Thursday, October 29, 2020

New Blog Address

 Welcome! This blog has served me well for 4 years, but it's time to integrate it with my website. You can find all future content at

Monday, October 26, 2020

Household Chore Inequity is Abuse: A Manifesto

The notion that men can't, or shouldn't, or won't do their fair share of household labor is everywhere. 

I see it from women talking about how they spent Mother's Day watching the kids while dad went golfing. 

It's on websites that offer advice to women about how to get their husbands to "pitch in." Because, of course, it's not the bare minimum for a man to prevent his house from caving in and his children from showing up to school naked. It's "helping." And getting men to do it is women's responsibility. Popular magazines never draft articles entitled, "How to Stop Being a Lazy Asshole Who Buys His Free Time With His Partner's Exhaustion." 

I see it on advice columns, where women are presented with the impossible paradox: ask him to pull his own weight, clean the damn kitchen, and raise the kids he helped make and be considered a nag. Or they can choose not to speak up, and be told that they should have asked. Men, you see, are incapable of comprehending that houses need cleaning and children need food and education without being told so by a woman. 

I see it in endless message board posts from mothers of infants. They're so exhausted they can't function, but their precious husbands can't possibly be troubled to get up with the baby so mom can sleep. I see it on postpartum support boards, where women whose vaginas or stomachs have just been ripped open are still making meals for overgrown man-babies and trying to keep the house clean while their darling husbands whine about their own exhaustion. 

I see it every time I get involved in any sort of social justice activism involving children. There are women everywhere, advocating for their kids' IEPs, demanding accountability from school boards, strategizing about how to construct more equitable public schools. The men are nowhere to be found. 

I've seen it in multiple books about household labor inequity written by feminist writers. The writers detail the shocking ways their husbands buy free time with female exhaustion. They tell tales of men who went camping following the birth of a new baby, who insist on 12 hours of free time every Saturday, even though both parents work and mom is left home with the kids. They correctly identify this behavior as problematic. But then they just keep accepting it. Those silly men. You know how they are. They can't really be expected to change. 

And most discouraging of all, I see it from women who say that they just can't demand that their husband do his fair share of labor because they would end up divorced. 

Maybe they should be divorced. 

We already have a word for someone who derives pleasure from someone else's suffering, exhaustion, and illness: abuser. 

Household chore inequity is a form of domestic abuse. It forces women to work themselves into exhaustion and illness. Married women live shorter, less healthy and happy lives. Married men live longer. It's not funny. There's no cheerful battle of the sexes spin to be put on men who are slowly killing their partners with their own laziness, year after year. 

It is not natural or normal for women to do all or most of the household labor and childrearing, especially in a society where both parents now work outside of the home. Even if you're a stay-at-home mom, though, doing all of the household labor means you're working 168 hours to his 40. 

There is no vacuuming gene. 

There is no hormone that causes women to know that children need advocacy at school, clean clothes at home, and food every day. 

This is basic human knowledge. Men know that children need care, that houses cave in if you don't keep them up, and that leaving food on the counter causes bugs and rodents to appear. They know you have to eat to live. They are neither innately incompetent nor incapable of learning. Yet that's what those who would have us believe this is natural want us to think. 

Every time I write about this topic, it goes viral. Women reach out with tales of incompetent and lazy men. Then there's backlash from incels who believe that, why yes actually, men are inferior to women and just cannot be reasonably expected to do the same amount of work. And then nothing happens. Because deep down, we all already know that it's unfair that women have to work outside of the home, then come home to endlessly work there, too. On some level, most of us understand that this is bad for families and society. We know women suffer when they can't get any time to themselves. We know treating male leisure as more important than female health is sexist. 

We also, as a culture, believe that men should never have to give anything up for women. Our entire society has embraced male entitlement as an ultimate value. Sure, she might be recovering from birth. Yes, having to get up 6 times a night and then cook and clean all day might mean she gets postpartum depression. But we can't ask him to give up his golf game! Heaven forfend. 

A person whose sole contribution to the family is a paycheck is replaceable. This should not be even close to enough to earn endless labor from exhausted women. 

It's not a weird quirk of marriage. It's not inevitable, or funny, or just the way men are, or any of the other things we say as we laugh it off. 

Does he get leisure time when she doesn't? 

Does she spend her "free" time cleaning and doing things for the family while he spends it golfing? 

Is his time more valuable than hers? 

Then it's an abusive relationship. And just as nothing can justify hitting a woman or calling her derogatory names, nothing can justify taking away endless hours of her life because a man is just too lazy to do his fair share. 

Like other forms of abuse, it will not get better on its own. It's not an accident. 

Read that again: It's not an accident. 

Time is the most valuable resource we have. Once it is gone, we can never get it back. If your partner leverages your fatigue into personal free time, they are stealing precious weeks and months. They are stealing your life. 


Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Hello! You've Reached the Not All Men Hotline!


Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

Welcome to the Not All Men Hotline! We care about you and your #notallmen emergency, and are here to help. No one is available to take your call at this time, because we have been inundated with #notallmen emergencies. Please enjoy one of our helpful pre-recorded messages. 

You've been directed to this hotline because you have derailed a post about women's pain with a reminder that some men aren't sexist. We understand that anything that paints men as less than heroic and perfect can feel like an emergency and a threat in a patriarchal society. We sympathize with your concerns, and so we're here to address them and explain why your #notallmen proclamations are harmful, derailing, and make you look like a misogynist.