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Lauredhel is an Australian woman and mother with a disability. She blogs about disability and accessibility, social and reproductive justice, gender, freedom from violence, the uses and misuses of language, medical science, otters, gardening, and cooking.

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9 responses to “Women’s work and hottie theory”

  1. Dita

    While I’m certainly less happy when I visit my parents than any of my brothers, this linguist at upenn is skeptical.

  2. brightbluelizard

    I sort of agree with the linguist. My reaction was: were the questions specific enough? Just how wide is this “gap”? Did the survey account for factors such a-less-than-warm relationship with the parents, or people’s different personalties, etc? I always feel a bit leery of these quick “surveys”.

    On the other hand, Lauredhel has a good point about women having to do all the real work in a large family gathering.

  3. Mary Tracy9

    My instant reaction after reading that was: “Of course. Men go back home and are treated wonderfully, like the baby is back, while women are lectured on why aren’t their lives better”.

    Maybe I’m reading too much of my own personal experience into this, BUT I do believe one thing to be true for everybody: “no mother has ever been entirely pleased with her daughter. There is always room for criticism.”

    Your idea of the housework AND the emotional work didn’t occur to me, but it does make a lot of sense. So, thank you for making me think about it.

  4. orlando

    Well I wish said linguist had devoted all that energy to applying these principles to some of the proliferation of ev-psych and neurological-sex-difference articles that abound, instead of on Dr Krueger, who actually seems to have a clue.

    When men go home to see their parents they still get to treat their mothers as servants, whereas the women have become the servants. This has provoked more than a few rankles in my family, I must say, especially when my brother found one of the plates put out on the table was dirty and tried to HAND IT TO ME to go and replace it with a clean one. “Do you even know where the kitchen is, sir? Because it’s behind you, where it’s been for the last twenty years.” Or the time my mother thought she would praise me for laying the table nicely by announcing to the family how apparent it was that women are naturally better at this sort of work, as if the fact that I was taught to do it every day for years, while my brother watched television would have nothing to do with having acquired superior skills in that area. Unfortunately, during that conversation I accidentally used the word “menial”, which didn’t go down too well as an implied description of everything my mother has devoted her life to. But I am descending into the anecdotal – forgive me.

  5. Rebekka

    Once again I’m grateful for my exceptional parents, with whom I would far rather spend time than do laundry. Who always expected my brother and me to help (sometimes with different things, as my mum didn’t trust my brother with sharp things, which was entirely sensible and born from experience), who hardly ever critisise me, and who are great fun to hang out with even if we’re doing work together (and actually I love doing work-type-things with my dad).

    And I don’t believe my brother ever, ever treated our mum like a servant. She would have laughed at him.

  6. kristi

    It looks like another sloppy study about gender differences being made to look more definitive than it really is.

    I guess I’m a statistical anomaly again… when my parents were living, I enjoyed spending time with them. They were laid-back, non-judgmental, and made a point of not hassling me. The in-laws are another kettle of fish entirely! (Though, to be fair, my husband isn’t happy around them either.)

    When it comes to hours spent doing unpleasant tasks, I can easily believe women are in the lead. But to prove that you would need much better data than what we see here.

  7. Laurie

    More anecdotal-ness.

    I too, as the girl-child was taught to cook, clean, fold the clothes, set the table, etc etc.

    My brother somehow managed to do the odd carrot-grating.

    Oddly enough, my parents always justified this, to me, and to themselves as “Laurie is older”, rather than “Laurie is a girl”.

    And yet, even after I had left home and only boy-child was around, he somehow was not expected to learn the fine art of the table setting.

  8. Stentor

    Well I wish said linguist had devoted all that energy to applying these principles to some of the proliferation of ev-psych and neurological-sex-difference articles that abound

    Actually, he has devoted quite a lot of energy to just that task.

  9. orlando

    Cool. Thanks Stentor, these are really interesting.

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