Are There Enough Manly Jobs Around The House?
In the last few decades, we’ve witnessed really dramatic changes in gender norms. Equality between sexes is closer than ever, but there is still one frontier where men are steadily holding their lines – dividing the household chores. Of course, there are a lot of false statements in this topic, such as that it’s always a man who puts food on the table, or that organization of closets is strictly woman’s responsibility (ok, the latter requires some really interesting man specimens). On the other hand, chores like taking out the trash and mowing the lawn, are considered strictly duties of the ‛stronger’ gender. It seems that this traditional way of dividing the chores around the house results in married couples making love more frequently. Another hoax? Some think that the best possible solution would be to decrease the number of chores around a house. Basically, that would mean that men would have it their way – wives won’t be so delighted to have less clean homes. Are there enough manly jobs around the house to make this work?
Our mechanical right hand
Before we start, we need to mention that the amount of housework that needs to be done is not the same as half a century ago. It has declined about 23 percent, and there will be less and fewer things to do around the house in the future. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the homes have become dirtier (although a small part of this decline is certainly due to that reason) but the rise and development of new technologies have also entered in household domains. Like in every aspect of today’s modern life, technological evolution of cleaning equipment such as vacuums and washer dryers saves our time. There are even robots who can take over some chores completely.
Are women hooked?
This fact could lead us to the conclusion that women around the world are complaining without reason. If we look at the statistics, we can see that women are still spending more time on chores around the house than men – about eight hours more. On the other hand, statistics also show that the share of housework performed by men has doubled since the 1960s. What more do they want, right? There is less work because of those beautiful machines, and women still work like crazy. Maybe they actually like it?
The thin line between ‛clean’ and ‛dirty’
It may be so. Sometimes it seems that fighting every particle of dust is written in their genes. Perhaps the problem is that sometimes men really can’t see those particles. What looks clean for them, for women is ‛not clean enough’. Of course, there are men who could easily live inside a pigsty, but for most of us ‛not clean enough’ is not dirty, which means it’s clean. So, if women want to continue cleaning, it means they like it.
Why should any man think that women like cleaning? Where did we get that idea? From the place where most of the ideas today come from – the media. Have you seen any commercial for home-cleaning products that have men as their targeted audience? We doubt that Mr. Clean mascot is designed to attract a male audience. This kind of marketing has made us easily believe that women can’t wait to clean same as they can’t wait to buy a new pair of shoes. They are programmed by the media since early childhood and the effect is the same as of the Disney fairy tales – they grow up expecting to be princesses and housewives. In this contradiction lies a great part of our ‛chores problem’.
The matter of principle
As with everything in life, there are more things beyond housework than actual chores. It is true that women are kind of hooked on chores and that they would prefer to do certain chores by themselves (even if a man does them, probably woman will do them again to ‛repair the damage’). In most cases, they don’t actually want men to clean the house, but they want to hear them say that they want to help. But the same thing goes for men – in a popular series ‛True Detective’ there is a scene that perfectly depicts what a ‛mainly job’ is. Matthew McConaughey’s character, detective Rust Cohle, mows the lawn in front of his partner’s house (detective Marty Hart played by Woody Harrelson). When Marty sees how Rust ‛helped’ him, instead of thanking him he becomes enraged. The reason is simple – he did ‛his chore’ and that is like he slept with his wife! Little exaggeration aside, there are indeed some chores men feel they need to do (and want to do them) and mowing the lawn is one of them. But this doesn’t mean that the chores are divided in a way that women are taking care of the inside and men of the outside of the house. Yes, a woman prefers cleaning the house but on the surface. Some deep cleaning will be done by her ‛prince on a white horse’. In other words, it’s not manly to take up a vacuum cleaner, but pressure cleaning sounds like it needs some muscles (and, to be honest, sounds like a lot of fun).
The rules of attraction – the conclusion
To sum up, we will return to the possible hoax we mentioned at the beginning – is the traditional way of dividing chores resulting in more lovemaking between couples? Studies say yes, and if you think about it, it makes sense. When it comes to a life together, everything is based on mutual attraction. If a guy begins to shop, cook and clean on regular bases, this may seem like appreciated help around the house, but women will have to admit it’s not nearly attractive as when they see him repairing the car. The traditional list of ‛man’ and ‛female’ chores has been slightly modified over the course of time, but the result is the same – there are enough manly chores to go around, and they represent much more than daily obligations. They are the part of the very complicated interaction called the relationship.