Eleven Mic-Drop Moments From Our Podcast with Darcy Lockman About the ‘Nagging Woman’ and the Gendered Division of Labour

If there's one episode of The Grace Tales podcast that will make you feel seen, heard, and understood, this is probably it. We'll leave it to Darcy Lockman to explain…


Listen to the episode here.

On the gendered division of labour…

Even when women earn more than their partners, they still do about two thirds of the domestic labor. Even in situations where the husband is unemployed, this division of labor does not reach parity and still favors the men – that is, they do less.

On asking for help…

A lot of men, my husband included, will say, "Well, I'll do whatever you ask me to do." But the knowing is such a big part of the work, the knowing and the planning. And so often, the women who I interviewed for the book would be frustrated with their husbands who would just say to them, "I don't know what you're talking about. I'll do whatever you ask." They never say no, as if that were being a co-parent.

On men’s defensiveness…

It wasn't that we didn't have time to sit down together and discuss it. Because we did, we can make that time. It doesn't have to be a seven hour conversation. But it was hard for me to convey what I was doing. And because he was defensive and because of the male entitlement that's pervasive in patriarchal societies, there's also kind of a feeling that this is the way it should be.

On the stereotype of the ‘nagging wife’…

We villainize the nagging wife as opposed to putting equal, at least, responsibility on the partner who's not stepping up to the plate and fulfilling their adult responsibilities. So the cranky woman does not come out of nowhere. It comes out of really being deprived of an equal partner. And also, not quite feeling she has the right to ask for it. Because when you grow up in a patriarchy, what do we learn? Most societies in the world are patriarchal going way back, and we learn that our needs, ambitions, desires, leisure, time, come second to men. Men are more important. We learn this in so many ways growing up. And then when it plays out in our home, because we don't have someone saying to us, "You're right. I really see where you're coming from. I'm going to try harder" – we're left with our own anger and no one to really hear it or acknowledge it. And then, hence the crankiness.

On how to talk about these issues with your partner…

Couples who read my book together told me that it really made it easier for them to talk about this stuff, because it kind of absolves them each of having responsibility. It wasn't that the woman was a martyr. It wasn't that the guy was a lazy asshole. It was that, sexism is so in the water, and so we've all absorbed it. And if we want to live differently, we have to know that.

On perceptions in parenting…

Parenting is an area where we're all really vulnerable to perception, even if we don't really care how other people think of us in other ways, there's this wanting to be thought of as a good mother. Parenting puts you in such a vulnerable place, because you're never sure early on if you're doing a good job.

On employer’s prejudice against mothers…

I was at a party with other psychologists talking to a guy I knew who was in his early fifties, and we were talking about this, and he said to me, "Well, come on, let's be realistic. If I'm going to hire someone, I'm not going to hire a mother with young kids. They're just not going to be available."

On how these conversations fall on deaf ears…

One woman told me, she finally said to her husband, "If this doesn't change, I'm leaving." And he cried. And he said, "Oh my God, I had no idea." Even though she had been trying to talk to him for years.

On the glass ceiling…

If we talk about women and a glass ceiling, we're talking about mothers.

On why women think we’re better at domestic tasks…

You're better at bath time because you do it more. You're not better at bath time because you were born with some innate skill to bathe children. So, that's the first thing. We have these misunderstandings of biology that lead us to do more and then we become better, because how we really get better at things, and we all know this, is by practicing.

On the difference between benign and hostile sexism…

Benign sexism is like 'women are so caring. They're so good at taking care. You're so good at making everybody lunch'. Right? Because it puts women in a subservient role while giving them a compliment.

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