I: It’s actually good to look at the doms through the lens of past centuries. If you look at the history of the home between the 1950s and 2030s…as a unit of communal living they were eroded to extinction.
H: So, should we compare victorian inequality with 21st century inequality?
I: It’s really more about comparing homes and communities, making a timeline for their rise and fall. This was the end goal of the dom and the matriarchal system, to create communities.
I: So you see here how it deliberately aimed to replace the pyramidal structure of the ptriarchal and the nuclear family with something else; something where solidarity and gender equality would be the norm.
In Victorian homes, the father would rule over servants, wife and children. Then, throughout the 20th century the family unit solidified around mother, father and children – they would be an individual unit, living on their own and solely caring for their own. The father would work, the mother would sometimes work too, but be still fully in charge of caregiving and children would grow up in a very gendered way: dolls for girls, boys helping the father out in the garage. But as people started marrying less and later these homes designed for nuclear families became occupied by groups of flatmates; sometimes they would know and like eachother, but often not; often they would just be random people simply needing to live in the same area. Often they would dislike each other and never really come out of their bedrooms; this happened to most people I know actually. And as live-in landlords became more and more pervasive, a new structure emerged; similar to what was to become a dom: owner living with renters, pretending to ignore that it was all based on a financial transaction.
Renting disguised as community building replaced the nuclear family – it did dissolve the tie between females and domestic labour though.
And this is why I wanted to bring in Lou at the table. She witnessed both the planned and the actual.