Oh yeah, and then there’s that half a work week tacked on for you
From Feministing, I found this story that strikes me as a classic example of having the emphasis in a story that’s slightly off what it should be. Not exactly burying the lede, because it’s too short for that, but it was just comical to me.
A Michigan State University study finds that girls spend less time playing digital games than boys because they have less leisure time, a finding that could have long-term implications on the technology gender gap.
The study of 276 MSU undergraduate students, published in a recent issue of the journal Sex Roles, found that female undergraduates spent significantly more time – about 16 hours per week – on jobs, homework and other activities than did male undergraduates.
The emphasis on the story, including the illustration, is on this troubling gap in video game playing between men and women. Personally, I would have thought women played fewer video games for the reason that women don’t like sports or porn as much, because we so often run across “No Girls Allowed” signals. But free time is a major issue.
That said, holy shit: 16 hours more work per week. This strikes me as a story on its own, without needing a video game hook or any kind of hook. Women often say they have to work twice as hard to be taken half as seriously, but this still shocked me. You’d think college would be a time when men and women enjoy relative equality, because we’re always hearing about how women’s real burdens start when they get married and have kids and have all this extra work to do, and how the overload makes it very easy for them to throw in the towel and quit working, if their husbands make enough money to support them. But in college, most people don’t have kids or spouses. And with all the panic about the “hook-up culture”, you get the impression that young women are even resisting the time suck of having a boyfriend to look after. You’d think that not having all these familial obligations would mean that women enjoy a lot more free time and a life approaching the kind men get to enjoy.
But apparently, you’d be wrong. Or I would be, as the case currently stands. In a sense, this shouldn’t surprise me. There’s a lot of talk about the perfect girls syndrome—Courtney Martin’s book Perfect Girls, Starving Daughters is definitely the book to read on this—and now we may have a number quantifying it. Young women clearly perceive that they need to be as flawless as possible to be taken seriously, and I don’t think they’re wrong to do that, because being female and ambitious at all tends to attract the haters. So of course they work 16 hours more a week. Bs aren’t good enough, you can always do more time at the gym, you have to pick up those extracurricular activities if you want a resume that overcomes potential employers’ ingrained sexism, and it seems more than possible that women might have less access to money from family than men, and so have to make up the shortfall by working more. I know that it wasn’t uncommon in my mother’s generation for parents to refuse outright to pay for girls to go to college. I’m sure that’s faded tremendously, but a lot of research shows that girls can be shortchanged in subtler ways by parents that think they’re playing fair, but are quantifiably not doing so.