Same-sex couples split household tasks by ‘gender’ stereotypes

A new study claims gender is still ‘by far’ the deciding factor for couples when splitting daily jobs.

For most couples, gender remains the most important factor when deciding who will cook dinner or take the bins out – even if that couple is gay.

New research claims that gender stereotypes still play an integral part in same-sex relationships – with daily tasks being assigned based on who is more ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’.

The person seen as more ‘feminine’ is more likely to clean the house and care for children, whereas the more ‘masculine’ partner takes care of the DIY and car maintenance.

Researchers initially found that gender was “by far” the biggest factor in deciding how both heterosexual couples assigned jobs, but were shocked to discover the same logic applied to same-sex relationships.

“People relied on information about gender to guide their beliefs about what people should be doing,” said sociologist Natasha Quadlin, of Indiana University.

“Surprisingly, that theme extended to same-sex couples,” she added.

Titled, “Making Money, Doing Gender, or Being Essentialist? Partner Characteristics and Americans’ Attitudes Toward Housework,” the study examined responses from a survey taken by more than 1,000 people.

Each respondent was randomly assigned a description of a heterosexual or same-sex couple.

The description included information about each partner’s occupation and income – as well as his or her hobbies and interests- which hinted at whether the partner had traditionally masculine or feminine traits.

When respondents were asked to assign tasks between same-sex partners, traditionally female chores were generally given to the more feminine partner, and traditionally male tasks were typically assigned to the more masculine partner.

According to the researchers, 66 percent of respondents believed the more feminine partner should be responsible for buying food, 61 percent felt that partner should cook, and 58 percent thought that partner should clean the house and do the laundry.

62 percent of respondents also expected the more feminine partner to attend to the physical needs of the children, and 60 percent believed the more feminine spouse should handle the emotional needs of the children, the researchers said.

On the other hand, 67 percent of respondents believed that the more masculine partner should handle automobile maintenance and outdoor chores.

“Even in same-sex couples where there are not sex differences between partners, people use gender differences as a way to approximate sex differences,” Quadlin said.

A recent study found that gay couples who are in open relationships can form closer bonds than those who are exclusive.