June 17, 2008

CNN Reports Men Responsible For All Relationship Issues

CNN has one of the most ridiculous articles I have read in quite some time. The premise of the article is that there is a lack of equity in the division of labor around the home and that as a result women bear an unfair load.

Let's grab some excerpts and see what is contained within.

"I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.

"If there's a sink full of dirty dishes, he knows I'm going to take care of that before I want to get intimate. If he wasn't helping with the housework, I would not find that very attractive."

Simmons' attitude is pretty typical of married women, researchers say. They like it when their spouses share the household chores, but also find that -- paradoxically -- a husband may also create more work for them, or not contribute as much as women would like. In other words, science has once again proven what many people already suspect: Relationships take work, especially when it comes to keeping a happy (and tidy) home."

This doesn't provide a real breakdown of who is doing what around the house, just a suggestion that there is an imbalance. But if you ask the author science has proven this theory to be more than supposition.

Not only is there no breakdown of responsibilities to analyze, it doesn't spend any time discussing what happens if one of the spouses is a stay at home parent. The article then goes on to discuss how doing chores around the house may lead to more intimacy. Ya know, some people would argue that someone is trying to use sex as a tool, but we'll ignore that too. Let's take a look at some more of what was written.

"When a man does housework, it feels to the woman like an expression of caring and concern, which then physically reduces her stress," says Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of "The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework."

"A guy can be completely stressed out and want to have sex to burn it off, but women are not wired like that," says Coleman, who is also a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, a nonprofit research organization. Instead, he says, women need to feel relaxed in order to feel sexy -- and it's hard to unwind when there are chores to be done and a husband who's oblivious to them.
Blah, blah, blah. Who pays this guy for such insight. Women need to feel relaxed to feel sexy. They'd never see sex as a way to relax, they can only put out if there are no dishes in the sink.

But the best part of those two paragraphs is the last sentence "and it's hard to unwind when there are chores to be done and a husband who's oblivious to them."

Talk about editorializing. Why not just call all men lazy and insensitive. Why not indulge in promulgating stereotypes, I guess that it helps to sell more books.
"Now, the bad news: The same research found that men create, on average, seven more hours of housework a week for women. That extra work may not be as obvious as doing the dishes or mowing the lawn. So-called "emotional labor" -- tasks like writing holiday cards, scheduling doctor appointments and planning family gatherings -- is too often left to wives, says University of Michigan sociologist Pamela Smock.

"As long as the invisible labor is borne by women, things aren't going to be equal, even if surveys show they are," Smock says. Such work can be a major source of mental stress, she adds."

There are a lot of questions here. It doesn't account for how many hours each spouse works outside of the house. I know a lot of families who are lucky enough to have a stay-at-home parent. They're all women. And since they stay at home with the children they're usually the ones who take the kids to see the doctor, which is why it is only natural for them to make the doctor's appointments.

You could also make the case that since they don't have a boss looking over their shoulder it makes sense for them to make arrangements for family gatherings. But of course that sort of data is not included in this article as it makes it much harder to blame men for relationship problems.

The rest of this article is really just more of the same. "Poor women, they have such mean husbands. If only they did something to help them they'd prance around the house with smiles plastered across their faces.

I wonder why they didn't spend more time talking about the division of labor. I'd call this narishkeit, but perhaps they could have talked about who handles repairs of household items and automobiles. Who takes care of yard work. If you are going to engage in stereotyping why not go for broke.

Blah, blah, blah. Articles like this just make me role my eyes. The bottom line is that every relationship is different and unless you are in it you can't really say what is going on.


Kol Ra'ash Gadol said...

Hey Jack,

While I agree that this particular article doesn't do a good job of presenting evidence about who does what, there actually is research out there that measures who does what around the house, and includes relevant details such as yard work and car repair, and also keeps stats on women who work outside the house versus staying home. The stats suggest that working outside the home for women doesn't make that much difference in the amount of work that the men pick up in terms of home chores.

however, it also shows that men *do* do more around the house than they did a generation ago. Women still do more by a significant margin however - even when they're at work outside the home all day. Interestingly, however, there's also some evidence that at least part of the time the reason women end up doing *so* much more is because women may feel that their partner "isn't doing it right" or sometimes in the case of children, they feel guilty for working outside the home (bloody thanks, society! Not like women didn't work at other jobs than being owned by a house a few generations ago except for the very wealthy. No woman in my family ever just worked inside the home and didn't have some other kind of job. When you're poor or an immigrant you can't afford to do that) and elect to spend more time "taking over" with children when they get home.

However, even this apparently doesn't quite account for the full differential. But get this: There's also some evidence that the problem is that our STANDARDS for what's clean have changed. Apparently every time a new labor saving device came on the market (particularly from the period of the late 19th century to about 1960) the standards for what qualified as minimal cleanliness rose, so it's not men's fault it's the fault of the big corporations. There: feel better?

Now all you have to do is wash the dishes and pick up your socks. Truthfully, though, personally, I'd rather get laid than do dishes - and I don't much care if there are dishes in the sink - hey' there'll be dishes there tomorrow too - what if there are more then than now.. *shrug*

mother in israel said...

This must be the hot topic:

Female Jewish Blogger said...

I posted about this at my site http://www.myjblog.com/archives/68
today. I had a half written post waiting to be published and this pushed me to it! :)

mother in israel said...

Uh oh--it looks like it's still half written.

Why do both articles make such a big deal about thank-you notes? I guess I've been living here too long. . .

Deadman said...

"I am very turned on when he's doing housework," says the 36-year-old Camden, Delaware resident, a middle school teacher.

Freak. My wife gets turned on when I'm doing HER, not the housework...

Jack said...

so it's not men's fault it's the fault of the big corporations.

Shout it from the trees. Woohoo!


It is probably one of those discussions that will reoccur a million times.


I'll have to check it out.


Beats me.