Men at (home) work: masculinity and the second shift during COVID-19

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Past work has shown that men’s gender identities often lead them to eschew household labour in an attempt to shore up threatened masculinity. As the COVID-19 pandemic has lead to both enormous financial disruption and high levels of stress among the population, we expect these patterns to be exacerbated. We focus on the helping children with virtual school activities, as it is a uniquely stressful form of household labour, and use two studies, using different techniques and datasets, to show that among men subjected to economic stress, higher levels of stress are associated with a lower likelihood of helping with virtual school activities. Ramifications of this for both individual stress levels and for societal outcomes are discussed, as are the disproportionate impact of these effects on members of racial and ethnic minority groups, who are already subject to high stress levels. Keywords: COVID; masculinity; household labour; childcare; stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)102-116
Number of pages15
JournalJournal for Cultural Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022


  • childcare
  • household labour
  • masculinity
  • stress


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