Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm sorry I've been sort of MIA from posting lately, but I'm working on some big projects at work. (I'll tell you all about them next week.)

I had to take a break, however, to talk about a post I read recently on The Huffington Post in which Lisa Earle McLeod asks "Why do women begrudge men a nap?"

The short essay seeks to explain why women get so pissed when they see their men taking a nap on a Saturday afternoon. She argues that while men view their homes as a refuge, for most women it's "the place where the real work gets done." So we get angry when our men nap because it's similar to seeing a colleague sleeping on the job.

Here's an excerpt:

When a woman sees a pile of dirty dishes and laundry strewn about the floor, we don't just see a mess, we literally feel failure. We could have spent the workday brokering world peace, but if our home isn't running smoothly, we feel out of whack. It might not make sense, but it's the way most of us are wired.

For men, home is a place to escape from work. When he walks in, he doesn't see a system out of balance, disorganized supplies or poorly maintained equipment. All he sees is a long soft comfortable surface -- which if you knock the pizza boxes and old newspapers off -- is the perfect place to lay down.

I think McLeod means well, but here's why this post rubs me the wrong way.
Not only is there no discussion of the problematic assumption that women should be in charge of household chores, but when trying to explain to men why they're a big deal to us she compares them to "the project of your life." I'm sorry but cleaning my curtains and bathroom rugs ranks nowhere near writing a bestseller. I'm just sayin'...

Don't get me wrong. I think homemakers and stay-at-home moms are awesome. But posts like these, in my opinion, just foster the stereotype that cooking and cleaning should be our first priority. Sure, there's nothing wrong with them being top priority if you want them to be, but if they're not that doesn't mean you're less of a woman. Just as my husband isn't less of a man because he does the laundry and knows how to load a dishwasher every once and a while.

And for the record, we take naps together.
Posted by in  on 7:27 AM 5 comments

5 comments:

  1. This is insulting to both women and men.

    Am I misinterpreting this, but is the writer insinuating that men are nothing but cavemen, stepping over cocaine-coated razors and dead bodies just so a brother can flop on the couch?

    No sister, if I see crap all over the house I'm pissed. Just cuz I'm male doesn't mean I don't take pride in my surroundings.

    The "men are slobs and women are maids" mentality went out with the Atari and Menudo.

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  2. I don't know. I think she's speaking to a particular audience, and for that group, this article may not be that insulting. It may even help some.

    Many women are married to men who don't expect to do and have to be begged to do housework. Those women probably are angry when their husbands nap, then get up confused because the house isn't clean with children running around (especially if both work). I think this article is just suggesting that women learn not be so angry and men understand why women are angry.

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  3. it's the author herself here, I'm not trying to be insulting, Chantay is right, I'm speaking to a very specific audience of women with children who are frustrated because they find themselves saddled with everything and can't understand why they are the only ones who carry around a running to-do list.

    The men are slobs women are maid mentality might be dated, insulting, hurtful and stupid, but it's also alive in well in suburbia, and I get letters about it everyday,

    Chantay is right, I'm just trying to create some peace for people who are frustrated with the way their life is playing out.

    By no means did I mean to imply that everyone felt or acted like this.

    It's hard to cover all sides of an issue in 575 words

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  4. Lisa, thanks so much for stopping by Georgia Mae. I understand that you weren't implying that all couples are like this. And I know that the situation you described does apply to many couples and that's what bothers me -- that even in 2009 a woman would look at a sink full of dishes and feel like a failure. I know there was no way you could have dissected this in such a short post, but I guess I would have just appreciated an acknowledgement of how problematic this is.

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