Is This The Most Compelling Reason For Men To Do Housework?

doubtfire-12Photo: Courtesy Of 20th Century Fox.
In the film Mrs. Doubtfire, Robin Williams dresses up as a woman and does housework just so he can spend time with his children after his divorce. While Williams is undoubtedly a great comedic actor, I'd argue that one of the reasons the movie was (and remains) such a big part of our cultural consciousness was the sheer novelty of a guy putting aside societal expectations of what a man should be and taking on a more active role in his children's lives.
Advertisement
While times have definitely changed since the early 1990s, I don't think it's a stretch to say we haven't come as far as we'd have liked concerning gender roles in the (heterosexual) home. But, it seems there's another concrete case to be made for men doing housework (besides, you know, gender equality). A new study, set to be published in the next issue of Psychological Science, found that a more equitable division of labor between Mom and Dad can play a big role in the career aspirations of children — particularly girls.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia recruited 326 kids between the ages of 7 and 13, along with one or both of their parents. All of the subjects were asked to complete a survey on the division of chores in their household and how gender roles were constructed in their family. Then, the researchers assessed the kids' ambitions as well as whether they thought these should be focused more on family or on work.
The results showed that the way gender roles were defined by children's parents — both implicitly and in the division of labor — had a major impact on how both boys and girls viewed their place in the world. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the authors note, "The more mothers enacted and identified with traditional roles at home, the more their children (especially daughters) envisioned themselves fulfilling gender-stereotypical roles in the future."
However, the most influential factor upon the girls' aspirations was their father's role in the home. Dads who shared housework more equally with their partner were more likely to have daughters who had professional ambitions outside of the house.
Of course, it's almost a no-brainer that growing up in a household where gender roles are defined in a "nontraditional" way would give children a less rigid idea of what their own future might look like. But, this report is the first to identify what study author Alyssa Croft calls "a unique gatekeeper role" that fathers play in the home. Obviously, there's absolutely nothing wrong with men or women making the decision to take the lead on the housework front. But, a little bit of dad laundry duty, it seems, could go quite a long way toward making sure that all kids realize the full spectrum of what their future could hold.
Advertisement

More from Trends

Nearly a month after Selena Gomez announced she would be taking time off from work to focus on her ongoing battle with lupus, her friend Michael B. ...
Earlier this year, it was reported that women are having kids later than ever — and now we may know why. According to research from the Fertility ...
With the ubiquity of the Dougie, the whip, and the New Jersey running man in popular culture, many have probably accepted these dances as mere trends. In...
In Status: Stressed, Refinery29 is teaming up with Secret, the expert in stress sweat, to have an honest, passionate conversation about the role of stress...
One mom has a bone to pick with modern-day parenting, and it all has to do with vitamins. In a now-viral Facebook post, Bunmi Laditan lamented the ...
Can you boost your self-esteem just by changing the way you stand? For years, a few scientists — most recognizably one by the name of Amy Cuddy, PhD (...
You probably already know that Donald Trump has a record of making sexist comments. But a new ad from Hillary Clinton's campaign powerfully highlights ...
(Paid Content) In this age of label-aversion, hookup apps, and social-media flirtation (nothing says romance like a DM, right?), few would disagree that ...
When photographer Roger Kisby shot the Adult Video News Awards for the first time last year, he wasn't sure what to expect. Once there, he was drawn to the...
This article was originally published on April 8, 2016. Photographer Marcos Alberti's photo project, 3 Glasses Later, could be considered a probing ...
It was the breakup heard 'round the world: On Tuesday, we learned that Brangelina was officially no more. Then, as we were all recovering from the news, ...
Many of us can probably remember being told at some point during grade school that the pesky little boy who won't stop pulling on our pigtails or throwing ...
It's hard enough to remember to smile every once in a while, let alone stay positive when someone tells you to "go fuck yourself." But that's exactly ...
Last Sunday, new mother Anna Young posted a photo of herself, taken during a half-marathon, to the breast-feeding advocacy Facebook group, Occupy ...