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domestic labor

A flight attendant helping a mother and baby.

There is a significant trend happening right now on social media where women are calling out men for using “weaponized incompetence” as a way to avoid taking responsibility for their families.

Weaponized incompetence is when someone pretends they can't do a task correctly, so someone else ends up doing it instead. In families, this can create an unfair workload and reinforce traditional gender roles, leaving one person with more responsibility than they should have.

Obviously, there are many men out there who are pulling their own weight in their families, but those who live in the past and have no problem having their wives take on unnecessary burdens deserve to be called out.

Recently, a flight attendant on Reddit pointed out the unfair distribution of labor she sees when families take summer vacations. According to Yunghazel, she sees women doing all of the work with children on planes while the dads relax and enjoy the flight.

Some fathers even stay in first class while mom and the kids sit in coach.

“I am sick and tired of seeing the women doing all the work when she travels with her family,” she writes. “She is the one with the boarding passes, knows the seats, wrangles the children, and sits with them. Meanwhile, the husband/dad is sitting in a different row, kid-free, having the time of his life watching a movie.”

“The mom is taking care of the kids, has activities, snacks and does bathroom trips,” she continues. “Oh, and don’t even get me started on the ones who sit in First Class and leave their family in the back.”

She added that when she sees a father allowing his wife to relax on a flight, she will point it out. “I actually complimented one father who was amazing with his 3 kids and the mom was able to relax with a drink and assist as needed,” she wrote. “He was shocked when I told him it was a rare case and lovely to see. He said, ‘I’m just being a dad.’”

She finished the post by asking women to demand to be treated as equals when flying with their families. “Ladies, I am begging you. If you are going on a family vacation this summer, set some travel expectations on how you can tackle the plane ride with your partner so it’s an enjoyable experience. You do not have to do all the work. I hate to see it,” she concluded her post.

The post resonated with many women whose husbands who didn’t pull their own weight on trips.

“I hated trips when I was married and had young kids for this very reason. It was vacation for everyone but me. I spent the entire time minding kids, managing everything, making sure things were figured out, managing a man-baby's emotions and being denied enough sleep to function,” whoinvitedthesepeopl wrote.

“I had a mini meltdown a few years ago because my husband checked us in and sat both kids with me and himself in the aisle seat across,” Treelakerockcloud added. “So while he would be close the bulk of the plane parenting would fall on me. He said that’s because we ‘always did it this way.’”

Many gendered double standards are so deeply ingrained into American society that we have a difficult time noticing them, whether we’re the man hiding behind weaponized incompetence or the woman behaving as mothers have traditionally.

Only when people speak up and point out these forms of inequality will we begin to see some change. That’s why posts like Yunghazel’s are important. Sometimes, someone must point out the obvious to start a conversation that we’ve been waiting too long to have.