‘Useless men’ a woman’s myth

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  • Working mothers who say their partners don't pull their weight at home may be kidding themselves in order to feel more feminine, says expert

    It is a favourite topic of conversation among working mothers – how their men don’t pull their weight domestically.

    But according to new research, it may be a myth women tell each other in order to feel more in control at home.

    Dr Rebecca Meisenbach, an American academic, interviewed 15,000 female breadwinners about how they felt about their roles at home and work.

    She concluded that women struggle with a sense of guilt about working, and the compromises it brings to their roles as mother and wife.

    They criticise the abilities of their men at home in order to feel more feminine, she says.

    Working women who provide the majority of the household’s income to the family continue to articulate themselves as the ones who ‘see’ household messes and needs as a way to retain claims to an element of a traditional feminine identity,’ Dr Meisenbach told the Observer.

    ‘By highlighting stories of how men have to be told or asked to do specific chores in the home, these female breadwinners are making sure they still fit gender boundaries of a wife as someone who manages the home and children.

    ‘By directing the housework done by their husbands, they maintain a sense of control over the traditionally feminine sphere of the home,’ she said


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