My Slightly Sexist Theory On Taking Out the Garbage

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My Slightly Sexist Theory On Taking Out the Garbage

Postby jrr7 on Tue Jan 21, 2003 3:05 pm

For some reason it is declared to be the Husband's Job, even if he doesn't lift a finger for any other housework.

Why? I'm sure BoxJam has wondered this, even though he's accepted it as a fact of life and doesn't fight it.

My theory goes back to the dawn of humanity. In a harsh, cruel world, where a lot of energy can be expended trying to find acceptable shelter.

When shelter is finally found, the woman begins "nesting" because it may be the place where she will bring up her children. She tries to bring in things to make the shelter more liveable.

The man's job is most likely going to be outside the shelter -- it is not his responsibility to create the proper infant-rearing environment; it's his responsibiltiy to acquire resources using his strength and skills. He represents something that is brought in to add to the environment inside the shelter.

Whenever something threatens the tranquility of the shelter, it is the man's job to deal with it. Snakes slithering in? The man must crush them. Wolves howling outside? The man's job to keep the wolf far away from the door.

The key insight I had was that GARBAGE itself is something that threatens the liveability of the shelter. As such it becomes transformed into an external force -- something that doesn't belong. While the woman is willing to do all kinds of work to make the shelter liveable, but anything that involves getting foreign entities out of the shelter (or preventing them from getting in in the first place) is man's work. Fixing a broken window or screen. Caulking the windows. Putting on siding or insulation. And certainly, taking the garbage out.

P.S. I've heard of a woman who got romantic over her husband installing a spam filter on her email account. Same principle.

[edited to fix two or three incomplete sentences and complete a thought or two]
Last edited by jrr7 on Tue Jan 28, 2003 1:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby BoxJam on Wed Jan 22, 2003 9:48 am

Well, marriage is tiring enough without worrying about whether some explanation for typical roles is sexist. Besides, you're not saying that's the way things should be, you're positing that's why they are.

You may be on to something, there. It might be as simple as 'the trash can is outside,' too, as to why it's the man's job.

Like you said, I don't fight it.
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