Work Life Balance

It’s 2014, Implying Housework Is A Woman’s Job Is Bullsh*t

By  | 

menwomenhouseworkHousework is not an innately feminine activity. You do not need a uterus to run a vacuum. You don’t need boobs to scrub dishes. There is no particular blend of hormones necessary to clean a toilet. Can we please stop acting like housework is “woman’s work” and that men should be “rewarded” when they share the load? Then maybe a woman’s happiness wouldn’t be linked to housework, like these studies imply.

Yes, it sounds obvious, but according to researchers, marital happiness is linked to housework only for wives who want their husbands to clean just as much as they do. As for women who are content doing all the housework, if their husbands end up pitching in, they’re happy just the same. (Perhaps unsurprisingly, a husband’s marital happiness had nothing to do with household chores!)

It’s linked to happiness only for wives because for some reason an overwhelming amount of people still see housework as “woman’s work.” As far as I’m concerned, unless you have some arrangement in which the man is the breadwinner and you’ve agreed that the time he spends at work exempts him from household chores, there is no reason why men doing housework should be labeled as “pitching in.” Pitching in or “helping” implies that it’s not something that has to be done. I personally don’t know any families who aren’t living in two income households. If you both work, you both have to be responsible for the housework.

I’ve never been in a relationship where we didn’t share these kinds of duties, and I can’t even imagine it.  I can, however, understand how expectations can be blurred. When I was a college student, I shared a house with three men. I like a really clean house – they couldn’t give a shit either way – not because they were men, but because they were slobs. I was the only one who cleaned because I was the only one uncomfortable living in a dirty house. I took that responsibility on because a clean house makes me happy – not because I am a woman, but because I can’t stand clutter. But we were college students, not adults trying to raise a family in a home.

If men enter into relationships with certain expectations about who should do the cleaning, it’s a recipe for disaster. If the idea that women are the only ones negatively affected by household demands doesn’t irritate you enough – this study that claims husbands who complete “manly” tasks around the home like “taking out the garbage or fixing a broken door handle” report higher sexual frequency than those who fulfill traditionally ‘feminine’ roles will surely drive you nuts:

Married men and women who divide household chores in traditional ways report having more sex than couples who share so-called men’s and women’s work, according to a new study co-authored by sociologists at the University of Washington.

Other studies have found that husbands got more sex if they did more housework, implying that sex was in exchange for housework. But those studies did not factor in what types of chores the husbands were doing.

Sex in exchange for housework? Great – we’re hitting all the stereotypes now. Women don’t like to have sex, men don’t like to do housework – each should give in. Quid pro quo.

I give up.

(photo: Popart/ Shutterstock)