Strategies Men Use to Resist Housework
Tags: gender, inequality, marriage/family, organizations/occupations/work, housework, subtitles/CC, 00 to 05 mins
Access: no online access (transcript and still shots here)
Summary: This short scene from The Office (season 5, episode 9; 12:39-13:19) is an excellent illustration of Francine Deutsch's work on strategies men use to resist doing housework. Drawing upon observations and interviews with 150 dual-earner couples (for a total of 300 interviews), Deutsch outlines five strategies men deploy--either knowingly or not--to avoid equally participating in household chores; they are: (1) passive resistance, (2) incompetence, (3) praise, (4) different standards, and (5) denial. In this episode, Pam is grossed out by the filthy microwave in the office kitchen. She leaves an anonymous note, requesting people to clean up their mess. Some office colleagues interpret her note as obnoxious and elitist. Later in the day, her co-worker Ryan confides in her that he is "totally on [her] side with the whole microwave situation," yet he not-so-subtly hints that she should be the one to ultimately clean the mess. A transcript of their interaction illustrates how Ryan resists Pam's suggestion that he, the office temp, would be the most appropriate one to clean the microwave. Ryan demonstrates Deutsch's concept of incompetence, suggesting that he "would just make it worse" and he is "hopeless at that stuff." In addition to incompetence, students can be encouraged to come up with alternative responses Ryan might have said that would have illustrated other strategies Deutsch identifies men use to resist doing housework.
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