Domesticity of women







A house wife does have her occupation

A housewife is a woman whose occupation is running or managing her family's home—caring for her children; buying, cooking, and storing food for the family; buying goods that the family needs in everyday life; housekeeping and maintaining the home; and making clothes for the family—and who is not employed outside the home.[1] A housewife may also be called a stay-at-home mother and a male homemaker may also be called a stay-at-home father or househusband. Webster's Dictionarydescribes a housewife as a married woman who is in charge of her household.[citation needed] The British Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary (1901) defined a housewife as: "the mistress of a household; a female domestic manager; a pocket sewing kit".[2]


I put these images here is because they can present human as part of the domesticity in a way of being part of the furniture .





For her “Touch Sanitation Performance,” the artist Mierle Laderman Ukeles, center, spent a year visiting each of the New York Department of Sanitation’s districts to shake the hand of every one of the 8,500 workers who would accept the gesture. A retrospective of her work is at the Queens Museum.


“I’m not here to watch you, to study you, to analyze you, to judge you. I’m here to be with you: all the shifts, all the seasons, to walk out the whole City with you.” 
I face each worker, shake hands, and say: “Thank you for keeping NYC alive.” / Performance Duration: 11 months, at least 1 to 2 8-hour/per day work shifts. With 8,500 sanitation workers. / Courtesy Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York.


Mierle Laderman Ukeles in her “Touch Sanitation Performance,” from 1979-80.


And then, in 1976, after she staged a collaborative performance with the help of more than 300 cleaners, maintenance workers and security guards at a downtown Manhattan building, an art critic’s tongue-in-cheek response — that maybe the financially beleaguered Sanitation Department could call its work art and qualify for a National Endowment for the Arts grant — set off a bell in her head.

She wrote to the department and proposed essentially that very thing. Vito A. Turso, a deputy commissioner at the department, recalled reading the letter and manifesto back then, when he was a young public information officer. “I’d been a newspaper reporter and I’d seen some crazy, single-spaced letters in my time, and I thought: ‘Oh, God, what’s this?’ But then I read it, and she had me at hello. And what she started to do was really magic.” (Patricia C. Phillips, an art historian who organized the retrospective with Larissa Harris, a Queens Museum curator, has called the pairing of artist and agency “an almost unimaginable cultural and municipal affiliation.”)

To earn the respect of the department’s workers and to learn its byzantine system for vanquishing millions of tons of garbage per year, she conducted what became one of the most ambitious performance pieces in the city’s history — “Touch Sanitation Performance” — in which she spent a year visiting each of the department’s districts and shaking the hand of every one of the 8,500 workers who would accept the gesture.


Ulrike Rosenbach, Einwicklung mit Julia, 1972


PENNY SLINGER: Wedding Invitation- 2(Art Is Just a Piece of Cake), 1973

I chose several artists' performance work because these works are related to identity -- how women value themselves and how the society value them? why there are some behaviour are masculine and some of them are feminine?  These traditional values and expectations of the identifications needed to be challenged or even changed. 










MARGOT PILZ: Working Women's Altar, 1981


KARIN MACK: Iron Dream,1975


The domesticity of women seems has a long history from the beginning of patriarchy of humanity. 

Even nowadays, the responsibility and social requirement for married women reach a higher standard than before:  Besides the domesticity, they have to take care of their job career.  I wouldn't deny that this could be seen as a step of improvement for gender equality -- at least everyone has the opportunity to work and to earn money for their own life; and at least more and more women have the chance to go to school for their education.


HOWEVER, the reality is not as "equal" as the idea -- the unbalance distribution inside a family is not that 'equal', although most of women do go to work ( which could be called "producing the visible value for a family-- earnings, salaries.. ", because normally its hard for people to 'value' the domesticity produced by a housewife, which could be seen as an invisible sacrifice). There are still a large percent of family carrying a traditional view of spreading the responsibility, most of the male members inside the family still don't take domesticity as part of their duty, and at the same time, they have a higher expectation for female members to finish all of the 'missions' including taking care of their children, doing housework, as well as having a satisfactory of their career (self-esteem)...,etc.


Also, the saddest thing for a housewife is, most of her work could been ignored easily by her family members, some husbands can even ask "How could you feel tired? You spend the whole day at home!" or ''Your work is not important compare to mine, I earn money for the whole family and all of the things you have done is just to cook dinners and doing a bit cleaning.''


What I mentioned here is not like I think a woman who has work is more valuable than a housewife, people have rights to choose either go to work or stay at home. Nonetheless, the former need to fulfil more responsibility and the latter is easier to receive ignorance by her family. Moreover, It even doesn't have to related to gender -- male family member could choose to stay at home to do domestic housework while female members could go to work to earn money for the family. 



Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969

"I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order). I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I 'do' Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art."
(Miele Laderman Ukeles, Manifesto for Maintenance Art, 1969).




Initially written as a proposal for an exhibition entitled Care, the Manifesto For Maintenance Art emphasizes maintenance—keeping things clean, working and cared for—as a creative strategy. The manifesto is formed of two parts. In part I, under the rubric 'Ideas' she makes a distinction between the two basic systems of 'Development' and 'Maintenance', where the former is associated with 'pure individual creation', 'the new', 'change' and the latter is tasked with 'keep the dust off the pure individual creation, preserve the new, sustain the change'. She asks, "after the revolution, who’s going to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?".[7] This contrasts with the modernist tradition in which the originality of an artist is foregrounded and the mundane material reality of an artist's everyday life is disregarded.[8] “Avant-garde art, which claims utter development, is infected by strains of maintenance ideas, maintenance activities, and maintenance materials…”

The second part describes her proposal for the exhibition and is made up of three parts A) Part One: PersonalB) Part Two: Generaland C) Part Three: Earth Maintenance. She begins with the statement “I am an artist. I am a woman. I am a wife. I am a mother. (Random order) I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc. Also, (up to now separately) I ‘do’ Art. Now I will simply do these everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art [...] MY WORKING WILL BE THE WORK”[9]







Three parts:  Personal, General, and Earth Maintenance. 

 A.   Part One:  Personal 

I am an artist.  I am a woman.  I am a wife. I am a mother.  (Random order).

I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking, renewing, supporting, preserving, etc.  Also,

(up to now separately I “do” Art.

Now, I will simply do these maintenance everyday things, and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art. I will live in the museum and I customarily do at home with my husband and my baby, for the duration of the exhibition. (Right? or if you don’t want me around at night I would come in every day) and do all these things as public Art activities:  I will sweep and wax the floors, dust everything, wash the walls (i.e. “floor paintings, dust works, soap-sculpture, wall-paintings”) cook, invite people to eat, make agglomerations and dispositions of all functional 


The exhibition area might look “empty” of art, but it will be maintained in full public view.




“Ceremonial Arch Honoring Service Workers IV” at the retrospective. Credit Andrea Mohin/The New York Times


Manifesto for Maintenance: A Conversation With Mierle Laderman Ukeles

BR: What kind of work had you been doing?


MLU: I had a very privileged education, I majored in international relations; then I went to the Pratt Institute, and got kicked out for making what they said was pornographic art, which I thought was abstract art. They were cheesecloth wrappings; I called them ‘bindings', sort of energy pods, where I stuffed them up to the point of bursting with rags. When they had hernias? That was a failure. I wanted them to be to the point of explosion, totally bursting with energy. I thought that they were like images of energy captured, only the Dean and the Chairman at Pratt thought they were pornographic, and told the teacher that I was ‘oversexed', and he had to stop me from doing them. I mean they looked more like organs than ...

BR: Than sexual organs ...

MLU: I think they looked more like digestive organs [laughing] I thought they were abstract. I didn't know what the hell these people were talking about. I was shocked, and my teacher Robert Richenberg was very supportive. And that is when they got hysterical, he ended up getting fired, I thought the whole school would march out because of academic freedom/ That lasted about fifteen minutes, then everybody wanted to keep their jobs, and keep their whatever, and the whole thing died away. Another experience, earlier, when I was a senior at Barnard, the President used to rant at us, "You can do anything, you can be anything!" And I believed her. I was this sap for freedom talk. This was the Sixties, the time of the civil rights movement; this is what was in the air, the notion that the world could be reinvented so that people were free, that it belonged to everybody. I mean, I didn't make this stuff up.


Ulrike Rosenbach

Ulrike Rosenbach  
Einwicklung mit Julia

Ulrike Rosenbach ( *1943, Germany), one of the first and most influential German video and performance artists, never understood video as merely a tool for documentation. Instead, she used it as an experimental and artistic medium. Rosenbach studied at the Düsseldorf Academy of Fine Arts from 1964 to 1970 before creating her first video works in 1971. She taught feminist and media art in California and founded the School for Creative Feminism in Cologne, after her return to Germany. Already in 1972 she began introducing videotapes as “documents of an inner life” with herself as the object and focus of her actions. In her so-called video live actions, she uncovers the structures of female identity while developing strategies for self-determination. She deconstructs femininity as a ”state of image-being” by drawing on traditional imagery of women from the context of visual arts, the media, advertising and cinema. Her sites of action are often marked with materials charged with ritual and symbolism.

In Einwicklung mit Julia (Wrapping with Julia), one of Rosenbach’s many works exploring the relationship between mother and child, the artist wraps herself and her daughter together with transparent gauze to the rhythm of her own breathing. Interweaving, symbiosis and the blurring of boundaries, but also control and restriction, are important themes in this video performance.

Courtesy Ulrike Rosenbach








'Women as part of the object placed inside the domesticity.'' 


KATALIN LADIK, Blackshave Poem,Zagreb, 1978

CINDY HERMANN: A Play of Selves, 1976




How can leg and foot posture provide an effect that if a person is more masculine or feminine? Why there is a difference between the identification of masculine and feminine? How can a traditional view of 'what is masculine/ feminine' became a rule in the society? 


MARIANNE WEX: Leg and foot posture, 1979


The pornography of meat
















How much is a housewife worth?









Object Object Object???














Pros + Cons for a housewife being a feminist ?


MIKE KELLEY: More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and The Wages of Sin from 1987,


A passage in women's sculpture : diversity, hapticity and domesticity in one contemporary lineage of women's sculpture / Ronn Beattie

''Rethinking a feminist approach to cultural translation involves finding new ways of sustaining what women have come to know through experience without reducing experience only to what we know''

-----Alice Jardine GYNESIS: Configurations of oman and Modernity p18 (Cornell Univ : Press 1985)


''This dissertation will argue that even when an installation has  no visible body form, even when it is at its most materially slight and ephemeral, maybe especially them, it is always some aspect of a human body that is being represented. This representation starts in the manipulation pf a body of material by the artist's hand which reaches out, both consciously and unconsciously. in 'passage' towards the viewer. ''



Grapefruit: YOKO ONO

"Imagine your body spreading rapidly all over the world like a thin tissue"

Rubber Piece; Yoko Ono: Grapefruit 


Rachel Whiteread: Modern Chess Set, 2005


FOUNDATION, 2007-08 Plaster and bronze (two units) 23 3/16 × 22 13/16 × 9 5/8 in 58.9 × 57.9 × 24.4 cm


Untitled (Mauve), 2012 Silver leaf, cardboard, celluloid, and graphite on paper 16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in 42.1 × 29.5 cm







Rachel Whiteread's work reminds me of the skin/ the outer shape of tools, furniture, supplies in domesticity. I started to thinking about, well it is more like to imagine, that there is a woman, who has a hard time to balance her career and domesticity, who get trapped with the cleaning tools, it just like a mop with messy hair, an unwashed pan with dried butter in the sink with bubbles of soap, the arms that full of hanging new washed clothes......

-A very of photography / videos / moving images as a record of the domestic housework moment


Untitled (Blue), 2012 Silver leaf, cardboard, celluloid, and graphite on paper 16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in 42.1 × 29.5 cm


Untitled (Yellow), 2012 Silver leaf, cardboard, celluloid, and graphite on paper 16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in 42.1 × 29.5 cm


Untitled (Amber), 2012 Silver leaf, cardboard, celluloid 16 9/16 × 11 5/8 in 42.1 × 29.5 cm


Untitled (Mix), 2007-08 Plaster, pigment and resin (thirty-nine units) 12 5/8 × 26 5/8 × 24 in 32.1 × 67.6 × 61 cm


Baby Booms

baby boom is any period marked by a greatly increased birth rate. This demographic phenomenon is usually ascribed within certain geographical bounds. People born during such a period are often called baby boomers; however, some experts distinguish between those born during such demographic baby booms and those who identify with the overlapping cultural generations. The causes of baby booms may involve various fertility factors. One common baby boom was right after World War II during the Cold War.

The U.S. birthrate exploded after World War II. From 1945 to 1961, more than 65 million children were born in the United States. At the height of this baby boom, a child was born every seven seconds. Many factors contributed to the baby boom. First, young couples who had put off getting married during World War II and the Korean War could finally begin their families. Also, the government encouraged the growth of families by offering generous GI benefits for home purchases. Finally, popular culture celebrated pregnancy, parenthood, and large families.


Weight in water


Screenshot of my video




Rachel Whiteread: Modern Chess Set, 2005


Rachel Whiteread became the first woman to receive the Turner Prize with her sculpture House (1993), a replica of the interior of a condemned London house created by filling a house with concrete and stripping away the mold. Her sculptures examine the negative space surrounding or contained by objects, such as casts of the area beneath chairs, suggesting how human contact becomes embedded in our environment. Referencing Minimalism, her drawings often incorporate graph paper. Whiteread won the prestigious commission to design Vienna's Holocaust memorial and was part of the 1997 Young British Artists "Sensation" exhibit.

British, b. 1963, London, United Kingdom, based in London, United Kingdom''

History of Mop


The mop is a patented invention that is part of social history as well as the evolution of house wares. Thomas W. Steward, an African-American inventor, was awarded Patent Number 499,402 on June 13, 1893, for inventing the mop. His creation joined a long list of household equipment invented by African-Americans. The roster includes the eggbeater, yarn holder, ironing board, and bread-kneading machine. Steward's deck mop, made of yarn, quickly became well used for household and industrial cleaning. A wringing mechanism made the process of mopping and cleaning the mop easier and faster.

Another pair of inventors, brothers Peter and Thomas Vosbikian, fled Europe just before World War I and patented over 100 inventions in 30 years. In 1950, Peter Vosbikian developed a sponge mop that used a lever and flat strip of metal to press against the wet mop and squeeze it dry. This automatic mop eliminated the need to bend over and wring the mop repeatedly by hand. Its development was aided by the many technological improvements in the plastics industry that grew out of World War II and made absorbent plastic mop heads possible.

Other modifications have made mops even more adaptable to different cleaning chores. In 1999, Scotch Brite released a new wet mop made of natural cellulose and reinforced with internal polyester net. The cellulose does not leave lint like a cloth mop and absorbs 17 times its dry weight.

Read more:



Dust (dry) or wet mops consist of the same three basic parts: the mop head including a frame, a mechanical attachment (linking the head and handle) that may be fixed or may swivel, and the handle. The head of a dust mop is typically made of yarn consisting of natural or synthetic fibers like cotton or nylon. The yarn is attached to a carrier substrate, which is almost rigid and holds the shape of the mopping surface. The carrier substrate is fabric, vinyl, or molded plastic. Heads for wet mops are either made of loosely woven yarn or sponge. Like dry mops, the yarn for wet mops may be made of natural or synthetic materials. Sponge mops usually have rectangular heads made of a natural material like cellulose or a synthetic such as polyurethane foam.

The mechanical attachment fixes the mop head to the handle, but the attachment varies widely depending on the type, shape, and use of the mop. The mechanical attachment for a dust mop is made of steel wire, plated metal, or plastic that supports the shape of the head and carrier substrate. It also usually supports a swivel, also made of metal or plastic, that fastens to the frame and handle. Plastic is the most common material for mechanical attachments and swivels on household dust mops, and the plastic attachments are made of durable resins that are injection-molded.

The frame for the wet mop is also made of stamped metal. Steel is commonly used, but it is plated with zinc to protect it from water damage. The mop head does not swivel, but the mechanical attachment linking it to the handle may be a single plate, a double hinged plate that folds like a butterfly to squeeze the mop dry, or a roller mechanism that squeezes the head between two rollers. The mechanism is integrated into the frame along the major axis (the widest portion) of the sponge and has a lever that parallels the handle so the person operating the mop can activate the hinge to squeeze the mop without bending down. Attachments on wet mops also allow for removing and replacing the mop heads when they get dirty.

Handles for dust and wet mops are similar. Dust mops are made with tubular steel or wood handles. Sometimes fiberglass or aluminum is used, but these are less common and much more expensive. Historically, wood handles have also been used in making wet mops, but tubular steel coated with plastic or chrome-plated is the preferred material today.


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Lecture of University of Bristol about Feminism


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