Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Women's Work

As a man caught in a traditionally female role (caring for children, cooking, cleaning looking damned sexy), I’ve been thinking a lot lately about “women’s work.”  I assumed that women’s traditional roles had been chosen based on the fact that women were weaker, lazier, and dumber than men.  Then, one day, I started thinking about the different jobs and writing them down. 

Here’s what I wrote:
"Ugg has new berries.  Ad on tv said new berries make Ugg's household clean."
Traditional roles (Dawn of time to, say, the Bronze Era)
Women – Gathering
Hunch over on hands and knees while picking berries off thorn-covered bushes.  Scratch roots and vegetables out of dirt with fingernails.

Men – Hunting
Chase after animals with large weapon.  Drag animal home.

It seemed unfair, but then I realized it was silly to base any system of judgment or behavior on something from the Bronze Age, so I scratched that out and started over.
"Janie got me this new pan.  The ad on tv said it would keep me from having a nervous breakdown."

Modern roles (Bronze Era – present)
Women – Maintain Household
Cook, sweep, mop, vacuum, wipe, put away, iron, wash, fold.

Men – Work
Go out to clean office and try to make enough money to pay for everything while trying to seduce secretaries.

Not to diminish the stress of a 40-hour work week, but it’s pretty pathetic division of labor.  The disparity gets worse when you look at traditional roles with raising kids.

"I have a baby.  The ad on tv said it would keep my husband from straying."
Child rearing
Women – Incubation, delivery, nurturing
Nine months of general misery, one to two days of painful labor.  Provide milk, feed child, change diapers, educate, protect.

Men – Fertilization
Provide semen.

So it seems that women got all the dull, painful, crappy jobs while men took all the fun ones with the excuse that they “required physical exertion.”  I was a bit surprised that women had put up with all of that for so long.  Then I realized that I was only looking at half of the child care task.  There was another, more important side.

"I got this new Viagra.  The tv said... Honey?  You still awake?"

Child making
Men – Fertilization
Convince woman of sexual desirability, buy gifts, arouse sexually for 4-8 hours, perform sexually long enough for possible repeat performance (half hour-45 minutes).

Women – Incubation, delivery, nurturing
Lie still.

Okay.  Now it all seems fair.

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