Re: male/female work issues
From: lilbert (
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2000 11:16:53 -0700 (MST)
Thanks, Racheli, for your insightful comments.

It's interesting how people have taken that phrase and responded to it as if
it's the only thing I wrote. The men who have written *have* been defensive,
and I'll repeat what I wrote to one of them privately before: none of the
women have written to say that I'm out of line. That says to me that we need
to be aware of gender role stereotyping (yes, it can happen to all you
terribly enlightened males of cohousing!) and try to make all work valued.

I maintain that by and large, men are much more likely to do work that is
visible and/or well recognized. Study after study has concluded that men do
less domestic work, even if you include changing light bulbs and taking out
the trash!

I find the male protestations here to be a little disingenuous, and hope
that everyone can take a step back and try to see himself more clearly. If
what I'm saying is *really* bothering you, it's likely it has hit a little
too close to home. Remember, I was talking about MY community, not
necessarily yours. When the honeymoon is over in a few years, will all of
those of you who say men are doing their fair share still be doing it? When
nobody is watching?

And yes, comments about "feeling sorry for my community" do hurt. I have
been living here for over seven years, and have been contributing to this
list for five or so. I think I deserve the benefit of the doubt and more

Liz Stevenson
Southside Park Cohousing
Sacramento, California


>>From Racheli Gai
> In response to the following exchange:
>> >> I'd fall over in a dead faint if I saw a man start to clean up after a
>> potluck.<<
>> If that's really true, I feel sorry for your community.  That isn't true
>> here, and I would suggest that it probably isn't as one-sided as you think.
>> >> The men here do alot of cleanup, after regular common house meals. But if
>> it is just a potluck, they never do. My guess is it's the difference between
>> recognized and unrecognized work. <<
>> Same as above.  Look around, though.  The men are probably doing something;
>> moving tables, packing things up, putting food away, getting the kids home.
>> Even doing dishes.  I doubt they're just sitting in the den, smoking cigars
>> and drinking brandy.
> The "I doubt..." comes across to me as defensive and perhaps more than
> a little snide.  Certainly it doesn't seem to be based on first-hand knowledge
> of the situation which Liz (I think) described, but on Roger's belief that men
> (at least men in a cohousing community) wouldn't do such a thing.
> Judging from my own experience, it's very common for women to engage
> in clean-up work than it is for men.
> It's also very common for men to become defensive when women describe
> how they do more cleaning than the men do (or more babysitting...)
> [Notice that in both cases I said "very common", not: "In all cases" :)]
> Another point I'd like to raise is that often, for one parent to be able to
> contribute work directly to the community, another parent/adult needs
> to work too - to take care of children.  Without the support work, the
> more apparent contribution can't take place.  This is another form of
> work which goes often unnoticed (except in cases where there is a community
> event, and childcare becomes "institutionalized").
> R.
> Sonora Cohousing,
> Tucson, AZ

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