Apparently, my husband is taking part in a national trend that shows that more and more men are doing the household shopping. While I cook the weekly meals, Tim does all of the grocery shopping. Even if we need an extra something for a meal or if I want a piece of chocolate, he’s the one to stop at the store on his way home from work or get himself off the couch to go to the store. This has a lot to do with the fact that I both teach and write – essentially working two jobs – as well as cook the meals and take care of other tasks like gift-buying. He feels as if this is a way that he can contribute to the household. According to the global media agency network, BPN, this is the way many men are feeling right now:
40% of men are now the primary grocery shopper in the household; 44% of men say they equally share in housecleaning and a whopping 86% of men agree being a man equals doing what is necessary to keep the household running. And that includes buying the holiday gifts.
While I love to see these kinds of numbers showing a shift in attitudes, I know that it comes at a price. First and foremost, BPN has tried to coin the awful term “mansumer” to describe these men who shop for their households. Because, you know, they can’t just be normal “consumers.” Fortunately, the term has yet to catch on.
More importantly, with more men making the decisions about what products to buy for the household, that means that more marketing will be directed toward men. This explains those gross, “not for women” commercials we’ve been seeing lately. Here’s a great clip from the CBS Early Show on the man-marketing epidemic:
Now, I love the Oldspice Man as much as any other heterosexual woman out there, but I understand that these hyper-masculine commercials are actually pushing us backwards in terms of gender norms. When we champion manly men and girly girls, we are just creating a deeper divide between the sexes, and making anyone who doesn’t take a place on one side or the other an outcast.
Unfortunately, it looks like this trend is here to stay. According to TIME, many unexpected items are being marketed to men from groceries to laundry detergent to Barbies to fashion.
While I think it’s wonderful that men are taking responsibility for the household duties that have stereotypically fallen under women’s domains, we need to be wary of championing hyper-masculinity in our culture. This type of machismo is what leads to horrifying violence against women, as we’ve seen all too frequently lately.
Featured Image Credit: theimpulsivebuy