The working year is drawing to a close. Half of us have switched our Out of Offices on already, and the other half of us are staring at the clock wondering when a working day suddenly became six years long. The Christmas trees are up, the presents are (possibly) wrapped, and we’re all ready for at least a few days of rest and relaxation.
But while the Christmas break is supposed to be a time for recharging, all across the country, women everywhere are gearing up for yet more hard work.
In news that will surprise no one, research by VoucherCodes has found that women in the UK do most of the heavy lifting over Christmas.
While 79% of men consider “Eating too much” to be their biggest Christmas responsibility, 89% of women are responsible for buying and wrapping the presents, 80% are responsible for organising Christmas activities, and 75% are responsible for cooking the Christmas dinner.
This is, of course, not surprising. It’s a well known fact that women (or at least, cis women in relationships with cis men) are responsible for making Christmas happen. While men across the country tuck into Quality Street and help children and grandchildren build their newest toys, women are sweating it out in the kitchen, preparing the biggest roast dinner known to man.
“Men could be forgiven for spending Christmas napping and getting drunk, if they took on the bulk of the emotional and household labour the rest of the year. But that is, obviously, not the case.”
In my own house growing up, my father and grandfather had exactly three jobs: preparing the sprouts, loading the dishwasher, and pouring everyone’s drinks. My mother and grandmother, on the other hand, started work on Christmas in November. From buying and wrapping presents for the entire family, to doing the Christmas food shop, to finding enough crackers for the 26 people who would descend on our house on Boxing Day, Christmas was never a relaxing time for the women in my family.
This unequal labour split could be forgiven if things were equal for the other eleven months of the year. Men could be forgiven for spending Christmas napping and getting drunk, if they took on the bulk of the emotional and household labour the rest of the year. But that is, obviously, not the case.
Although the march for women’s rights has achieved a lot in the last hundred years, the fact of the matter is, women still take on most of the familial and household work. Women in the UK do 60% more housework than men, despite the fact that 75% of women with children now work outside of the home.
“The Modern Woman has double the work to contend with than her predecessors, and the same amount of misogynistic bullsh*t.”
Anti-feminists love to angrily declare that Western women have never had it so good, because we can vote and go to work and technically it’s illegal to do things like pay us less and block us from promotions because we’re women — but the truth is, the Modern Woman has double the work to contend with than her predecessors, and the same amount of misogynistic bullsh*t to weather. Raising families, organising Christmases and holidays, doing the housework and cooking and laundry and shopping — all of these things are full-time jobs in and of themselves. To add an income-making job, whether that’s in or out of the home, on top of that is, quite frankly, unbelievable.
And yet, women are expected to prepare Christmas with a smile. Because Christmas is a time for family, and women love nothing more than making their families happy — right? Who cares if they’re working a 40 hour week, why wouldn’t they want to come home and stuff a turkey? Who cares if they’ve spent all day chasing their children around the house, why should they expect the men in their life to help them wrap the presents?
It’s not all doom and gloom, though. Women might do most of the hard graft at Christmas, and men might be happy to let them do it — but 47% of the so-called fairer sex are more than happy to say ‘sod it’ and neck a bottle (or six) of prosecco. And to those women, I say: Merry F*cking Christmas.