In India, yes it was until a few years ago. Honestly, when I was a kid, I never bothered doing my own laundry as I was totally dependent on Ma for it. She indulged me probably considering that academics took a toll on me and I needed more time for games and books. Now when I’ve been living away from home for about nine years, I realize the monstrosity of laundry. Baba has been doing his mini laundry himself for years now. The same holds true for my father-in-law. What I mean by mini laundry is washing their inner wear daily while bathing. They would put the dirty clothes in the laundry bag otherwise, not bothering the lady of the house with trifles like kerchiefs and socks.
For everyone else I know, including my cousins and friends – they believed that mom would do the laundry, or the domestic help, and more recently the washing machine (operated by mom again). Sad but true, Ariel’s survey with AC Nielsen is a glaring fact that 76% of the men still feel that laundry is a woman’s job. From my knowledge and experiences spanning over three decades, I won’t blame only the men for this blasphemy. Our Indian moms and grandmas pamper their men to infinity. I’ve heard so many say “Babu’r toh porashuno achhe, bari’r chhele boshe kapor kachbe keno, amra toh achhi. (Why should Babu do any laundry when we’re there for him, he needs to study instead). The range of this ‘Babu’ spans anywhere for men aged 10-50 years.