I’m not a misandrist but, it’s not women’s fault that men aren’t successful in female-dominated careers. They’ve chosen to be lumberjacks, builders and dustbin-men for years so they can’t blame us that they find it hard…
*rolls up my sleeves*
Alright, the reasons that men and women have ‘naturally gravitated’ to different spheres of work, as you put it, have everything to do with social organization in a large population and the most efficient way to do the work required for life. In small populations, typically hunter/gatherer societies, work is much more egalitarian out of necessity. Because of the low population density, people cannot afford to specialize. If one person tried to make all the clothing for the tribe, they would not be able to succeed because there isn’t a large enough pool of specialists to meet demand. (This is basic economics.) Also, with a few people no longer putting their labor toward hunting and gathering food, it is less likely the group will find enough food for that day.
As populations grow, the demands change. Once we reach the high populations associated with sedentary agriculture or semi-sedentary seasonal rounds, it becomes inefficient to have everyone taking part or doing every activity. If you are semi-sedentary, a portion of your group or family must stay behind to guard your home, foodstore, and belongings from animals and enemies. Someone in your family must go and tend to your wild cultivers, and someone ELSE must go out and hunt. That isn’t to say that there is no crossover, but in order to get all these jobs done the most efficient way, division happens.
This division also happens on a community level in the form of specialization, often accompanied by social stratification. I.E. you get the emergence of elites/bourgeois, middle class/traders, manufacturers, farmer/peasants, etc.
These jobs to not necessarily have to be gendered, but often times they are, for complex social reasons. Gendered labor is one of the few human universals because of something called gender expression. Gender expression is a relatively new concept in the world, within the last 200 years, but it can be observed and seems viable across time and space. Gender expression dictates how men and women should dress, talk, walk, think, and work.
Women often play into the very social norms that oppress them because they are a part of the societal gender expression. Society is saying “This is what you have to do to be a woman” and many people who identify as women will follow that norm.
This is not an excuse for what women have been through, though. Gender expression is flexible and malleable for both sexes. What feminism does is force society’s gender expectations to change so that women can break free from oppression, do what pleases them, and still be seen as women.
Gender expectation is the ‘really good reason” that sewonandsewforth was looking for, but it is something that can (and should, when it negatively affects people) be changed. To recap, one of the reasons men and women often gender labor is because gender is a social construction. In egalitarian societies where labor is shared, they STILL have gender divisions, but they are not economic divisions. Gender divisions will always exist in the world because men and women are complementary, and often define themselves by what the other is not. However, we should seek to make those divisions and expressions horizontal and not vertical. In other words, while women often wear earrings and men often don’t, neither ought to be seen as better than the other, or shameful for the other gender to violate. This can be applied to labor too.
There is a good reason why gendered labor happens, but the reason isn’t necessary or economical. It has nothing to do with men and women’s ‘natural’ talents or strengths.