My Friend Has A Really Outdated View Of Gender Roles. How Do I Confront Her?
As a person of a certain age who has more friends who are or have been married than not, I can tell you that – no matter how far we’ve come as a society or how enlightened some of us claim to be – the workload in domestic relationships remains largely out of balance.
Especially if children are involved, way too many people still seem to think that it’s the woman’s job to maintain the children and home – even if she’s also working outside of it.
This OP had a disagreement with a friend over lunch when the friend complained that, even though both she and her spouse worked, he refused to do even the most basic work of cleaning up after himself at home.
I recently went out with a friend for lunch, and we were discussing our home lives as you do. She was complaining that her partner is really messy and he never even does basic stuff around the house like putting his laundry in the hamper and asked is my hubby was the same.
She’s works part time and her partner full time for reference.
Her innocent suggestion was that maybe the friend could do a percentage breakdown of how much time she spent on tasks in the home so he could see how her contributions stacked up to his own.
Hubby and I own a business together, though I am very much the key person in our business. The way we have our work/home life organized is I do 80% of the work in the business and pull super long hours and so he does 80% of the work in the home.
I asked if she could do a percentage breakdown with her partner to see if he could see how much work being in charge of the home was.
When the friend seemed slightly confused, OP explained the situation in her own home, where even though she does more of the business-running and he does more of the work in the house, the hours they spend on “care tasks” even out to about the same every week.
She was a bit confused and so I explained that it’s been months since I’ve done any laundry, I cook maybe once a week, but I do groceries and dishes, and my hubby does the school runs with the kids etc, and he spends around the same amount of time doing these home orientated tasks that I work extra in the business so that’s how we keep things fair.
We both get a whole day off once a week when nothing is expected of us and having everything broken down has really helped us not become resentful of each other and that we appreciate the work we both do to run both our home and our business.
We literally sat down and said ok, kid drop offs and pick ups take an hour each day, laundry takes 45 minutes, dishes take 20 minutes, grocery shopping takes an hour etc, then broke down the business stuff the same way and arranged our schedules so even though it’s not 50% each of home/business stuff, it’s 50% overall if that makes sense. I excel at work stuff, he’s way better at home stuff so it works for us.
The friend’s reaction? She wondered whether or not OP’s husband was secretly gay if he had accepted being emasculated like that at home.
She got really quiet and asked if I was sure my partner wasn’t gay.
I laughed and told her that’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.
Probably not the best reaction.
She said she wasn’t trying to be mean but that I was emasculating my partner and chances are he was scared to come out of the closet because his family is religious.
OP got defensive, saying that was ridiculous and that she’d rather have a partner than some guy who thinks he’s manly but is really nothing more than an extra child.
I told her that my partner isn’t scared of having an ambitious and strong wife, and I’d rather have a partner act like a partner than an extra child to tend to.
She got really teary and said I didn’t have to be mean.
Admittedly I was upset as I was pretty annoyed that she thought of my husband’s contribution to our lives as less masculine or that he’s gay for doing housework.
I think of him as extremely masculine and he’s very secure in himself.
Her friend was hurt and even after trying to backpedal a bit and explain the situation, is still not talking to OP.
We left and she sent me a message later saying that just because she chooses to live differently than me doesn’t make her any less than.
I replied that I was actually encouraging her to make her partner see the value of her work but she’s still very angry at me and isn’t talking to me.
Did OP go too far? What’s the best way to address a worldview like this? Reddit is weighing in below!
It could be that she just wanted someone to relate, but didn’t find it.
Some people aren’t actually looking to have their norms challenged.
Others think that, idk, being treated like a child should emasculate someone more than doing the dishes.
The friend’s statement would probably make anyone snappish, tbh.
And yeah, homophobia is gross.
This woman definitely isn’t wrong, but it is true that sometimes people are just wanting to crab, not look for solutions.
What do you think about this whole situation? Sound off in the comments!