SOC 314 March 13th Tichenor reading

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9 Apr 2012
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SOC 314 March 13th Readings
Veronica Tichenor, Gendered bargain: Why wives cannot trade their money for housework
- Income for domestic labour exchange becomes more complicated when husband is no longer
sole breadwinner (wife in workforce as well)
- Assumption that since women taking on paid employment, there would be a more equal share
of domestic labour, not the case as men’s domestic labour increased by a few hours per week,
not enough to be equal
- Reason: logic of conventional marriage contract which is if one spouse contributes more at
work, he or she should contribute less at home, since men typically earn more than do their
wives and often work longer hours in pursuit of these higher incomes, their lesser contributions
to housework and childcare are seen as legitimate
- However: conventional marriage bargain breaks down when women bring money to the table,
they are unable to trade their income for domestic services from their husbands
- Therefore: the this suggests that the bargain implied by the marriage contract is gendered-
certain rights, obligations, or privileges are assigned by gender rather than by role performance
- Women seen obliged to perform nearly all the domestic labour even though their husbands are
no longer providing the family’s sole or major financial support
- The His and Hers of Domestic Labour
- Certain household chores men’s jobs, others women’s jobs
- Men do house work that can be put off, has more leisure, women do housework that is urgent
is less leisure
- Much labour women perform is “invisible” it is the kind of work that family members do not
notice unless the women fails to do it, this further burdens women because men do not realize
how small their contributions really are
- Power Struggles and Conflict in Dividing Domestic Labour
- Men not taking on housework suggests that housework is an unpleasant task
- Men’s ability to avoid domestic labour is seen as a reflection of their greater power in the
relationship
- Women handling majority of housework is problematic because they have leisure time and may
suffer health issues due to lack of sleep/exercise
- Husband’s lack of help may harm the martial relationship because wife may feel that his time is
more valuable than hers and that he doesn’t love her enough to help her out
- Domestic labour pattern similar with higher earning wives and dual earning couples
- Continued Inequality for Higher-Earning Wives
- Money does not drive the division of domestic labour in couples with high-earning wives,
women unable to trade their wages for less housework
- Wives have to ask for help, have different standards of cleaniness, have differing timetables for
performing chores
- Gendered Labour and Power
- Cultural expectation that women are responsible for domestic labour undercuts whatever
power might be available in the greater incomes these wives earn
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