Who Pays the Lunch?
A few days ago an acquaintance of mine, an investment strategist from London, asked me in a jokey fashion, how I'd feel about paying for his lunch. My answer was that the day I start paying for a man's lunch would be the day I know I'm getting old, ugly and boring. We laughed about it for quite a while, but then started getting deeper into the topic of gender roles.
Now seeing as he was educated at Oxford and had a PhD, I figured I should gather more facts before plunging into a debate with him. So, the almighty Wikipedia defines a gender role as “a set of social and behavioral norms that are generally considered appropriate for either a man or a woman in a social or interpersonal relationship”. The article then shows a table by Talcott Parsons, the guy who first gave a definition of a nuclear family. According to the author, there are two main models – total role segregation and total integration of roles. The first one suggests that a solid education, a career and decision-making at home are all male attributes, while the woman deals with housework, kids and apparently just keeps quiet. The second one indicates a modern approach, where all the functions are shared equally and both partners work and contribute to the family budget.
Logically, we should go for the second model and be happy (that includes all of you feminist girls out there). But my inner voice, telling me that I shouldn't pay for my own lunch either, brought me to the idea that there is more to this issue than simple equality. And it wouldn't be me, if I hadn't gone around, asking my friends and family members about their personal experiences.
So, I conducted a statistically insignificant poll. The results showed that most of people asked, are currently using a mix of both models. That means, both partners pay for the flat, have a shared budget, yet the woman still does most of the cooking and cleaning. And you know what was ever weirder? Even after grumping a bit about their second halves, most women said they were happy with their current roles.
And that brings me to the following conclusion – nowadays the roles are so mixed up it's quite impossible to label them. Yet if you are happy with whatever your role is, you've got it right.
- an acquaintance – a person whom you don't know very well – знакомый
- asked me in a jokey fashion – asked me as a joke – спросил в шутку
- gender roles – typical behavior of men and women, expected from them by the society – гендерные или половые роли
- seeing as – taking into account that or because – учитывая что
- figured – understood – поняла
- plunging into – getting into – углубляться
- almighty – having all the power in the world – всемогущая
- considered appropriate – thought to be adequate – считается приемлемым
- a nuclear family – a family that consists of parents and children – нуклиарная семья
- role segregation – dividing roles (e.g. roles of men and women) – разделение ролей
- a solid education – a good education – основательное образование
- deals with – works with, focuses on – разбирается с
- contribute to the family budget – put money into the family budget – вносят деньги в семейный бюджет
- go for – choose – выбрать
- inner voice – the voice inside of you, your intuition – внутренний голос
- there is more to this issue than – this problem is more complicated than – этот вопрос сложнее чем
- conducted a statistically insignificant poll – made a statistically unimportant survey – провела статистически несущественный опрос
- grumping – talking about things he/she doesn't like – ворчать
- to label – to categorize – определить как, навесить ярлык