Are Modern Dudes Reasserting Their Manliness Through 'Guy' Chores?

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Men who work in female-dominated professions spend more time on "guy" chores like home repair, yard work, and car maintenance, according to the American Journal of Sociology. The study's author argues that it's not because these men might enjoy those activities, or because they're eager to help out around the house using the skills they're most comfortable with — it's obviously because they feel emasculated by hanging out with ladies all day and need to remember that they're manly, manly men. Wait, wasn't Work It canceled?

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Daniel Schneider, the study's author and a Princeton doctoral student, studied data from married heterosexual couples in the early 1990s who were asked their occupations and how much time they spent on household chores, and found that men who work in "gender-atypical" occupations (think secretaries, dental hygienists, and kindergarden teachers) spend an extra hour each week on fix-it "guy stuff," leaving their wives with "female-typed" tasks like laundry and cooking dinner. Likewise, women who work in male-dominated professions (drilling, mining, construction) pursue female chores, but not as consistently as the men in the female-dominated workplaces — perhaps, the article suggests, because they don't feel that their femininity is threatened, although I would surmise that it's also because no one actually enjoys doing laundry.

The way we work has changed so dramatically since the study's data was gathered, which was a few years before the dot-com bubble and more than a decade before the financial crisis and subsequent recession we're hurting from today. The tasks we define as "masculine" or "feminine" have also evolved, thanks to the rising numbers of stay-at-home dads and lady CEOs. I'm no doctoral student, but I'm just not that convinced by this study that men are truly concerned with bolstering their masculinity at home. I do agree with Schneider that "perceived threats to masculinity are still felt much more strongly in our society than threats to feminity" — again, remember that Work It was once a thing? — but the fact that some dudes in 1992 spent an extra hour a week tooling around in the shed is hardly cause for a trend piece.

Why Men in Female-Centric Professions Spend More Time on ‘Guy' Chores [TIME]

Image via Altafulla/Shutterstock.

DISCUSSION

By
Ari Schwartz: Dark Lord of the Snark

I can see this to some degree. I try to do as many chores around the house as possible (mostly because if I don't they usually don't happen— yay med student spouses!), but I really enjoy the "masculine" stuff. I get a weird pang of joy when I fix something or build something. I still do all of the other chores because, hey, shit needs doing, but given a choice I do prefer breakin' out the power tools to unloading the dishwasher.

It's not that I feel the need to bolster my masculinity or anything, but there is something inside my brain that goes, "OMG YAY SOMETHING BROKE I GET TO FIX IT NOW." I'm not saying that this is because I'm a dude, but I'm a dude and this is what happens. My n = 1, and therefore my model is awesome.

ON THE OTHER HAND, I sew better than my wife, and I am a pretty mean cook. Whatever needs done, I do, because that's how I roll. But laundry? Fuck laundry.