Archive for division of labor


Posted in musings, politics, relationships, social commentary with tags , , , , , on September 7, 2009 by kimmy

What is the measure of a successful relationship?  Longevity?  Progeny?  Mutual respect?  A stunning real estate portfolio?  I recently put the question to a number of people and their answers were revealing.  Instead of finding contentment in the classic template of our parents and grandparents, most chafe under it and yearn for something else.

The majority of those polled admitted that old-fashioned gender roles were dissatisfying.  Men said they were more befuddled than ever.  Ladies complained of the unfair burden placed upon them.  It seemed that despite the feminism they embraced, they still shouldered the bulk of the domestic chores.  Helen Gurley Brown was wrong; you can’t have it all … unless you’ve managed to clone yourself.

Judging from the response of both camps, it seems this frustration is mutual.  Why then do we insist upon using a formula that no longer serves?  Are we hardwired for this division of labor, or have we evolved to a level where we must reevaluate and consciously change our behavior?

Assuming that we’re capable of real change, where would we begin?  Pitching the whole thing and starting from scratch?  Pruning a few dead branches from an otherwise healthy tree?  A slow replacement of the unworkable with the untested?  If we have learned anything from experience, wholesale legislation rarely works …especially when venturing into the minefield of civil liberties.  People rarely part with their dearly held beliefs, even if they are self-defeating.

So we remain trapped, unwilling to change yet stymied by inertia.  Is it any wonder that we’re enraged?  The real question is with whom are we truly angry, our hapless companions or ourselves.