I'm a Gender Warrior and Didn't Know It

In the WSJ ($) today there is an article about the assignment of family chores perpetuating traditional gender roles into the next generation:

The latest research suggests I'm not alone. The way parents are
divvying up and paying kids for chores suggests this is one family
battle that will extend well into the next generation and beyond.

A nationwide study by the University of Michigan's
Institute for Social Research shows boys ages 10 through 18 are more
likely than girls to be getting paid for doing housework -- even though
boys spend an average 30% less time doing chores. Boys are as much as
10 to 15 percentage points more likely than girls at various ages to be
receiving an allowance for doing housework, says the institute's newly
completed analysis of data on 3,000 children ages 10 through 18.

Boys may be handling more of the kinds of chores that
are regarded as a job that should be paid, such as lawnmowing,
speculates Frank Stafford, the University of Michigan economics
professor heading the research. Chores such as dishwashing or cooking,
often regarded as routine and done free, may fall more often to girls.
(The analysis is based on aggregate samples, and doesn't compare
treatment of siblings within individual families.)

Fortunately, the Coyote cubs are fighting these gender stereotypes.  My son does the dishes at night and does the family's laundry once a week (which is great, except you have to make allowances for a 12-year-old boy doing your laundry, like shrunken shirts).  My daughter just wants to lay around all day on the couch.  I thought this was a problem, but maybe she is just trying to break through gender stereotypes and be like her dad. 

This boy from the article seems to have mastered my personal approach to household chores:

Ms. Barlow says. "[my son will] be the first guy to weasel out of his chores.
He'll say, 'Oh, I dropped a plate, you probably don't want me to handle
those any more.' "

So young and he has already learned that critical male skill of learned incompetence.  Who says the schools today are broken?


  1. TH:

    > he has already learned that critical male skill of learned incompetence

    Weasling out of work is important to learn. It's what separates humans from animals; except the weasel. - Homer, Episode: When Bart joins the Boy Scouts

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  3. elambend:

    As the oldest of three boys, I was initially assigned with the mowing duties (on five acres, hilly, with trimming work) Eventually it was time to work in my middle brother (four years my junior) to mowing duties. He was horrible. After several tries, he was horrible and I 'got' my job back. Years later, my brother admitted that he just drove around aimlessly, thus sabotaged his product. Sneaky guy he is.

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