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Helping out with housework does NOT make you whipped

I wrote a blog post last year called The Shortage of Real Men, based on Kim du Toit's Pussification of the Western Male essay. Here's some of what I had to say:

I don't want a man who doesn't know anything about sports, cars, and guns. I also don't want a man to sit there and blather on for hours about his "feelings" -- I'm the woman, not you, and that's my department (although any kind of smart woman will try to reserve those conversations for other women only). As much as I may joke about it, it isn't really exciting to hear about a man watching Sex and the City, or wanting to go see the latest Jennifer Lopez chick flick.

Men and women are different. If I wanted to date someone who was sensitive, emotional, stylish, cuddly, and always prepared to talk about "feelings", I'd be a lesbian and date a damn woman. I, and I'd be willing to say most women (real women, anyways), want a real man. When I get married, my husband will be the head of the household, because that's where he should be. It doesn't make my thoughts or opinions any less valid or worthwhile, but he should be the one running things. Ultimately, he's the one who should be in charge.

Real men understand honor, loyalty, camaraderie, duty, valour. They understand the difference between right and wrong, good and evil, and will stand up when needed to simply because it is what's right. They won't care about what the rest of the world thinks about it, because they know they're doing the right thing. Real men are honest, respectful, and loving, but that doesn't mean they aren't a little rough around the edges. They're respectful, and I'd be willing to bet don't want a doormat for a wife or girlfriend -- a strong man will want a strong woman who can understand him.

There's a reason men like Clint Eastwood and John Wayne have timeless appeal with men and women alike. It's because they're real men, men who do tough work, who get sweaty and dirty, who stand up for what's right, who can be menacing and hard, but kind and loving at the same time. They aren't ashamed of being men, most importantly.

We need more men in this country. I have a good feeling you could find a lot of these men in the military, and that's probably why so many women are attracted to the man-in-uniform bit. Soldiers, firefighters, police officers -- that the uniform is sexy is not because of the clothes. It's because of what that uniform represents, and what it signifies to us.

We should be encouraging boys to be boys, not trying to feminize them (sorry, Gloria Steinem). There's a shortage of real men in this country, and I'm lucky enough to have found one of them. We need to start encouraging men to be men again, though -- otherwise, we could end up with a bunch of European girly men... like, say, in France. And that's an ugly thought.

I look back at this post because today, Debbie Schlussel points to a study that she says shows that men are more whipped than ever by -- gasp!! -- doing more housework, which leads to more sex:
American men still don't pull their weight when it comes to housework and child care, but collectively they're not the slackers they used to be. The average dad has gradually been getting better about picking himself up off the sofa and pitching in, according to a new report in which a psychologist suggests the payoff for doing more chores could be more sex.

The report, released Thursday by the Council on Contemporary Families, summarizes several recent studies on family dynamics. One found that men's contribution to housework had doubled over the past four decades; another found they tripled the time spent on child care over that span.

"More couples are sharing family tasks than ever before, and the movement toward sharing has been especially significant for full-time dual-earner couples," the report says. "Men and women may not be fully equal yet, but the rules of the game have been profoundly and irreversibly changed."


Joshua Coleman, a San Francisco-area psychologist and author of "The Lazy Husband: How to Get Men to Do More Parenting and Housework," said equitable sharing of housework can lead to a happier marriage and more frequent sex.

"If a guy does housework, it looks to the woman like he really cares about her -- he's not treating her like a servant," said Coleman, who is affiliated with the Council on Contemporary Families. "And if a woman feels stressed out because the house is a mess and the guy's sitting on the couch while she's vacuuming, that's not going to put her in the mood."

The report's co-authors, sociologists Scott Coltrane of the University of California, Riverside and Oriel Sullivan of Ben Gurion University, said they were addressing a perception that women's gains in the workplace were not being matched by gains at home.

"The typical punch line of many news stories has been that even though women are working longer hours on the job and cutting back their own housework, men are not picking up the slack," Coltrane and Sullivan wrote.

They said this perception was based on unrealistic expectations and underestimated the degree of change "going on behind the scenes" since the 1960s. The change, they said, "is too great a break from the past to be dismissed as a slow and grudging evolution."

Debbie replies to this survey with a:
Is this blurring of the gender roles a good thing? Only if you want your men to be women and your women to be men.

I'm a woman who likes my man to be a man (which he is -- just FYI). And I thought Kim du Toit's essay was genius. And I thought Debbie Schlussel was just way wrong on this one.

Men, you should be manly by all means. However, helping out with the housework does not make you whipped, feminine, pussified, or any other adjective to indicate you're becoming a woman.

I normally get pissed off when I hear about feminists blathering on about eradicating gender roles. My response is usually Who cares?! I don't see how it matters in the least which person in the relationship does the dishes after dinner at night.

Now, in my relationship, I am the "woman" 99% of the time. I do the cooking; I do the laundry (from actually washing the clothes to folding them and putting them away); and I do the cleaning. But you know what? Most nights after dinner, Michael would get his ass up out of his chair and wash the dishes for me. I never asked him to do it; he just does. And I am appreciative every time. I usually don't feel like cleaning after I've just cooked, and it doesn't make him any less manly. When he pitches in and helps with the laundry, it doesn't make him less manly. I'm all for it whenever he helps me with housework, because it makes it go by faster. So then, it can be done and we can get on to more important stuff.

No, it does not mean he's whipped or womanly or that the "gender roles" in our relationship have been switched. It's not a sign of a masculinity to be unwilling to help out your wife or girlfriend with housework; it's a sign that you aren't much of a man. A man who derides housework as something he shouldn't do because it isn't "manly" isn't much of a man, in my opinion. Yes, it is my opinion that the housework is mainly my job in my relationship. That does not mean it is a bad thing when Michael comes and helps me out. It doesn't make me "manly" when I go to work on the car with him or shoot his rifles and shotguns, and it doesn't make him "womanly" when he's helping me with the cooking or cleaning. Relationships are about equality, and someone claiming they're "above" housework is very small to me indeed.

And yes, boys, helping out with the housework probably will get you laid more often. Women often complain about having too much on their plate; help her clear some of that stuff off of her plate and she'll not only be incredibly appreciative, but she'll now have the time for the fun stuff. Does this mean you'll be "whipped"? I don't think so.

Men doing more housework does not mean that they're becoming women. Using your exfoliator, mud mask, moisturizer, and body wash does. To think that various household chores need to be boxed into "his" and hers" categories is a small way of thinking, indeed. How about men and women just do what needs to be done? I promise, guys, it doesn't make you whipped. It just makes you lucky.


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Comments (17)

Gotta agree with you here, ... (Below threshold)

Gotta agree with you here, although I've never been very good about housework. When you think about it from the modern perspective, it's only logical for the man to help out around the house, if not take outright ownership of some of the chores.

Modern reality is that especially in urban and suburban areas of this country, both parents have to work if they want to maintain a desirable standard of living. If both must work outside the home, both must work inside the home as well.


PS. You gotten to Dirty Job yet?

I read the article too. I h... (Below threshold)

I read the article too. I have been married 20 years and I am a stay home wife/mother. I am married to a real man, and he does help. He couldn't identify more than 4 basic colors but he has changed diapers and helped with the kids on many occasions.

Instead of being a selfish woman bemoaning that he did not get me, because he doesn't buy me flowers, it dawned on me, that helping with the kids, and giving me *me time* were better than any bouquet ever created.

What we need to do is stop allowing the media(Hollywood) or feminist set the tone, we should just be the best to our spouses. We definitely are made so different, and thank God for that.

I sure hope my daughter finds a husband that prefers to work hard and be the provider, just like I have.

Amen...Would George Clooney... (Below threshold)

Amen...Would George Clooney be the modern man's man?

That's an aweful lot of wor... (Below threshold)

That's an aweful lot of words there.....so, the way I understand it is if I do more housework I'll get more sex?..right?

Hmmmmm, I may find more time to be useful around the house.

If both spouses are working... (Below threshold)

If both spouses are working outside the house then both of them are responsible for what gets done inside the house.


What, males just go from being catered to by their moms to being catered to by their wives?

No. Competent mothers make sure sons know how to cook, basic sewing, cleaning, laundry, yardwork AND they have regular chores as members in good standing of the family. Ditto daughters.

Schlussel is an a**.

Guys ~ Don't fall for this!... (Below threshold)

Guys ~ Don't fall for this! Look, I admit it - I cook AND do dishes, clean toilets, vacuum, and other stuff (some not as often as some people seem to prefer). But if doing housework really got you laid more often, gentlemen, wouldn't America be freakin' GLEAMING by now?

It's a trap, fellas, and so is all this . . . wait! What's that . . . at the door . . . oh, no! It's the Estrogen Police! Gotta go now . . .

It's a trap!... (Below threshold)
Eric F:

It's a trap!

I agree with you. Doing ho... (Below threshold)

I agree with you. Doing house work doesn't define if your manly or not. I'll tell you straight up, I do almost all of the house work in my home. My wife does all the financial sutff (I really hate dealing with money). I'm also a retired Army Airborne Infantryman, and work now as a field geologist. So what I'm trying to say is that I can easily pull your arms off and beat you with them, but I can also then get the blood stains out of your clothes.

Don't let some reporter define manliness for you, you (us guys) know what it is.

"Men doing more housework d... (Below threshold)

"Men doing more housework does not mean that they're becoming women. Using your exfoliator, mud mask, moisturizer, and body wash does."

Cassy, I will grant you that your assessment is predominant, among non-gender-war types at least. But there's no argument for it except preference.

We are the descendants of many prior generations and have inherited wired-in characteristics and tendencies from them. But some of these can be changed. Indeed, we've already changed several obvious ones. For example, the male beard was once regarded as an obligatory indicator of masculinity; women greatly preferred their mates to be bearded. Today the opposite is true.

Another example: Time was, a woman whose husband offered to do any part of the housework reacted to the suggestion with horror; it implied that she was an inadequate homemaker, unequal to a sacred responsibility that had been entrusted to her by God. Obviously, women don't react that way today. Nor do men consider their honor impugned if their wives take up a traditionally "man's chore," such as bagging the garbage and taking it to the curb. Concerning aesthetic and cosmetic matters, the shifts have been even more profound; ask Gillette, Guthy-Renker, and The Body Shop if you don't believe me.

If there's a moral in this, it's that the deeper and wider one's perspective is, the more likely he is to be easygoing about such things. You're quite young, so you have some time to go before you've acquired such a perspective.

In short: Lighten up. You'll live longer.

My wife (and best friend) h... (Below threshold)

My wife (and best friend) have been married now for 33 years. People ask me sometimes why we get along so well. I say, "don't count who does what." Given time, everything gets done. I cook because I love to cook. When younger, I did all the yard work (and that of my father-in-law), I protect the house and my wife when there is a noise in the night. I go to the cleaners, to the bank and do the shopping. Not because I have to, I want to.

Sex should never be used as a commodity, it makes it so mercenary. ww

Hello? Somebody had to stud... (Below threshold)

Hello? Somebody had to study this? It's self interest! Stimulus - response! If I help it makes Mrs happy. When Mrs is happy with me she's more likely to want to fool around. Therefore: doing housework increases chances for sex! And we never thought of that before???

A man who will occasionally... (Below threshold)

A man who will occasionally help around the house does so because he understands that in most cases you're BOTH working full time jobs and helping out is FAIR - not an indication that he's whipped.

If he gets more sex as a result, then like Pavlov's dog he'll do it more often :)

"And if a woman feels stres... (Below threshold)

"And if a woman feels stressed out because the house is a mess and the guy's sitting on the couch while she's vacuuming, that's not going to put her in the mood."

And men stress out mowing the lawn while the wifey sits on the couch eating bon bons and watching soaps.

Why can't these studies have a little balance and my wife likes sex and has to entice me as often as I have to persuade her. Housework has nothing to do with it.

I notice that the article f... (Below threshold)

I notice that the article fails to account for the fact that there are about a billion more things going on in the world now than in the 60s and 70s. How many of us over 40 had a choice of 14 after school programs? How many changes of clothes were you allowed before Mom said enough any more and you do the laundry? Cooking wasn't fun or entertainment in the 60s-70s, it was work. It takes both of us to keep up with all the stuff going on and we need to SHARE responsibilities, how you decide to do that is up to you. mpw280

Obviously, these males were... (Below threshold)

Obviously, these males were never in the service. I sewed on buttons and crows, scrubbed pots and pans in the galley as a mess crank, and definitely learned to make a bed with hospital corners. Trust me, you will learn to clean when your whole barracks has to stay up all night to prepare for the inspection the next day. Because if you don't pass, you don't get liberty. I still clean around the house a lot, mostly vacuuming and dusting because I am tall and can move things. My wife and I split the cooking because I like to cook. My secret: I like to bake. I am surprised at the number of my foster daughter's friends, now in their 20's, who don't know how to cook , much less clean.

"Cooking wasn't fun or ente... (Below threshold)

"Cooking wasn't fun or entertainment in the 60s-70s, it was work."

In the 60s and 70s prefab foods were almost non-existent, and the ones that existed were expensive and barely edible. "Cooking" meant making almost everything from scratch. I would guess that's why, when women started back to the work force in large numbers in that time period, the casserole (usually made almost entirely with canned goods) became such a staple. And dinnertime became such a nauseating adventure! (My brothers and I insist that we learned to cook at young ages purely for survival).

Just as each individual is different, so is each couple. Society has a stake in keeping families intact, so a general expectation that couples be productive and neither be a slacker is not only logical, but helpful. For anyone to have specific expectations for the division of responsibilities in someone else's home is just ridiculous.

As times change, household division of chores changes. Just let it take its natural course.

As for men who do more housework getting more sex - well duh! That is, if you're comparing such a couple to one where both work but only the woman does the household chores. Even when the man does the yard work, maintenance and repairs (where it can often be said that the division of work is "even") the problem that still exists is that the man's work can mostly be scheduled to his convenience, whereas the woman's work is time sensitive. There's just no time for nookie until everything is ready for the next day, otherwise she'll NEVER catch up.

If you count a year or so o... (Below threshold)

If you count a year or so of living together before we got married, my wife and I have been together for thirty years and during that time I've probably done 99 percent of the meal preparation. I don't mean just dinner, I fix her breakfast and pack her lunch and do all of the food shopping. We tend to divide the other household chores -- split laundry probably fifty-fifty, although she does the ironing (on the other hand, since I work from home, I rarely need anything ironed), both of us sweep and vacuum, but she probably does most of the dusting and most of the bathroom cleaning (but I always do the cat's litter box). And when the kids were young, we both shared their care. Okay, so she did all of the breast-feeding, but after that, I was the one who made their food (including making our own baby-food).

I grew up in a very traditional blue collar family -- Mom stayed home and took care of the house and us kids while Dad went off to work -- but after Dad retired, they shared most of the housework together and Dad not only did a lot of the cooking, he also did a lot of the baking. My kids all know how to shop and how to cook and how to bake. (Okay, so the younger two could be more proactive about housework, but since they are now out of the nest and renting a house with friends, it is not our problem. *grin*)






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