Solely In Black and White: Life’s Lot: Who has it Easier?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Life’s Lot: Who has it Easier?

Time Magazine Chore Wars August 8, 2011

I was recently pondering how the nine day must be easier for women than men. For one, I suspect that in general women enjoy dairy as much as men enjoy being carnivorous creatures. Secondly, while not being able to launder is a hassle, I supposed it must also be equally as liberating to not have to do that chore. With regards to hair-cutting I’d venture to guess that men have it harder since their faces became fuzzy and itchy. Then again, the women have to live and look at said creatures, the beard I mean, which I can assume doesn’t gladden them. So basically, I think men have it harder…

Regardless, the impetus for this topic is most likely the cover article of last weeks’ Time Magazine titled Chore Wars (excerpt link) written by Ruth Davis Konigsberg. In a nut shell, the article asserted that men and women nowadays work share the same sized workload, even if it doesn’t seem that way. Or as it said on the cover “let it go. Make Peace. Men and woman, it turns out work the same amount.” This conclusion seemed to shock most of the couples in who participated in the research, especially the women. Astonishingly, the article found that it was the man who thought they weren’t doing enough and felt guilty. In essence, that feeling isn’t based on actual workload, but rather is a byproduct of societal pressures and the new-aged inclination that men need to spend less time working and more time at home helping out with familial obligations. It would seem that old-time gender obligations have broken down, a man’s place isn’t always at work and a woman’s place isn’t always at home…

The article seemed reasonably accurate and was able to support its finding with pretty charts, quantity of time, and statistics. (Which obviously make it true!) However, the article wasn’t written based on the frum community’s dynamics. Our lives are slightly different than those of the general population, such as higher birth rates and other factors. I suppose the argument could further be dissected to incorporate all the factions within Judaism, but I doubt that should make a significant difference. Some might argue that the ultra-orthodox yeshivish woman works the hardest since she has to work fulltime to support a large family and a learning husband coupled with her obligation to feed her family and maintain a home. In that case I suppose even the author of the article would agree that there is a discrepancy in the division of familial obligations. Whatever the case is, aside from that specific example, I think the conclusion of the article is true for the Jewish community as a well, both men and women have it equally as hard…


  1. Well I would have to argue on the first premise that the nine days is easier for women because "I suspect that in general women enjoy dairy as much as men enjoy being carnivorous creatures." In our house, I am the carnivore whilst my brother is over the moon to eat pizza 24/7.

    As for the chore divide, it really depends on the family.Typically, a man who is learning has more time to help out at home than a man who is working. On the same note, some men are just hopeless around the kitchen and depend on their wives to do everything..

    so in depends

  2. I come a household of inept men. It's not as though they could do it - seriously, they can't do any housework right.

    There was a previous article to this - I don't remember where - a woman was saying that she assumed she and her husband would split the work 50/50. Except her husband didn't think vacuuming weekly or dishwashing every night was important. So she ended up doing more.

    Me, for instance - vacuuming regulalry? Bed-making daily? Nah.

  3. aminspiration, you and your brother must be an exception to the rule. As a fellow carnivore, enjoy the Shabbos food then. :-)

    Interestingly, I suspect that the feminist movement has helped promote families where the man is learning. A family where the woman is breadwinner and the husband stays at home is actual not unheard of in America.

    Maybe I should clarify this point, but the article made mention that the hours a man works are consider family work time as he is working to sustain the family. So while it may be true that some husband don’t help all that much around the house, they’re providing help to the family unit. Moreover, the amount of time a woman watches the children is consider family work time as well. I suspect that it wouldn’t be possible to split all task equally 50/50 unless both partners worked an equal amount of time. Even so it would hard to divvy up all the chores since they vary in complexity and duration.

    Priceless Lea, vacuuming regular I understand but no daily bed making? Seriously, how hard is to make a bed? That sounds like a male-centric bad habit…

  4. I come from a non-bed making household. My mother never saw the point because we're just going to make them messy again in a few hours anyway.

  5. I think that each couple needs to figure out what arrangement works best for them. The worst thing to do is compare it to what another couple does. Every couple is different and however they choose to split up "chores", shkoyach lol.

    PL: I'm in shock! no bed-making? I don't think I've ever left my room without making my bed. ever. Even if I was running late to class, its one of those things that are part of the morning routine. I guess every person has different ones? lol

  6. Morning routine? I'm swamped just with makeup application.

  7. lol that is also part of my morning routine. I wake up early in order to get all the things I need to get done, done.


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