Research shows that religious men tend to do more chores than non-religious, progressive men. What is the reason behind this? And what other reasons might men have to delve into the thick of housework?
While housework is not the most glamorous of duties, research from the University of Utah suggests that some men are holding their own, both in the kitchen and outside it.
In January 2021, Utah-based Deseret Newsreported on how research conducted by Claudia Geist and Bethany Gull, both from the University of Utah, smashed long-held stereotypes — stereotypes that viewed Christian and Jewish men as misogynists, while lifting up “progressives” as the most female-friendly.
Writing for Deseret News, Lois M. Collins explained the results,
‘Religious men tackle household tasks like cooking and grocery shopping at even higher rates than non-religious, progressive men. And both do more cooking and cleaning than the men who fall in between them on the faith scale.’
Collins stated at the end of her video summarising the study,
‘The thing I think that surprised me most about this story is not that men of faith do housework — it is that it was so easy to find men of faith who said, “yeah I do housework.”’
Considering the study’s two female authors — and the women who have given a spotlight to it — while writing off the study from Utah as confirmation bias might be tempting, it would be disingenuous to do so.
Geist and Gull acknowledged there were
‘Two potential paths leading to men’s increased housework participation: a non-religious, egalitarian one, and a religious, family-centered one.’
Collins also cited Laurie DeRose and Anna Barren from the Catholic University, who published a piece via The Institute of Family Studies.
“Contrary to expectations, they found that increased religious participation at the individual and cultural zone levels associated with greater participation in some housework tasks and time spent on housework.”
‘We suggest there are two basic reasons people assume religious men refrain from household chores: the first is a caricature of religious men as misogynistic, narcissistic, and controlling; the second is that many people understand that egalitarianism places high expectations on husbands and fathers, without recognizing that faith does likewise.’
Padding reasons for why men should continue to be engaged on the homefront, DeRose said,
‘It seems that women are happier when men are involved at home, and that it matters less whether egalitarianism or faith spurs men’s involvement.’
There are other solid reasons for upholding our end of the deal.
Any man who pulls out the chainsaw, lawnmower, vacuum cleaner or dons the camo-coloured, full-metal-jacket apron is fitter, happier and probably a lot wealthier than those who can do, but don’t.
Almost two years of putting up with governments telling the rest of us when we can work, when we can buy, who can buy, who can earn, and who is, or isn’t allowed in certain places, has unveiled how toxic things can get when the governed let those doing the governing do too much for us.
The lesson learned from lockdowns is that living on the couch is not living at all.
If we listen to The Simpsons among countless other examples from Hollyweird that continually drag the character of heterosexual men through the mud, men and chores are caricatured as absolute opposites.
Hence the significance of Claudia Geist and Bethany Gull’s findings, and their stereotype-smashing surprise.
Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.
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