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TikTok about male and female hobbies sparks discourse on gender roles

‘When women marry men, they lose time to unpaid labour, but when men marry women, they gain time’

Olivia Hebert
Los Angeles
Tuesday 27 February 2024 07:00 GMT
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A woman went viral on TikTok for discussing the differences between male and female hobbies in married couples.

In a viral TikTok video, a mother-of-four named Paige (@sheisapaigeturner) explained her theory on why there are so many “discrepancies” between female and male hobbies. She noted that married women usually have hobbies that mesh well with their partners’ and children’s schedules, leading many women to have hobbies that revolve around homemaking and staying at home with their children.

Some of these “traditional” activities include reading, cooking, and gardening, all activities that make it easy for them to enrich themselves but also allow them to be able to look after the children at home, Paige said. Oftentimes, these hobbies are kid-friendly and mothers can easily include them in what they’re doing.

“Traditional male hobbies tend to take them away from the home and caretaking,” Paige wrote in the caption of her video. According to the TikToker, these activities, which are often outdoors such as golfing, hunting, rock climbing, or training for a marathon, often take them away from home for long stretches of time during prime caretaking hours.

“This is made possible by the unpaid labour of women. Women’s hobbies typically are scheduled around the needs of the family and take place outside of traditional caretaking hours.” She added: “When women marry men, they lose time to unpaid labour, but when men marry women, they gain time. This plays into their ability to participate in hobbies.”

Paige noted that she was specifically speaking about heteronormative relationships, in which women may feel like they don’t receive the same support that they give their partners when they want to take on a hobby that may take them away from the home. According to Paige, an example may be if a woman told her husband that she wanted to golf on Sunday afternoons for five hours straight in a woman’s league, and asked him to be the primary caretaker for that part of the day, but in response the husband described the situation as “unfair”.

The video - which has since garnered over 79,000 likes on the platform - sparked discourse from men and women alike. Someone wrote that Paige could also touch upon how mothers are often made to feel guilty for trying to make time for themselves with a hobby that doesn’t revolve around home or their children. They said: “You could add to this video about moms having guilt when it comes to their hobbies vs men who never think twice about taking part in their hobby.”

Another person noted that a lot of crafty, stereotypical women’s hobbies tend to be centred around family, “A lot of women’s craftier hobbies also often benefit the men in the family, like making things for their home and family! My friend sews and crochet’s clothes!”

Some people shared their personal experiences, with one man noting that within his marriage he realised that neither he nor his wife had the time for their hobbies, primarily because of an unequal division of responsibilities. He wrote: “Your video brought up an interesting conversation between my wife and I.”

When a woman’s hobby takes them away from the home, like stereotypically male hobbies often do, it brings about discussions about equal division of responsibilities.

In heterosexual relationships that have both parents working full-time, research indicates that the female partners oftentimes still take on the domestic and mental labour that their stay-at-home counterparts do. According to 2020 Gallup report, gender equality has faltered on the domestic front, noting that in these households “the wives are more likely than their husbands to take the lead on everything from doing laundry, cleaning, shopping for groceries, and preparing meals, to planning family activities, caring for children and furnishing the house”.

These issues often stem from power imbalances in relationships as well as preconceived notions on who should taken on the primary burdens of parenting, both of which have long been pervasive in not only American society but around the world.

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