18 June 2010

Stop whining and 'man' up

Oh dear...it appears that men are getting a little sensitive about being 'overworked and underappreciated' for not being recognised enough for all of the hard work their doing in the domestic realm. A recent article from The Age suggests that male partners and husbands are feeling angry because they too are just as overworked as women. The article cites that a 2006 study into how Australians used their time found that men spent a combined average (over seven days) of 11.44 hours per day performing professional, childcare and domestic tasks. And women? They came in at a combined average of 11.35 hours - nine minutes less than the men.

Now, I may get slammed for this (or maybe not?) but I have to say, that I really can't feel too badly for men on this front. Whilst I think it is brilliant that men are stepping up and sharing in the domestic load with their female partners, the truth is that no one should get a gold star for cleaning the bathroom. The only reason women have been banging on about having their work recognised for so long is because WOMEN, for the bulk of human history, have been doing the caring and cleaning work for the family almost exclusively. It is only recently (I mean broadly, since the early 20th century) that women have had real opportunities to be in the paid workforce.

So what if men are doing are feeling overworked? SO THEY SHOULD.

Truth is (at least according to a new study), most men are lying about their 'work' in the household. According to an article in Slate:

"Social psychologists call this aspirational lying—the unconscious shading of the truth to make us appear smarter, more generous, and closer to the person we want to be."What you want leads to what you do. If you say you're doing more, it really is a measure of the societal change," said Ellen Galinsky, president of the Families and Work Institute. "If it were not OK to be doing things with your kids and to be nurturing them— not just bringing in the money—you might lie in the other direction."

Pregnancy is almost never recognised as 'work' in itself. Ask any gal who's had kids and she will tell you that the work begins at conception and doesn't end until the kids go off to university (and even then, statistically, lots of kids are living with their parents until well into their 30s...yikes). Even without children, I still struggle with my partner when it comes to sharing the domestic load. Inevitably, I always end up doing more and I can't imagine what it would be like (and honestly, I worry about it) when we do have kids. I really struggle with this as a feminist.

Now that educated middle-class women are reaping more of the benefits of feminist movements and greater access to the paid workforce, I hardly think the time is ripe for men to 'blame' women for their achievements. I don't think any woman needs to feel guilty if the tides are turning in her favour.

Seriously, guys, if you're partner carried your child for 9 months, the least you can do is man up and do 9 more minutes a week of cleaning. Yeah, that's right. MAN UP (besides, you're probably lying about it anyway *snigger*)

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