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The Second Shift

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,865 ratings  ·  168 reviews
Fifteen years after its first publication, The Second Shift remains just as important and relevant today as it did then. As the majority of women entered the workforce, sociologist and Berkeley professor Arlie Hochschild was one of the first to talk about what really happens in dual-career households. Many people were amazed to find that women still did the majority of chi ...more
Paperback, 322 pages
Published April 29th 2003 by Penguin Group (first published 1989)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  1,865 ratings  ·  168 reviews

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Aug 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
I truly think every married man, newlywed or otherwise should read this book. This book is a sociological study about how men and women share the 'second shift', the time and the work put in at home in terms of both house work and child rearing. While there are various issues with the sampling (all one company, all one geographical area, etc, which she does disclose at the end of the book) I think she arrives at very correct conclusions.

I cannot stress enough, my wife DID NOT urge me to read th
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I keep reading these mediocre books about the inequalities in womens work at home and I just realized that I had never read this one--the book that opened the dialogue. Though dated a bit, the book is excellent. Hochschild's books are usually a series of interviews, but what makes her books stand out is that she reveals not just what people are saying, but the deep stories behind their concerns. She uses deep story in her newer Strangers in their Own Land book. Here she uses "marriage myths" but ...more
Nov 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Because running a household is work, and like any good business, the load must be negotiated and shared.

The first class I stepped into for my undergraduate education was “Sociology of the Family,” and this book served as required reading. It changed my world. Have you ever wondered why women send all the family Christmas cards and buy the birthday presents? Why Pinterest is angled at weddings and hairstyle and entertaining children? Why dads “mean fun, but moms mean business?” (Yes, that’s a quo
Zara Rahman
May 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I love Hochschild's style of writing, storytelling, and research approach, and this book combines all of those things wonderfully. Even though this was first written in 1989, and within the context of the US, it was a fascinating read and written in a really compelling way.

The book focuses on labour division within heterosexual relationships in the US, and she dives into the ins and outs of a few specific relationships in detail, providing both of the partners' perspectives, the people they out
Apr 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
There is good news and bad news:

The bad news is that women get the shaft, big time. The good news is that most of us are in the same boat.

I think this is a MUST READ for any single (as in, not yet married) female. AHEM Lauren!

I can't speak for everyone, but I know many women in my generation are told they can be anything they want, they can have kids and a career and do it all, right? It is a tragedy that women are not told the other half of the story - that they are capable of doing anything
Megan MacNaughton
Apr 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Lots of things to think about because of this book. I recommend every young woman thinking about getting married in her future should read this.
Elizabeth Herington
Jun 14, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Less about the trials of working mothers and more about the internal dynamics of marriages than I expected it to be. Will definitely make my future partner read this book, and will be gifting it to all of my friends considering marriages- I think it would spark essential conversations about work, family, gender and fairness.

One particularly interesting takeaway: through the first half of the cultural revolution (women entering the workforce) we have devalued traditional women’s roles of caring
Faye Zheng
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Written in 1989, this is the OG book about the challenges for women in two-income households, and it absolutely is still as relevant today (unfortunately) as it was three decades ago.

Given how long I’ve been interested this topic, I wasn’t expecting much more out of the book, but I was mistaken - there were a ton of new interpretations and perspectives given to the problem, many of which I hadn’t previously considered.

The book goes WAY beyond stating the problem. (We all know that working wome
Jan 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I truly think this book is so important for anyone in a relationship to read, whether you're going to have kids or not. It really analyzes different ways that couples may split up household duties and how that may affect your relationship. It's also easy to just read a chapter here and there vs reading it cover to cover. This was assigned for a gender and sex roles sociology course I took ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
i read this and a male friend said "stop reading that it's just going to make you angry" and I've never been angrier. also this tweet:
This makes me feel even sadder for average heterosexual couples and even more confused as to why many of the ones I know are even together. If I was raising children with someone who needed a support staff around at all times to prop up their frail gender ID I wouldn't want to be in a relationship with them, that sounds so incredibly unattractive to me. I prefer a partner who can pull her own weight. ...more
Vita Byrd
Oct 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: policy-lit
The Second Shift: Working Families and the Revolution at Home primarily addresses what the heterosexual family unit must do in order to allow the woman to prosper professionally - men must do their share in taking care of children and the home. It really stresses how early women should begin having these conversations about the ground rules of their marriage, especially since prime child rearing years coincide with critical career-building years. I really liked that Arlie Hochschild also comment ...more
A great way for students to do some comparison to social norms that they perceive now.
Aug 29, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: school, ethnographies
This was required reading for a second writing GE class I took first semester of my junior year in college. We were to read this ethnography, read a peer-reviewed research paper debunking the myths in this book, and then write a paper summing up both arguments. Needless to say, everyone knows GE stands for 'classes that no on wants to take but has to", so I was not particularly excited about this. I had hope this class I chose to fulfill the requirement called "American Family Issues" would disc ...more
As a woman who's nearing the halfway point between twenty and thirty, I am now more than ever encountering a topic that I've long dreaded - marriage and family. I say dreaded not because I loathe men or children, am a raging feminazi lesbian, or any other absurd conservative stereotype. Rather, the dread comes from the reactions I get when I express my ambivalence towards having children and state that I am single by choice and not interested in changing my relationship status for the foreseeabl ...more
Tricia Rosetty
A few years ago, I told a girlfriend of mine that the reason women didn't run the world is we get distracted by housework. I was joking, but as it turns out, I wasn't too far from being right. Women work 2-4 extra weeks a year compared to their husbands when it comes to domestic and family care, and when pushed, men often avoid the work entirely (beds don't need made, hire a maid, etc.).

Prof. Hochschild's book offers fantastic insight into this imbalance and its many forms; I'd highly recommend
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
OK, I'll admit that I've cited Arlie Horschild's work in this book without having ever read it until now. I was impressed at how this research, in which she presents the observations of 10 of the couples she and her colleague studied for years in the 1980s, remains so relevant to this day. Honestly, though this book is a sociological work, I think almost anyone could get something out of it.

The book takes a look at the politics of household work -- from gender ideologies to family myth-making -
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I found this book about working women and the division of labor in the home to be really fascinating. It was first published in 1989, so the families she follows are right in the middle of my parents and me as far as stage of life. I thought Hochschild created a useful construct in the "family myth," the stories people told themselves to make their situations palatable when they diverged from their expectations. Since the book was first published, it seems like men are generally becoming more in ...more
Jul 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: feminist, non-fiction
This book is the landmark study from the 1970s and 80s that explored the realities of two-income families and how they navigate domestic roles in the household, namely housework and child rearing. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in gender in the United States, the current brouhaha called "the mommy wars", or who has been shocked by the stats that show women still do 70% or more of the housework, even when they work full time.

Arlie Hochschild writes from a feminist point of view b
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
At a time in my life where I am starting to think about what I want my future and career to look like, this was an important reminder of the cultural precedents and pressures in place that will impact my freedom to live the life I might want. It's hard to comprehend the sheer magnitude of Hochschild's research and what it meant at the time she published it, but its relevance today speaks volumes of how much is left to be done in the field of gender equality. ...more
Matthew Squire
Jul 26, 2012 rated it did not like it
Second shift looks at women as an entire class using loosely tied together statistics. While at the same time discusses men in stereotypical tropes. You won't find many bad reviews of this book because very few people other than hardcore feminists and sociologists bother to read it. The book was written in the 1970's and the ideas are just as outdated second waver bullshit. ...more
Bonnie G.
Just re-read this book and man is it still way too relevant...
Guys, wash the dishes. Fucking srsly.
Kelly Diels
Nov 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Essential reading. It's super helpful to ground feminist analysis in personal stories -- it makes the scholarship more immediate, tangible and accessible -- and this book does that. And as it does, Hochschild keeps pointing our attention back to what's shaping these couples' experience: our culture, our lack of caregiving legislation and a corporate workplace implicitly designed around the assumption that workers are male and have someone at home tending the basics of life and survival. In other ...more
Stephanie Bolivar
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-love
What a great book! I found myself highlighting so many sentences. As a woman who worked full- time while raising four kids- two are out of the house now- the book completely resonated with me. As I read, I got so angry at many of the men in the case studies and empathized with almost all of the women. One of the men was just a darling, the way he saw his role as going 50/50 with his wife and as a caregiver for his step-child.

It is now 2019 and I no longer have small children at home- now I am f
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The “Second Shift” is everything outside the realm of work that needs to be done around the house. Chores: cooking, cleaning, laundry, and the physical and emotional labor of child-rearing. The labor of the household is one of the most contentious topics for heterosexual couples. Same-sex couples of course face the same challenges of navigating the second shift of chores and parenting, but power dynamics of gender that come into opposite sex households especially heat up the couple’s push-and-pu ...more
Dec 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Within the space of gender economics/sociology, I struggle to name a book as current and comprehensive as The Second Shift. What I particularly liked about it was that it wasn't simply a neatly organized compilation of statistics, studies, and occasional historical references; this went a step further by opening some interesting (and, at times, upsetting) dialogue about the subjects' beliefs compared to their realities, and highlighting common instances of cognitive dissonance that affects relat ...more
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
On the distribution of the second shift, or work done at home such as home care, care of kids here are some stats that's been corrected in 2010s:
- Women at home work an extra 2 weeks doing house work a year.
- Husbands watches 2.7 hours TV a week rather than helping with wife.
- Moms with full time jobs laughed the less compared to other moms in this category let alone men.
- 5 moms, 1/3 dads said they are satisfied with what their kids are doing
- USA is 20th/21 countries on the quality of car
Zachary Jacobi
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction-2017
Fascinating book about housework is divided (or isn't). Interesting things I learned:
* Egalitarian men are the best at doing housework and tend to split or almost split it. But traditional men are the next best. "Transitional" men ("You can have a career if you want, but women should take the lead with home & kids") are the worst.
* Many people now know about the labour of keeping track of what needs to be done, but fewer people talk about how a lot of labour men do doesn't actually reduce the la
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book has been on my TBR forever and I'm glad I finally got around to it. Housework division in two-income households is something that I've long been interested in and something that is pertinent to my personal (and professional) life. So this book was an excellent read that answered a lot of questions I had about the "second shift".

But I think it raised as many questions - mostly regarding what housework divisions look like currently. Most of the research for this book was conducted in the
Jun 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book really puts gender biases in the division of domestic responsibilities, a topic which seems more joked about than discussed seriously/is not as top of mind for most interested in feminism, into words. I’m not really a participant in a domestic dynamic, but as an observer, it is interesting to me how the inequity is simply accepted by both sides and observers.

Hochschild does a good job at telling the stories of different couples and how they manage or mismanage the balance of their dom
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Arlie Russell Hochschild is the author of The Outsourced Self, The Time Bind, Global Woman, The Second Shift, and The Managed Heart. She is a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her articles have appeared in Harper's, Mother Jones, and Psychology Today, among others. She lives in San Francisco. ...more

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44 likes · 7 comments
“Formerly, many men dominated women within marriage. Now, despite a much wider acceptance of women as workers, men dominate women anonymously outside the marriage. Patriarchy has not disappeared; it has changed form. In the old form, women were forced to obey an overbearing husband in the privacy of an unjust marriage. In the new form, the working single mother is economically abandoned by her former husband and ignored by a patriarchal society at large.” 14 likes
“The workplace would allow parents to work part time, to share jobs, to take personal leaves to give birth, tend to a sick child, or care for a well one. As Delores Hayden has envisioned in Redesigning the American Dream, it would include affordable housing closer to places of work and perhaps community-based meal and laundry services.” 3 likes
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