Love and Laundry

When I see men from the continent of Africa or Asia pushing prams or strollers in Canada, it reminds me of a few Nigerian movies, where the man is regarded as less of a man if he washes his wife’s underwear. 

These men push strollers because they love their wives and girlfriends and understand, that they are not at home where nannies, their mothers and grandmothers look after babies.

It does not diminish their manliness.  It pushes it a notch higher for flipping the script on gender roles (only women do that, and men do that or do nothing at all).
When a Wife is the Breadwinner is the last movie I saw where the unemployed husband cooked and cleaned while the wife worked to bring home the bacon.

This Nigerian movie, based on a story by Uche Nancy is rough.  My take on it is that the wife no longer loves her husband because he does not have a job.  She treats him like dirt, humiliates him in front of his mother and friends, literally reduces him to less than a human being.
Producers and directors think otherwise.  The camera lingers on the woman’s underwear that the husband just washed, as if saying this is what unemployment has reduced me to.

Women all over the world have been washing men’s underwear since the beginning of time.  I don’t understand why there is a stigma when men do it.

Surely, it is not touching women’s undies, because men gladly touch them or bring them down when they want to have sex.
What is so repulsive in women’s underwear that makes a man less of a man when he washes them?  His wife washes his all the time.

Nonqaba waka Msimang is the author of Sweetness, a South African novel.


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