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Forum: Time for men to get off the couch and start doing housework

Are women particularly suited to doing household chores, more than men? Are men somehow “above” doing the chores? (It’s time for women to quit housework (again), Sept 6).

In most cases, the person labouring is a woman, particularly a daughter-in-law, and the people asking for that free labour are members of the joint family. The men have learnt since childhood that such work is a “woman’s job”. The labouring woman does not get any kind of return.

This creates a disparity in the family. When women are well-educated and pursuing their own careers, housework would be best shared by all the family members. But even with all the modern conveniences, people still maintain the status quo of it being a “woman’s job”. 

It is the patriarchal system that has perpetuated this through social conditioning, with the convenient assumption that women enjoy housework, and that they are passionate about washing clothes and cleaning the house. These days, with education, social media, liberty and more open-mindedness, all that conditioning should be starting to lose its hold.

Yet, it seems that till today, many men still feel that housework is a woman’s work. This attitude has been handed down through many generations from father to son and, in most cases, if the mother did everything for the male child, he assumes that it is her job.

So, he grows up and gets married, expecting his new wife to be the captain of his home. 

If one believes that housework is done out of an interest in doing it, then men should also develop that interest. When a woman enters into a relationship with someone, she cannot be expected to do everything, while he sits on the couch. 

Jonathan Wong

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