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DISCUSSIONArticle reminds us that everything falls apart when you try to destroy gender roles (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor

I like to keep up with what the feminists are saying. And today they are saying that "Women Aren't Nags--We're Just Fed Up".

The article goes on to talk about "emotional labor," a feminist term used to indicate typically female responsibilities and talents: conflict resolution, household management, cleaning and homemaking, etc. The complaint in the article, and by most feminists I hear from regularly, is that men do not pull their weight in the home when it comes to "emotional labor."

The real issue of the article is not whether men should have to pick their socks up off the floor or learn to braid hair, but the incredible frustration that both the author and her husband face on a daily basis. Both the author and her husband work (typical modern American couple). The author feels that she is expected to do the above tasks and wishes her husband would help without delegating. But the interesting fact is that the husband does actually share the workload quite a bit:

My husband does a lot. He does dishes every night habitually. He often makes dinner. He will handle bedtime for the kids when I am working. If I ask him to take on extra chores, he will, without complaint.

Seems like the exact setup that any feminist would want from her husband, right? But read the next line of the article:

It feels greedy, at time, to want more from him.

Our author isn't satisfied, but her husband is sharing a significant part of the household chores. So what is really going on here?

[...]I was the manager of the household, and that being manager was a lot of thankless work.

If I were to point out random emotional labor duties I carry out[...] he would take it as me saying, “Look at everything I’m doing that you’re not. You’re a bad person for ignoring me and not pulling your weight."

The wife feels that her job is thankless. And her husband feels attacked for both being told he's not thanking her, not doing enough, and for the fact that he too does many thankless jobs, yet he's not complaining about it.

Now this problem cuts both ways; I've seen it with my own parents. Where there is no clear gender divide, who is responsible for each task becomes muddied, which poses problems for deciding how the job will get done, which person should be doing the job automatically, and which person would be going above and beyond by doing that task. My mom is constantly frustrated by cleaning up after my dad in small ways, and my dad is constantly complaining that we expect him to be "Mr. Fix It" when things go wrong around the house.

When there is a clear gender divide, it is understood who does what. The support from each spouse is equal, and the thanks is implicit. It is very easy to tell when you are fulfilling your obligations, and it's very clear when you're being fully supported. (This is the same reason hierarchy functions in most societies, but that is a topic for another day.) Without this delineation, your entire home life can easily devolve into constant bickering.

The author even admits that gender roles seem to be an unstoppable force:

I can feel my sons and daughter watching our dynamic all the time, gleaning the roles for themselves as they grow older.

And this is the way of nature. Despite the author's multiple attempts to explain and share emotional labor, she still can't seem to make any headway. She comes to the conclusion that men need to get with the program, but she really reveals the fact that gender is hard-wired and cannot be 100% deprogrammed.

You do not have to go all or nothing (the husband never cooking, the wife mowing the lawn), but if you are having issues with this push and pull in your household, you can have a discussion with your SO and establish that you will complete the feminine tasks and him the masculine (and if it needs to be stated what these are, do it). If you want to deviate from this, let the exceptions be obvious and explicit, for example, the wife will mow the lawn because she works from home. Let the smaller tasks fall into their gendered categories.

Gender roles can help you bring harmony into your home. I hope you use them to your advantage!


[–]rpwtoss 28 points29 points  (2 children)

I've read about emotional labor- and it's true- it's something women typically deal with and men don't. But here's the rub- women deal with those sorts of things because we are the ones that worry about them (and honestly, mostly what we are worried about is judgment from other people).

I'm a strong believer of "the person who cares the most takes care of the issue (this could be about how something is done or the timeline on which it is done)."

Example: If I'm going to stress about how the dishwasher is loaded, I need to load it. If I want dishes washed as soon as dinner is through, and my husband doesn't care if they sit on the counter until the morning, I need to put them in the dishwasher.

Women often try to make our problems be our partner's problems- even when it's something they don't care about. There are times when our problems should be their problems. But more often than not, we are stressing about something that doesn't need stressing over, and it's unfair for us to try to force our partners to take on that stress.

[–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

Absolutely. That's where the gender roles really come into play. Women care a heck of a lot more about a home being spic and span than men tend to. Not to say a man can't appreciate it, but they just aren't wired to care as much as we do. Which is why it used to always be our job. Because we cared, we'd do a much better job.

[–]FleetingWishEndorsed Contributor 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Exactly. This "emotional labor" is just us taking on extra stress. And whether that stress is warranted or not, complaining about it is pointless.

For example, if your emotional labor is wanting the dishes to be done right away, it is a waist of energy to want your SO to relieve some of that burden, because in essence you are saying "I want you to care about this as much as I do" or "I want you to take some of this worry off my shoulders".

If you examine that for more than 2 seconds, it's ridiculous. If something doesn't bother you, then you can't worry about it. The most you can do is, if you worry about something, try to let it bother you less, or ask someone to help you with the tasks. You can't share your worry though... it doesn't work that way.

[–]eucalyptus1818 9 points10 points  (2 children)

I agree with u/capngrind, 100%. When I hear a woman decry "emotional labor", she is saying thst she's frustrated by having to be Captain and First Mate at the same time. Meanwhile, her husband is acting like a deckhand at best.

The pressure to be decision maker AND leader/delegator AND domestic caretaker AND sexy vixen.... that's two people's worth of roles, and she's filling them for a man whose behavior means he barely deserves one. Exhausting and unfulfilling.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

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    [–]eucalyptus1818 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    In general, I think there are a lot of different dynamics that can lead to this same, miserable outcome. It could certainly be a woman being domineering and not giving her husband space to be masculine, but it could be a captain absolutely drunk at the helm and not leading his household.

    In the case of this particular article, it sounds like her husband is a caring partner but that his leadership is lacking. The impression I got was that the division of labor wasn't decided deliberately but that things fell wherever they did somehow or the other, and now they are renegotiating from that haphazard starting point. On the flip, she isn't communicating the heart of her desires (ie he follows the letter of her requests but not the spirit, as evidenced by the housecleaning present incident) and that's why she is frustrated. If she brought the problem rather than solution (I'm exhausted by doing tasks x, y, z all the time, I want more time to relax/alone with you v.s. let's get housekeeper), maybe he would better be able to address her real unhappiness.

    [–][deleted] 9 points10 points  (0 children)

    Gender roles can help you bring harmony into your home.

    It works for us. My husband and I are good at different things. He takes care of his responsibilities and I take care of mine. Our time together is peaceful and (usually) fun as a result. I'm happy in my marriage and I'm thankful my husband doesn't want or expect me to think or act like a man.

    [–][deleted] 12 points13 points  (5 children)

    [...]I was the manager of the household, and that being manager was a lot of thankless work.

    If I were to point out random emotional labor duties I carry out[...] he would take it as me saying, “Look at everything I’m doing that you’re not. You’re a bad person for ignoring me and not pulling your weight."

    To me, the entire thing about "emotional labor" in the home comes from the woman wanting to be told what to do instead of having to tell the man what to do. She doesn't want the stress of being in charge, or as the "manager of the household" as they like to put it.

    She's actually making a strong argument about why she wants to be submissive to her husband and that she wants him to take control of the household. I'm sure these people would never use that language, but that's exactly what's going on.

    Gender roles can help you bring harmony into your home.

    And that folds right into this.

    [–]RubyWooToo3 Stars 7 points8 points  (3 children)

    That's what I got out of the article, too. This is also a classic case of going to your captain with the solution and not the problem.

    If she said, "I'm tired and I can't keep up with the housework, what can we do about it?" he probably would've gone into problem-solving mode on his own and maybe given the possibility of a housekeeper more thought, since he came up with the idea on his own.

    [–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor 7 points8 points  (1 child)

    From the sound of it, this relationship is off the rails before we even get to the 'too much house work issue'. The guy is happy to do any tasks she assigns as long as she assigns them - which is the feminist dream isn't it?

    The problem as I see it, is that running the house is constant and repetitive. This constant is both active and mental. If you have to assign tasks every day then it doesn't take anything off your plate because you have to keep thinking about them (no mental break) and keep reassigning them (little bit of an activity break but still "work" involved). When running the house isn't your sole job you are then adding that work to office work. That is a lot of stuff to constantly have hanging out in your head.

    So yes, I bet if the husband took a more active role in leading, she'd feel much better. She'd probably even feel better with the same workload if he was able to take some of the mental work (making the decisions, tracking progress of longer term tasks whatever) off her plate.

    Also: I hate the term emotional labor. It makes me want to be mean to the person using it. I wish I could articulate why but I simply don't like it.

    [–]rpwtoss 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    I think this is a really good point. It's honestly more stressful for me to try to keep on top of telling someone what to do than it is to just do it myself (because then I have to monitor whether or not they've actually done the thing that needs doing).

    In terms of emotional labor- I think the idea is to reference the stuff that's different than housework. Making sure he tells his parents happy birthday on their birthdays, making sure little Johnny has a present for the birthday party he's going to this weekend, sending out thank you notes, checking in on sick friends/family members, etc.

    It's the idea that in addition to holding down a full time job and doing the majority of the housework, there is a whole other level of "stuff" that women have to keep track of that men most of the time don't even realize exists. (Of course men don't realize it exists because they don't care about that sort of stuff, which is why it's stuff that women deal with in the first place.)

    [–]rpwtoss 5 points6 points  (0 children)

    This was an exact conversation I had with my husband a few months ago. I said I was feeling overwhelmed with all of the housework on top of everything else I was juggling at that point in time- he wasn't willing to take the work on himself but immediately suggested we hire a housekeeper to give me more breathing room. (Three days later my hormones adjusted back to normal and I stopped feeling panicked and overwhelmed and everything was good again. 🙄)

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Agreed. There was another line in the article about her "assigning tasks" to her husband where I really saw that she just didn't want to be in charge.

    [–]Lucretia99 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    As soon as she said "I control the budget" I'm thinking that's the first mistake. All these women just need to read the surrendered wife and they'd be happy.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)

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    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    that our species has been carrying out since it's existence.

    Right?!

    Myself included.

    I know that feel...a very mature thing to realize though.

    [–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 2 points3 points  (1 child)

    Very good post!

    Female nature is to never be satisfied. As much as he'll give her, she won't be happy. That's female nature. Some women understand this and learn to be happy with what they have, others are taught to be happy with what they have, but if left to her own natural inclination, a woman will never be happy. On the contrary, the more that's given to her, the more she'll demand and the more unhappy she'll be.

    Understanding our nature will help us channel it in a way that's beneficial.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    Female nature is to never be satisfied.

    It's true. Wish it weren't, but from experience and observation, when left unchecked (especially when it starts as children), the female imperative is to take take take. It makes sense in that we want to provide for ourselves and our children (which in the past we had in high numbers) and have evolved to be selfish. Otherwise we would perish or get taken advantage of. However, it does need to be kept in check.

    [–]Luckylancer96 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    What to do if boht husband and wife are working? Sometimes there is no masculine works around and wife work+ do chores while husband work but do nothing at home because there is no masculine chores?

    It will be tiresome to work and do all chores(cook, clean, laundry etc. What do you suggest in this scenario?

    I think halftime housekeeper every 2-3 days can help but i wonder other options.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (0 children)

    I'd suggest you divide things in a very specific way. Like I clean bathrooms and take out trash and you clean kitchens and other spaces. You cook Monday-Thursday and I'll do Fri-Sun. Try to base it on what each person is best at.

    [–]Willow-girl 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    When there is a clear gender divide, it is understood who does what. The support from each spouse is equal, and the thanks is implicit. It is very easy to tell when you are fulfilling your obligations, and it's very clear when you're being fully supported. (This is the same reason hierarchy functions in most societies, but that is a topic for another day.) Without this delineation, your entire home life can easily devolve into constant bickering.

    I read an article in The Atlantic awhile back that talked about couples and household chores. One finding was that the happiest couples seem to have clearly delineated duties. Both people knew what was expected of them ... they weren't sitting around waiting for the other person to take out the trash, etc. That made a lot of sense to me, and it's pretty much the way we do things around here. I clean things and he fixes things, lol.

    I'm not sure things always have to be divided strictly along gender lines ... I actually like mowing the lawn, lol. But having a system avoids a lot of silent expectations, disappointment and resentment.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    Yeah, I mean honestly, these aren't laws...a clear divide is very important, and if you deviate a little you're not gonna get stopped by the Life Police.

    I actually like mowing the lawn

    So there's this yard that needs mowing...maybe it's my yard...

    [–]ThatStepfordGalEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (0 children)

    I can only nod and agree! Roles gives a greater sense of responsibility and clear lines simply make it easier discussing and negotiating household management. There are no grey areas and people will become more proud since they are solely responsible for their assigned gender role tasks.

    [–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (9 children)

    Gender roles can help you bring harmony into your home.

    Yes, and no.

    Good communication, trust, loyalty, empathy, compassion, patience, and gratitude are all needed for a solid foundation to build a relationship on.

    ^ Without this foundation, that's when everything really falls apart.

    Gender roles are simply.. a side effect. It's something that an outsider will see when they look in on your relationship. They will nod their heads and say "see, traditional gender roles guarantee a harmonious marriage and family life".

    The way RP tends to go on about it, you'd think gender roles were some kind of magic that automatically brings out the best in anyone.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 2 points3 points  (8 children)

    I see your point and those things do come into play, but that's actually classic BP thinking. By all means, gender roles do not solve all problems, but they really do solve most of them. Things like "good communication" and "gratitude" are very gendered (i.e. expressing gratitude to your wife might come in the form of giving her a gift, and her expressing gratitude to her husband might come in the form of being sexually eager). Sometimes it really is the simplist answer, which is what TRP is all about.

    Edit: I'd argue that good communication etc are the commom side effects of gender roles, not the other way around.

    [–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (7 children)

    Redpill is great for learning how to bridge gender differences and communicate better.

    However, there's a lot of assuming when it comes to "gender roles".

    Assuming without proper communication is putting the cart before the horse, imo.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (6 children)

    You're right, there's a ton of assuming in gender roles. But that's whole point. It used to be that the assumptions were very clear, so it was an efficient system. Now it's inefficient because we in the Western world have decided gender roles are some mysterious force that someone made up instead of being something pretty clearly delimited across the world and across civilizations for the past 10,000 years. And before 10,000 years ago, there were still clear gender roles, only they were different due to the fact that everyone had hunter-gatherer societies. It's really a matter of matriarchy vs. patriarchy. But the roles are clear in each system.

    [–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor 0 points1 point  (5 children)

    It used to be that the assumptions were very clear, so it was an efficient system.

    I see RP as a general guideline that only applies to the majority (60% is also considered a majority). The system didn't last because of the minority who were miserable conforming.

    I'm not saying the system doesn't work. I also have no issue with gender roles.

    However, for an RPW going for "a quality man worth marrying", she'll have to keep in mind that such a man is not going to be the average guy. I think this is where RP advice falls short, because RP fundamentals cater to the average guy's needs and interests.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

    That's true that she won't be aiming for he average guy. But it's the same that many RP men won't be aiming for the average girl. It used to be that most people were "red pilled" (Probably like 97% I'd say, basing that on the #s of self-proclaimed LGBT people). What people seem to misunderstand about the past and about TRP is that these have never been 100% true and there have always been more masculine women and more feminine men and people who don't conform.

    So yeah, you're right that they do work for the majority of people (60%), but I think the majority should define the rule, not the exception.

    [–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor 2 points3 points  (3 children)

    That's true that she won't be aiming for he average guy. But it's the same that many RP men won't be aiming for the average girl.

    Yep. This has been something that fascinated me for awhile, because it's just so much at odds with the guidelines for each side lol If I was single and looking, I'd be very confused.

    It used to be that most people were "red pilled" (Probably like 97% I'd say

    I actually grew up in such an environment (religious community), where it seems like 90+% people were into traditional gender roles. Most relationships look good on the surface, but that's all.

    Because assumptions and expectations were the norm that everyone's expected to conform to, relationships tend to have conflicts from either misunderstandings or outright lack of investment to really communicate, either from disinterest, or fear of bad consequences.

    I think the majority should define the rule, not the exception.

    I agree with this in a general context, but I don't think it applies very well in the context of long term relationships.

    There're just too many variables when it comes to nurturing compatibility for the long term, that only good communication and flexibility of roles can achieve that.

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    Well the other part of being truly "red pilled," which I'm sure you know, is realizing that happiness was never the point of marriage. Emotional fulfillment and happiness were side effects. Marriage was a social and economic contract meant to produce children, provide sex for a man, provisions for all, and a stable unit for the family to revolve around. IMO happiness isn't really the point of life, but I'm about to go down a rabbit hole here.

    [–]durtykneesEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (1 child)

    Preventing or managing conflicts keep things running smoothly (a utilitarian outcome), and isn't anything to do with happiness (an emotion). Happiness is an emotional side effect, yes.

    IMO happiness isn't really the point of life

    Hmmm.. my opinion is, again, "Yes, and no." lol But perhaps some other time, or a different thread.

    but I'm about to go down a rabbit hole here.

    It's ok, I take full responsibility for starting the rabbit hole by initiating this exchange in the first place :p

    [–]SouthernAthenaEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

    Haha I wouldn't respond if I didn't want an exchange!

    [–]Xtinamina 0 points1 point  (0 children)

    " 'What bothers me the most about having any conversation around emotional labor is being seen as a nag,' says Kelly Burch, a freelance journalist who works primarily from home. 'My partner feels irritated and defensive by the fact that I'm always pointing out what he's not doing. It shuts him down. I understand why it would be frustrating from his perspective, but I haven't figured out another way to make him aware of all the emotional and mental energy I'm spending to keep the house running.' "

    I'm sorry, but is this an article from "The Onion"? Just wow.