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When it comes to the topic of gender inequality one important point comes to mind that shows the glaring issues when it comes to equality. That important part is the inequality caused by gender roles, and for this project specifically in relation to the chores done around the home, domestic chores.
Through the knowledge I gained from my psychology and sociology classes, some issues are raised in this seemingly minor part of gender role. For instance, when there is inequality of work distribution in the household for working couples, one of the members in this relationship will run into higher stress compared to the other partner.
Thus, understanding this issue is important as it can lead to risks of poor health, especially in a society that is becoming more work oriented.
For the topic of gender inequality of domestic chores, it is important to look at how male and female relates to the role of masculinity and femininity. An example of what is considered masculine, as seen later, is being the one to do the repairs around the house.
For a typically feminine chore, an example is doing the dishes. What stands out in this topic that is also important to take not is many of the chores are typically feminine I will do this through the sources provided and relates the chores to those that work as well as the inequality that surrounds the gender roles and sharing of responsibility between male and female. It is also important to look at how the perception of gender roles still exist as seen in “Working Hard or Hardly Working? Gender, Humor, and the Performance of Domestic Chores in Television Commercials.
” This goes hand in hand with a video that relates directly to this article to give a clear picture of what can cause people not to want to do a chore.
All of this overall relates to the ideas that I learned in my sociology and psychology class. The main theory that relates to the role of gender and domestic chores would be the Social Learning Theory. From this theory, it is described as a method learning where we learn behaviors when exposed to certain actions from sources that we observe such as, a parental figure or the media (Myers et al. 178). Thus, this relates to how we conform to the societal norms that we see before us today. This impacts us greatly as social norms, the set of standards society places that we tend to follow to avoid not fitting in (Myers et al. 472), are extremely hard to break out of once you already do or a part of them. For this reason, I hope to inform people about how even inequality can exist in something as simple as household work and hopefully help people break out of the norm. Thus, for my topic on gender roles and domestic chores, I will use several sources to talk about gender roles and how they relate to domestic work, as well as the potential causes that might cause or convince people of not doing anything not related to their gender roles.
When discussing the topic of gender roles and domestic chores of modern times, it is a good idea to look back several years and within Knodel et al. research, 1970 to 2000. This will give an insight into how much has changed in relation to those years. From their research on Vietnamese families and domestic chores, we can look at a study of how gender roles affect not only who would do the chores, but also looks working life in relation to said domestic chores. It should be noted that while the source focuses on Vietnamese families the data provided shows similar trends to how the United States was back in the fifties. The results they got from the respondents showed that over three-fourths of the domestic chores were done by women compared to men (Knodel et al., pp76). These results had slowly decreased during the several decades and men started to have more impact by the year 2000. This shows that while women still do a lot of the housework it showed a shift in responsibility as we started to enter a contemporary era.
This can be seen within my empirical research, a survey asking several questions that in the end showed me who did the most in their household and that person’s gender. In my research it showed that over 50% of respondents had split the chores equally among genders, however, it also shows that in some cases that the roles are still there and are not easily broken (Craig). To get extra input I added an extra question on if another person contributes some of the work, in couple cases, it showed that males contributed much less compared to the females in the household (Craig). What this ends up showing is that while we are progressing, there are still cases out there in which domestic chores are not split equally. Because of such a small sample size, it is hard to say for sure from my data alone if this is how it fully is, despite that the more significant side, that being equality, gives good hope that if anything the shift to equality is happening at a reasonable pace.
Adding onto the point of inequality among domestic chores, I decided to also look at the added workload of having a job as well. From Cerrato’s and Cifre’s research on this, they discussed the correlation of work commitment against perceived involvement when helping with domestic chores (Cerato). What they ended up finding was that first woman did more housework than men did by over double. Afterward, they saw how when men did contribute more to the less work conflict woman had, which overall will help reduce the stress that inevitably comes with balancing life out and in the home.
With the background of how gender and domestic chores related from the past finished, I decided to see why we had some variation of gender roles and who ends up doing domestic chores. To aid me in this was a great source about gender roles and comedic effect. Inside Kim et al. research “Working Hard or Hardly Working? Gender, Humor, and the Performance of Domestic Chores in Television Commercials,” we get a potential insight as too why we might see the diverse difference in who does what domestic role. In their study of over 500 commercials what they had found was that males and females portrayed I commercials on domestic chores fell under their respective stereotypical roles. What they had also found is that when both genders were doing domestic chores, whether it be masculine or feminine, less than 10% of females were the main joke whereas a bit over 50% of men were (Kim et al. pp 230). From a video source found, one can see that this trend tends to hold up as within it the father is being the source of humor. Within it, the father struggles and fails to take care of his child for a good portion of the video, but later he humorously uses a plastic wrap to do all the housework, getting a look of disapproval from his wife upon her return (“Dad Left Alone with Baby”). While he did succeed in the end, it is clear from the video, that the focus was the humor of ‘men cannot do housework very well.’ While humor does play a key role in these commercials what was interesting to see was that most of their results showed that only a small portion of commercials about domestic chores had minor cases of humor, verbal comments, or negative impacts. What was consistent in Kim et al. research was that males had higher numbers than females three through five times the difference in numbers (Kim et al., 230). This shows that while the numbers are low domestic chores are usually used as humor in relation to men, as seen by the fact only a few commercials were masculine related, which supported their third hypothesis in which males were inept at domestic chores (Kim et al., 230-231). With these in mind, it is no surprise that men tend to associate domestic chores as more feminine, as from the social learning theory, see other males fail or are ridiculed for their inability to clean. Interesting to note is less than 5% of women had done any masculine domestic chores; however, only a few commercials were in relation to home repairs or improvements which can be a contributing factor as too low number (Kim et al., 228-230).
Going back to Cerrato and Cifre’s work, what they saw was that of the eleven chores they had, that two-thirds of those were primarily done by the woman while one other was done by men (Cerrato). Of those seven, such as shopping or taking care of children, it is seen that these chores are seen dominantly feminine in our society. For the chore men did do, repairs, that is seen as a dominantly masculine chore. What this shows is that the inequality that is seen is domestic chores has a significant root in the gender roles we are taught at a young age.
As seen from the previous paragraphs, women held a lot more responsibility when it comes to domestic chores, with men handling the masculine ones typically. Even today it is still a split with woman typically doing more of the chores. In addition to this with the woman also now holding a job, this can put a lot more stress on them. Because of this, I saw more of a shift into a more equal distribution of household chores from the survey I did. What I saw was that while there is still the woman doing a lot of the work, there is also an almost equal split in households who split the household chores equally amongst each other in relation to gender.
In Conclusion, What I found from my research shows that the shift in who does the domestic chores is taking a shift toward more balanced between both males and females. While the shift in domestic chores is becoming more equal, it still is not quite fully there. As such, one should keep in mind that the world and its views are always shifting. Which allows one to ponder how the future might look; will the gender gap in domestic chores be equal between both genders, shift to men doing the most or potentially be set back to mostly Women doing it. With, this research it is my hope that it can inform others so that we may keep progressing to a goal of gender equality in and out of the home. It is crucial that more balance between the men and women closes with how work dependent our society is becoming, with both now working more compared back then.
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