Walk the Walk

There’s an expression that it’s easier to “talk the talk than walk the walk”, easier to say you support something or agree with it than to live it out in your daily life. While I like the idea of men who support feminism and its goals, I am routinely disappointed by men who get credit for a paltry minimum of effort towards the cause.

It’s easy to say slut-shaming is wrong, while forbidding your teen daughter to wear a crop top because “it sends the wrong message”. It’s easy to say rape is wrong, while offering the women around you a litany of safety tips you’ve never had to use a day in your life. It’s easy to say you support abortion rights, while calling the women who get them “sluts”.

It’s easy to say you support women in the workplace, while asking your wife to be the one to quit her job and stay home with the kids because you are paid more. It’s easy to say you admire ambition in women, while insinuating the woman who got the promotion you wanted did so by sleeping with the boss. It’s easy to say you support equal pay for equal work, while incorrectly suggesting women are probably paid less because they take less valued careers.

It’s easy to say you want a partner in your marriage, while leaving all the emotional labor of maintaining connections with friends and family to your wife. It’s easy to say you’re a highly involved dad, while calling the sparse time you spend as primary caregiver of your own children “babysitting”. It’s easy to say you support equality, while doing less than half of the housework, even in dual income homes.

I want allies who will walk the walk, who will prioritize the careers and ambitions of women, and actually do the thankless work that occupies so much of women’s time. My challenge to any men reading this, particularly men who live with women, is to catalog all the chores required to keep your life (and the lives of any children or pets you may have) running. Start by writing down the chores you do, and then ask the people you live with what chores they do and write those down as well. Look at your list. Include everything from daily cleaning to running errands to scheduled vehicle maintenance to doctors appointments, all the things that make your home function. Are you really doing half? Are others over-burdened? Could you stand to take on more? Challenge yourself to do not just half, but more. Odds are high any woman you’re living with has spent years doing more than half, and simply going to half-and-half now won’t erase that extra burden. Really make it up to her.

Young man washing floor in protective gloves

Young man washing floor in protective gloves

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