It’s official. Women are statistically proven to slave away doing chores at the expense of men, or so says an article by the staff of LiveScience on Yahoo News. Heading up the study is Frank Stafford, an economist at University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The research is part of a larger study on income dynamics that includes 65,000 people of multiple generations within 8,000 families since 1968. I don’t doubt the data they’ve collected, but I do resent the conclusions that the clever writers at LiveScience draw to make the case that women are housework slaves.
The results of this longitudinal study are that women now do 25 hours of chores a week and men only do 14 hours. However, women are doing half as much housework as they were in the sixties, and men have doubled their amount of housework. Not to excuse the men represented in this study, but I think that is a significant gain considering we are only one or two generations seperated from Ward and June Cleaver.
This is also not a perfectly designed study. For instance, these families were asked to keep 24 hour time diaries for forty years. First, wouldn’t they just start making shit up (or quit) after decades of tedious time diaries? Second, wouldn’t the existence of time diaries make them more aware of the chores and cause them to alter their habits? Third, what is considered housework?
Stafford calls the results a “well known pattern” and goes on to explain that women are more likely to stay home while men work. Which decade of the study is he talking about? I’m staying home. I admit that I’m a rare exception, but it bugs me when sweeping comments are made about gender roles. He’s basically using the statistics he has collected to lump both genders into a science-based stereotype. So now, articles like the one written by LiveScience can make statements like “Having a husband creates an extra seven hours of housework each week for women”. Oh Really? Seems like those bozos at LiveScience have it all figured out. And I just love that we husbands “create” the housework because we are such sloppy lazy burdens.
They also contradict themselves quite a bit, setting up that women are burdened with so much housework, and then noting later that men are doing double what they did decades ago. They also said that “Marriage is no longer a man’s path to less housework,” but they later go on to point out that single men do the most housework of all.
Truth be told, most men have a long way to go with housework. Myself included. Do these studies really tell us anything we don’t know. I just don’t think that counting the hours is helping anybody. I also think that we need to be honest about the fact that the person who stays home OUGHT to do twice as many chores. More women choose to stay home than men. I can’t deny that. Those numbers are changing I’m proud to say, but whether it be Dad or Mom who is home during the day, the chores should swing to that particular person. It’s our career choice, not science.
Just don’t tell my wife. 🙂