“Doing gender” – Gender Roles in the Household

This post takes a look at traditional gender roles within the home and how not all families/couples/groups do the roles that society expects them to do. This photo essay depicts how sharing chores around the house redefines traditional gender roles by taking away the idea that women are in charge of all household duties .

Making Dinner

This is Matt. In this photograph he is making dinner, after having picked everything up to make it. A stereotypical gender role is for the woman to make dinner for the man. This stereotypical gender role is expected from the woman, disregarding the possibility that she may have had a long, exhausting day at work, or at home with the kids, after being in class, or for whatever reason. Here, Matt is flipping that gender role by being the one making dinner for me, after I’ve come home from a long day of class and not feeling well.

Washing the Dishes

This photograph shows Matt doing the dishes. In traditional gender roles, the women has to cook, but also clean up after any meal. Here, Matt is doing the dishes because he doesn’t expect me to do them just for being a woman.

Taking out the Trash

Sharing household chores is one way of undoing gender. Traditionally, women are expected to be the ones in charge of keeping the house clean. By sharing household chores, we are challenging the idea that women are supposed to be the housekeepers and men the breadwinners. We are both equals within our space and to each other.

Cleaning the Mirrors

By not “doing gender” the way that it is traditionally done, we are creating a space of mutual respect and support. I don’t expect him to provide everything that a man is “supposed to provide.” We work as a team and get things done together.

Still Himself

At the end of the day, Matt is still himself. He doesn’t think that his masculinity was ever challenged because he helps with the chores. He can still shave his beard, drink a beer with the boys, and wear whatever he wants. He also believes that household responsibilities should be shared between everyone living there. Regardless of how they identify.

4 thoughts on ““Doing gender” – Gender Roles in the Household”

  • I really enjoyed how you shared great examples of undoing gender, especially in households! It is still common to see some households still hold the belief that the women do the cooking and cleaning. I know I see it quite often in older households.

  • My older brother just recently moved in with his girlfriend of 2 years. She is a good friend of mine and divulged to me that this is one of the main problems between the two of them! He has laissez-faire approach to the housework while she expects things to be cleaned and tidied everyday. If only more relationships could look like this one! Expectations in gender roles has always been out of proportion its refreshing to see couples working as a team instead of a patriarchy.

  • Your post definitely highlighted “undoing” gender! I liked how you put emphasis on the roles women are expected to do simply because they are women, yet guys don’t?. I feel it gets tiring being a woman and having to cover all those duties, so its nice to see there are men out there willing to go beyond cultural expectations!

  • I really like how your post touched on working together as a team to build your relationship and get chores done around the house. I wonder how many fights stem from the woman “not cleaning” or the men “not providing”. I am happy to see that you and your SO have a mutually respectful relationship and do not expect anything from each other solely because of your gender.

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