________________ CM . . . . Volume I Number VII . . . . July 28, 1995

Chore Wars

Venus de Lino Productions, 1995. VHS, 48 minutes
Distributed by Moving Images Distribution,
606-402 West Pender St., Vancouver, BC, V6B 1T6.
1-800-684-3014 / fax (604) 684-7165.

Subject Headings:
Work and family-Canada.
Sex role-Canada.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up.
Review by Lorrie Andersen

Chore Wars is a frank and amusing look at the division of labour in Canadian homes, where, apparently, the tasks and responsibilities still largely fall to the women. Several couples and families, young, old, with children, without children, same-sex, and remarried, share their frustrations, coping mechanisms, and practical solutions to the ways and means of accomplishing household chores. Much discussion is focussed on who cleans the toilet and how.

Men and women fantasize about their ideal way to achieve a clean, neat house -- fantasies that provoke some comic reactions from their spouses. A vacuum-cleaner salesman tells how his sales pitch is now no longer exlusively directed to the woman of the house; in his demonstration he now proffers the vaccuum between the couple, acknowledging that the man might do this chore. In another segment the video explores with some levity the relationship between male participation in household chores and the frequency of sexual activity.

Professional opinions on the subject are also presented, including comparisons to primate behaviour, findings that men who engage in housework are physically healthier because they are also more emotionally engaged in their marriages, and the research of Dr. Arlie Hochschild, author of The Second Shift, which documents how women still perform the majority of household tasks.

Chore Wars is a light-hearted look at a serious subject that uses archival footage of ads for various cleaning products, commentary by academics, dramatizations, and a a variety of honest assessments by a cross-section of real people. Although it's not clear the film has a natural place in a high-school curriculum, without a doubt, housework remains a bone of contention in homes across the country, and the battles rage on.

Recommended with reservations -- for public libraries wherer there is a demand.

A librarian by training, Lorrie Andersen is Collection Development Consultant, Instructional Resources, for Manitoba Education and Training.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © 1998 the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.

Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364