Men Can Choose Which Household Chores They Want To Do, But Women Can't. Why?

Can a woman refuse to clean the stinky muck that might have accumulated below the kitchen sink? No, but her husband can and that's not fair.

Vanshika nirAkula
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Many men take pride in the fact that they help out with chores at home, reducing a chunk of the burden off the shoulders of their spouse. But while we collectively pat men's backs, we also need to look closely at what kind of chores are men performing around the household. Is there a gendered divide that determines who gets what job on their plate? Are men sticking to chores that keep their manliness intact? Do they tend to leave out chores that they consider to be "lowly" still for their better halves?

In an equal marriage where both partners share the chores at home the question of who will do what, mainly depends on choices. However, in modern marriages that are striving to be equal, but aren't, even those choices are gendered. As if men are given the privilege to choose, just by birth and women must take whatever is left. 

For instance, we often see men cooking food or cleaning the car or mowing the lawn, but how often have you seen them wash clothes, clean the dirty garbage bin, or sew a torn shirt? On social media, you'll see men performing the chores that seem grand or are performative and allow men to retain their sense of masculinity. Cooking a lavish meal for the family, cleaning an exhaustive pile of dishes is a yes, but what about putting bin liners in the trash can? Or folding dried clothes and arranging them in the closet? Or even making bed?

Men doing household chores: Selective empowerment drive

Here's how this works for men- they get to choose the chores which are highly visual like cooking the food or cleaning the car. Here the chores are visible enough to earn appreciation. But no one is rewarded or appreciated for taking out the garbage every day because it's not big enough to produce visual stimuli of satisfaction, so they can decline to perform the chore. But can a woman do that?

Can a woman say that she doesn't want to sort the pile of rusty and stinky junk in the garage because it seems disgusting? Can she refuse to clean the muck that might have accumulated below the kitchen sink because it stinks like a pool of rotting veggies? While a man can simply shrug and walk away from a ring of stain on the drawing room carpet, saying that it is too time consuming to clean, can a woman do the same? Who will perform the pile of chores at home that no one wants to do, if women start declining them too?


Suggested Reading: Multitasking Or Overworked? Why Do We Romanticise Women’s Domestic Duties

So, dear Men grow out of the narrative that doing certain household chores would affect your manhood, or that you are championing equality by taking certain chores off your partners hands. You still have many hidden privileges that you get to avail while receiving a pat a on the back for being good husbands.

Women are not by default a product that is meant to clear up the filth that you choose not to do. It is high time that you stop expecting women to perform all the chores that could symbolically hurt your manhood.  Only when you will acknowledge your male privilege, cast is aside and stop choosing your chores around the house will you truly earn the right to be called an equal and progressive partner. Till then, remind yourself when you post the picture of that Thai curry you made for dinner- this is not enough.

The views are the author’s own.

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