Here's the deal. I think Christine Delphy's critique of Annie Leclerc's Parole de femme, is, for the most part, correct. And yet, I cannot help it: there's an aesthetic pull in Leclerc's prose that I enjoy, and fall sway to at times.
It is not sweeping the floors or wiping the baby's bottom that is menial and degrading, it is sweeping while worrying about all the ironing still to be done; ironing while saying to yourself that the evening meal will never be ready on time; seeing forever postponed the moment when there will at last be time to look after the children, to tend to them, to change them, to water them, to carry them clasped in your arms, to put laughter in their voices and questions on their lips ...
What is humiliating is having to do things that no man would deign to do, doing things that at least half of humanity looks down upon, or doesn't look at at all.
What is exhausting, arduous and harrowing, is that these tasks, by virtue of being degraded disdained, are left exclusively to women, and that women are worn out as a result, truly ensnared in a mechanism of necessities from which they have no means of escape.
If the true value, the high value, of this labour was recognized, it would be loved, it would be chosen, it would be coveted as much by men as by women.