Sometimes, I think people believe that women have magic powers or inherent talents that men do not possess.
When in fact, I think these “powers” can be attributed to the simple truism that “practice makes perfect.”
As girls, most women are trained to clean, to cook, launder and care for babies.
This training comes from a variety of influences—from baby dolls and baby-sitting, to Easy bake ovens and hungry younger siblings.
The women and girls who shirk these “trainings” are often scorned for thwarting societal expectations.
My hypothesis was reinforced by a recent conversation I had with male colleagues. We discussed the reasons and the degree to which domestic responsibilities fall on the woman—the proverbial “second shift” for women who work outside of the home.
They were from three different countries, but all of them said, “men are helping out” more these days.
This is true. Yet, occasionally pitching in, by putting away the dishes or folding laundry, is completely different from assuming ownership for how the home and family are kept.
Traditionally, American men have done yard work etc. –their very own sphere of responsibility. But what separates care of the yard or garage, from care of the home, is the relentlessness of it.
Families fortunate enough to afford food, must eat every day and multiple meals a day. This means there is food preparation every day; there are dishes every day; and weekly or bi-weekly trips to the grocery store.
Many modern feminists’ (both men and women) theorize about how housework should be divided 50/50. In practice, I believe it takes a fluid “all hands on deck approach” to get things done.
Because ultimately, it is about more than the tasks themselves, it’s also about the larger picture of coordinating what must be done to maintain the household.
If boys were widely expected to clean more than their rooms, and if men were judged on their domestic skills, like women are, than men might be more involved.
And then homes would have two household managers, rather than a manager and an assistant (at best) and a manager going it alone without any support (at worse).
I see this as a positive thing and applaud the men who are already making it happen!
What do you think?
PS Forgive the hetero-normativity of this post.