Monday, August 02, 2010

The Double Standard of the "HONEY-DO" List

I love teaching. One of the MANY reasons I love teaching adult students is how much I learn from them. One of those "AHA!" moments came in my Gender Communication class this last quarter.

We were having a "fishbowl" exercise where a group of women became part of an inner circle for discussion. As part of that group, we sat on the floor in the center of the room while other students sat around us listening and taking notes. The goal of the women's discussion was to offer "tips" to the men in the class about communication, attitude, and behaviors that might improve their relationships with important women in their lives. 

We also had a "fishbowl" where the men got to talk and the women listened and took notes. The men's fishbowl went first. To be fair, the men displayed much better manners as listeners in the fishbowl exercises. They not only listened respectfully, they asked amazing and thought-provoking questions.

In the women's fishbowl one gal talked about how everything is better when men really help at home. She inferred, and we might have an "Amen, Sister!" from any women reading this blog, that men don't really do their fair share at home. Women work at outside jobs, just like their husbands, but they are then expected to do the majority of kid care and household care. All the women in the group agreed that men helping more with the household chores and children would make women in general a much happier group of people.

After the fishbowl was over, and the men could ask questions, one well-respected and older male student asked if he might participate in the conversation. This was someone who dearly loves his wife and had been sharing all of his class information on improving gender communication with her. Everyone in the room really liked him.

Quite simply, and sincerely, John asked,"I've always wondered about the double standard of the "honey-do" list. Could you ladies help me with my confusion?" He went on to explain that he always helped his wife around the house. He felt that was part of being a good husband. Yet he also had his own list of things to accomplish. While his list might not be written down, he had one. 

What puzzled him, he said respectfully, was why women always seemed to feel that they could give a guy another list of their priorities to do, the ever famous "Honey-Do List!" and expected men to re-prioritize and get the new list done ASAP. What, he asked, would happen if men started to give women those kinds of lists? 

He went on to ask how many of us gave our husbands a "Honey-Do List!" We all raised our hands. He then asked how many of our husbands gave us regular "Honey-Do Lists"? No hands went up. "Is that a double standard?", he asked.

Our mouths dropped open.
We were speechless.

It had never occurred to me that the famous "Honey-Do list" was one-sided and a double standard. The "Honey-Do List" was a cultural phenomenon, passed from generation of women to the next generation of women. It was a cry for help from busy women, desperate to have their spouses help them out at home. But was it a double standard? Would I be shocked to have Bert write a "Honey-Do List" for me? Food for thought!

Yup, I love teaching!
I love learning new things!
Thanks John!

What do YOU think about the famous "Honey Do Lists"??? Is it a double standard?

God Bless!
Love Linda


Tiffany said...

Great question! I have to admit, every summer, I actually ask Eric for a Honey-Do List. The reason is because I have summers off and he doesn't. Eric is pretty quick to help around the house and finish the Honey-Do lists I give him and it feels good to reciprocate in the summer. However, I do have to admit, I'm really good at checking things off of my list at the beginning of the summer...but not so much towards the end! ;)

jessithompson said...

I'm so glad you wrote this post! :) After you were telling me about this, I think it's a GREAT topic for discussion. I'm really interested to hear what people have to say about this.

I haven't ever really given lists to Roger, but I will certainly admit I have expectations that he will tackle projects that are high on my priority list.

Thanks for posting this... xoxo

Cristopher Lucas said...

So many people go through life oblivious to the inner workings of even their spouses mind...

I think everyone is going too fast. Stop and smell the roses and then maybe you will notice many many other things.

Thanks for sharing Linda and thanks for leadin' me here Jessi.

You two are most excellent!

Cristopher Lucas said...

of course...i only live with roses would be nice

Kim said...

Ah, the honey do list... I would like to say that I make them, but we also make a list together as well to tackle all the things WE would like to get done. Many things are those that I choose not to want to learn or that I don't especially like... weed and feed, changing the filter, or cleaning the tadpole tank. I should ask my honey about the honey to do list!

Love ya Linda!

NitaNeat said...

I was so blessed by the learnings in your Gender Communications Class. I had many "aha" moments.

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