HomeFamilyI think I'm sexist.

I think I’m sexist.

There are two things women are better than men at: Peeing sitting down and having babies. That’s it. Okay not really, I just was trying to get your attention.

Seriously though, I think I might be quasi-sexist. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a “women are inferior to men” sexist, but a “there are certain things I want my wife to do” type sexist. I realized this through pre-marital counseling (For anyone that is looking to get married I totally recommend doing it. It was free and totally worth it).

One of the tasks assigned to me, was to work through a list of household chores and indicate if I thought each item was a man’s job, a woman’s job, or both. I scanned in my responses for you to see (Girl Ninja’s answers were different)…

Of the 16 different tasks listed, I defined seven of them as typically the male’s responsibility and seven of them as the female’s responsibility. See, I’m not that bad am I? At least I had an even distribution.

Even though, the responsibilities are split down the middle, I still feel a little sexist. I mean come on. I said Girl Ninja should be the primary child caretaker, laundry do-er, bed maker, dish washer, house cleaner, food preparer, and grocery shopper. I basically described just described this woman….

Gender roles are pretty funny when you think about them. I’m totally looking for a “supermom” and not so much a career driven woman. Fortunately, my responses were not grossly different from Girl Ninja’s, so at least we both want the same family model.

Do you and your spouse share similar outlooks on the list above? Any feminists out there think I’m a terrible person for wanting the woman to clean the house? Any role reversals out there, aka…stay at home dads care to chime in? Do you think I’m sexist or just sexy?


I want to clarify. My idea of these gender roles is for when Girl Ninja is a stay-at-home mom (which we both want). And even though I would prefer her to be the Chief Laundry Operator, I am more than happy to help out when/if she needs/wants. I probably should have clarified that better. It appears most of you picked up on that, but some didn’t.



  1. I think the question of whether you are sexist is not about which roles you would like to see Girl Ninja take, but how you deal with it if she has different ideas. If Girl Ninja wanted to each of you to do half of each task, would you want to discuss and come to some sort of compromise, or would you refuse to do the ‘women’s chores’ and insist on doing the men’s?

  2. The interesting thing is that your parent’s family model looks pretty similar to the one you want. Hurray for positive upbringing.

    My dad expected my mom to do everything on the list (except car maintenance because he wouldn’t let her drive).

    The only thing that my husband does regularly is take out the trash, the rest is “both do.” You pretty much have to share chores if both people work…unless of course you treat your spouse like an indentured servant.

    I agree with Victoria. I think you’d be sexist if you refused to do certain items. There are times in life when one partner needs a hand and if you’re willing to step up, you’re okay in my book.
    My mom had a finger cut off at work and I tried to help her do dishes when I was like 7. My dad didn’t let me. He said that’s “your mom’s job”.

    The other scenario I think you’d be sexist is if you thought bringing home the bacon was more important than the “wife stuff.”

    I know sexist, and you’re not it.

  3. No. That you ever realized this could be accused as sexist and cared enough to post about it probably means you are not.

    You do realize that a lot of the tasks you gave Girl Ninja take more time than yours (not being mean, a lot of men don’t realize the amount of time to clean something to their new standard of not having a bachelor’s pad!)? In an average week, if you did exactly this (assuming a normal yard that doesn’t need uber maintaining!), she would basically have what is called the “second shift,” in which she worked outside the home then is expected to do all the cleaning and such, especially if there were kids–a second job? Since you put child raising as her job and you and both as income earnings, I am making the leap that she and you want her to stay home once there are baby ninjas? In that case, this makes sense, at that time her “job” is the house, she should be responsible for most of it. Otherwise, if you both work full time, I think you both should chip in (ex: she cooks, you do dishes, you throw the clothes in the laundry machines, she folds them).

    And it would be sexist if you don’t help at all, for either of you. If you are sick, she can put the trash out, if she is really tired, you can make dinner. You don’t view taking out the trash and making more money more or less important than doing laundry or raising kids, right? I don’t think you are sexist, you just prefer traditional male/female work division. Fine if Girl Ninja’s okay with it, and fine if you don’t consider yourself superior because you “get to” fix the car and she “has to” make the bed.

    • Totally never thought about the 2nd shift thing. Good point. It would be totally a douche move on my part to expect GN to come home and make me dinner if we both had equally long days at work. I was thinking more along the line of when Baby Ninjas come in to the picture.

      Balance is definitely crucial.

  4. It seems quite fortunate that you and GN see eye to eye on this stuff. I would agree with Kat, that you should beware of the “second shift”, but you’ve mentioned before that you both wish for GN to stay home with the baby ninjas, so hopefully this works out well.

    I gotta tell ya, if DH expected me to do all the stuff you expect GN to do, I’d be quite displeased, but we split most tasks down the middle…that’s just how we roll.

  5. Man, I’m bummed out. your outlook on gender roles and your partnership is so different from mine … and let’s face it, 2010, that I just don’t think I can follow this blog anymore.

    • So if you have a different perspective than someone else, you can no longer be involved? Maybe a different viewpoint is healthy from time to time 🙂

      • You are absolutely right, different viewpoint is healthy from time to time, so remember that when I say that I totally agree with Erin and Tiffany (a few comments down).

        Maybe “sexist” is the wrong word but, the way you talk about your future with GN, it does give off that strong, “in the kitchen, barefoot and pregnant” vibe. However, you’re also very vocal about how much you love and respect, not only GN, but your mother, so clearly you don’t think women are in any way inferior (which is the true definition of a sexist). You are definitely a traditionalist. There are a lot of women out there, myself included, who finds the idea of “traditional” roles outdated, stifling, and downright condescending. That’s not to say that I’m right and you’re wrong, but it doesn’t mean that you’re right and I’m wrong either.

        Going back to your response to Erin’s comment… I don’t know if Erin will stop reading your blog, I don’t know if I’ll stop reading your blog, but yeah, it does mean that I can’t be involved anymore because your blog is very “preaching to the choir”-ish. It’s you, putting out a post basically asking everyone to agree with you, all your commenter do, and when a few don’t, you call them out on it like they’re wrong. You could have asked Erin why she disagrees with you. You could’ve asked her to elaborate on her viewpoints, but instead you accuse her of being closed minded (and no, putting a smiling emoticon at the end doesn’t make it seem any less snarky).

        • Please indicate where I made an accusation? I asked Erin a question.

          I hope you’ll stick around ’cause you’ve been commenting for quite a while, and I’ve always appreciated them…this one included.

          And I can’t help if my blog sounds “preachy” because, well, it’s where I talk about ME. I never said “being traditional” is the right way, just my way. If that constitutes preaching then so be it.

  6. not sexist at all ninja, as mentioned above it just shows how you were brought up. since you were raised in a positive household and seem to be fine im guessing you want the same for your future kids. as long as you and GN can discuss these chores and compromise i dont think you should be worried about being labeled sexist!
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  7. LOL at that drawing! You crack me up!

    It doesn’t mean your sexist, just that you have a very traditional outlook on women’s roles. Listen, the point of the women’s movement wasn’t that all women become career-driven and forget their children. The point was that women could CHOOSE what role to take on. As long as you and GN are comfortable with these roles, I think it’s great.

    When I was growing up, I said that I wanted a man who would share the household chores with me. That’s because my mother did half (or more) of the yardwork, and Dad never lifted a finger inside the house. I didn’t think that was fair. Mr. Red and I don’t have a yard so we split our chores right down the middle. He vacuums and cleans the kitchen. I dust and clean the bathroom. We each do our own laundry (though I’ve offered to do his since it’s free at my office). It’s all about making both people in the relationship comfortable.

    • Thanks for having a sense of humor Red 🙂 Good to know some of you can be equally lighthearted.

  8. Traditional roles are fine since you both want them. However, GN will be working and not at home in the beginning and you better help with those inside chores too. I do not think you are sexiest because if you were I would have to Momninja you back to reality.

    • “I do not think you are sexiest because if you were I would have to Momninja you back to reality.”

      But saying he’s not sexiest is not the same thing as saying he’s not sexist.

  9. I agree with Victoria…you’re only sexist if you cram this view down someone’s throat. Compromise, compromise, compromise. Mr. BFS takes out the trash 70% of the time and I take care of the dogs 90% of the time. We both do everything else even if I end up with more chores because I care a little more than he does. Hiring a housekeeper to come every 2 weeks helped fix a few issues I had with the whole unbalnced situation and hubby loves it too. Now, we are much more even-keeled and I don’t want to strangle him when his office looks like a forest of fast food cups…

  10. So your parents never made the bed or scheduled social events? I don’t want to label you as this or that, but even though you have an even distribution, just try reversing all your items and see you’d feel. Personally, I see nothing wrong with you doing the laundry from time to time or cooking the lasagna. And I’m sure she can gas up the car (better that than running out of gas, calling you to come down with a 1-gallon container, etc., etc., you get my drift).

    It would be very interesting to see GN’s responses.

    • OMG, that’s totally like the episode of the Flintstones where Wilma went to work at the quarry and Fred had to take care of Pebbles! Am I right? Anyone? Anyone?

  11. ok, so GN is going to cook, clean, laundery, make bed, and grocery shop. You’ll pay bills, take care of the yard you don’t have, take care of the pets you don’t have, take out the trash, put gas in the car. Don’t be surprised if GN is too tired to have sexy time. My vote is for NOT SEXY NINJA. There is nothing sexier than teamwork in the kitchen, grocery store, helping around the house. If I was GN I would think this SUX.

  12. When I look at your list, I see you modeling your parent’s breakdown very closely. While I’m sure that breakdown works for them, it’s a mistake to assume that it will work perfectly for you and GN. I’m sure this exercise is helpful for engaged people and it’s good to know the two of you are on the same page. However, if this ideal and actual life don’t mesh easily (Ex. GN wants to leave dishes in the sink to soak overnight, you want them done before bed), you need to be flexible about making changes to this model in a way that makes you both happy.

  13. I agree with a few people up their, in particular your mom. If/when GN is working – you best chip in with everything. Another commenter was also right that her ‘chores’ also take up more time.

    Now, when GN is making this fabulous supper for your and doing your dishes…are you going to watch the kids or be sitting in front of the TV hollering for a beer? If you’re putzing around helping with kids and setting the table – I’d say nope, not sexist. If you’re holler’in I’d say, yup – sexist and he’s not getting supper either.

    You also have to think about what will happen when/if she goes to work after your little ones are raised. My mom and dad had a similar house hold model but when her kids were teenagers and she went back to work – my dad had a really hard time adjusting. She was working the same, if not more hours than he was and she was still doing all the house hold work (and your commenter above was right – ‘her’ work takes more time). So – if you are active in the household all along – it will be less of a ‘shocker’.

  14. I think you’re both thinking of the chore distribution when you have kids (or rather, what you THINK it will be like when you have kids) and GN is at home. If GN is working full time and has to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, bed making, and grocery shopping, and you’re work and taking care of the bills (what is that, once a week??), gassing up the cars (once a week), yard (N/A, but when you do have one that will be at most every other week), pets (N/A) and taking out the trash (twice a week), then well… things aren’t as ‘even’ as you might think. Maybe you can do an experiment and switch chores for a few weeks. Then you can re-evaluate. I think that perhaps your lists should be different pre-kids and post-kids.

  15. Dude, taking out the trash takes, like, 20 seconds. That doesn’t actually count as a chore.

    To decide if you’re sexist or not, imagine this scenario. You get laid off and can’t find a job and suddenly GN, with her teaching certificate, is infinitely more employable than you are. Are you comfortable switching roles, or are you uncomfortable with her being the primary breadwinner for awhile? Will you take over the cooking, cleaning, child-raising, or do you see that as beneath you?

  16. I don’t think your sexist if GN has similar values, for me personally I think I’d get tired of doing all the traditional female roles. I grew up in a house where my father brought home the income and my mom did the whole stay at home mom thing and it just doesn’t seem for me. I’m not sure if my mother completely agreed to this as she was working at one point, but sometimes I think it would have been good for her to continue working for multiple reasons (socializing, to get a break from kids). Since I’m single I’m providing for myself and doing the female roles for myself and right now it’s working out for me, so I hope that if I start dating someone they have a similar mindset where the roles are more interchangeable. I’m down to cook sometimes, but I don’t want someone to depend on me always cooking or vice versa.

  17. The important thing is that you are on the same page. If my husband checked a box saying I had to do all the cleaning, I’d be a little disagreeable about it! Things would change if I ever stay home, but we have several non-childbearing years ahead of us.

    Also, premarital counseling is free through churches, and to be a member of a church you typically do tithe or otherwise support financially. I doubt I could walk into most churches and ask for free premaritial counseling. I couldn’t hardly find sources of non-church based counseling, so we skipped it.

    • My husband and I were required to do church based counseling (actually it was a retreat) and it was not free! I wish it was. But a lot of the couples there where not of the same religion or religious at all and minus a few sections it could all be applied to most couples.

      obviously doesn’t matter for you now, but for others who might be looking.

  18. I do think it’s a bit sexist to have assigned tasks you’d like your wife to do… especially if you won’t ever do any of those things yourself. And look at the things you want her to do versus things you’re willing to do yourself – she is going to have no time for herself (or for you) if she’s doing all of that. (Especially once BabyNinjas make their appearance.)

    Sharing and cooperation are a part of a relationship, and that extends to chores as well.

    If there’s something you are good at or don’t mind doing, do it! And if there is something GirlNinja really doesn’t like to do, maybe you could do that, too! And then split other stuff as equally as you can.

    In my relationship, I don’t mind cleaning the bathroom, so I do that. But I hate emptying the dishwasher, so my husband does that. We do our own laundry. I empty all the garbage cans, he takes out the recycling. We cook together: I do all the fruits and veggies, he does the meat. (I can’t stand touching raw meat, he finds chopping vegetables to be boring.)

    Let me say it again: Sharing and cooperation are a part of a relationship, and that extends to chores as well.

  19. It’s great that you’re taking the responsibility to do pre marital counseling. I think it’s crucial to discuss this sort of stuff before you tie the knot (actually, I think it should really be done before you are engaged). While I don’t think there’s anything wrong with how you’ve chosen the roles you’ll play in your marriage IF and only if, you are both 100% on the same page, but I wonder if the roles were reversed how that would play out.

    Would you hands down refuse to do the laundry or cook if girl ninja was sick? If she was out of town for a few days would you require that she cook and freeze meals for you? Personally I do ALL the cooking, cleaning, laundry and bill paying. But, that’s only because I prefer to do it, not because it’s my job as a woman. And I’m not even a feminist. I’m the anti-feminist (who just happens to be very liberal and very anti-religion). My boyfriend has no problem helping me out if I ask him to (and even when I don’t ask him to). Just remember that marriage is an equal partnership. If girl ninja is fine with playing the role of the doting housewife and raising your children that that’s okay. But I would hate for her to feel OBLIGATED to play this role. And for her to have to give up a career to do so.

  20. This is so interesting to read. It did not strike me as sexist, mostly because (as everyone else is saying) GN is on the same page as you. I have nothing to add there. It’s just such an interesting contrast to my situation. I’m very career-oriented, and while I am in graduate school, my boyfriend has volunteered to pick up a majority of the cooking, cleaning, and house chores while I study, study, study, and someday get a job as a professor and work, work, work. He does not feel “emasculated” by this, it’s just a pragmatic division of labor. I think any model is fine, as long as the two people involved are comfortable with it!

  21. This does not mean you’re sexist. Sexist is like saying “women are only capable of doing a, b and c and to do anything more goes against the laws of nature!”

    These are just the preferences you have for your particular marriage and your particular life. The problem is when you get into other people’s business, judge other people’s marriages or tell your daughters, “Look, honey, you’re only value is in ironing, cooking and otherwise serving a man and rearing his children.”

    I have this sneaking suspicion you and Girl Ninja are going to have little girls, one of whom will probably become the Chairwoman of the Federal Reserve.

    🙂 As a feminist, I give you my “not a sexist” stamp of approval.

  22. It all depends on if the couple is in agreement, I suppose.

    I do all the cooking and most shopping. Jane cleans up, although I don’t walk away, J2 and I wipe and help clear/ put away. Jane does laundry.

    I handle all bills and investments.

    Jane and I both work, and I’m proud to say on average, she makes a bit more than I do.

    Not sure why something like build a bed makes the list. I built J2’s bed when she outgrew the crib, handmade, white ash wood, great project for a few weekends.

  23. I think you are a bit sexist. But not just from this checklist..from other comments on your blog as well. You seem to have a box that women, and GN, fit into.

    This would not be cool with me. My fiancee and I both work. I don’t automaticcaly get the “second shift” because I am female. We split the household chores. And when he starts to forget this I just come home really late from work a few days in a row so he sees how much time it takes for one person to do it all!

  24. I must agree with the commenters who mentionned this is very one-sided. It appears to me GN will be one freaking busy lady.

    I also think regardless of the fact your providing the income, that does not mean your not capable of helping out with laundry, dishes, cleaning and the children.

    Seeing you check the Spouse box instead of the Both of Us boxes does paint you awfully sexist in my eyes. IMHO

  25. *****Update***

    I want to clarify. My idea of these gender roles is for when Girl Ninja is a stay-at-home mom. And even though I would prefer her to be the Chief Laundry Operator, I am more than happy to help out when/if she needs/wants. I probably should have clarified that better. It appears most of you picked up on that, but some didn’t.

    • Perhaps it would have been more clear if you had checked “both of you” instead of GN for every household task.

      • I didn’t check both, because this is what I “typically” would expect.

        For example, Girl Ninja told me she hates cleaning the bathroom and wants me to do it. I would be happy to.

        I hate doing the dishes, and asked if she would.

        So, yes, I would say doing the dishes is “Girl Ninja’s” job and scrubbing the toilet is mine. Even though I plan to dishes occasionally and GN might even have to scrub a toilet or two in her day.

        Neither of us are stubborn enough to not help the other out.

        • That’s good to hear; because there is a major difference in a person who refuses to pitch in because it’s not his “job”, and one who helps out where he can because he loves his wife and thinks that she deserves a day off here and there, or does a chore she hates all the time. Thanks for clarifying this.

    • oh my god I’m dying here. “For when GN is a stay at home mom” Are you kidding me? “I would prefer her to be chief laundry operator”

      You wrote a post asking if people think you’re sexist … and now you’re mad that people do!

      I am curious how/if this post has started any conversation between you and GN?

  26. It always entertains me to see people declare their departure over one post.

    Back to the subject at hand, I don’t think it’s necessarily sexist. I have been called a feminist on more than one occasion, but we split into pretty traditional gender roles around here. I’ve never – not even once – mowed our lawn. The feminist part comes in to play when I’d be out there in a heartbeat the second someone told me I couldn’t handle it anyway.

    For the most part, I cook, shop, do laundry and take care of the kids. He pays the bills, does the yard work, takes out the trash, kills the bugs and we split the cleaning fairly evenly. But we’ve got no problems swapping as needed.

    And nobody better tell me I *can’t* do something because I’m a girl – that’s just plain sexist.

  27. When I got married last year, I thought it would be split down the middle. We were both working full-time and that made sense.

    Last September I quit my job, and now I work part-time. It financially makes sense for me to be home some days during the week. This keeps the high paid member of the family at work during work hours if say we need a plumber to come out and fix the toilet. It also allows me to clean and grocery shop during the day – and we have more time for just hanging out and having fun with each other at night!

    We have discussed how this model will change when we have kids. We will probably have a house keeper come biweekly to clean the house. This will help me to also have time for all the things kids do too! It’s really hard to grocery shop, clean house, do laundry AND have time to teach kids how to read, take them to museums and the zoo – and to playgroups too!

  28. Not sexist. We don’t specifically delineate chores for a few reasons, listed by others. But also:

    1. Switching it up from the traditional will be a good unspoken lesson for your little ninjas.

    2. If GN always cooked, a suggestion by you (esp. if in the form of a complaint) will sometimes go over like a lead balloon. E.g. “chicken again?!” will earn the retort of “I cook every blessed day after doing X, Y, and Z. If it bothers you so much, you do it!”. It’s easier to suggest when you know what goes into that activity.

    • Ok not “easier” to suggest, what I mean is that tweaking a task should only occur when you also do it.

      • Yeah I can see that. A complaint comes across as unappreciative and that is no bueno. Girl Ninja deserves to be cherished in every aspect.

  29. The backlash you’re seeing is from the stress that we gals feel when we’re expected to be everything to everyone. It’s one of the main reasons I have avoided marriage until now.

    I see my friends, who married really nice guys mind you, bend under the stress of working more than fulltime, and still being expected to come home and cook a hot meal, keep the house clean, wash his clothes and keep themselves in shape while he doesn’t carry his share of anything. If thats what a guy wants, then they can keep living at home with mommy.

  30. ok, I get it, this is the “when we own a home & have kids” module. just wondering what the “next month when we move in together at the condo module” looks like?

  31. I think that as long as GN is fine with those roles as well then there’s nothing sexist about it. If you demanded her to do those things, THEN you’d be sexist.

  32. I do all the cleaning because I’ve got a system and i just spend 15 minutes a day and it’s all done. Can’t get T in on the system so I’d rather do it my effient way then waste time doing it her way.

    I do the laundry because I do not for life of me understand why it takes women so long to do the laundry. I think it’s because they learnt from their mothers who where taught by their grandmothers who had to cut wood the stoke the boiler and had to have a working knowledge of chemistry to get a shirt starched and pressed. With “modern technological advances” ie a washing line, bra bags and color fast clothes it’s takes litterally seconds to do the laundry. (please note neither of us iron we just buy clothes that don’t need it)

    I also do the cooking. That’s because I’m a bit ocd about what I eat. My first degree is in science majoring in nutrition.

    I expect T to keep her shit of the floor in the bedroom and feed the cats

  33. I agree with the above – you’re not sexist as ling as this model works for both you and GN. Traditional, yes. The kind of guy I’d marry, maybe not (although it sounds like you really cherish and respect GN like many Christian guys i know, which is awesome). I would stress the comments above though re: being flexible and having a talk w GN about how your life together will look like in the period of time when you’re both working full time. Don’t let your dreams and vision for the future ninja family cloud the vision for the NOW ninja family. You’ll likely find GN doesn’t want to take care of all the housework when you’re both working all day. And as said, all that work makes for a tired GN and then you’ll never make those baby ninjas necessary for the future vision! I’d like to hear GN’s thoughts as well as your plans for the immediate future.

  34. Ouch…looks like you took a lot of heat on this post.
    Just to add my two cents as a current stay at home mom. Yes, I do the majority of the household chores, but at the end of the day there are some night when I literally can not get dinner on the table when my husband gets home or I am too exhausted to clean the bathrooms (2 year olds will do that to a girl). Those days, hubby fills in. Same goes for him, if he is swamped at work, I clean the garage, water the lawn, insert ‘typical’ male chore here. It seems to me like a lot of readers took your household chore list as a set in stone until the day you die type list…which I did not interpret it as. There is no possible way to say who is going to make the bed everyday for the rest of your marriage. It is wonderful that you both have similar ideas as to how your life together is going to look, but compromise and change are going to happen. I’m sure you two will roll with it.
    Also, I love the idea of ‘gassing up the car’ as a chore. Like the husband is going to run out and fill up the cars at night before a long work week with the inept wife sits in the passenger seat. That seems so ’50s to me.
    Trina (a ‘barefoot and pregnant’ reader…who actually does need to be in the kitchen right now finishing the dishes)

  35. It seems a little sexist the way you think of and value GN’s contributions. I am thinking about the post you did about variable income, and you put GN’s contribution right at the end of your spreadsheet. It went: Your Income, minus Expenses, then almost like a afterthought, GN’s income. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but it surprised me that your income and hers didn’t go side by side.

    Also, not related to the above… I tried to do the checklist and for a lot of the items I thought “Neither of my parents did that, it was assigned to us kids, or it was every man for himself…”

  36. […] a non-finance-related post, the Debt Ninja braved the masses and stirred the pot with this post asking whether his traditional approach to household chores (and whether he or Girl Ninja should […]

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