Friday, July 10, 2015

The division of "house labor"

There has been in recent years a stronger and stronger push for the notion that "house labor" should be more evenly divided between the man and the woman. It's a very common notion that the woman of the house on average does a lot more chores than the man, and this is unfair. (This has gone so far in our society, that there has even been a proposal at the highest levels of the United Nations to do something about this.)

There is one fact, however, that everybody is blatantly ignoring here: On average, men do less house chores than women regardless of their family situation. This is because on average men feel less a need to do chores in the house than women do.

In other words (and this is the part that's blatantly ignored), a man living alone will, on average, do significantly less house chores than a woman living alone.

This may be a product of our evolutionary past, but that doesn't really matter. Regardless of the physiological/psychological reason, it's ultimately a matter of personal choice: On average women choose to do more chores than men do, regardless of their current relationship (ie. regardless of whether they live alone, with a partner, or even a full family.)

What this "equalizing" of house chores would thus mean is that men would be forced to do more chores than they would normally do, simply because the woman wants them to. It's the woman who wants those extra chores to be done, not the man. This societal push would thus have the man be, effectively, forced to do it, even if it's something that's not crucial, and at the whims of the woman.

In other words, the woman decides which house chores need to be done, and the man is forced to do half of them (because, as said, on average women want to do more house chores than men). The man has no say in this.

How is this fair and balanced? Why do the choices of one partner have more weight than the other? Why should one partner force the other to do chores that he wouldn't do anyway (even if he lived alone)? (And I'm talking about relatively unimportant chores. I'm not talking eg. about parenting. That's a rather different issue.)

I have a fairer suggestion: How about respecting each person's personal choices? If a woman wants to do a house chore, it's her choice. Nobody forces her to do it. She can do it if she wants, or she can leave it be. Her choice. The same goes for the man.

(In reality, if this kind of "equal house chores" system would be enforced, then it would actually mean that men would end up doing more than women. That's because there are many things that most women just won't do, and nobody in our society will be forcing them to. Things like repairing the car or using power tools to renovate the house. Sure, some women will do those too, but very few. In the real world, on average, men would be expected to do half of the "house chores" and in addition do those technical things as well.)

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