Serena Freewomyn

Women Do More Housework Than Men

Filed By Serena Freewomyn | April 09, 2008 8:24 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, The Movement
Tags: marriage, patriarchy, second shift

Here's a shocker: heterosexuality is oppressive! A new study shows that after all these years, married women still do more housework than their husbands.

Sounds like an excellent case for homosexuality to me! Follow me after the jump for my rantings about the patriarchy.

These studies aren't revealing anything new. Straight men are lazy slobs, that's all there is to that. I love that the Gender Studies professor who was interviewed in this video, Martha Beck, comes right out and says that married women are servants. Whoa, there, Dr. Beck. You're starting to sound like a bra-burning feminazi! *Cue scary music* BUM, BUM, BUM!

What I don't get is why no one is studying how housework duties are divided amongst same-sex couples. Oh wait . . . it's because we're not really married. Ergo, we're either a) just roommates, or b) the housework isn't really getting done. (If the subject is bears, then I would venture to say that the answer is b. Am I right?)

So ladies: if you're tired of picking up your husband's socks and you think you'll commit hari kari if you can't get him to take out the trash, maybe you should give lesbianism a try. We're always recruiting. And hell: we pick up our own socks.


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Wait, women take on 7 more hours after marriage and men lose 1. Where do the extra hours come from? Shouldn't the total amount go down w/ shared living space and all?

Does anyone know about married heterosexuals vs. unmarried heterosexual couples? Is it the concept of marriage or is it living together that does this?

And, more straight women should turn to lesbianism. Even with all the extra housework, something tells me all those boys will have spare time and energy for....

Um, I know my amount of housework went up dramatically when Jerame moved in. Then when Paige came to live with us, that amount skyrocketed again. If I go on strike? It usually doesn't get done.

If nothing else, the sorts of studies should include gays and lesbians as a way of filtering changes in housework that are the result of simply living with a partner. (My own house would be a lot cleaner on a day-to-day basis if I were sharing it with someone else.) It's also useful at see what differences gender expectations play in how much housework someone does.

At the risk of vastly over-generalizing, I think most women are socialized (regardless of personal temperament) to have higher expectations for what constitutes a "clean house" -- and are far more likely to judge other women against that standard. So one thing that rarely gets discussed in the issue of comparative housework is what level of housekeeping is necessary vs. desired.

There are (frequent) discussions about how men "don't do housework right" so that women have to take over the chores -- but in my experience it's invariably assumed by the women in those discussions that the man in question is in fact doing an insufficient job -- and no one ever asks "do you really need to be able to eat off the kitchen floor, or is acceptable that the floor is 'merely' crumb- and dust-free."

BTW, one thing I've never seen clarified in coverage of these various studies is what the definition of "house work" is. Does it include just "housework" in the sense of cooking, cleaning, but not other things, such as taking out the trash, mowing the lawn, etc. that are often seen as "men's work," or does it include all unpaid work required to keep a household going -- which is the true apples-to-apples comparison who of does what.

Brynn Craffey Brynn Craffey | April 9, 2008 6:39 PM

Hey, let's hear it for FtM's, too!

I think my ex-girlfriend would concur that overall, I initiated and did more housework than she did. Although, when she was (finally!) inspired to clean, she'd crank up the music and what a sight to behold! I'd be in awe at how quickly she could fly through the chores, tidying, vacuuming and cleaning, and how great the house would look afterward.

Now, my previous ex--a guy--and I were much more equally balanced when it came to neat-and-cleanliness.

Bil, does that mean you're Jerame's bitch?

Lena, you have so many excellent points. Maybe you should author a study.

Brynn, I think you've just proven that as a group, LGBT's are just more enlightened in general.