"The Week the Women Went" Explores Gender Roles: Can You Live Without Them?
9 months ago
The men of Yemassee, S.C. find out for the rest of us
On the upside, a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics discovered that men who have daughters are more likely to let go of traditional gender roles. Participants were followed from 1979 and interviewed annually until 1994, but they were asked specifically about their views on gender roles in the years of 1979, 1982, 1987 and 2004.
It was revealed that over time, after the birth of a daughter, fathers began to release their grip on defining statements including, "A woman's place is in the home, not in the office or shop" and "A wife who carries out her full family responsibilities doesn't have time for outside employment."
Still, both Heasley and Shira Tarrant, associate professor of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at California State University, note that differences in class and race can play a factor in how gender roles are implemented in a household.
Tarrant said, "Research shows that in the highest income families, men are the least likely to participate in domestic work. Among working class and poor families, male partners are more likely to pull their weight when it comes to cooking, cleaning, and caregiving."
Additionally, Heasley said, "African American women tend to have a stronger sense of 'I can do it all' efficacy, so the tension there for a black male is, 'What am I good for?' If black women can make as much or more money and can have a higher education than them, it becomes, 'Where's my masculinity?'"
While the value of a parent should no doubt be measured by the likes of gender neutral qualities such as being emotionally available and supportive of one's family, if a price tag had to be put on parenting, Tarrant has a pretty good estimate of the monetary value of a woman's work.
"Think about what we would have to pay—in dollars—for the daily work that women do for free," she said. "We can’t put a price tag on love. But if we had to hire a nanny, a masseuse, a chef, chauffeur, psychologist and a sex surrogate, it would cost plenty. Even though men are stepping up their game, women are still responsible for the majority of this work. If moms got paid, their salaries would fall between $70-$113K, depending on whether they are also working for wages outside the home."
In the meantime, the rest of us will have to tune in to see if the men of Yemassee, S.C. manage to transform themselves into passable domestic divas before the moms come home and corn dogs become a dinner time staple.
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