Failing the gender roles test

Holy shit, men and women are no longer sticking to “male” and “female” tasks, and fewer people live the same life that their parents and grandparents do! Alert the media! Oh, wait. Somebody already did.

So, fewer women “these days” can complete the traditional ladytasks that their mothers can, and more of them can do traditional dudetasks that were previously considered to be a man’s domain. Panic! Australian Gen Y men were more comfortable changing a nappy than changing a tyre. Double panic!

If this was reported in a way that framed it for what it really is, it might not be so bad. Basically, life has changed since this mythical back-in-the-day where women could roast chickens and men mowed the lawn. Gender representation in the workforce has changed, parental roles have changed, lifestyles have changed (although, in a way, these things haven’t changed much…). As is said in the article,

“Women of today tend to be busier, juggling more roles and are quite prepared to compromise a bit of the homemade just to save some time.”They also have a lot more disposable income compared with their mums and their grandmothers so buying a cake mix or lamingtons ready-made is not a big deal.”

Also, being a stay-at-home-Dad is a thing now. And the idea of a man in the kitchen whipping something up is more natural. And automatic cars are more common, so not being able to drive a manual isn’t really a huge deal. So it’s not really surprising that being able to do some things is no longer a necessity for women, or for men. I can’t cook a roast, thus falling firmly into the 49% of women who can’t, but luckily for me I live with someone who’s cooking skills are so great that I probably will never need to cook a roast myself.

But rather than heralding these results as potentially rather good -gender roles not so strict! People do what they’re good at, and let other people pick up the slack where they leave off! Women have the money to pay someone to alter a dress for them!- the article leads off with this excellent title

Generation Y fails where housewives of the 1950s excelled

Bahaha, did you really think that is was great news that women don’t feel restricted to the kitchen anymore? No way. You’re a failure! And your mother and grandmother were awesome successes who blow you out of the water. Renounce your woman card ASAP.

Tecnically, this is an accurate statement: fewer women now can do these specific tasks that more women then could do. Thus they were ‘better’ than us. But failure isn’t really a neutral term, it’s a loaded word. And in this case it’s meant to imply that modern women don’t care about skills or tradition, but are too busy trying with work and whatnot and as a result we have “failed” at these things. And men, they’ve also failed at traditionally manly things. We all suck, really. I guess never mind thinking about all the skills that modern men and women have that are useful now but our parents and grandparents may not have a clue about. And don’t worry that changes in society means that gender segregating tasks (sewing, cooking, cleaning for women, outdoor stuff and car-related things for men) is no longer as important, suggesting that these results are not really worrying or surprising. Fuck thinking about those things: only 20% of Gen Y women can make homemade lamingtons! This is a serious issue.


  1. Boganette says:

    Totally. That article was so ridiculous I was waiting for them to state the shocking news that most people can’t change a tyre while changing a nappy while cooking a lamington. wait do you cook a lamington? I only use the kitchen for mixing bourbon.

    • steph says:

      Saw your post on this too, glad we’re on the same page!

      Yeah, I pretty much only use the kitchen for mixing drinks and baking butter and sugar-filled baf-for-your-health baked goods. Slap on the wrist for me

  2. Amanda says:

    “I guess never mind thinking about all the skills that modern men and women have that are useful now but our parents and grandparents may not have a clue about.”

    And to put the ageist spin on that, older generations will say (and this article implies) modern skills are redundant (eg: quick texting, social media/networking) because they don’t want to be shown up by the younger generation, especially in paid work.

    My liquor cabinet is in the dining room, so really no reason for my to go into the kitchen 😉

    • steph says:

      Yeah, I agree that the article was spun in a way to imply a greater value of certain skills over others: “traditional” skills versus “modern” skills. I found it very annoying, because I know plenty of people with mad skills that don’t alter their own clothing but are unbelievably capable people.

  3. stef says:

    I am a kitchen queen but mostly because I love cake and pie. Will swap for bubbles.

  4. Tamara Liebman says:

    It’s as if you could go back infinitely on this score: Gen Y women can’t skin buffalo!! Gen Y men can’t track deer, what will we do???