Day By Day© by Chris Muir.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

More feminist myths foisted on women

Do you remember that famous perfume commercial for Enjoli? While a silk-clad woman slithered across the screen, a lusty-voiced woman belted out:

I can bring home the bacon, Fry it up in a pan, And never, never let you forget you're a man, Because I'm a woman, W O M A N
There you have it all in a neat refrain: the feminist superwoman, capable of working full time, managing a house, and curling up like a sex kitten in the boudoir after this 18 hour day. I think most women have figured out that this is, in fact, a myth. I'm not sure about the men. Back in the 1990s, I read a wonderful book called The Second Shift, by Arlie Hochschild. She examined the lives of married, working women. I'll never forget her conclusion. What she discovered was that those working women married to unabashed, 1950s style male chauvinists, actually got more help from their husbands than women married to sensitive 90s style guys. It turned out that the chauvinists placed much more value on house work, and the effort that goes into it. When their wives had to work, they realized what a sacrifice that was, and pitched in around the house. The touchy-feely 90s style guys, however, had been raised on the Enjoli commercial and were convinced, despite all evidence to the contrary, that their wives could, in fact, bring home the bacon, fry it up it the pan, and sizzle in the bedroom. To the extent that sensitive guys helped around the house, in an ostensible spirit of equality, that help proved to be illusory. Thus, an earnest sensitive guy would explain that he was responsible for all outside chores, while his wife was responsible for all inside chores -- which sounds like a fair division of labor. In fact, analysis showed that he took the garbage out once a week and mowed the lawn every two weeks, while his wife did all the shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, household finances and, of course, child care (during Nanny's time off). All told, if I remember correctly Hochschild discovered that the wives of sensitive guys put in an extra month's work annually compared to their equality-aware husbands. I have a suspicion that Hochschild's findings still hold true today. Can anyone direct me to a recent study on this point? Talking to Technorati: , , , ,