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Opening Arguments

House husbands

Two different views on men leaving their traditional roles. From The Wall Street Journal, "At-Home Dads Make Parenting More of a 'Guy' thing"

At-home dads... take pride in letting their children take more risks on the playground, compared with their spouses. They tend to jettison daily routines in favor of spontaneous adventures with the kids. And many use technology or DIY skills to squeeze household budgets, or find shortcuts through projects and chores, says the study, based on interviews, observation of father-child outings and an analysis of thousands of pages of at-home dads' blogs and online commentary.

"Just as we saw a feminization of the workplace in the past few decades, with more emphasis on such skills as empathy and listening, we are seeing the opposite at home—a masculinization of domestic tasks and routines," says Gokcen Coskuner-Balli, an assistant professor of marketing at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and lead author of the study. "Many men are building this alternative model of home life that is outdoorsy, playful and more technology-oriented."

But then there's this head-scratcher fom a sociological study:

Sociologists say married men who spend more time doing traditionally female chores, such as cooking, cleaning and shopping, report having less sex than husbands who don’t do as much. Conversely, men who did more manly chores, such as yard work, paying bills and auto repairs, reported having more sex.

The study, using data on heterosexual couples in the United States from National Survey of Families and Households, appears in the February issue of American Sociological Review.

[. . .]

Interestingly, previous research has found that women’s marital satisfaction increases as men participate more in overall household labor, and that includes traditionally female chores. But this study seems to indicate that such satisfaction does not translate into more sex.

The basic takeaway seems to be that even as the world becomes more gender neutral in the 21st century, gender and traditional gender roles remain important cues for human behavior.

So, I guess the message is, Get in there and pitch in, but be careful! I have my doubts about both of these, but I'm more inclined to accept the masculinization of child care -- men and women do things differently, that's all. Not sure what to make of the less-sex thing. Do women want help but then lose respect for the guys who give it? Oh, wait, I know! There's a fatigue factor. You know what they say, "A man's work is never done."