Create a Question

Directions: In this class, “Create-A-Question” CAQ assignments are designed to help you synthesize and apply the knowledge you’re gaining in this class.By practicing writing a test question, you are ensuring you really understand the material. Please be creative and stick to the themes, content, and concepts of Modules 9 – 11 of our course.

Once you complete this assignment, you will be able to see other folks’ responses – and it can serve as a great review for you as you prepare for Exam 3 in a few weeks!

To earn full credit for this assignment, you will need to:
(1) develop a multiple-choice question, including a short prompt and at least 4 possible answers, covering any material in Modules 5 through 8 (3 pts) (Please stick to the new materials covered in this second portion of the course to earn this full point)
(2) indicate which multiple-choice question is correct by bolding or highlighting the correct response (1 pt)
(3) explain briefly why this answer is correct (1 pt)

Feeling stumped on what topics you could use for your questions?

Look through our worksheets, videos, textbook, extra readings, and reflect on the themes from our active learning quizzes.

3 6 T H E S E C O N D S H I F T

front door. Suddenly Nancy decides she wants to join them, and as she walks down the steps with Joey in her arms, she explains to Evan, “I want to help things out.”

Evan gets fav signs of love fi-om Joey and feels helpless to do much about it. “I just don’t feel good about me and Joey,” he tells me one evening, “that’s all I can say.” Evan loves Joey. He feels proud of him, this bright, good-looking, happy child. But Evan also seems to feel that being a father is vaguely hut fd and hard to talk about.

The official history of Joey’s problem was that Joey felt the “nor- mal” oedipal attachment of a male child to his mother. Joey was having the emotional problems of growing up that any parent can expect. But Evan and Nancy add the point that Joey’s problems are exacerbated by Evan’s difficulties being an active father, which stem, they feel, from the way Evan’s own father, an emotionally remote self-made businessman, had’ treated him. Evan tells me, ‘When Joey gets older, we’re going to play baseball together and go fishing.”

As I recorded this official version of Joe* Problem through interviews and observation, I began to feel doubts about it. For one thing, clues to another interpretation appeared in the simple pattern of footsteps on a typical evening. There was the steady pacing of Nancy, preparing dinner in the kitchen, moving in zigzags from counter to refrigerator to counter to stove. There were the Lighter, faster steps of Joey, running in large figure eights through the house, dashing from his Tonka truck to his motorcycle man, reclaiming his sense of belonging in this house, among his things. After dinner, Nancy and Evan mingled footsteps in the kitchen, as they cleaned up. Then Nancy’s steps began again: click, click, click, down to the basement for laundry, then thuck, thuck, thuck up the carpeted stairs to the first floor. Then to the bathroom where she runs Joey’s bath, then into Joey’s room, then back to the bath with Joey. Evan moved less-from the living room chair to Nancy in the kitchen, then back to the living room. He moved to the dining room to eat dinner and to the kitchen to help clean up. After dinner he went down to his hobby shop in the basement to sort out his

) tools; later he came up for a beer, then went back down. The footsteps suggest what is going on: Nancy was at work on her 1 second shift.

Between 8:05 A.M. and 6:05 P.M., both Nancy and Evan are away fmm home, working a “first s h i v at full-time jobs. The rest of the time they deal with the varied tasks of the second shift: shopping, cooking, paying bills; taking care of the car, the garden, and yard; keeping harmony with Evan’s mother who drops over quite a bit, “concerned” about Joey, with neighbors, their voluble baby-sitter, and each other. And Nancfs talk reflects a series of second-shift thoughts: ‘We’re out of barbecue sauce. . . . Joey needs a Hallow- een costume. . . . The car needs a wash. . . .” and so on. She reflects a certain “second-shift sensibility,” a continual attunement to the task of striking and restriking the right emotional balance between child, spouse, home, and outside job.

When 1 first met the Holts, Nancy was absorbing far more of the second shift than Evan. She said she was doing 80 percent’of the housework and 90 percent of the childcare. Evan said she did 60 percent of the housework, 70 percent of the childcare. Jocy said, “I v a m the rug, and fold the dinner napkins,” finally concluding, “Mom and 1 do it all.” A neighbor agreed with J q . Clearly, be- tween Namy and Evan, there was a c’leisure gap”: Evan had more than Nancy. I asked both of them, in separate interviews, to explain to me how they had dealt with houskork and childcare since their marriage began.

One evening in the fifth year of their marriage, Nancy told me, when Jocy was two months old and almost four years before I met the Holts, she first seriously raised the issue with Evan. “I told him: ‘Lmk, Evan, it’s not working. I do the housework, I take the major care of Joey, and I work a full-time job. I get pissed. This is your house too. Joey is ywr child too. It’s not all my job to care for

f 3 8 T H E S E C O N D S H I F T 3 9

them-‘ When I d ~ w n I put to him ‘Look, how about this: 1 feet. l y m just as wound up as you are. 1 come home. I cook ciinner. I” cook M”nda~s? wednadap, and Fridays. You cook TuadaF, i ,h md I dean. Here we are, planning a second child, and I and Saturdays. And we’ll share or go out wi& fie one we have.”

According to Nancy, Evan said he didn’t u e “rigid scheduJs.” ~b~~~ years after I first began visiting the Hal% I began He said he didn’t nece~sarily agree with her standards of how to see ,-heir problem in a ce& hght: as a conflict between their keeping> and didn’t like that smdard ccimpo~e@ on him, especiq gender ideologies. Nancy wanted to be the sort of woman who If she was “slufig off” tasks on him, which from time to he he was needed and appreciated both at home and at work-l&e Lacey, fklt she was. But he went along with the idea in principle. N~~~

she told m+ on the tekvision show “Cagney and h c ~ . ” She wanted ‘lid the first week of the new p h Went as follows. On Monday, E~~ to her for being a caring social worker, a committed she For TuadaY, E v a phmed a meal that requLed shop- 1 wife, ad

a wonderful rnorher. But she cared just as much that she ping a few ingredmn, but on his way home he forgot m shop be able to appreciate ~m for what be contributed at home, not for them. He came home, saw nothing he could in the refig- jua for how he supported the family. She would proud to erator or in the ~ p b o ~ d , and ~ugg-d to Nancy that they go rnplain to women Friends that she was married to one of Out for Chinese food. On Wednesday, Nancy cooked on ~ h ~ ~ ~ d ~ 1 =new men.” momin& Nancy reminded Evan, Tonight i ts you That A gender ideology is ofrcn rooted in early aperience, and fight Evan fucd hamburgers and fi-ench fries and N~~~ was quick

j by famed early on and such motives can ofien be meed ‘O praise him, On FndaY, Nancy cooked. On Saturday, Evan forgot I to some cadonary ale in exly life. SO it was for Nancl. Nmci again. I described her mother:

As this Panem continued, Nancfs remindcrs kcme sharpu. The sharper t h y becam% the more actively van forgot-prrhaps I

I M~ mom was Wondefi, a red aristocrat, but she was also anticipating even sharper reprimands if he misted more &redy. depressed being a housewife. My dad treated her This cyde ofpmive refu~d followed by disappoinrment and anger like a doomat. She didn’t have any Self-confidence. And gradually tightened, and More long the struggle had spread to he I gowin% up, I can remember her being really dePresed. I

doing the laun*. Nancy said it was only fair that Evan 1 up bound determined not to be like her and not share the laundry. He agreed in principle, but anxious that E~~~ 1 to many a m a l&e my father. AS long as Evan d0=nYt do would not sharg Nancy wanted a dear, explicit agmment. [you i fie housework, I feel it means he’s going to be like my fa- to wash and fold every other load,” she had told him. E~~ ther-coming home, putting his feet Up, and hollering at this “plan” as a yoke around his neck. On many wek- I . my mom to him. That’s my biggest fear. I’ve had bad

at this a huge pile of laundry sat like a disheveled gucrt dreams about that. on the living-room couch. i , In her frustration, Nancy began to make subtle emodond jabs N~~ thought hat women friends her age, also in ~aclitional at Evan. “1 don’t know what” for dinner,” she would say with a muriago, had come to bad ends. She dwribed a high sigh. @”I can’t cook now, I’ve got to deal with t& pile oflamdry.” school friend: “Martha barely made it through City College. She She tensed at the slightat criticism about household disorder; if , had no interst in l e u g anything. She spent nine yean trailing Evan wouldn’t do the housework, he had absolutely rn right to , behind her husband [a sdesrnan]. It’s a miserable marriage- critic& how she did it. She would bunt out mgrily at E ~ ~ . she I she hand washcs all his shirts. The high point of her life was when r e ~ d e d t e b g him: “After work my feet are just a tired row I she was the two of us were running Miami


in a Mustmg convertible. She’s gzined sevenq, and decisions about large purchases (bke their home) because he “knew

she hats her Me-” To N v , Martha was a younger version of her about financesn because he’d chipped in more inheritance

mother, de~rased, l a c h g in sew-esteem, a cautionary tale whme than she when tb His job difficuldcr had lowered his mod Sf you wmt to be happy, d d o p 1 career a d get you ser-rapea, now as a couple they had achieved Some ineffable husband to share at home.” Asking Evan help again and again ~ ~ b & n ~ ~ ” – t i l t ~ d in his favor, she thought-which, if corrected felt like “hard work” but it was esxnrjd to s~blishing her role as equalis the burden of chores, would result in his giving in a career woman. much.* A ce*ain driving anuety behind Nancy’s Strategy of advely

For his own reasons, Evan imagined things v q differently. H~ roles had made Evan see agmment as “giving in.” wkn he wasn’t feeling good about work, he dreaded the idea of

1 loved Nancy md if Nancy loved bchg a worker, he was happy and proud to support her in it. He knew that became she took her being under his wife’s thumb at home. caseload so seriously, it was draining wok. ~~t at he svllc hey undemea& these feelings, Evan perhaps also feared hat Nw he did not see why, just because she chose this demanding cueer, was avoiding t&g care ofhim. His own mother, a mild-mannered

had to change mt.n life. Why should her persond decision to alcoholic, had by imperceptible steps phased henelf out of a moth- work the home require him to do more inside it? N~~ e ~ s role, kaving him very much on his own.

Pernaps a personal

earned about Wo-thirds as much as Evan, and her sdvy wu a big motive to prevent that happening in his guess On

but as Nancy codded, “If push came to shove, we could do 1 my part, md unarticulated on his-underlay his SmtegY of Pas- it.” Nancy w a a social worker becaw she loved it. ~~h~ I sive resistance. And he wasn’t altogether wrong to fear this- Mean-

da$ at home was thankks\ work, and certainly not some- ( while, he felt he w a ~ “offering” Nanq the chance to stay home, or Nt back her hours, and that she Was refusing his “gifr,” Evan needed her to appreciate about him. Egualiry in he ,

second shift meant a loss in his standard of living, md dapia 111 N~~ felt that, given her feelings about work, this offer was the hgh-flown t a k he felt he hadn’t redly bargained for it. H~ was i a gift.

help Nancy at home if she needed hdp; that was fine. I the sh& year of her marriage, when Nm/ again intensified That only decent. But it was tm stidcy a maner ~~~~~i~~ her pressure on Evan to ~ ~ M n i t himself to equal


re calk^ saying, an^, why don’t YOU a t back to rime, that

way you c- fit everything in.” At first Nancy WaJ baffled: hen all this time, you stiU don’t get it. Work is im-

would “dominate him.” Nancy would ask h h to do this, ask him portant to me. 1 worked hard to get my MSW- Why 5hodd I give to do that- It felt to Evan as if Nancy had won so many small it N~~ also explained to Evan and later to me, 9 hlnk my victoria that he had to draw the line somewhere. N~~ had a ! degree and my job has been my way of reassuring m ~ l f that I declarative personality; and as Nancy said, ccE~an’s mother sat me end up like my yet she’d received emotional down and me once that I Was too forccm, that Evan needed

I , ,ppo* in mg her degree from either her parents or in-laws. take more aurhori~.” Both Nmcy and Evan agreed that E ~ ~ ‘ ~

, ( H ~ ~ mother had avoided asking about her thesis, and her in-1aws,

sense of career and self was in fact shakier than N~,-+. H~ had though invited, did not attend her graduation, later claiming been unemployed. She never had. He had had some bouts of drink- never been invited.) ing in h e Past. Drinking was foreign to her. Evan thought ,.hat I I,, N~~ was ‘more excited about seeing her elderly

housework would upset a certain balance ofpowrr ht felt ,-hens in tenderloin hotels than Evan War about seuing cOuchcs 1 culmrd~ “right.” He held the purse s h g s and made he major , furnimre sdesmen with greased-back hair. Why shoulddt Evan

T H E S E C O N D S H I F T 4 3

make as many compromises with his career ambitions and his leisure as she’d made with hers? She couldn’t see it an^^ way, and E~~ couldn’t see it hers.

i 4 In years of alternadng stmggle uld compromise, Nancy had seen !

O”~Y mirages of cooperation, visions that appeared when she got sick or withdrew, and disappeared when she got better or came forward.

Afrcr seven years of loving marriage, ~ a n c y and Eva had finally UPSTAIRS-DOWNSTAIRS:

come to a terrible impasse. Their emotional standard of living had 1 A FAMILY MYTH AS SOLUTION^ drastically declined: they began to snap at each other, to 1 N~~ long der &is crisis in the Holt~’ marriage, there was adramatic to carp. Each felt taken advantage of: Evm, becaw his offering of I lasening of tension over the issue of the second shift. It was as if a good arrulgaent was deemed unacceptable, and Nancy, because Evan wouldn’t do what she deeply felt was “fir.” / he issue was closed. Evan had won. Nancy would do the I , shift. ~~m arprased vague gudt but beyond that he had nothing This ~ m g g l e l’nade its way into their s a d life-first through to say. ~ a n c y had wearied of continually raising the topic, wearied

directly, and then through J o e y ~ a n c y had &ays djs- any form of feminine wiliness o family saw her

1 ,anted the smggle to be over too. Evan Was “SO good” in othn as “a flaming feminist?’ and herself. As such, 1 ways, why debilitate their marriage by conthud quarreling. Besides, she felt above the underhanded ways traditional women used to get , she told me, <wVomen always adjust more, don’t they?”

One day, when I asked Nancy to teu me who did which tasks fmm a long list of household chores, she i n t e ~ p t e d me with a broad wave of her hand and said, “1 do the upstairs, Evan the

/ ~ o w n s t ~ r s . ~ What d m h a t mean? 1 asked. Maer-r-of-factly, she explained that the upstdrs included the living room, the dinin% room, the kitchen, NO bedrooms, and ~ w O baths. The d o ~ s t ~

1 meant the garage, a place for storage and hobbies-Evan’s hobbies. she explained this as a “sharing” arrulgcment, without humor Or The idea of a separation arose, and they b e m e fightmed. N~~ I I irony-just as van did later. Both said they had agreed it the looked at the deteriorating marriages and fresh divorces of couples

best solution to their dispute. Evan would take care of the Car, the with Young children around them. One unhappy husband they i h e w had become SO uninvolved in family life (they know garage, MZ, family dog. AS Nancy aplained, ”The dog is I

E ~ ~ ‘ ~ problem. 1 don’t have to deal with the dog-” Nancy took whether his unhappiness made him uninvolved, or whether his lack of involvement had caused his wife to be unhappy) that his wife

I care of the rest. For of accommodating the second shift, then, the Halts’ left him. In another caw, Nancy felt the wife had ”nagged” her

garage was to the full moral and prahcal equivalent ofthe

husband so much that he abandoned her for mother woman. In I

rest of the house. For Nancy and Evan, ‘f.lpstArs and downstairs? both cases, the couple was less happy afrcr the divorce than before,

cCinside and outside,” was vaguely described like “half and half? a ad both wives rook the children and struggled desperately to sur- fir division of labor based on a naturd division-of their house.


4 4 T H E S E C O N D S H I F T

The Holts presented their upstairs-downstairs agreement as a perfectly equitable solution to a problem they “once had.” This belief is what we might call a “family myth,” even a modest delu- sional system. Why did they believe it? I think they believed it because they needed to believe it, because it solved a terrible prob- lem. It allowed Nancy to continue thinking of herself as the sort of woman whose husband didn’t abuse her-a self-conception that mattered a great deal to her. And it avoided the hard truth that, in his stolid, passive way, Evan had refixed to share. It avoided the nuth, too, that in their showdown, Nancy was more afraid of divorce than Evan was. This outer cover to their family life, this family myth, was jointly devised. It was an attempt to agree that there was no conflict over the second shift, no tension between their versions of manhood and womanhood, and that the powerful crisis that had arisen was temporary and minor.

The wish to avoid such a conflict is natural enough. But their – avoidance was tacitly supported by the s u m d i n e , culture, espe- c~ally the image of the woman with the flying hair. After all, this – . . . . adrmrable woman also proudly does the ‘kpstairs” each day without a husband’s help and without conflict.

M e r Nancy and Evan reached their upstairs-downstairs agree- ment, their conhontations ended. They were nearly forgotten. Yet, as she described their daily life months after the agreement, Nancy’s resentment still seemed alive and well. For example, she said:

Evan and I eventually divided the labor so that I do the up- stairs and Evan does the downstairs and the dog. So the dog is my husband’s problem. But when I was gemng the dog outside and gemng Joey ready for childcare, and clean- ing up the mess of feeding the cat, and getting the lunches together, and having my son wipe his nose on my outfit so I would have to change-then I was pissed! I felt that I was doing ra*ybzn~. All Evan was doing was getting up, having coffee, readmg the paper, and saying, ‘Well, I have to go now,” and often forgetting the lunch I’d bothered to make.

She also mentioned that she had fallen into the habit of putting Joey to bed in a certain way: he asked to be swung around by the arms, dropped on the bed, nuzzled and hugged, whispered to in his ear. Joey waited for her attention. He didn’t go to sleep without it. But, increasingly, when Nancy tried it at eight or nine, the ritual didn’t put Joey to sleep. On the contrary, it woke him up. It was then that Joey began to say he could only go to sleep in his parents’ bed, that he began to sleep in their bed and to encroach on their sexual life.

Near the end of my visits, it struck me that Nan was utting —%I2 Joey to bed in an “exciting” way, later and later at nlght, in or

to tell Evan something mportant: “You win, I’ll go on doing all the work at home, but I’m angry about it and I’ll make you pay.” Evan had won the battle but lost the war. According to the family

-myth, all was well: the struggle had been resolved by the upstairs- downstairs agreement. But suppressed in one area of their marriage, this struggle lived on in another-as Jocy’s Problem, and as theirs.

There was a moment, I believe, when Nancy seemed to deciuk to give up on this one. She decided to try not to resent Evan. Whether


or not other women face a moment just like this, at the very least they face the need to deal with all the feelings that naturally arise from a clash between a treasured ideal and an incompatible reality. In the age of a stalled revolution, it is a problem a great many women face.

Emotionally, Nancy’s compromise from time to time slipped; she would forget and grow resendul again. Her new resolve needed maintenance. Only half aware that she was doing so, Nancy went to extraordinary lengths to maintain it. She could tell me now, a year or so after her “decision,” in a matter-of-fact and noncritical way: “Evan likes to come home to a hot meal. He doesn’t like to clear the table. He doesn’t like to do the dishes. He likes to go

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