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Old 08-29-2007, 06:39 PM   #1
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Marriage And Housework

By Sharon Jayson, USA TODAY

Women who complain their spouses don't do enough around the house now have some real proof.

Married men worldwide report doing less housework than unmarried cohabiting men, according to an international study of 17,636 men and women in 28 countries. Findings are published in the September issue of the Journal of Family Issues.

In the study by researchers at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and North Carolina State University in Raleigh, cohabiting men report doing more housework than married men, and cohabiting women report doing less housework than married women, although cohabiting men still do less than cohabiting women.

Shannon Davis, an assistant professor of sociology at George Mason and the study's lead author, says the institution of marriage seems to have an effect on couples that traditionalizes their behavior, even if they view men and women as equals.

"What we see is that beliefs about gender matter," she says. "Beliefs about this egalitarian notion of women and men sharing equal responsibility for paid work and household tasks matter differently for cohabiting men than it does for married men."

Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, co-director of the National Marriage Project, a research initiative at Rutgers University, says cohabiting couples see themselves in more of a "you do your part and I'll do mine" roommate relationship. "They see themselves more as separate individuals rather than merging their lives."

Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash., and author of the 2005 book Marriage: A History, says the findings support what she has learned from studying oral histories of married couples over the past 30 years.

"We haven't had such a widespread and systematic international study, but all the separate studies I have read have shown this," she says. "The very word 'marriage' is so deeply associated with the idea that it involves men having to do less housework. Even the most untraditional couple will fall into it after marriage, unless they are very conscious of it. They judge themselves against this centuries-old standard of what a wife does, which they didn't have to do when they were just living together."

The researchers analyzed 2002 data collected by the International Social Survey Program, a program of social surveys that enable researchers to compare trends in nations around the world.

The average age was 44 among the 9,517 women surveyed; it was 48 for the 8,119 men. The survey found about 14% of the men and the women were cohabiting with an unmarried partner, and the rest were married. About 40% of the women were employed full time, as were about 66% of the men. Davis says no information was collected about the length of marriages or cohabiting relationships.
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Old 08-29-2007, 06:56 PM   #2
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Proof that there's discrimination against males.
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:43 PM   #3
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we don't need an international survey to tell us what we already know.
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Old 08-29-2007, 08:59 PM   #4
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Hey, I'm the first to admit I take full control of all the chores b/c I think I can do them better.
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Old 08-30-2007, 06:22 AM   #5
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We do things pretty equally. Sam usually does the washing up (and nearly all of the cooking), but I often go in afterwards and re-wash some of the dishes. I do all of the cleaning because I'm really picky about it, especially in the kitchen and bathroom. I don't really do any tidying, though. I just put things into piles because I don't know what to do with them and piles of things (books, post, magazines, etc.) don't bother me.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:23 AM   #6
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It's just slightly amazing to me that people still view marriage that way and fall easily into those patterns. No way could I be married to someone who didn't do his fair share of housework. I grew up with my parents having that kind of marriage and my brothers did nothing either while I did so much housework. It perpetuates sexist attitudes and behavior, and creates anger and resentment. When you get right down to it it's about the relationship and not about housework at all.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrsSpringsteen
No way could I be married to someone who didn't do his fair share of housework. .... When you get right down to it it's about the relationship and not about housework at all.
Yes, the relationship is much more important than the housework.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:39 AM   #8
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oh, straight people, you have so much to learn from us ...
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:42 AM   #9
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Yes I was wondering if, in general, it is less of a problem for gay people in marriages and relationships. That fascinates me as far as how the falling into traditional patterns of marriage would apply or not apply.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:50 AM   #10
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oh, straight people, you have so much to learn from us ...
Yeah, two guys not doing housework.
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Old 08-30-2007, 09:59 AM   #11
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Yeah, two guys not doing housework.


guilty as charged.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:01 AM   #12
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Yes I was wondering if, in general, it is less of a problem for gay people in marriages and relationships. That fascinates me as far as how the falling into traditional patterns of marriage would apply or not apply.


the lines of "who does what" are generally determined on the basis of individual talent and interest.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:02 AM   #13
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I vacuum and sometimes do laundry.
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Old 08-30-2007, 10:32 AM   #14
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I vacuum and sometimes do laundry.
^ Proving the theory that, if you get to them young enough, they can be trained
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Old 08-30-2007, 11:43 AM   #15
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Quote:
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the lines of "who does what" are generally determined on the basis of individual talent and interest.
That's how it is in my house. The wife is a bit more picky about cleaning than I am, and she doesn't let me cook (because white people don't know how to season properly, apparently). But I vacuum, I do a good portion of the laundry (basically the stuff I can't screw up), and I do the trash & yardwork.

It's the same with taking care of the kids. It's pretty well split, except my wife does my daughter's hair because dear God that would be a trainwreck, me doing it.
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