Men Notice a Mess in Much the Same Way as Women Can. Why Do They Steer Clear of Household Chores Then?

    Men Notice a Mess in Much the Same Way as Women Can. Why Do They Steer Clear of Household Chores Then?

    Men Notice a Mess in Much the Same Way as Women Can. Why Do They Steer Clear of Household Chores Then?
    Greg
    4:35 PM EST, November 13, 2020

    When it comes to cleaning, men spend only a third of the time that women do. Has it got to do with genetics? What is it that makes the male part of society ‘mess-blind’?

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    Mess blindness

    This myth is a very common explanation why men avoid cleaning. It is believed that whenever they enter a room, they do not notice the layer of dust under the bed or the huge pile of laundry.

    Recent research, however, has proven that men are not blind at all and they can see the mess as well as women can. It is only a matter of different expectations. Once nobody expects you to clean the place, why bother?

    The cleaning inequality

    Obraz

    Although these days women are much more educated and they hold the same positions as men, in terms of housework there is still a lot of inequality. Every day they spend an hour and twenty minutes cleaning.

    At the same time men will only spend about half an hour keeping the household neat and tidy. Even in Sweden, where the government policies strongly support promoting gender equality, women still do much more household than men, though their working hours are the same.

    An experiment

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    A research published by Sociological Methods and Research examined 327 men and 295 women of various age and from various backgrounds. They were asked to evaluate a picture of a small living room and a kitchen.

    There were two photos of the places – one with dirty dishes, clothes scattered all over the rooms and the other, with much cleaner version of the same interior. Each of the subjects had to indicate mess as the aim of the research was to find out whether men’s evaluation would differ.

    The same mess

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    It turned out that men were not blind at all and they could clearly notice the same mess as the women could. They all found the messy room as definitely calling for a clean-up.

    So if ‘mess blindness’ is not the cause, why is it still women who do most of the housework? Well, it all boils down to different social expectations that men and women have to come up to.

    Expectations

    Obraz

    Women are much more strongly criticized if their house is not impeccable. The awareness of the fact motivates them to work more. Another experiment was carried out to confirm that theory.

    The subjects were shown a photo representing ‘a living space of John or Jennifer’. Next they were asked to evaluate the personality of the people based upon the order in their places; namely if they found them responsible, hard-working, nice, neat, etc.

    A harsh evaluation

    Obraz

    The subjects’ evaluation of the pictures in a different way, depending on whether they had been told that there was a woman living there or a man. The expectations for Jennifer were much higher than those in case of John.

    When they were shown a neat room belonging to Jennifer, all participants, irrespective of their gender found it less clean as the same room allegedly belonging to John. That’s interesting, isn’t it?

    Stereotypes

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    John received much worse feedback than Jennifer, which reflects the stereotype that men are lazy; still this somehow does not prevent them from being successful in the social context.

    Women are much more commonly expected to be responsible for housework than men, no matter their employment status. Consequently, they are more often judged by the mess than men.

    The good news is that the old-fashioned society expectations might sooner or later evolve.

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