Her "invisible labor" quickly became impossible to ignore.
“Invisible work,” aka “invisible labor,” was a term coined in 1987 by socialist Arlene Kaplan Daniels to describe unseen, unacknowledged and unpaid work most often performed by women—though in an academic sense, it pertains to all marginalized groups.
The unpaid aspect, Daniels noted, has been a particularly important factor, since in Western society we have come to believe that it isn’t work unless there’s monetary pay involved. This philosophy has a two fold effect. One, even things that are enjoyable and easy are considered work if you receive an income from them. And two, domestic duties like childcare and house cleaning, no matter how arduous they are, are not recognized as work simply because they don’t result in a paycheck.
It’s easy to see how this widely accepted concept falls short of reality, especially for women performing said domestic duties with little to no recompense. What’s more, many women now have to balance out these tasks, which require time and effort, with a “real” job just to make ends meet.That’s why more and more women are making their invisible labor impossible to ignore, be it in lighthearted or more serious ways.
Lindsay Donnelly (@lindsaydonnelly2), chose the former approach. In a video clip posted to her TikTok, Donnelly shared how her husband made a comment that she “did nothing around the house.”
Donnelly’s response? Why, to actually do nothing, of course. For two days, she picked up nary a dish or garment…all before leaving on a girls' trip.
The results speak for themselves:
@lindsaydonnelly2 Then I left town for a girls trip… #marriagehumor ♬ Karma (feat. Ice Spice) - Taylor Swift
Donnelly’s video ended up going viral with 14.5 million views. And comments generally fell into one of two categories—either “Yes, queen!" or “Get a divorce,” more or less. No matter the reaction, women across the board could relate in one way or another to Donnelly’s experience.
Donnelly later posted a follow-up video with her husband, giving him an opportunity to “redeem” himself with an apology. The tone is clearly playful, as Donnelly can’t stop giggling, and ends with her saying it was a “poo poo butt move” (there was a kid present after all) and that he is still a good husband.
@lindsaydonnelly2 Replying to @kris ♬ original sound - Lindsay D
Viewers weren’t convinced that the situation was benign, however, and some even viewed Donnelly’s laughter as a nervous reaction. Because the truth is, where Donnelly’s interaction with her husband might just be a slice of marriage humor, for many, it’s a stark reality. So many women are fed up with household labor not being equal that even the most trivial of examples can be triggering.
Donnelly even went so far as to post another follow-up video listing all the things that her husband did do around the house, like cooking all her vegetarian meals “just the way I like them,” cleaning more on a daily basis, paying the bills, etc. That, however, was mostly perceived as her partner doing the “bare minimum” and Donnelly performing “damage control.”
guys im screwed…♬ This Is a Work of Art (Sketchy)
We only get minute snippets of people’s lives through social media, so it’s impossible to truly quantify the actual health of Donnelly’s relationship—plus, there are professionals for that sort of thing. But one thing is clear: just because domestic chores aren’t considered labor in the eyes of society, their importance becomes evident once they disappear. People are ready for their efforts to be compensated. If not with monetary gain, with basic respect.
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