Often, it seems like feminism is so determined to spread its dogma that it will try to convince us of things that contradict the evidence of our own eyes and ears.
For instance, we all know men are hard workers. We see them on construction sites, oil rigs and military bases. Nevertheless, the mainstream misandrist narrative would have us believe that men are all drunken slobs watching TV in their underwear and drinking beer, while their wives spend 20 hours a day cleaning up after them. The idea that “women do all the work”.
But is this portrayed division of labor even close to the reality?
Division of Labor: The Issue of Housework
Specifically, many women complain that their partners don’t do their fair share of the housework. The feminist movement has taken up this banner as “evidence” of women’s oppression at the hands of the “patriarchy”.
To prove their claims, they provide statistics showing that women spend more hours on housework and childcare, sometimes as much as double what men spend.
While these statistics are true at first glance, they only tell half the story, if even that.
Even in modern Western society, women may often do much more housework and childcare than their male partners. Does this mean the lazy men need to step up and start doing more around the house? Not necessarily. First, we need to take a look at the whole picture.
What Is a True Division of Labor?
Almost all human societies are based on divisions of labor, especially agricultural ones.
In our modern industrial civilization, this is taken to the extreme. People specialize in one thing to the point that they know very little about anything else. For example, even many physicians focus on one specific part of the body.
This phenomenon has developed because it’s economically advantageous. Imagine you’re stranded on a desert island with another castaway who’s broken his leg. Your first needs are building a shelter and combing the jungle for firewood.
Would you split the work equally, with each of you spending half your time gathering wood and the other half building a shelter, or would you assign one job to one person. Specifically, it makes more sense for the person with two good legs to go hiking through the jungle while the immobile person remains at camp setting up the shelter.
By assigning one job to each person – according to their skills – you play to your strengths to get the most done.
Division of Labor by Gender
Just like society takes advantage of a man with dexterous hands by letting him focus all his energy on being a surgeon while another person with more knowledge of horticulture grows food for both of them, society has historically taken advantage of each gender’s strengths (statistically speaking).
Traditionally and even today, society recognized that men are typically physically stronger than women. Therefore, men were given the more physically demanding jobs, while women did other tasks like housework and childcare.
It’s important to note that until the last century or so, the vast majority of outside-the-home work was physical. In fact, before industrialization, most economies had nearly 80% of their populations employed in agriculture.
This certainly wasn’t a way to oppress women. What kind of oppressor group makes themselves work 16 hours a day, getting black lung in a mineshaft, while their “oppressed” subjects stay at home baking? It was merely our ancestor’s most economic way to supporting themselves as a team.
Women Still Do More Housework, But Men Still Work More Outside the Home
This historical custom still informs the modern setup of most households. Yes, women do more housework.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ American Time Use Survey, the average American woman spends 1.9 hours a day on household activities including housework, food prep and household management, while the average American man spends 1.21 hours on such activities.
Similarly, she spends 1.59 hours caring for other household members while he spends roughly 0.95 hours.
However, what most feminists and feminist-written articles on this subject ignore is that men aren’t spending that extra time sleeping. In fact, the survey found that women get more sleep than men do!
Rather, men are spending that time working.
The average woman works 4.73 hours a day while her male counterpart works 6.36 hours a day. Total those numbers up, and you get 5.72 hours of labor for women and 6.07 hours for men. Therefore men actually put in slightly more hours each day toward the overall division of labor.
But let’s call it a perfect division of labor, for argument’s sake.
Feminism Enforces Traditional Division of Labor
You might be thinking, fine, that’s great for pre- or early industrial societies, but now very little of labor is physical. We’ve invented machines to do the hard work, so we no longer need to take advantage of men’s physical strength. Therefore, the division of labor by gender isn’t necessary.
Well sure, whether the division of labor is economical or not, each couple can organize their relationship however they want. The man can work, the woman can stay home. The woman can work, the man can stay home. They can each work equal hours and do equal shares of the housework.
Hey, they could both work 16-hour days and hire someone else to do the chores. That would be the ultimate manifestation of the division of labor after all. This sounds like the world of gender equality and liberty I and most people would like to live in.
Here’s the problem, though. The people who complain the most about having to do all the housework have pushed through and advocate for policies and legislation that make any other arrangement impossible, at least in any egalitarian sense.
For example, feminists have pushed for extensive welfare programs that provide women-only benefits like free health care, sanitary supplies and housing.
These must be subsidized mostly by male taxpayers who end up paying more into the system than they get out. Similarly, laws require insurance companies to charge men and women the same premiums even though women use more healthcare services, thereby forcing men to subsidize women’s private health care as well.
As insane as it might sound, some feminist politicians have even begun suggesting a higher tax rate for men.
Stop Forcing Men to Spend More Time at Work
With this societal setup, men have to pay more into the system than women so they have no choice but to earn more than women – meaning spending less time at home and helping with housework and childcare.
That doesn’t just mean just working longer hours either. It means working more grueling and dangerous jobs that pay better. In fact, men are 10 times more likely to die on the job than women.
Perhaps if feminists really want the men in their lives to start doing more housework, they should stop promoting biased policies that force men to spend more of their time—and health—at work.