Author Topic: Who is expected to help?  (Read 4976 times)

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English1

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Who is expected to help?
« on: September 20, 2013, 10:40:52 AM »
Hi

Just a discussion idea really, sorry if this is not in the right area. All the threads on people helping/not helping their hosts made me think about this.
In a lot of cases it seems that only women are expected to help/asked to help, or actually just get up and offer to help, and the men just sit around.
Do you agree with this? does it annoy you? How does it work in your family? With your friends?

I have to hold my hands up sometimes in the past to having just sat on my butt when all the other women were working, because the men were not doing anything, and I don't agree with men being waited on by women. I don't do it now, as it's not fair on the other women, but it still makes me grind my teeth something chronic!

New man's mother keeps roping me in to help out with cooking when I'm there, the kitchen is her her thing and her husband never cooks, but it just annoys me the whole women in kitchen men sitting in front of TV attitude. Although new man does come and do stuff anyway, and he does loads of cooking, so thankfully the attitude hasn't rubbed off on him. She's lovely but just one of these old-fashioned wait on men hand and foot types (lol, yeah, right).

In my family on the whole men and women all jump up to do stuff, apart from one brother in law who's never lifted a blasted finger! We are all banned from one brother's kitchen (even his wife) as it's strictly his domain. But friends - funnily enough as mostly they are younger than me and my family, it seems to have gone back to the bad old days more and the women do most of it (which I really don't get, these people are only in their 30s!). Is it just the 80s 'feminist' generation aged 40-50ish who get everyone pulling their weight and older and younger ones don't?

Discuss  ;D
« Last Edit: September 20, 2013, 10:43:47 AM by English1 »

lady_disdain

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #1 on: September 20, 2013, 11:38:30 AM »
In my father's family, everyone helps. There maybe some gender division of work but I think it is mainly based on the guys staying out of the way of several matriarch figures! So someone is in charge of the cooler and drinks, someone else oversees the dishes, the 3 engineers battle it out to raise the garden tents, etc.

In my mother's family, the ratio is about 5:1. No, not because of feminism but because the only men are my uncle Nasty (who fortunately holes up somewhere until it is time for him to sneak a plate of food away) and my father, who does help. The 5 women all help.

Yvaine

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2013, 11:48:46 AM »
In my family, we mostly have women helping, for the same reason as lady_disdain--there are just more women period. My parents had 5 girls and we have a lot of single mothers in the family. It will probably be different in 20 years--the "kid" generation is majority male.

In my BF's family, he does most of the kitchen work because he's the best cook, I help him because I kinda like him ;) , and his sister and nieces conveniently vanish into thin air when they realize something needs to be cleaned!  ;D

In my ex's family, there was definitely the women helping/men sitting dynamic, and there were also weird and shifting expectations of how much a girlfriend was supposed to pitch in, as in sometimes I was in trouble if I helped and other times I was in trouble if I didn't help. I don't miss it.

siamesecat2965

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2013, 12:10:32 PM »
I can't really speak for my family, as its small. Really just mom and me. And when was dad was still with us, the three of us. But I know for my parents, my dad loved to cook, gladly did it all, and mom cleaned up. They both preferred it that way, so it worked for them.

When I'd visit or come for holidays, I helped both of htem. sometimes wiht cooking, and also cleaning up.

As for holidays, my mom and I generally don't have a lot of company, and if we do, they are guests, even if family, so she and I generally do the clean up. since there aren't more than 4 or 5 total, its not a huge deal.

GlitterIsMyDrug

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2013, 12:32:32 PM »
My grandma boots us all out of the kitchen. Male, female, she's cooking the meal and you're to stay out of her way. But grandpa handles the greeting, getting drinks, ect. part of hosting. So pretty neatly divided. In less it's grilling, then it's reversed. Cause I love her, but grandma would wander away from the grill and burn the whole neighborhood down.

I was raised with, everyone helps. It gets the job done faster and everyone can play to their streghths.

Some of my friends are more old fashioned, lady in the kitchen, man holding down the couch (sometimes they float away ya know), but most just go with whomever is better at cooking/hosting/ect leads the way.

I'm in a lesbian relationship. So in my house, all the women help because the only guys here are my dogs and while adorable they are terrible at cleaning up. When guy friends come over though they'll usually offer to pitch in, or help out where they can. One guy, one time, when I asked if he'd mind helping me with something in prepping to food said "Oh, that's women's work" so I said "Oh, I guess it's only women's food then too?", he helped after that.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2013, 12:36:38 PM »
I'm in my late 40's. In my family and social groups, all men do an equal share. I have two newphews who are 26 & 29 and they both help out equally when guests or hosts.

My dad (WWII generation) liked to cook, so it was common for him to be in the kitchen or out bbqing for family or social get togethers. He'd also occasionally make the family dinner, though mom always laughed that his idea of making the family dinner was making the main and figuring that all the sides just magically appeared. But in Dad's family of origin, 9 siblings were all born between 1911-1930, the men sat as the women prepared and cleaned up the meal. But by the time I came along and started noticing these things, it was shifting even in their family. My mom only had 1 sister so that side was very small and they both only had girls. My aunts DH always helped out during family get togethers, probably even more than my dad did. I do remember him washing more dishes than I ever remember my Dad washing after family dinners.


WillyNilly

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2013, 12:45:21 PM »
In my family no one is supposed to help. The hosts, host, and the guests are just guests. For a casual dinner, maybe people help - usually its by age not gender with teenagers or younger adults being the ones expected to step up and help the 'hosts', but for holidays and stuff, whoever hosts pretty much is expected to take care of it all.

But then I live in NC with very small kitchens and dishwashers as standard. There really isn't room for people to help in the kitchen or a need to help cleaning up.

Amara

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2013, 03:17:06 PM »
Once we all became adults it was everyone's responsibility to pitch in on hosting occasions like holiday dinners where the family got together. And everyone did. We tried to ease the load on my parents and as they got older they were simply given "time off" and everyone did almost everything else from preparing dishes to bring to washing and putting away all the dishes and decorations to even starting laundry. It was centered on age and respect--making things easier for them not only because of their age but because we were so appreciative--and never on gender.

lady_disdain

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2013, 03:34:27 PM »
I only wish my parents would slow down. My mother insists on trying to do everything. If they come to my place, I can circumvent by having almost everything done beforehand (aka, dinner that has only to be placed in the oven, that sort of thing) but she insists on doing the dishes, so I won't have to.

Hmmmmm

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #9 on: September 20, 2013, 06:08:42 PM »
In my family no one is supposed to help. The hosts, host, and the guests are just guests. For a casual dinner, maybe people help - usually its by age not gender with teenagers or younger adults being the ones expected to step up and help the 'hosts', but for holidays and stuff, whoever hosts pretty much is expected to take care of it all.

But then I live in NC with very small kitchens and dishwashers as standard. There really isn't room for people to help in the kitchen or a need to help cleaning up.
In your family if a heterosexual couple is hosting do they equally share the prep and clean up? Or is the female the one in the kitchen stacking the dishes while the male is entertaining the guests after the meal?

WillyNilly

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2013, 06:46:29 PM »
In my family no one is supposed to help. The hosts, host, and the guests are just guests. For a casual dinner, maybe people help - usually its by age not gender with teenagers or younger adults being the ones expected to step up and help the 'hosts', but for holidays and stuff, whoever hosts pretty much is expected to take care of it all.

But then I live in NC with very small kitchens and dishwashers as standard. There really isn't room for people to help in the kitchen or a need to help cleaning up.
In your family if a heterosexual couple is hosting do they equally share the prep and clean up? Or is the female the one in the kitchen stacking the dishes while the male is entertaining the guests after the meal?

The heterosexual couple divide labors between them as they see fit, but generally I'd say both are active hosts.
When I was a kid my grandfather usually cooked the bulk of the meal (the meat, the stew, whatever) and my grandma did the sides and directed children to set the set the table, for example. At my dad's at Christmas my dad is in charge of making sure guests have beverages and setting out/replenishing pre-dinner snacks as my stepmom finishes up whatever she's doing in the kitchen. Then as she brings out dinner, my dad opens the wine, pours water, etc, and lights the candles and asks about anything special people might need before we start. My brother and his wife often combine efforts cooking and have their kids set and clear the table. In my home, while I do most of the cooking, much like at my dad's, my DH is on beverage and hors d'vours duty and seeing to guest's comfort, and after they leave, my DH is the one who washes any dishes that didn't fit/can't go in the dishwasher or that were soaking.

turtleIScream

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #11 on: September 20, 2013, 08:16:44 PM »
At my mom's house, helping usually falls along gender lines, but not because of stereotypical roles; my mom, sister, and I have very similar approaches in the kitchen and intuitively know what goes where and how to manage the workflow. Same at my dad's, except it's my SIL working with my step-mom because they work well together. Our family's philosophy is mostly the host hosts, and the guests are guests. Help is accepted, if it is actually helpful, but is not expected or required.

At my house, I generally don't accept help in the kitchen (tiny, inconvenient layout), and task only my husband and daughter with other hosting duties.

At MIL's? It used to very much be divided among gender lines. I was expected to help, and there was much resentment on her side when I didn't offer, and on mine when I was told what to do. Especially when males were never, ever part of the process. I finally wised up, and when MIL told me to come in and help her, I told my husband, "hey, your mom needs some help in the kitchen." It didn't take long for the dynamic to shift, and now everyone is involved in helping.

PastryGoddess

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2013, 01:45:45 AM »
In my family, the women do most of the cooking, but the men help clean up and wrangle the kids.  One male cousin used to do all the grilling, but I took that over from him this summer as I got sick and tired of burnt food and poor grill management.

jaxsue

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2013, 02:23:51 PM »
My FOO family is very traditional, which has always gone against my feminist-leaning beliefs. For major holidays, the men sat in the living room while the women did all the work. Even the childcare was left to the women! This is why I don't attend these anymore.

blarg314

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Re: Who is expected to help?
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2013, 09:18:51 PM »

In my family, helping after a holiday dinner was shared. My mom was a SAHM and did most of the nightly cooking, but my dad also cooked and did dishes.

My main experience with women working while men relax has been at church related events (women in the kitchen preparing/cleaning while men relax), although sometimes it was women in the kitchen, men setting up tables.

I've also encountered it on occasion at work related social events, when I was a grad student (the grad students hosted a few events a year). In that case I did leave the kitchen and refuse to keep working unless we got some guys in there (it was about 30% women at the student level, 5% at the faculty level).