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Gender Roles In Relationships

In this episode of Les Talk About It, join Tamara and Sheena as they talk about Gender Roles In Relationships.

6 of 12 of the Relationship Season

In this episode:

  • Gender roles in homosexual couples vs heterosexual couples
  • Why communication is vital
  • A uniquely Swedish thing
  • Why some homosexual couples will revert to traditional gender roles once they have kids
  • How trans couples divide chores
  • Survey of gender roles in heterosexual couples in 1975 vs 2000

Listen to this episode here

This is the article I was referencing

Les Talk About It Series: Relationships

Relationships are important for humans. We need them to survive, never mind thrive. In this series we delve into relationships and break down some statistics and realities because, let’s face it, most us just muddle through and don’t necessarily have the skillset to rally make a relationship work.


please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

welcome today’s talk about it I’m Sheena and I’m Tamara and today we’re talking about gender roles in every relationship awesome so when we start well I found in New York Times article which basically had every study on earth ever done with regards to gender and so we’re just gonna go through some of the points in that article I thought it was a really good article okay great studies have shown that a heterosexual couple typically have gender roles same-sex couples tend to not have gender roles in a relationship in other words the woman in a heterosexual relationship will typically do the womanly chores rights okay so that would be washing the dishes and doing the laundry and taking care of the kids and all that sort of stuff whereas the husband will do the things like you know mowing the lawn you don’t think that lesbians in very traditional and this is in Bucky quotations there’s been relationships like where there is a Fame and a butch tends to fall into stereotypical gender roles well let’s put it this way and I think that there are outliers but overall the study has shown that they tend not to okay so when it comes to chores yes so chores get divided more equitably between in same-sex couples now there’s much as lesbians this is gay men as well okay there was some really interesting points that they say this tends to happen before the same-sex couple has children but the minute the same-sex couple has children they tend to adopt more typically gendered roles oh that’s interesting so does it fool that if it’s early has been couple and they’ve chosen to actually give birth to a child that the woman who gave birth takes on the more female role I can’t answer that question because they didn’t go into those specifics but what they did say is this typically one partner would go out and earn more I can’t concentrate on that side of things and the other partner would stay at home and be the homemaker and the caregiver I see okay there’s a couple of reasons that the psychology professor Robert J Greene that this happens he says that once you have children the pressure on the couple is so immense that it forces this division of labor which is why it’s never a great idea to have children to fix a relationship also true so employers for example are expecting increasingly around-the-clock availability I know it’s ridiculous as nuts you can’t be a full-time parent and give yourself 24 hours a day to your employer yes right so this is the thinking behind it absence of paid parental leave and no public preschool okay so if you have expensive childcare or expensive schools where the children would go to during the day sometimes it doesn’t make sense to actually for both people to work well that’s exactly it so then one person will tend to work less or stop working or the other does the earning there’s pediatrician vision visits these meetings with teachers there’s meetings with psychologists or whatever it is that you need to do with your kids yeah I think it’s even just especially when they’re very small just your normal day-to-day taking care of them making sure they don’t decide to throw themselves off a roof or something here are two really interesting points on this though okay when they surveyed homosexual couples they found that even though there was the small kind of traditional split of the responsibilities both parties felt like it was more equitable and the reason they say this is because there was a lot more communication between the couple so the one understood what was going on at the workplace and the other one understood what was going on at the hoe well I suppose a lot of time the problem with roles and relationships is that there is an unevenness to the amount of work that each couple with each person is doing so when you have a division of labor we say in a hetero relationship where the woman is looking after the children and the guy goes off to work but the woman also has a job so she’s you know got a job and she has to look after the children and they end still I don’t know make dinner wrinkly in the house well that’s funny that was my next point which is another study on same-sex relationships showed that when both people work how sort roles are frequently divided between the couple both people in a heterosexual relationship when they’re both working don’t divide you know so they still divided as woman as the homemaker man as the breed wouldn’t even if the woman is a breed woman – even if they have kids right and she’s still working she still maintains all of that plus to execute yes well there’s also the sex strange thing of and this is what I’ve seen with heterosexual couples but might happen with same-sex couples as well we fathers are seen as babysitters and not as seen as an equal caregiver right how many times have you seen on Twitter some like trending posts with some dude oh he’s amazing he made breakfast today for his children yay so he put his daughter’s hair up in a ponytail right slack well it’s basically how many gay men out there are making breakfast for their daughters every day because their appearance exactly single mothers two boys who are teaching them to pee standing up whatever it is it’s all this is the thing right yeah okay so so far we know that there’s tends to be better communication and more kind of an equitable split generally or if it feels like there’s an we quit school splits between same-sex couples yeah and this is not just lesbians they were studies done with lesbians and gay guys so then I was like okay but what about trans people or people who are gender queer they haven’t done Studies on genderqueer people they did on to their question in the article okay but they did do a study on trans people okay yes and okay so trans couples tend to divide along gender lines as heterosexual couples do well I suppose it makes sense because you’re either a man or a woman or two women or two men whatever it is so why not I just thought was really interesting but you see this is the thing gender and sexual preference are not the same thing no they really aren’t because I mean I would assume a lesbian couple who are either both trans woman or that one is a trans woman that probably behaved very much in the way a lesbian couple would in the study I will assume well they would be lesbians yes I know but my point is it’s I don’t know I didn’t actually go into a lot of information about there because it was kind of like branching off you know one of those sides attention attention things yes exactly okay but I think you know what’s interesting about gender roles is that what we’ve done is actually given work agenda yes and occupations agenda even though they actually doe it’s to know something inherent in them okay so here’s a couple of things to bear in mind with a heterosexual relationship there is a pay gap there is so it makes sense in economic terms for the man to be the one bringing in the income because he’ll bring make more money in theory right yeah look at me like there’s nothing wrong with having the man go out and work quad woman’s at home I mean working at home as stole valuable so then there was a study done in Sweden mm-hmm right which I thought was particularly interesting because it showed that lesbian couples with a mother gave birth and took a pay cut right okay within five years they had recovered their earnings so that they were earning equity again that’s amazing right it was not the same for heterosexual couple seriously so there was still a big divide in terms of this there is so interesting so I would love to sort of dive into that and figure out what that is but that’s but specific to Sweden mm-hmm so I just think that it’s such an interesting thing like I know that we don’t gender divide generally no I think we like there’s certain things that we both do more of but we still like do the other stuff as well as need be yeah it’s so interesting because we used to have more solid kind of roles but as things just became busy and as I spend more time on the lesbian talk show or the lesbian review whatever it is my time is taking up all of that so I’m doing this or some of the other stuff yeah you know but I think you know that’s an important aspect is that you shift your life around what it was happening so I mean it makes sense like in couples where you have someone who is making more money and because they’re making more money they’re probably asked to the house more often so there the other person has to pick up things like cooking more or shopping more waiver it it’s that’s the thing if I had to wait for you to cook during the week if you when you came home we’d be eating at 8 o’clock at night because some days you come home like late whereas me taking on some of the cooking during the week means that you can come home and these dinner really yes well I think that’s the key it’s just slotting in the chores whatever it is around your life and also maybe around stuff you enjoy because if one of you enjoys cooking more than the other it doesn’t make sense to force a person who doesn’t like to cook to cook however I mean you can also do different things like you know your chore isn’t cooking or choice providing food so if it’s your night to provide foods we can go to a restaurant and get a cart you know you know what I mean you don’t have to think think of things so strictly as in okay now it’s my turn to do X Y Z I think the key to all of this is communication because a big part of the one study said that the reason same-sex couples feel like they have a more equal divide even if you literally take exactly like lists of what the heterosexual couple is doing and it’s exactly the same mm-hmm they feel like there’s a more equal divide because they’re talking to each other mmm they’re more effective at communicating and that was one of the big things that came out of the one study and I was like that’s really interesting that is interesting I wonder why that is well another thing that came out of this article was the idea that in heterosexual relationships woman don’t feel like they have a choice they feel like they are just because they are the woman in the relationship they have to do all these things mm-hmm where is in same-sex relationships it’s not the same well suppose you don’t have the excuse of I’m whatever gender so I have to take on whatever there is whether it’s a man having to mow the lawn or a woman having to cook Sunday lunch yeah you’re listening to the lesbian talk show the lesbians all choke on your hub of podcast information now I will be straight up with you the more butch representing woman will do things like the lawn the more films will not do things like dawn often I’m saying often I’m not saying okay if you just talk to people they are those kind of roles and it’s but I don’t think it’s necessarily a gender type role I think it’s more along the lines of I’m stronger I can push the the lawnmower you are more inclined towards making nice food you can do that you know that sort of thing look I think that depends because I think a problem with all of us whether it’s hecho or same-sex is that we do assignees this is a more butch task this is a more modular task and I mean you might have someone who’s perfectly good or whatever you want to call it but he loves gardening so okay um so I’m gonna take a step back here and just talk about our I was quickly okay okay I know that you get upset with me sometimes when I’m like I’ll just mow the lawn because I can just do it quickly right and you get really irritated with me as if I’m somehow undermining you by not letting you mow the lawn well you are so there are those kinds of situations well it’s one of these things of like if I can’t do it I can’t get bitter Eretz or I’m perfectly capable of doing it it might not be the shortest lawn or the most neatest lawn or whatever it is but it’ll get that it’s not that I’m trying to undermine you I just want to get it done now sure but I also just want to get it done and that’s right about like the thing is it’s like I hate this thing of like you’re more outdoorsy okay you’re more active ISA you know you’re better at whatever when I know I’m more than capable of it so now did you not keep forwards here’s an interesting thing that heterosexual couples are not did in the water they were two large surveys right when in 1975 and one in 2000 okay in terms of this okay and they saw that the increase inequality and division of labour was beta in 2000 in seventy-five so things are getting Bates’s just taking forever now wouldn’t be surprised I mean I listen to a lot of podcasts okay like a lot of podcasts and so many of them are women who are the podcasters and a lot of them their husbands do the cleaning and the food and that’s just the way does the woman can cook they hate cleaning and the husband’s love it do you think it’s a generational thing right and probably it’s like people around our age younger yes people run our age we pretty much went like nope a lot of the stuff and we just don’t fall into a lot of those typical categories it’s interesting mm-hmm okay so for reference we’re mid 30s oh yeah so I just thought this was really interesting so there is gender roles but they’re not a kind of a mirror image you know it’s a yeah but do you know what I’ve also been noticing is that even for men like especially when you talk about hate relationships that the job market isn’t as stable as it was and they’re not necessarily getting paid as much as they were so while they can be paid gap like maybe salaries are lower or there’s a lot of contract work or people being paid what you know as work it’s done so you know the isn’t that same role there’s not that same okay and you know work at the office factory whatever it is and get a nice fat salary for the next 20 years and that’s my life it’s a lot more precarious than that there’s a lot more job instability and that kind of thing and this I think is why a lot of women are going back to work so there’s a double income having said that just from a point of view of I live in South Africa mm-hmm these studies were done on Americans yes first world well very different scenarios you hear most a sit down on Americans in the world first world as well I mean there was a sweet young agents it’s very different here because we have cheap labor here yes so we have domestic workers who often double up as and so you will have two people in the household earning because they can pay for relatively cheap labor yes I mean you’d have you’d have someone to do your washing your clean your house look after your kids a different someone to do the garden yeah yeah and it’s and a lot of that has to do with the immense amount of poverty and inequality in terms of like pay one occasion yeah whole lot of social problems but a different podcast and that is is quite common throughout Africa that you can have like cheap labor these countries are always in here in the rest of Africa of course you can yeah you can have like a butler for like $80 a month or something ridiculous and it’s so in fee to the hugely anyway that’s like you say different put across I thought that was interesting you know how the roles change and the fact that the studies revealed that actually woman in heterosexual relationships often feel that it’s not equitable even if it’s the exact same workload as with same-sex couples because same-sex couples have the communication that the heterosexual couples don’t have and the expectation isn’t stay hmm it’s interesting the psychology behind it all isn’t it I’m keen to see how it changes how it evolves as the younger generations become yes well you know what I mean that people age into long term relationships and more and more I’m seeing people talking about day twelve eleven year olds being gender fluid being in polyamorous relationships being in like all these scenarios that were up until now like very sort of not mainstream and be a very not mainstream it’s interesting because suddenly we’re getting a whole generation of people who are being born into a world where being queer being trans being whatever is not this taboo thing hmm it’s something that actually exists in the world so I’m so keen to see what happens in twenty years time yeah and I think also you know as people grow up where the world isn’t marked out – this is the kind of job you can have because you’re a girl yeah well this is the kind of job you neighborhoods a boy you know what I mean or because you’re a girl what makes you pack weight they’re the perfect because you’re a boy don’t have to which is good I think that feeds them to the whole thing you know that establishes it and as that becomes lesser of a practice I think you know it’s gonna change the grown-ups that’s all they’re in results of these kept children absolutely but anyway that’s all for this week thanks for joining us here at their knees bent book show if you like this podcast and you want to see lots more from us consider becoming a patron because you also get exclusive podcasts that you don’t get on the main channel and to do that you just have to visit patreon.com forward slash the lesbian talk show yep and come visit our Facebook group and we also some media and tell us how you live your life in terms of gender roles absolutely have them don’t you and please do ask one more favor go and like us and reviewers on the prospect it helps other people funders yay it like ranks us in in the frequent research portal stuff that’s it is bye see you next time okay so you’re tuned to do dishes [Music]