Skepchick Quickies 10.1

Today is the first day of October, which is my favorite month because of all of the corny Halloween decorations and events! Plus, New England is gorgeous in the fall. On this day in 1843, the News of the World began publication in London. The tabloid ended publication a year ago due to being implicated in the phone hacking scandal.

Are you looking for a good cause to support? Julia Burke is trying to raise money for Girls on the Run by running in the NYC marathon and she is only 1/3 of the way to her goal. Every penny counts! (Read more about the charity here.)


Mary Brock works as an Immunology scientist by day and takes care of a pink-loving princess child by night. She likes cloudy days, crafting, cooking, and Fall weather in New England.

Related Articles


    1. Simonsays

      Thanks. You did a good job writing that. Its nice to know that the Huffington Post was not only place covering the story. I’m also glad to hear change.org has a petition for the Greek government to drop all charges against Pastitsios.

  1. It’s a study being reported on in the Telegraph, and it thus almost certainly presented misleadingly; given the Telegraph’s history, it’s even possible that the study found the opposite of what they’ve reported.

  2. Not sure it’s a bullshit study as such, the study appears to think that it has to do with division of labor and a view of marriage itself due to more modern couples being on equal footing anyway. It could also be a cultural issue too as this study was done in Norway. And for some reason I remember reading an article that stated that the opposite was true, but then again, as I can’t recall what or where I read it, I don’t know if it was a “shares some of the chores leads to happier couples” argument or an equal share as this article states. I guess I’d be curious to know what equal share means as well. I didn’t read the article as fully as I could have nor do I have the study itself, so I can’t make that determination either. So, too many unknowns for me to really state that this is categorically bullshit, it might be, but it may not.

  3. Well I’m probably doomed. My boyfriend actually does a bigger share of the housework than I do (I’m a slob, he’s very picky about how he liked things cleaned but I do all the cooking). I say this because the “study” found that couple where the wife did the housework stayed together and those who split it were more likely to divorce, so how bad must it be if you turn the gender norms completely around? I’m not worried, if anything was going to doom us I doubt housework would much feature into it.

    1. I think that if I read it right, you’re probably not as doomed as you think. The only reason it would report the way it did is most likely because that is typical in most households. As you are not “stepping on your boyfriend’s toes” by doing the same household jobs he is doing, there are fewer chances of having the sorts of arguments that could lead to a break-up/divorce. This is assuming, of course, that the inverse is in fact true of a given couple, and that the Telegraph is reporting on the research accurately, (as a previous poster pointed out, may not be exactly true).

  4. Based on the article on chores, it seems more like they found strife where the chores weren’t well defined, so both people could be responsible. I can see that causing more conflict just from the whole “I thought you were going to do that…” argument.

    That being said, I also wonder what they’re using to define household chores, and how you equate out the numbers. My wife and I split chores… she handles dishes and laundry, I do mowing, yardwork, garbage, etc. It wasn’t ever really planned that way, it just sort of happened. The only stuff we share is taking care of our infant daughter (changing, bathing)… and that’s more of just whoever can get the energy to move more.

  5. I’d love to rip the methods apart, but I can’t even find a copy of the study. Nothing comes up on Google Scholar and a search on Google only brings up copy after copy of the Telegraph article. I can’t even find what journal it’s published in.

    1. rather disconcerting, no journals mentioned in the article either, no authors for the study (just one Sociologist from Canterbury, have we confirmed this person’s existence?). Not boding well for the article’s veracity.

        1. American Holocaust… October 12 is the holiday that commemorates the arrival of the sea-pirates, according to Kurt Vonnegut. But that was over 500 years ago. The creos have there dates wrong, again. But dates of historical events have never been their strong suit.

  6. That dude has some strong opinions about how relationships should work….

    I know for damn sure that if my S/O didn’t help out around the house we’d be getting a divorce since he’s such a big part of the need to do the chores in our home.

    1. My thought was maybe they’re just asking the men what percentage of the housework thay do. Since we men do tend to over estimate that, maybe the ones who are fooling themselvs into thinking they’re doing half or more are the ones more likely to have their wives finally give up and boot them out.

      But Tyro’s suggestions are more likely.

  7. I can’t find the study either, but I can think of several ways that we can make the study go this way. We could look at fundamentalist or authoritarian groups where women are not able to divorce (or there are very high barriers) and compare them to liberal groups which support autonomy and women’s rights. My bet would be that in the former group, the women would also be doing a lot more of the housework and the later group it would be more equitable.

    So I wonder if, rather than saying couples which share housework are more likely to divorce we could say that in couples where women are pressured to do more of the housework they are also pressured to remain in marriages.

  8. When my wife and I got married we were super mega ultra Christians. She did all the house work and I went to work everyday. Over the years we asked more and more questions until we de-converted from Christianity and become skeptics and atheists. As that happened, we slowly dropped more and more the rigid gender roles. (Partially in response to skeptical feminists like Rebecca Watson). Our relationship is richer and better than it was then, but it is NOT simpler. The stability of rigidly defined gender roles allows you to use a lot of 100 level communication skills. Everyone in the relationship having equal value and say requires a lot better communication and more effort. I think a correlation between 50/50 split housework and an unmet need for better communication could happen.

  9. Mary,

    Couples who share house work are actually more likely to get a divorce? That’s the exact opposite of what I would have expect. I guess it just shows how “common sense” can be so wrong.

  10. If there is any truth to the chores study, this seems to be the key:

    “Modern couples are just that, both in the way they divide up the chores and in their perception of marriage” as being less sacred, Mr Hansen said. “In these modern couples, women also have a high level of education and a well-paid job, which makes them less dependent on their spouse financially. They can manage much easier if they divorce,” he said.

    The chore-sharing is a symptom, if you will, of an attitude toward marriage that is more permissive of divorce, and of an independence that allows divorce to be a more realistic option for women.

    I would be interested to see the study conducted with couples in other countries, or to know whether they considered education/income/religion/etc.

    1. The article linked to by samanthac suggests that the higher the socioeconomic status of the partners, the more equally divided the house work (it also is where divorce becomes more common). The researchers see it as correlative not causal. So, yes, education was considered. Seems the Telegraph was sensationalizing the data. (Sadly typical of most science reporting)

      1. Also, this is Norway. They have a state religion and tend to be more atheistic across the board. So I don’t know that religion could be looked into as a factor as easily. It would be interesting to see this study done here in the States, see if the results are similar or different.

  11. My prediction of why divorce rates might be higher amongst couples who share the housework – that they are more egalitarian overall and therefore less constrained by gender expectations – seems to be borne out by the article.

    I don’t think this is necessarily something to freak out over. If people are getting divorced because they are unhappy together then that seems like a good thing. Too often a “successful” relationship is defined based on years rather than based on the level of happiness it brings the couple. Although maybe I only feel that way because I have never been intimately connected to an acrimonious divorce.

    I believe the most oft-cited reason for divorce is disagreements about money. How many of those couples who don’t share housework also don’t share responsibility for the family budget (both bringing in income and also managing it)? That would minimize disagreements, but it would also leave one spouse in a more tenuous situation should a divorce occur.

  12. I don’t know what’s going on in the housework piece, but it is true that men are raised in a culture of entitlement, where others, if not people in their family, may tell them that they are going above and beyond being a decent human being, by sharing 50% of the housework. I mean, how many guys are above all that? I know my husband is, mentally, “above” that, but he was raised by a mother who insisted on doing everything, and a bully of a father who did the “man’s work.” He just doesn’t do as much as I do, because he frankly does a crappy job of certain things and I’ve taught him how do do enough. I mean, he does the cooking and laundry. So I pick up after him and such.

    Would he become resentful? I doubt it, but I do truly think he’s somewhat of a unicorn–but there’s still the fact he won’t do the dishes or clean a room. Would “Normals” become resentful and divorce BECAUSE of it? Maybe so. After all, in order to get most Normals to do housework, wouldn’t there be fights about it?

  13. Does the fun ever stop? It’s now well over a year that some ‘research’ from Diederik Stapel here in holland hit the frontpages about the vegetarians being less agressive than the non-vegetarians – a piece of research I questioned on the beforehand since it looked so convenient as a conclusion. And yes, the researcher is now even the subject of criminal investigation for the abuse of researchfunds. However, that not being the case about the research on divorce, it is this time again bad journalism and drawing conclusions which are not supported by the cited research but make a nice article in the newspaper, in the support of ‘traditional’ views and why men eat pizza. Of course I poke fun at it at fb, however, I wonder what I have to do with all these fb-friends that support these kind of views, and if I shouldn’t shed them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
%d bloggers like this: