It is common for women to take on more of the household chores than men. Decades ago, this was the case because men went to work, and women stayed home and took care of the home and the children. Today, many women work. Some women make more money than their husbands do, but they are still responsible for the household chores.
On a typical day, women spend more time leaning than men. There is a common myth that says that men are “dirt-blind.” When a woman walks into a room, she can see dust bunnies under the couch, she notices clutter on the tables, and laundry stacked up. For some reason, men cannot see this. This is why men were believed to be “dirt-blind.” A recent study has debunked this theory. Men notice messes as much as women. Here’s why they don’t clean up.
Regardless of gains in education and employment, women still clean more than men. On average, women spend about an hour and 20 minutes each day doing laundry, cooking, and cleaning. About one-third of that time is dedicated to cleaning. Men spend an average of a half-hour doing these duties, and they spend only 10 minutes tidying up and cleaning. These statistics make people wonder why women are cleaning more since women today are working just as much as men. In Sweden, the government policies are geared toward gender equality, and still, Swedish women are doing twice as much housework as men, even though women work full-time jobs. A group of researchers decided to perform a study to figure out why.
The study was published in Sociological Methods and Research. There were 327 men and 295 women who participated in the study. The subjects of the study varied in age, background, education, economic level, and social standing.
Each of the participants was given one of two pictures. Half of the men and women were given a photo of a room that was clean and free of clutter. The other half of the men and women were given a photo of a room that was dirty and cluttered, with dishes in the sink and clothes thrown around. Each group was asked to describe the pictures that they were looking at. The researchers wanted to see if the men and women looking at the photos would describe them differently.
The researchers found the results of the study shocking. The men and women who looked at the photos of the dirty rooms both described them in similar ways. Both sexes described these rooms as being dirty, which proved to the researchers that men don’t suffer from dirt-blindness. Now that this theory was debunked, it led the researchers to wonder why men can deal with dirt and women cannot.
The researchers thought that maybe social expectations had something to do with the reason that men cleaned more than women. Because women were once the main housekeepers, they are expected to keep cleaner homes. Since men were the primary breadwinners decades ago, we don’t have such high expectations. The researchers decided to test this theory, and they showed a group of participants photos of two different homes. One home was Jennifer’s home, and the other was John’s home. Those who saw Jennifer’s home held her at a higher standard than John. Jennifer was called lazy and sloppy, and John was called busy and preoccupied. This proves that people expect more from women than men when it comes to cleaning.
Some of the participants called both Jennifer and John lazy; however, they used the term in different ways. When describing John as lazy, they made it sound like it was acceptable and expected because he was a man. When they described Jennifer as lazy, she was looked down upon for her laziness. The researchers found that when referring to men, lazy isn’t necessarily a negative word, but when describing Jennifer, it was. This is further proof that women are judged more harshly than men when it comes to cleanliness.
Regardless of the results of the study, it is unlikely that social expectations when it comes to cleanliness between men and women will change any time soon. It has been 60 to 70 years since women rarely worked and were housewives. In all this time, nothing has changed. The fact that nothing has changed shows that these social expectations may never change.
Some good news came out of the study. It has been determined that men are not dirt-blind; therefore, women can expect their husbands and boyfriends to do just as good of a job cleaning as they do. Men don’t have a problem seeing dirt; some just choose not to.