending he doesn’t really know how to do it.

    Also, in my opinion, laundry is free time. “No, no, I can’t possibly ____________, I’m busy doing the laundry;” meanwhile one sits on one’s couch, consumes delicious foodstuffs, and engages in the sedentary activity of one’s choice.

  24. Rayedish

    I believe that a mind is a terrible thing to waste on housework.

  25. gayle

    Hey, are college girls still doing their boyfriend’s laundry like they did in my day?

    They’d actually brag about doing it too, like it was a big privilege.

  26. speedbudget

    I hate folding and putting away clothes. Seems such a waste, given that I’m going to take them out and dirty them again. So I love when I can hang laundry out on the line. I leave it there for days, until I’ve taken every piece down and worn it and thrown it in the hamper. Plus, the smell of laundry hung out is like none other.

    I don’t make my bed, either. What a waste that is.

    I do love cleaning a bathroom, though.

    Hey, in our Savage Death Island compound, we can all just do the chores we like, right?

  27. BadKitty

    Speedbudget – Boy do I have the bathroom for you. We’re remodeling and the bathroom is chaos. I close my eyes before I open the shower curtain these days. I will happily trade you laundry for bathroom cleaning chores.

    Liz – Thanks for the video. He’s a cutie, although I might be more tempted to do household chores if everyone would cheer and clap for me.

  28. Twisty

    Liz: “Hope for the future: here’s a 30 sec video of my year-old grandson learning how to love doing laundry.”

    Ha, I hope in 30 years he will have outgrown the need for a cheering section whenever he successfully deposits a sock in the dryer!

  29. yttik

    “Ha, I hope in 30 years he will have outgrown the need for a cheering section whenever he successfully deposits a sock in the dryer!”

    Ha! Too funny.

    It’s been my experience with the boys that they don’t ever really outgrow it. I know the girls in my house complained a great deal because their brother would take out the trash and you’d think he’d won a medal in the Olympics or something. And so it goes all thru life, girls have to pedal twice as fast for half the recognition.

  30. Unree

    At least until the early 1980s, the University of Notre Dame had a dormitory plan where young male students got their laundry done and young female ones didn’t. The university administration also encouraged girlfriends to do their boyfriends’ laundry. Some alumnae I know BTP.

  31. buttercup

    I’ll take cooking dinner and washing windows on the savage death island chore list please.

  32. slythwolf

    Hey, are college girls still doing their boyfriend’s laundry like they did in my day?

    I don’t know about now, exactly, but my roommate was doing this in ’01. She would also pick him up from work and, while the laundry was in, bake him cookies. This was pretty much the only time they spent together. He did not do a damn thing for her.

  33. Sabayon

    “Hey, are college girls still doing their boyfriend’s laundry like they did in my day?”

    Well no one I knew did that, but then most of my friends were lesbians, or at least feminists. I do have it on good authority however that single men at BYU of all places usually do their own laundry (their girlfriends bake pie for them though, and they usually get married by Junior year at the latest).

    I will happily claim laundry duty and counter tops on savage death island if I never have to do another floor of window. God I hate cleaning windows.


    The thing that ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY cheeses me off to the spitting venom level is the commercial where they have a youngish GUY instructing the housewives on HOW to do Laundry!!!! (With some stain-busting product). ANd the Laydeez are all, like, WOW DUDE, we are SUCH IGNORANT dimwitted ambulatory ladybits that even though we have been doing laundry for ENTIRE FAMILES for, clearly, DECADES, we reely reeely needed a young COOL DUDE to set us straight about HOW TO DO THE LAUNDRY!!!!!!!!!

    (has apoplexy)

  35. wiggles

    When I was a student, a male friend of mine was an ironing maniac. He did it for /fun/. Whatever I gave him — stiff silk, cotton, whatever — would come back perfect.

    I would have been first in line to buy his friendship with a pile of wrinkly cotton shirts.

  36. nails

    I don’t understand why people even have dryers. It adds a component to laundry that just wastes energy, and you have to hang up your clothes after that anyway. I hang my clothes up to dry after a washing, it saves time and money and electricity.

    The last dude I dated did laundry and a lot of household chores, way more than his half. He didn’t want a trophy for it either.

  37. Jezebella

    Laundry on campus tale: In the late 1980s at my college, one sorority’s pledges were required to do the laundry of their “brother” fraternity’s pledges. Said boy pledges spent their pledge season all living in one dorm room and being forced to roll around in fishes and manure and whatnot on particular nights. I think that fraternity has since been kicked off campus, though.

  38. Rikibeth

    nails, I don’t like having my clothes full of sneeze-inducing pollen. And the laundry area is in the basement, where the clothes would get mildew hanging around on a wooden dowel rack. Nor is there enough floor space for the multiple racks a single wash load would require elsewhere in the apartment — I wouldn’t be able to walk anywhere. Dryer for me!

  39. little_sis

    I have the luxurious convenience of a chronic illness which rules me out for a lot of chores that nigel has to pick up the slack on. Sometimes I feel twinges of womanly guilt in my lady brain, but then I come here and realise those twinges are the patriarchy trying to reign me in and I feel much much better! Thanks guys!

    Also I agree with the view that laundry should be a dudely concept, you need strong arms to hang wet washing out on a line!!

    Oh incidentally, a story re laundry… I am in Australia where it is usually sunny, we have a dryer but it is strictly for emergencies/rainy weather. My brother, when he still lived at home (he has since gone off to be coddled by the airforce), would without fail use the drier every time he did washing. Every. Time. He had IMPORTANT!!!11 things do to! Couldn’t possibly spend five minutes hanging his own washing!! My mum threatened to snip the cord off, bless her. Now he is gone and the airforce does his washing for him.

  40. Joolya

    Twisty + Sarah Haskins = my brain explodes with joy. I *just* watched that T.W. *lit’rally* in this *very same browser window*!!!1!1! Feminist bloggasm.

  41. Joolya

    I also don’t make my bed … what is the point? But my least favorite chore is actually putting the laundry away. I wish a creepy animated bear would do that for me.

    My coworker taught her son a Really Fun Game called “Match The Socks”, which he now begs to “play” on the weekends. If I ever decided to have kids, this might be the motivation. Well, that and to complete myself as a Woman. (Gag.)

  42. katrina

    A Frenchman I know, a millionaire, has just stopped taking his washing over to his mother for her to do. I don’t know how old she is, but he is 60, and he only stopped taking his washing around to her place because she fell and broke her arm. Now he gets his neighbour to do it.
    He was boasting one night about how independent-minded he is and how he does whatever he wants, and one of his companions tried to point out, very timidly, that he can do that because he’s always been rich.
    The next day at lunch he started up again on how independent he is, and — you guessed it — I cracked and said that anyone who takes their washing around to their mother at his age is unusually lacking in independence. He was gratifyingly angry. No more invitations to his summer home for me! I know it’s not nice to say things like that to your host, but, really, somebody had to say it.

  43. ambivalent academic

    “I don’t understand why people even have dryers. It adds a component to laundry that just wastes energy, and you have to hang up your clothes after that anyway. I hang my clothes up to dry after a washing, it saves time and money and electricity.”

    It’s 90% humidity 6 months/year on my Savage Death Island, that’s why. The other 6 months are only 85% humidity, so I guess I could give the dryer half a year off. You know that musty acrid smell your towels get if you forget to leave the bathroom fan on and they don’t dry completely between showers? As if being a woman doesn’t make you enough of a social pariah, try walking around with all your clothes smelling like that all the time. Also line drying’s great, but you lose that high you get from sniffing fabric softener fumes off of clothes fresh out of the dryer. Women who do laundry are all huffers. It’s true! How do you think they keep selling us all that toxic crap?

  44. Twisty

    “Women who do laundry are all huffers. It’s true! How do you think they keep selling us all that toxic crap?”

    Ha! Incisive Analysis of the Day.

  45. Nepenthe

    Women with dryers may also be bowing to their feline overlords. I know mine would revolt and eat my flesh in my sleep if there wasn’t a warm and vibrating dryer to sleep on at least once a week.

  46. Jezebella

    Nails, how about a privilege check? Not everybody has the space (indoors or out) to hang up their washing until it dries. People who have to go to laundromats are even less likely to be able to haul home half a dozen loads of wet wash and hang them to dry. This is why some people have dryers, or use dryers. People with families have exponentially more stuff to hang up.

    Like ambivalent academic, I live in a highly humid part of the world. Hanging wash outdoors is not an option most of the year.

    So, there’s a few answers for you.

  47. Felicity

    Hm I’m disappointed in this thread. I didn’t expect radfems to be lazy exactly with chores which – let’s face it- need doing if one half of the planet objectly refuses, but a lot of you have adapted that ‘lil miss housewife, love my Nigel’ persona in this thread. :/ What’s all that about? Not so much Savage Death Island, so much as ‘we may have a few feminist ideas, but we’re laundry lovin’ REAL women really’.

    rant over, i’ll go now!

  48. Natalia

    The Snuggles bear has the bright, empty smile of a playground pedophile.


  49. Antoinette Niebieszczanski

    It’s just the dogs, the cats and me, so all the chores are mine. So if I decide to be a lazy layabout, there’s no one to blame or complain.

  50. speedbudget

    Felicity, I don’t think it’s anti-feminist to do chores or enjoy doing chores. While I loathe cleaning, when I actually do get the vacuum out, I find it soothing and the instant gratification is nice. I’ve already admitted to liking cleaning bathrooms for the same reason.

    I think it becomes an anti-woman activity when there is another ambulatory and capable human being in the house who not only refuses to help out but actively causes more chore-doing to happen and that person happens to be male and the one who does all the chores happens to be female and said male is refusing because of some crazy assumption that an X,X chromosome means you are genetically pre-dispositioned to cleaning. If you are living in that situation, I think it would behoove a person to stop doing chores until the ambulatory male is willing to help out a bit.

    Or, you know, kick him off your Savage Death Island.

  51. virago

    “Or, you know, kick him off your Savage Death Island.”

    Actually, Savage Death Island sounds like a place to send him. He can’t figure out that he needs to do half of the housework? Exile him to a place completely surrounded by water with man eating critters and tell him he has to make it out alive. Sounds good to me.

  52. Lu

    Yeah, Nails, how about people who live in apartment buildings with known underwear thieves? Or any kind of thief, really, though I especially don’t want my private underclothing on display just because someone thinks I don’t need a dryer.

  53. Fluff

    I don’t know what to think. My boyfriend was raised female, and he still doesn’t know how to wash a sweater or do a load of whites properly. I do the laundry because he sucks at it and I like my underwire bras to emerge from the dryer intact. Yet, my meathead jock of a father is a deft hand at stain-removal and all manners of laundering. He can even replace buttons. It’s inexplicable.

  54. JenniferRuth

    Jezebella – funny, because I would regard *having* a dryer as a privilege. In my world, privileged people have a dryer, the rest of us have clothes horses. Maybe it is an American thing…

  55. Jezebella

    JenniferRuth, I also mentioned laundromats, which is where most Americans without their own appliances go to do their laundry. Many on foot, and hauling wet laundry back home, on foot, makes less sense than throwing it in the dryer. I should also note that most apartment complexes here forbid the hanging of laundry outdoors, even if you are lucky enough to have a balcony of your own. I just think it’s shitty to sneer at people for using dryers, frankly.

  56. Amananta

    I was raised to do laundry and was regularly doing laundry for the five people in our family by the time I was 12 or 13. And if I got something wrong I was scolded for my carelessness.
    25 years later and I’m… still doing everyone’s damn laundry. In fact, it’s laundry day. I’m sitting here avoiding doing it now. It’s the trip up and down the stairs I hate, really. The machines are in the basement.
    As far as dryers go, yes I use one. I live in an apartment with no back yard to speak of, no clothesline, not to mention it freezes half the year here and its raining today. How am I to hang three people’s laundry to dry inside? I suppose people (female people only, I presume) used to hang the laundry outside to freeze solid in the winter (I can’t imagine how it actually got dry), but as I understand it, people had fewer clothes then, and also tolerated clothes not being as clean as we demand them to be nowadays.
    Screw all that stain removing stuff. I just throw it all in the washer. I can’t be bothered. If people don’t want stains on their clothes, they should be more careful with them.

  57. JenniferRuth

    Jezebella, I didn’t mean to sound like I was sneering, I just thought it was interesting. When I used to use a laundromat it didn’t even have any dryers! I just had a large clothes horse that I was an expert at fitting the maximum number of clothes on.
    It’s funny, because now I live in a place with a machine of it’s own that also has a dryer setting, but I barely ever use it because I just became so used to hanging things up.

    So, no sneering from me – in fact, I am surprised that people do sneer at dryers. I know of literally no-one apart from myself who has one – it makes me feel privileged. Kinda like having a dishwasher!

  58. Jezebella

    It wasn’t you that seemed to be sneering, it was someone else.

  59. virago

    When I was married, my than husband use to complain that when I did laundry, I shouldn’t pair socks by putting them together and turning the top of the socks inside out so that they stick together. He complained that this stretched out the top of his socks, and they didn’t stay up. Funny, he never did any laundry, but he could tell me how to match socks. Of course, when I suggested that he do his own laundry, he gave me a dirty look. Well, sad to say, I never did learn because I still paired socks my way, and he shut up after a while. And btw, I never stretched out the top of my socks, and to my knowledge, I never seen any of his socks stretched out either. And as for cooking. OMG, if I wasn’t home to cook dinner, I think he would have starved to death literally if we didn’t live by a bunch of fast food. I went away for the weekend, and there was a ton of garbage from Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, you name it. His mother even called me up and asked why I didn’t cook extra for her son so that he would have food when I was gone. For crying out loud, she expected me to do all that extra cooking only to have him refuse to eat any of it because he would’ve had to heat it up, and he would’ve gone to McDonalds anyway. I told her she should have trained him better. I’m glad she lived in another state. In fact, I was glad that he did too after we divorced.

  60. Frumious B.

    I only use the dryer for sheets and other linens. Trousers and button downs hang on the shower bar in my unventilated bathroom. T-shirts and socks hang on the drying rack in my approx. 200 sq ft living room. Underpants hang on the octopuss hang-dry-thingy I bought at Ikea. I love that thing. For such tiny garments, underpants sure take up a lot of room on the drying rack. I can hang so much more with that puss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m pretty damn privileged, but at $1.50 ea wash and dry, I run out of quarters pretty fast. By hanging stuff, I go through quarters more slowly, and my clothes last longer. I don’t mind not being able to walk through the living room, and I can skip a shower for a day while stuff dries on the bar. Hell, I skip showers even when I don’t have wash hanging on the bar. I’ve toyed with rigging up a retractable clothes line for sheets in the approx. 150 sq ft bedroom, which I also don’t mind not being able to walk through, but I am afraid it would just rip out of the walls. I don’t know how to hang stuff on plaster and lath. That was all just a long winded way of saying count me into the dryers-who-needs-em category.

  61. jezebella

    I note that you’re only doing laundry for one. Now try that with a kid or three.

  62. Frumious B.

    Been there, done that. Grew up with 2 adults, 4 kids, no dryer.

  63. Brianne

    I love Sarah Haskins. LOVE. I’m not saying I’d go gay for Sarah Haskins, but I am.

  64. Rae Kay

    Well, 8 months late to the party here, but rereading the archives back-to-front will do that to you, ya know?

    Just wanted to chime in that both “don’t understand why people even have dryers” and “dryers-who-needs-em” are very overprivileged things to say. It’s fine to declare one’s own love for manual drying methods, but the subtle jabs rankle. Being partially disabled makes the lifting and reaching involved in hanging up even a few non-dryer-safe pieces painful, and a full load (or several loads) would not be feasible at all.

    Anyway. Hooray for dryers!

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