All the Rage
Journalist turned psychologist Darcy Lockman offers a bracing look at the most pernicious problem facing modern parents—how egalitarian relationships become traditional ones when children are introduced into the household. In an era of seemingly unprecedented feminist activism, enlightenment, and change, data shows that one area of gender inequality stubbornly persists: the disproportionate amount of parental work that falls on women, no matter their background, class, or professional status. All the Rage investigates the cause of this pervasive inequity to answer why, in households where both parents work fulltime and agree that tasks should be equally shared, mothers’ household management, mental labor, and childcare contributions still outweigh fathers’. How, in a culture that pays lip service to women’s equality and lauds the benefits of father involvement—benefits that extend far beyond the well-being of the kids themselves—can a commitment to fairness in marriage melt away upon the arrival of children? Counting on male partners who will share the burden, women today have been left with what political scientists call unfulfilled, rising expectations. Historically these disappointed expectations lie at the heart of revolutions, insurgencies, and civil unrest. If so many couples are living this way, and so many women are angered or just exhausted by it, why do we remain so stuck? Where is our revolution, our insurgency, our civil unrest? Darcy Lockman drills deep to find answers, exploring how the feminist promise of true domestic partnership almost never, in fact, comes to pass. Starting with her own marriage as a ground zero case study, she moves outward, chronicling the experiences of a diverse cross-section of women raising children with men; visiting new mothers’ groups and pioneering co-parenting specialists; and interviewing experts across academic fields, from gender studies professors and anthropologists to neuroscientists and primatologists. Lockman identifies three tenets that have upheld the cultural gender division of labor and peels back the ways in which both men and women unintentionally perpetuate old norms. If we can all agree that equal pay for equal work should be a given, can the same apply to unpaid work? Can justice finally come home?
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