July 1, 2005

If you're legally required to do half of the housework, who defines what the whole is?

There's a new Spanish law requiring men to do half of the housework. (Via Memeorandum.) And yes, it's ridiculously intrusive, weirdly unenforceable, and unfairly blind to whether the man works more outside the house, but what really bugs me is that requiring half assumes you know what the whole is.
While Spain's women daily perform at least six hours of housework, men clock up only 44 minutes - plus 51 minutes of childcare to their spouses' daily average of six hours.

What?! Do American couples spend 88 minutes a day on nonchildcare housework? Spanish men are supposed to do half with the whole determined by the bizarre six hours that the women spend? I say the women should just cut back to 44 minutes, leave the men alone, and reach equality by a far, far happier method.

18 comments:

JB said...

For all the Raich commentary going on, doesn't this seem like something that would fall outside of Congress' enumerated powers? Thankfully. I think here the interstate commerce link would be more like Lopez than Raich.

In any event...six hours!...maybe if half the time is making the mess, but six hours how the heck can it take that long.

Also, you're right it's dumb, After working 10 hours, oh I'm tired ready for bed, "Nope, law says you have to stay up another 3 hours and do all the dishes I've left for you. Oh and the lawn needs to be mowed, but that won't count towards your time, that's yard work you see, not housework."

Wow, will any men vote for the Spanish Socialist party again, if they do, heck they deserve it. (You pulled me out of serving in Iraq for this!!!???)

Freeman Hunt said...

Houses in Spain must be the cleanest in the world.

Mark said...

This six hours must include events like loading the washer (2 minutes) and then yapping on the phone while machine runs (30 minutes). Ditto for the dryer, dishwasher and childcare.

CrankyProfessor said...

Well, it also probably includes marketing, which in Italy, at least, is a daily event and almost exclusively practiced by women and single men -- and I know single men whose mothers and girlfriends do their grocery shopping.

Ann Althouse said...

It's not clear from the article whether the 6 hours includes housework. Probably not, because if it did, women could say they spend 18 hours a day on housework. People counting their own time at work are not really counting the real work but the time that passes with nothing much else going on. People working outside the home are the same. How much time in an 8 hour office day are you really laboring? You don't subtract the time "yapping" with coworkers, daydreaming, surfing the net, etc.

BTW, bloggers with Site Meters know that the traffic is much higher during the work week than on weekends. The work-shirk combination is pervasive -- inside and outside of the home.

Ann Althouse said...

Michael: "Marketing" -- that is, shopping. That has a whole social/recreational aspect to it. You can drag it out for hours, wandering the streets, getting some exercise, seeing your friends. It's quite different working for money, with supervisors telling you what to do. Measuring work by time is never quite right.

Goesh said...

Upon marrying, my attempt at supervising the housework while lying the couch was very briefly lived.

Meade said...

Would "housework" include working to earn the money to pay the mortgage on the house? Apparently, Spain had a Kelo decision of its own and mi casa really es su casa.

Joe said...

Spain is a great place, but they are clearly nuts.

Next they will rule that all toilet seats must be left at a 45 degree angle.

Pluto's Dad said...

And what if your wife is a clean freak, what then?

AJ Lynch said...

Some heavy hitters on this blog. Althouse hit monstrous two home runs when she said the law was "ridiculously intrusive and weirdly unenforceable".
Joe hit a grand slam when he said "they are obviously nuts".

Ann Althouse said...

"And what if your wife is a clean freak, what then?"

Maybe we need a law requiring women to stop cleaning when she's done half of what the man thinks is worth doing.

But this goes to the source of much discord about housework. Women tend to think more needs to be done. If you could get an honest answer from men and women about how often -- say -- a bathroom needs a full cleaning, you would be shocked at the disparity.

I should do a blogpoll.

DaveG said...

What's the divorce rate in Spain? I'm predicting a sharp increase in the near future...

Nick said...

Didn't Spain just legalize gay marriage? So how are lesbians affected by this law? Do they have to split 50/50... or are they only allowed to each do 25% and let the other half of their houses get dirty because they're not legally allowed to clean it?

mcg said...

I know I run the risk of being painted as either a chauvinist, a spoiled brat, a pig, or some combination thereof.

I am the primary washer of dishes and cleaner of the kitchen, and the primary taker of the garbage and recycling to the curb. Oh, and the primary repairman (to the extent my abilities allow). But I can honestly say that I will never rise up to do half of the housework.

That is not to say that I would not be willing to be responsible for half of it, or even more than half. I would simply subcontract it out :)

So for example, when my wife is not up for cooking for any reason, I'm happy to take responsibility---by picking up some takeout. And she is quite the sport about that, perhaps because she knows it will taste better that way.

So to me, the issues it this. Will a wife be content if her husband relieves her of half of her workload, no matter how he achieves that end? Or will she only be content if the division of labor achieves equal suffering? In my case, thankfully, it is almost always the former.

miklos rosza said...

All this under Zapotero. Watch France, where Francois Hollande is the leader of the Socialist Party and a Zapotero clone.

Many predict that Nicholas Sarkozy will win the next presidential election in France -- and it's certainly true that he's popular. But the unions could put Hollande in, voting against any reform no matter how necessary -- and does pure selfishness ever lose? Well, yes, but you might only need 27%. If Francois Hollande becomes the next president of France, look for that country to truly fall apart.

And then as a reaction we'll get a younger version of Le Pen. And that will not be good. Real fascism with no screwing around.

All this PC nonsense leads to the rubberband snapping back hard and hitting everyone in the eye.

Slocum said...

Women tend to think more needs to be done. If you could get an honest answer from men and women about how often -- say -- a bathroom needs a full cleaning, you would be shocked at the disparity.

It's sort of like that around here, my wife is more worried about clean and I'm more worried about neat. She's not bothered by piles of paper on most exposed flat surfaces and bags of who-knows-what waiting to go who-knows-where (and who-knows-when) tucked into the corners of various rooms. Occasionally I just can't stand it anymore and she gets rid of (or at least hides) all the junk. But then it gradually reappears. But she does think the kitchen floor needs washing more often

Meade said...

"But she does think the kitchen floor needs washing more often"

And if you live in Spain, when she says scrub, you, muchacho, had better ask 'how far is halfway?'

IT'S THE LAW!