Women often complain that men don’t understand them or sympathise with them. Men are lazy, they say: they don’t help with housework and children. At the same time, men enjoy particular privileges and freedoms that many women are denied.
All of these things are undoubtedly true, particularly in Chinese society. Confucianism has left a legacy of male dominance in the workplace, for example, where managers are usually men. Women are supposed to stay at home with the kids and obey orders while the man goes out and earns money.
In the West there has been increasing pressure in the past few decades for men to make an effort to help women by contributing more time to housework and family life. Feminists claim that women are mistreated by men and that men need to change their attitudes and become less chauvinistic. Women want to work too, so men need to take their turn changing nappies, cooking and playing with kids.
So in Western countries many educated men have tried to transform themselves by forgetting about beer, football and friends and instead spending their evenings vacuuming carpets and bathing babies.
There is, however, one problem with this “gender revolution,” in my opinion. Most men are simply not very good at hanging around the house washing dishes while dealing with screaming children. At some point, something snaps in our brains and most of us lose our temper or flee.
Call it stereotyping if you like, but the truth is that men are just not as patient as women are around children. As the hours pass, our already low tolerance for infant misbehavior wears thin. That’s why there are very few men working in preschool and primary education.
Nature didn’t design us to coax and cuddle, but to provide food and protect the family from outside threats. So hanging around the house all day is stressful because it feels instinctively like we’re neglecting to do our job.
I’m not suggesting that men shouldn’t take their turn at caring for children. They should.
What I am claiming is that it’s just not beneficial for most men to try to do too much of it. The whole family will just end up frazzled. We have to admit defeat: most of us are just not very good at this house-husband thing because it drives us crazy in a pretty short time.
Probably, some readers think that I’m just making excuses. While this may be true to an extent, consider the following three factoids.Women live longer than men on average.
Women don’t have to deal with the effects of large amounts of testosterone (which tends to produce aggression and frustration) coursing through their bodies.In most countries, men pull their weight by working full-time and providing money for the family.While it is true that women often get the short end of the stick, neither is it always easy being a man.