Thanksgiving is typically a time for family and friends to come together, but for many families, it can also serve as a low-key reminder of the persisting gendered expectations women face. Especially as a holiday that's centered on a sense of tradition, even typically equal households can often sport a divide on this day — something that was made clear in this classic Twitter exchange.
In a piece for Slate
, Brigid Schulte, the author of “Overwhelmed: Work, Love, & Play When No One Has The Time”
lamented on how Thanksgiving stress nearly drove her to divorce her unsupportive husband. “My husband had just walked out the door with a six-pack of beer to hang out with a friend, leaving me with a kitchen explosion of vegetable peels and uncooked dishes,” she wrote. “It wasn’t just like this at Thanksgiving… How had we gone so far off the rails?
Of course, it stands to be noted now: there are plenty of households where this dynamic isn't evident. There's no shortage of men out there who deeply enjoy cooking, or who are willing to pitch in simply to help pull their weight. And yet, there's also a large amount of data out there supporting the idea that women continue to do the bulk of the today's housework — and Thanksgiving is no exception to that pattern.
According to a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family
, women do more than two hours of additional work per day after they have kids. That’s substantially higher than the additional 40 minutes for men after having children. In addition, those numbers dramatically increase during holidays and during family events.
Kin work, when compiled with high expectations and the unequal division of household labor, are a large reason women file for divorce. According to recent studies, women in heterosexual relationships initiate 69 percent of divorces and household labor is a leading reason as to why.
But, despite this news, there’s hope! When individuals prioritize communication
around stereotypical household gender roles and work to avoid them, couples are generally happier. As a result, Thanksgiving prep is a lot less stressful for everyone involved.
If you’re feeling like any of the ladies in the above tweets, it might be a good time to sit down with your significant other and talk about how you divide household labor. Think of it as an early holiday present to yourself, and to your spouse, children and other family members.