Wifework
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Wifework

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  132 ratings  ·  28 reviews
'Men get one thing from marriage that women never do. They get wives.' Husbands and wives may say they are committed to equality. Yet, whether employed or not, wives still perform an astounding share of the physical, emotional and organisational labour in marriage - everything from housework to 'sex work'. 'Wifework' is shorthand for this relentless routine of husband main...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published March 3rd 2003 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published 2002)
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Sandra
I'll warn you right now, if you read this book and have a (male) partner then you're going to get angry. The first time I read this I was in the process of moving in with my now ex. I had barely reached chapter three when the fights started. Susan Maushart absolutely NAILS what marriage means for women, and not all of it is good. Susan isn't, I should point out, adverse to men. Far from it, and its her study of the institution written from the trenches that makes this all the more fascinating.

I...more
Frangipani
Apr 12, 2007 Frangipani rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: every woman contemplating cohabitation
That men really truly are a bunch of lazy ......... Yep, I'm not the only one out there that feels like I do 150%!!!! Deal with it, get on with life, accept that women care more and do more, and make time for yourself. Stop doing the martyr/nagging thing, it's pointless. Men's listening ears aren't turned on unless you are some sort of live television broadcast involving sport or scantily clad women.
Meredith
Aug 28, 2011 Meredith rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: feminists, sociology buffs
Reading this book has convinced me that I am the domestically inept husband and Mr. Mere is the wife. Our relationship is, on almost every level, the exact opposite of the prototypical, traditional marriage set forth in this book.

To quote one of the would-be nannies from Mrs. Doubtfire, "I don't do laundry, I don't do windows, I don't do carpets, I don't do bathtubs, I don't do toilets, I don't do diapers . . . I don't do washing, I don't do basements, I don't do dinners, and I don't do reading...more
Shonna Froebel
Interesting.
Made me look harder at my actions and reactions.
Don't know that I will actually change anything, but I'll understand why and be more self-aware.
Erin
Depressing, yet thought-provoking. Makes you think about your expectations and adjusting them accordingly.
Munazza
Maushart has some great insights, and the book is definitely engaging to the very end. I was particularly struck by the observation that the joint enterprise of marriage is seen by a majority of both men and women as the wife's problem; the husband is just a volunteer. This idea is perfectly illustrated by the following exchange in Chapter 15:

"'From now on,' my friend Jane announced to her husband recently, "I'm going to be available to help you with the housework and cooking any time you feel y...more
Beth
I read Maushart's newest (the Winter of our Disconnect) and loved it. This one, while good, is more of a slog as it is much more scholarly with many less anecdotes to lighten the reading.

I grew up and went to college at a time when feminism was all the rage and we thought we were so much further ahead then our parents (born in the late 50's, college in the late 70's). I did fight for the right to be equal, I attended engineering school and had more than my share of run-ins with males who thought...more
Vicki
As a compendium of amazing statistics and sociological research about marriage, and the effect of marriage on men and women, and especially the disparities between those two categories, this book was 5 stars. If I were in a position to require that other adults read books, I'd make this required reading, especially for men.

I had a couple of problems with the book, though. Maushart casts a critical eye on a lot of commonly accepted evopsych truisms (men are evolved to be promiscuous; women are n...more
Rose
The statistical data is interesting. I found the formatting of the book insufferable and the author sometimes writes in circles. Worst of all she offers no opinion on how things need to change to prevent the mental health problems inherent in marriage.
Rachel
Woah this was a tough read, not because of the style but the subject matter. Shocking and provocative, it certainly raised some consciousness at this end.
Marjorie Elwood
I had to take breaks while reading this book because it infuriated me: the extent to which women and men collude in having women take care of men within marriage, as though the husband is another child. Maushart points out that - in addition to shouldering the vast majority of unpaid household labor and child-care "drudgework" - wives typically maintain their husband's relationship with *his* family; organize the entire family's social life; defer in day-to-day conversations; monitor their husba...more
Sharon
I did not get into this book, I could not feel the desire to read it. I agree with a lot of what she is saying, but I just did not like the way the book just kept going on like a long complaint about men and how women getting married will ruin our lives.
Society is structured the way it is, and it is up to the individual to change it if so desired. Every marriage is a individual thing, known only by the individuals involved within. If they are happy with their lot, then they should be left in pea...more
CJ
Wifework took me a long time to finish. It's one of those books that I could only read chapter by chapter (and sometimes not even that much at a time). Maushart hit a little too close to home sometimes and I needed to process that before I could continue. Yes, it sucks to be the responsible one. Yes, it sucks to be the human calendar. Yes, it sucks that when I was in graduate school I had the equivalent of three full time jobs (student, wife/mother, actual job). We're women, we deal with it and...more
Jennifer Hall
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat
My feelings on this book are so conflicted! Though, to be fair, sociology on the whole overwhelms me (when I took a college course I had to drop it; how can we effectively study that which we are?). Some great points, some interesting points, some irritating "correlation is not causation" kind of points, some strong bias from a woman who has been divorced twice.
Ruth
I read this a while ago. Anyone who wants to go into marriage with their eyes open and can stand the negative slant of this book, should read it. Although, from what I see, the current young marrieds are finally turning it around to a more equitable arrangement. And don't give me that line "what about love". Love has nothing to do with it.
Mary Alexandra
I like this book, but I found the author to be too subjective. Her whole stance is against marriage and the inequality and responsibilities it comes with. I would have appreciated something a little more objective.
Ainsley
Five stars for making excellent points about the inequities of many (modern) marriages; two stars removed for (often unsupported) generalizations about "nearly all women" and "most marriages".
Geraldine
I really liked this - but think it may be the sort of book you don't feel ambivalent about. Her conclusions tend to be highly influenced by personal experience but at least she is open about that.
Glenda
Haha!! Read this a few months before I got married...just so I knew what I was in for! Sean did not agree with it.
Miranda
this is a book that has changed my life. i encourage every single or married woman in the world to read it!!
please.
Sara Lamers
I don't agree with ALL of her claims, but my Women's Studies friends should find this one interesting
Anthony
Jul 16, 2012 Anthony rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone in a/entering marriage
Good read on how gender roles came to be and what that means in modern (western) society.
Catherine Gentry
An excellent summary of the research findings from all of the English speaking world.
Wifemomwaitress
Sorry that i actually like my husband.
Monica
Jan 09, 2010 Monica marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I'm skimming it a bit.
Lucy
Really, really worth reading.
C.
C. is currently reading it
Sep 02, 2014
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Columnist, author and social commentator Dr. Susan Maushart is a mother of three teenagers. For over a decade, her weekly column has been part of a balanced breakfast for readers of the Weekend Australian Magazine. Maushart is heard regularly on ABC Radio's popular online series 'Multiple Choice', and is a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Advanced Studies at the University of Western Australia....more
More about Susan Maushart...
The Winter of Our Disconnect The Mask of Motherhood: How Becoming a Mother Changes Our Lives and Why We Never Talk About It What Women Want Next: In my 20s I thought sex and career would solve everything. At 30 I thought marriage would. Later I tried motherhood, therapy, and then divorce. At 40, I decided to renovate. The Winter of Our Disconnect: How Three Totally Wired Teenagers (and a Mother Who Slept with with Her iPhone) Pulled the Plug on Their Technology and Lived to Tell the Tale Pause

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