The example of Justice RBG in the United States shows that the division of household chores does not require the other party to sacrifice himself and barely bear it. If we can liberate the family role positioning of both parties, respect and fulfill each other to become a complete person, the partnership and parent-child relationship can be better.
The Netflix documentary RBG: The Dinosaur Justice depicts how President Bill Clinton's nominee Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (RBG) has promoted gender equality and women's rights through her life and legal career. There is some quite interesting passage in the documentary: depicting RBG's division of labor within the home.
RBG's husband, Martin D. Ginsburg, is a well-known American finance and tax lawyer who met RBG at Cornell Law School and fell in love. RBG said after an interview: "Martin is the only boy who cares that I have a 'brain' in the first monthly meeting."
In the early 1950s, the ratio of men to women in universities was still very large, RBG relayed, at that time female students were still not allowed to enter the "reference room" of specific departments, most male students did not care about the girls' intelligence, and most girls still had to rely on dressing silly to win the favor of men.
In this atmosphere, Martin can be said to be a unique existence. In his farewell letter to RBG before his death in 2010, he wrote: "My dearest Ruth, you are the only true love of my life, and it is the greatest joy of my life to accompany you all the way to the highest position in the legal profession."
"Since we met at Cornell University 56 years ago, I haven't stopped loving and admiring you, and although my life has come to an end... I hope you know how to let go and let me go, but I know you won't, and I won't love you less because of this."
After 56 years of marriage, RBG has shown the possibility of another family division of labor and companionship with its own relationship.
At the beginning of the marriage, Martin suffered from cancer, his young daughter needed to be taken care of, RBG was torn between Harvard studies, housework, and childcare, and when Martin recovered from a serious illness and obtained the opportunity to a New York law firm, RBG terminated his studies at Harvard Law School and entered Columbia University, which is closer to New York, to complete his studies.
After that, the RBG career began to take off, and Martin took on the responsibility of taking care of the household. Martin often joked publicly that his mother was forbidden to enter the kitchen in the Ginsburg home, a "rule" set by the two children who still had a sense of taste: the home was "where the father cooks and the mother is only in charge of thinking."
Even in the 1990s, when his family moved to Washington to work for RBG's incoming justice, it was impossible to imagine that a man could ruin his career for his wife's career, even though Martin was already a pivotal role in New York's fiscal and tax law, and he was still willing to lay down his personal achievements for his wife's career.
(Extended reading: Full-time housewife confession: housework should not be taken for granted)
From RBG's division of labor within the home, we can see that how spacious our imagination of family roles is, how spacious the home is; And how much we have the initiative for the displacement of our own roles, the size of our home; At the same time, how flexible our imaginations are about being a partner, a husband, a wife, a father and a mother, and our imagination of "achievement" is no longer limited.
The re-division of labor in family affairs is not intended to be "reluctantly undertaken" by the other party
According to papers published by foreign scholars in 2005 and 2019 (Gjerdingen &Center, 2005; Kim & Cheung, 2019), when a new member of the family is welcomed, the time that wives need to spend on housework and childcare will increase significantly, while husbands will not change much, and this phenomenon has also appeared in Taiwanese society.
As the proportion of women in higher education has increased, the labor force participation rate has continued to rise, but the division of domestic work has not changed significantly.
(Same screening: 20 years of Taiwanese family survey!) 不分世代，妻子還是家務負責人）
According to the 2016 Women's Marriage, Childbirth and Employment Survey, whether it is a working woman or a full-time mother, Taiwanese women still bear more than eighty percent of the housework, and the family, as the second workplace of working women, has a considerable impact on women's workplace performance and willingness to have children.
According to the Women's Marriage and Employment Survey, married Taiwanese women spend an average of 6.2 hours a day on housework, while married men are responsible for about 22% of household and childcare work. The only variable was that women with higher education were usually able to receive more support from their significant other.
In other words, the wife's education level, work attributes, income and workplace rank affected the degree of partner's participation in the division of household chores, and showed a positive correlation.
(Same scene plus screening: [Gender Observation] Monthly salary wife, housework is so tired, why don't you have money to take it? ）
In short, the higher the wife's socioeconomic status, the higher the proportion of partners actively engaged in the division of household chores, but with the rank of economic, social and cultural capital, the lower the family, the less satisfactory the division of household chores.
In other words, small-bourgeois, blue-collar women below the middle class, on the one hand, are struggling to climb in their personal careers, but on the other hand, they have to take on heavier housework, which is why women in such a situation are more likely to "quit" their original jobs after birth, and women are more likely to quit the track of self-practice under the premise that men are more likely to obtain better conditions and better salaries.
Under this premise, it is not an exaggeration to say that the division of domestic labor "directly" affects the possibility of women's economic independence. Gender affirmative action initiatives never stop at changing a single gender, but disassemble and reconstruct existing divisions of labor and traditions.
Western demographers have seen a stagnant gender revolution in recent years, referring to the fact that while more and more women are active in the public sphere (including self-practice in work and social roles), men's gender roles in the private sphere remain stagnant.
Such a situation will lead to a certain imbalance or counterattack, men have a sense of relative deprivation, and rebound the infinite platform of gender equality (or women's rights), it is difficult to realize that the role reconstruction of the private sphere should be called "family division of labor", rather than modern women sacrificing male rights to "help" or "barely bear" in order to "be themselves".
Support each other as whole people, not one-sided beings
Liberating the positioning of the contemporary family role is also liberating itself.
For a long time, Asian men have been quite pejorative about their roles and contributions in the private sphere (family), and men's self-construction often relies on external achievements rather than internal roles.
In a pluralistic and inclusive world, every choice of every individual is meaningful and worth paying attention to, which is why the fertility rate of the Nordic countries has been an important factor in the recovery of fertility - they have completed two stages of gender revolution, the rise of female autonomy and the identification of male fatherhood.
The improvement of fatherhood identity is a very important step for gender equality, under the structure of contemporary family "double salary", childcare is regarded as a common practice, modern fathers for "family" feelings are more and more similar to mothers, especially in Europe and the United States, you can find that in the distance work, flexible working hours have become the mainstream now, in the morning time to bring children out to play, walk, lose the ball are all fathers.
According to a 2017 Pew Research Center survey, 54% of dads think parent-child time is quite satisfying and helps them self-identify; Among them, 52% of mothers also feel the same way, and parents sharing parent-child time has a positive impact on the relationship and family life experience.
Family roles also represent "relationships" as an important part of life, and a person's achievements and values do not only come from career success and achievements.
As important people who maintain a good relationship, the definition of life and time will be different - housework is no longer a waste of time, accompanying children is no longer a responsibility that "socially incompetent people" have to bear, and the real gender revolution lies in the complete deconstruction of gender role definitions, so that they can find a better and appropriate way of life, supporting each other to become complete people, rather than one-sided existence.
According to a Swedish study, contemporary men and women attach the same importance to personal career development, so in the case of uneven division of household chores, if women continue to believe that housework is unevenly distributed, and have different views on the energy and time devoted by both parties, it will increase the chance of divorce.
In this regard, Daniel Carlson, a sociologist at the University of Utah, believes that "this does affect the relationship between husband and wife", and that the unequal division of household work leads to the accumulation of an unbalanced mentality, which also makes one of them quite tired, and further affects the sex life between partners, making the gap widening and becoming a hidden worry of contemporary families.
Therefore, if what we are going to talk about today is how to redefine the "family" and practice the "imagination of the contemporary family", then the adjustment of the value sequence of the partners is the first step.
First of all, we must realize that the division of household work based on equality will inevitably affect the "personal space" of both parties, and the two parties sit down to discuss together, for example: the period when children start school from 0 to 8 years old can be said to be an extraordinary period for the family, and the value sequence of their lives needs to be adapted and adjusted together.
For example, in the first stage, both partners are invested in learning to become novice caregivers, in which the mother is more sensitive and uncomfortable due to postpartum physical changes and breastfeeding stress, and the role of the partner as a stable mood and providing support is also quite important.
In the second stage, one party contributes less to parenting interaction, but the main housework operation makes the other party more comfortable to take care of the child and himself; In the third stage, each adjusts the time allocation and mutual support according to the needs of housework, childcare, and work, and reflects the way of cooperation in the process of continuous dynamic displacement.
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The context here is not sacrifice for the sake of family, but rather a recalibration of each other's "definitions" of current achievement or self-practice.
For example, by asking each other, "What do we want to practice in this stage of parenting?" What does this mean to yourself?" Instead of "what can we do to raise children?" Or, "What do we have to sacrifice or give up each of us in order to raise children?"
Align with clear positive goals, so that childcare and housework become an important part of self-realization, and nurture understands the value and significance of jointly running a "home".