In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review April 11, 2008 / 6 Nissan 5768

The Drudgery Report

By Kathleen Parker

Kathleen Parker
Printer Friendly Version
Email this article

http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | Every few years, social scientists update Americans about how unfair life is — for women, that is — by comparing the amount of housework men and women do.

The latest, from the University of Michigan, found that though women's housework load has been reduced by about half and men's has doubled since researchers began measuring such things, life is still a drudge for the fairer sex.

The picture, nevertheless, is far from gloomy. In 1976, women averaged 26 hours of housework per week compared to just six hours for men. In 2005, women averaged 17 hours per week and men 13. Not quite equal, but vastly improved.

Yet, the study's findings have been presented and reported as un-glad tidings for women. The university news release carried the headline: "Exactly how much housework does a husband create?"

This much: "Having a husband creates an extra seven hours a week of housework for women. ... For men, the picture is very different: A wife saves men from about an hour of housework a week."

Needless to say, the hell gets hotter for women when children enter the picture. The only good news is for single men and women, both of whom do less housework — as long as they stay clear of the altar.

In other words, marry, have a family and be miserable. Remain single and childless and be happy. More or less.

Housework studies are interesting the way astrological readings are. They confirm what we feel without surprising us with much we didn't already know.

Such as: two people make bigger messes than one; households with children are monuments to chaos, if we're having fun; and women tend to do more than men when it comes to traditional household duties for un-mysterious reasons.

One obvious, if partial, reason is that habits change gradually over the course of generations. Another explanation is less palatable, especially if one views housework as comparable to following the elephant walk with a shovel. Men and women have different attitudes toward domestic "chores."

I would never say that women enjoy housework more than men do because I have no special affinity for firing squads. But decades of experience suggest that most men don't value the results of housework as much as women do. Could it be their nature?

Let's be clear. Men don't get a pass for being slobs and women shouldn't have to clean up after anyone younger than 5. I personally have a special death mask that I wear when the four males with whom I've shared a roof the past 20 years fail to notice that towels are not rugs. One rictal glance their way and tidiness suddenly becomes an irresistible urge.

Even so, they will never meet my standards. If they do, they'll need behavioral therapy and medication.

Exceptions exist, obviously, but studies that seek to quantify household performance as a way of measuring gender equality often miss confounding factors. If men aren't doing what women traditionally have done to the same extent women do, then men are viewed as having failed the goal of an equitable world.

But who decides what is an adequate expenditure of time and energy for a given task?

The University of Michigan researchers asked men and women to keep a housework journal, recording how much time they spent on chores. Wanna bet women are better at this, too? Here's a clue.

Before PDAs, organized people had Day-Timer books. Men had little tiny ones that fit in their pocket. Women carried hefty volumes with subject dividers, calendars and shopping lists.

Who do you think was better at recording housework?

Other research, meanwhile, has confirmed that our attempt to make men and women equally domesticated will likely fail. Steven E. Rhoads, public policy professor at the University of Virginia and author of "Taking Sex Differences Seriously," studied professor couples, figuring they were the most likely to seek perfect equality in the home.

Wrong. Men simply weren't as interested in housework as women were and women "simply like child care more than men," the study's authors concluded.

None of which means we shouldn't try harder to be considerate. In dual-career families, sharing housework is logical, fair and ultimately rewarding. Hint: Foreplay to a woman is watching a man take out the trash.

But some things will never be exactly equal until men and women are exactly the same. When that happens, we will doubtless be tidier — and living alone.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.

JWR contributor Kathleen Parker can be reached by clicking here.

Kathleen Parker Archives

© 2006, WPWG