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Friday, January 06, 2017

The Second Shift

Or: why it's unfair for women (and feminists) to blame men for doing less housework - one reason is because women want to do it.

"Many women have higher standards for housekeeping than their male partners. This may lead women to criticize how their male partners perform the tasks and to redo or take over tasks that their male partners aren’t performing to the women's satisfaction (Wiesmann, Boeije, van Doorne-Huiskes, & den Dulk, 2008). Responses like these understandably may discourage men from participating more actively in homemaking. Men may also feel that it‘s not fair for their partners to expect them to comply with housekeeping standards they don’t endorse. Only when couples agree on a standard for housekeeping is it fair to expect both partners to follow that standard."

--- Gendered Lives / Julia T. Wood

Attitudes Toward Housework and Child Care and the Gendered Division of Labor

"Research on the division of household labor has typically examined the role of time availability, relative resources, and gender ideology. We explore the gendered meaning of domestic work by examining the role of men's and women's attitudes toward household labor. Using data from the Dutch Time Competition Survey (N = 732), we find that women have more favorable attitudes toward cleaning, cooking, and child care than do men: Women enjoy it more, set higher standards for it, and feel more responsible for it. Furthermore, women's favorable and men's unfavorable attitudes are associated with women's greater contribution to household labor. Effects are stronger for housework than child care, own attitudes matter more than partner's, and men's attitudes are more influential than women's...

One puzzling paradox in the literature on housework is that women consider the unequal division of household labor be fair (sic), even though they do most of the domestic work." [Ed: Fair != statistically identical]

Sharing housework can be healthy: cultural and psychological factors influencing men’s involvement in household maintenance

"A study by Holter et al. (2009) showed that, among cohabitating couples in Norway, tidiness standards are among the possible reasons for the unequal distribution of household duties among partners. More women than men agreed with the statement that they often think the home is too untidy, while only half as many men agreed (Holter et al., 2009). Women would even rather wash clothes themselves so that they know it is done properly (58% of women think so in contrast to only 8% of men) (Holter et al., 2009). Hence, the standards for cleanliness in the house are maintained by mostly women; 60% of both men and women agree that it is the female partner who decides what is clean enough in the house. Holter et al. (2009) claimed that, as women adopt different tidiness standards than men, they view their contributions as lower and less valuable than men’s declared contributions.

As women are already positioned as experts in household duties who know best in these matters, they tend to put their partners in the role of student (Żadkowska, 2011). Women often dictate to men what, when, and how they should do chores around the house, depriving them of responsibility for domestic duties (Sikorska, 2009). As a result, men’s entry into domestic work can be also limited by female gatekeeping, or women exerting control over household duties (Allen & Hawkins, 1999; Connell, 2005). Thus, men do not engage fully in domestic duties because for women, it might mean losing their bastion of power (Titkow, Duch-Krzystoszek, & Budrowska, 2004; Żadkowska, 2011)."
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