Oh, Good Housekeeping, you knew better than to publish a sexist list of "things a woman should never, ever have in her home." But you did it. For a surreal few minutes, as I was walking up the stairs of the subway during my evening commute home, you transported me back to a simpler time — say, circa 2010 — when "definitive" listicles were novel and people still thought gender roles were a thing. When many of us didn't know any better.
GH repromoted an Elle Decor piece — something that would better have been left in the vault — that interviewed the magazine's "favourite designers" about which 13 things a woman should never (like, ever) have in her home. As much as I wanted to cry clickbait and ignore it, I just couldn't. Some of the answers were so tone-deaf, for a minute I thought it might be a parody.
First, here are the only things women should never, ever have in their homes, as far as we're concerned: Dead bodies. Stolen goods. Kidnapped celebrities. Rotten food. The last season of How I Met Your Mother. (No, seriously, burn that shit.) Non-ironic MAGA hats. That's about it!
One thing we learned from this list is that under no circumstances can you have your own individual style or any quirks. God forbid you don't decorate like a minimalist — no one will ever fuck you. "Don't paint your whole house pink and put ruffles on everything," says one designer. "It's not sexy."
This is in the very first two lines. The fact that the article immediately made a connection between running a home and being sexy is alarming. Assuming that a woman is only furnishing and decorating her home to please potential Tinder hookups is gross. Also, have you ever been to the Madonna Inn? That place is tacky as hell — and world-famous for a reason. There's something to be said for really committing to a look. Dolly Parton, anyone?
While your house has to ooze sex, you must show zero indication that you try to be sexy — the old double standard is alive and well. So, do not have makeup and skin-care products spilling out of your dresser because if your future soul mate comes over they will surely leave if they see a bunch of open hair products on your bathroom counter. "People don't need to know how much work it is to be as beautiful as you are," says one designer. Oh my god, please excuse me while I go on a monthlong retreat where I don't have to see or talk to anybody.
According to the experts in the article, other forbidden objects include stuffed animals — especially on your bed ("Make room for human love," someone helpfully says), pictures of your family next to your bed (it is very unsexy and will interfere with the boning), too many pictures of your pet, and "sorority memorabilia."
Also, they do realise that telling people they can't have mismatched furniture or cheap bedding is classist AF because not everyone can afford expensive matching things?
So, to recap: no personal style, no childhood memories, no college memories, no photos of people you love, and be sexy, but not so sexy it's spilling out of every cabinet. Be a sexy Martha Stewart. Inhabit a space that has absolutely nothing to do with you in order to please others — because women don't have enough people giving them conflicting "well-meaning advice" on how to fashion every aspect of their lives. Yeah, I'm going to pass.