laundry gives ladies the warm fuzzies

Are male and female brains wired differently before birth?  Cordelia Fine takes a stab at this question in _Delusions of Gender_ and debunks many of the scientific studies claiming that they are.  She shows  that often, scientists will observe brain differences between the sexes and attribute the difference to hard wiring rather than societal and environmental factors (that is, lived sexism).  The book merits long discussion, but I want to pull out a particularly outrageous section for now.

Before reading this book, I was ignorant about how popular it is to believe that male and female brains are naturally different from the start.  Of course, I’ve heard of the “Men are from Mars” books, but haven’t paid any attention to them.  Fine’s book showed me how truly neurosexist these books are.

From Cordelia Fine’s Delusions of Gender (p 81):

A few popular writers have recently made a valiant stab at arguing that performing routine housework chores is actually selectively beneficial to women, including—if not especially—those with demanding jobs.  His idea (which to my knowledge has not been empirically tested) is that because the modern working woman has removed herself from her traditional home sphere with its babies, children, and friends on whom to call with a pot roast, she has dangerously low levels of oxytocin coursing through her blood. (Oxytocin is a mammalian hormone associated with social bonding and social interactions.)  Thankfully, however,

“nurturing oxytocin-producing domestic routine duties like laundry, shopping, cooking, and cleaning”

are available in plentiful supply.  Phew!  Such chores, however, have a very ill effect on men.  For them, the priority is “testosterone-producing” tasks—for without the stimulating rush of that sex hormone, men become little better than limp rags (and not even ones that then wipe themselves along the countertops).  Thus, “putting things back together after a flood or disaster” is testosterone-producing, but “[t]o expect him to join in and share each day in her daily routines as a helper would eventually exhaust him.” (Cited _Why Mars and Venus Collide_ p 123-125 published 2008)

Wow.  Talk about a just-so story for why ladies need to keep up the home!  I’m amazed by this, but I shouldn’t be.  Bulls*it like this is all too common within the patriarchy.

About smash
Women's liberationist.

4 Responses to laundry gives ladies the warm fuzzies

  1. KatieS says:

    That is hilarious. It’s so outrageous, one doesn’t even know where to begin. Oh, never mind, I won’t begin. I’ll just go mop the floor instead. 😉

    Really, how stupid!

  2. smash says:

    The outrageous-ness in this case doesn’t outrage me as much as make me laugh. I mean, it is out-rageous in that I might feel rage if speaking to someone who actually believed this. But it’s so outside of reality that I actually cracked up at the very idea.

  3. KatieS says:

    I thought the graphic was clever, too.

    Yes, it didn’t outrage me, it was quite funny. It made me see the stupidity. I was being ironic, but I’m not good at conveying that in commenting.

  4. GraceMargaret says:

    Was this from Dr. John Gray’s Men are from Mars series?? The same ‘Dr.’ John Gray who got his Ph.D from diploma mill, Columbia Pacific University, which was permanently shut down by the state of California? Need I say more?

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