Well, I don't know about what will happen when my girlfriend and I will raise a child together, but at the moment I do most of the things that could be considered "traditional" women's work. I think that most of my male friends from the Netherlands tend to do more of the domestic chores than their female partners.
However, if I were to talk to some of my older relatives, especially the generation of my grandparents, they have very strict ideas about what the genders should, and should not do.
Men need to emancipate themselves from the gender stereotypes just like women do, it's just that the negative effects of those stereotypes are less pronounced and less damaging to men (in general). But as time goes by and more and more men decide for themselves what it means to be a man, the less these stereotypes will hold true. It does require that men and women stand up for themselves especially versus the older generations and the more conservative inclined people.
A long time ago, when my grandfather came to visit my place, he and my uncle were making fun of my kitchen (full of herbs, spices, oils etc.) and how clean and tidy the place was. "When are you coming out of the closet?", he asked me. So I replied to him that I am comfortable enough with my own sexuality to not be frightened by the idea of doing "women's" work, but that I understood that such confidence is not for all, and that continuous enforcement of gender stereotypes is necessary for those people whom are unsure and uncomfortable about their own sexuality.
That has since become sort of my standard reply to whomever is ignorant enough to think that my sexuality is linked to me doing the work that is tradtionally thought of as "women's" work, it does work quite well, nobody ever brings up the subject more than once.
To say two people can be equal to me I think is an exaggeration. The only cause we can fight for or that we can hope for is equity where there is equal opportunity for every one, fair treatment and so on but not equality. I don't think it is even possible for identical twins to be equal
First off let me say that Erin is my wife (she beats me....jk lol) and we have some differences of opinions on feminism etc. While i do agree that many men do need to re-think and redefine what it is to be a "man" in our modern age, I also think that it is a change that many women need too. I think society is slowly getting to the point where gender roles are what we make of them but has a long way to go. For instance a lot of traditionally male jobs, such as the trades, are run by people that are of the mindset that when a child is sick or has an appointment it should be the mother that takes care of it. I also feel that we can never be truly equal, one parent has to play more of a nurturer, which makes them more available as a confidant, and the other more of a disciplinarian. This doesn't mean that the nurturer never lays down the law or doesn't stand wholly behind their partner or vice versa... I personally would like to be able to take time off work when my kid is sick but my employer is a redneck who seems to be very oldschool with gender roles.
As far as work around the home I feel that in many homes men tend to take on jobs that can be very time consuming (long hours) to bring home decent paychecks and therefore have less time to do a lot of what was considered "women's work" not to mention that in general one person tends to have the skills that are required for house hold maintenance. Obviously this is not always the case, in some homes neither have that skill set or both do etc. So in this way I think things are equal yet different, in a home where both have these skills I think that most modernly thinking couples will share the work as evenly as is possible.
I also disagree that men aren't trying to do what women have traditionally done. An example is nursing which used to be predominantly women or secretarial work, we are seeing more men in these roles. In all reality things are fairly decent in the western world but we do need to keep the ball rolling, we must not allow things to stop changing and become stagnant. I would also put it out there that as more people become atheist more equality will be seen in the home, most religious groups are very strong in gender roles....
What do you think happens in gay and lesbian households? Do you think both guys compete for cooking time? Do both women compete for job income? No, you know that's not how it works.
When you have two adults in a 'team' arrangement, it makes sense for them to individually organise their team to their own best advantage. Trust me, the traditionally male activity of mowing the lawn does not use a different set of muscles to the female activity of vacuuming a house. A barbeque outdoors or a kitchen indoors - both places of cooking.
I agree with Onyango, that it is equality of pay that is important. You cannot have a fair society where the paycheck is geared around what is in your pants, rather than what is in your head.
I don't think society is in a place where there is a requirement for men and women to be "the same". That is not what equality is all about. I think that as long as the interface between a person or company or government does not favour gender, we can work the rest out privately.
I knew a guy who was a proud house-husband. I take my hat off to him for being so open about it. Contraceptives, taxation, benefits and salary have no business being gender-specific.
If a woman feels that her 'traditional' role is in the home taking care of the domestics, why should she not do so? Society can't change that by some kind of rule or law.
I see that 'society' seems to simply support the majority way as being the social norm. So why don't we focus on eliminating discrimination from a financial perspective, and see where that takes us first.
"You cannot have a fair society where the paycheck is geared around what is in your pants, rather than what is in your head."
We should put that up on a billboard somewhere.
Yeah, all the hookers would get a good laugh --
I don't feel you're being sexist, Erin, but I do think you're making an all-encompassing assumption. Not all men feel or act that way. But to cut you some slack, though not all of us are knuckle-draggers, far too many of us are.
Yeah, only men have to change for you to be equal. Makes sense.
Are you being sexist? Maybe. You're views are surely slanted in from the woman's point of view.
Lets look at it from the guy's side. First let me say, I'm a single dad that raise a daughter from one year old, held a full time job and went to college full time so I personally did my part. As far as guys go, how many women do you know that would date a guy that when asked "what do you do for a living" replies "oh, I'm a house dad" this would be acceptable? This is an acceptable and even admirable answer for women. That's a double standard. If you mean husbands that don't help with the kids, all my friends hold their kids to much! This is considering that the one that are not at war or working offshore, are working 80 hours a week.
There is so much about children's live that dads miss out on I'd like to end on this, when a marriage end in divorce, who usually gets custody? So dads don't just loose wives, they loose children.
The truth is parts of every relationship slants one way or the other. In the end men do in all honesty get more free time that women but women get the memories. To me this makes guys dumb. What is more important the 2012 super bowl or your kids championship game or their first steps?
Bye the way, in 18 years I managed to get $100 in child support from my ex. A guy wouldn't be so lucky. I think it levels out in the end. Just my opinion.