The XX Factor

Salute Science for This One: Women Are Better at Ironing

The Daily Mail is basically the unintentional Onion of the U.K., so it shouldn’t be that surprising that ” Ironing? Leave it to her: Women are far better at it that men ” was a headline on the paper’s Web site this morning. According to a new study, women proved themselves innate domestic goddesses in a series of household tasks-threading a needle, making a bed, and ironing-beating their male counterparts in three-minute trials for each activity. But men, ever-handy specimens they are, fared better at reading maps, changing a tire, and pitching a tent. (Although, relatedly, men seem to enjoy burping a baby, at least on their iPhones .) According to the paper:

The study was carried out by research analysts MindLab International and featured more than 1,200 adults. It found clear divisions in what men and women could complete in just three minutes from a selection of various tasks. Women could iron two shirts far more adeptly in the time limit. Overall they excelled in those jobs which needed speedy hand-to-eye co-ordination and verbal reasoning, such as threading six needles or winning an argument with logic. Men, in contrast, did better at those jobs which needed what researchers call spatial awareness, such as map reading, understanding self assembly instructions and putting up a tent.”

The most incredible aspect of this article is realizing that MindLab International, presumably a scientific entity of some sort, brainstormed and concluded, “You know what needs some more very serious scientific speculation ? Whether women are better than men at ironing!” and then spent money conducting “activity trials” to give validity to a very special tenet of the patriarchy: Women are born chore-doers. It couldn’t be because, oh, you know, ironing and sewing have been designated woman’s duties for the last century or anything; it must be because ladies’ brains were created specially to be excellent household runners. Thanks science!

I often wonder if they put this stuff out there specifically to be newsworthy for the lady blogs.