You should’ve asked

Here is the english version of my now famous “Fallait demander” !

Thanks Una from for the translation 🙂

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961 thoughts on “You should’ve asked

    1. I second this, I couldn’t even finish it because of how one sided it is. For example, from personal experience, I can tell you that women tend to insist on being the so called manager of the home. Wanting everything done on HER time and not participating in any household chores a man attempts to manage, instead doing things her own way. Good example being what you need about how women will go to do one chore, then get distracted by others, jump down a rabbit hole and find that 2 hours later the original chore was forgotten. Whereas men will simply accomplish the tall at hand. You present that as if what the woman does is correct, but I disagree. Plus, in general, home maintenance take are often taken care of by men and go unappreciated just the same as chores done by women often go unappreciated. For example, I have been mowing a .8 acre lawn with a push mower (with the help of a very good friend) for about 2 months while trying to get the riding lawn mower working. My gf couldn’t care less about the lawn or the work we put into it. She was getting mad at me because she was doing all the dishes and I wasn’t helping. As if I wanted to spend all my afternoons and an entire weekend dealing with a lawn mower. I did that because I care about the presentation of our home. All she sees is the work that she does any I don’t do, rather than the work I do that she doesn’t do. At the end of the day, we both put a lot of effort in, but she, much like many women do to their own SOs, often treats me like I’m a bum. And then things like this make rounds on the internet and reinforces this one sided viewpoint, exacerbating the problem. #EndRant


    2. Yes, Emma…please take on the additional task of diagramming, illustrating and coloring another 40-panel column describing the husband’s POV, and could you make sure that you include the emotional work so Rob doesn’t have to ask later for that too?
      Also, check the shopping list to make sure that we have snacks for the end of school picnic.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. 🙂 Hahaha yes and make him a sandwich as well 😉

        By the way I could do it from the other POV because my boyfriend totally validated the comic so I could ask him to elaborate.
        Moreover I already lived this from the other POV because until I was 17 I did absolutely NOTHING at home. My mom did everything.
        And why didn’t I help ? I could say that was because I had a lot on my mind with all the pressure at school and everything. Or because my mom didn’t let me do because I didn’t do well or as fast as she would expect.
        Or … I could say the truth : it was comfortable for me. I could let anything in the way, it magically disappeared and came back at its place within a day. When my mother got mad at me for not doing anything : I did it, but with such a bad mood that she finally started to do it again to avoid hearing me grumble and complain. I was very skilled to avoid housework.
        I only understood once I left the house what a burden I had been all my childhood.

        Maybe I could make a comic about this 🙂

        Liked by 5 people

      1. OK, the sandwich thing is genuinely funny. Kudos 🙂

        But I do think Eyeroll and Matt are missing my point a little bit: it’s not like I emailed Emma out of the blue saying “hey, why don’t you take your time to do this for me because I don’t feel like articulating my POV.”

        Emma put a fairly general statement about How the World Is out into the ether, open for commentary; my point (possibly not well-made) is that I perceive the comic – while entertaining – to be compromised by a lack of empathy or acknowledgment of full context. I think this is illustrated by what you, Emma, view as the “other side”: a self-absorbed teenager letting her mom do all the work. Certainly there are plenty of men-as-teenagers walking around — other genders, too. My point is that while the comic is well done, think there’s stuff you may have missed here.

        Do I think this comic cleverly presents what is a genuine problem for many hetero couples? Yup.
        Are there a lot of dudes who needed this to get how they’re not pulling their weight in some areas? Absolutely.

        And at the end of the day it’s just a cartoon, drawn with a light touch, presented with some nuance, not a big deal. But then again, so was my comment – and that drew some minor challenge/shade, so I’ll take a minute to respond to that because I enjoy a good discussion. 🙂

        Three issues:

        1) Over-generalization. Not a lot of “many, possibly most.” A lotta absolutes, a lot of hyperbole. Words like “tend to be” and “often” and “many” are super useful in this context, woulda greatly strengthened the piece. You’re welcome. 😉

        Clearly the comic makes a legitimate observation that resonates with lots of people, as attested by the comments section. As an aside, a cpl of minor things about that:
        a) This audience is bound to be in some measure unintentionally self-selected as a choir to preach to; and
        b) when we hear a philosophy or an idea or a position that allows us to say “OMG, I am a-MA-zing – and most of the people around me, considerably less so…” we are all bound to love it. This is really seductive, and a fundamental tool some people (not Emma) use to manipulate the masses; I think it’s useful to look suspiciously at our reaction to philosophies and frames that give us that message.

        My point is that the number of people we can get to shout “Huzzah!” isn’t necessarily a measure of how accurately we have described the world, or identified Truth.

        We all tend to take our personal experience and project it as The Experience. That’s the root of angst for many of the angrysad dudes on MGTOW sites – it’s not just Socialized Misogyny — for many of them, their lived experience includes getting genuinely shat on by narcissistic partners. They’re not wrong about that, they’re just wrong about what that means about the world, and how to react to it.

        And there are thousands of people for whom this comic does not depict real life at all, for whom this is so one-sided or so far from reality that to hear it presented as The Truth About Men and Women just feels annoying — to the point that we (I) will actually drop a comment about it, rather than just reading it and moving on. 🙂

        At worst, would land to some men as “This is just another way in which women do all the heavy lifting in life while men are lazy and useless”. Of course that’s exaggerated but it’s not that far outside of reality given that the broader conversation about some of these issues includes the hashtags #MenAreTrash.and #KillAllMen. There’s a context into which the comic falls, and it includes that nonsense.

        And I get that privileged people are wont to hear a story about someone else and jump in with “Well, what about me? How come we’re not talking about me all the time?”
        But I think this is different: 99% of the people here, I believe, want to make their lives and relationships better. The focus of the comic is traditional cishet relationships — both present and potential relationships — and men are half of that equation. I’m not sure how leaving out the perspective of half the participants makes for effective relationship-building.

        2) My second problem with the comic is that I feel nowhere near enough thought/empathy went into guessing why men might view women as “manager of household chores”.
        Some people have touched on the issue of how big a space we give our partners to contribute in certain ways. My experience, and that of many men I know, was that of being shut down fairly consistently and emphatically in terms of *how* when contributing to household stuff, especially in a traditional division-of-labor scenario. This isn’t just “Perhaps I might need to think about how I react to my husband’s help”, this is huge – it’s a really big part of why many men I know wait to be asked/told what to do. Passive, non-aggressive men (and I were one) get tired of getting told we’re doing it wrong, and we don’t like displeasing our partners, so we end up waiting for them to let us know what would make them happy. If your husband acts like an underling when it comes to household management, maybe you could self-reflect more about how that space got created for him to step into.

        As to “if I don’t do it, my family suffers” – maybe, maybe not. I think some ownership could be taken about “suffering” – if you don’t have mustard, that’s not suffering, that’s just a cost. For non-critical stuff, if you’re the only one bothered by something, then it’s your issue. If your dude doesn’t have a shirt, maybe next time he’ll iron it – assuming there’s been a conversation about whose responsibility it is to dress themselves for work.

        I imagine this won’t resonate for the many women who’d *love* it if their dude would load/unload the dishwasher, even if he might sometimes put the serving spoon in with the regular spoons. But I guarantee a lot of guys would hear me on this.

        Additionally, people – even men – can learn and evolve. A lot of guys think it’s a gesture of respect and an enlightened sharing of power to view their wives as the manager of the house. We get told we fix too much instead of listening. We are told we try to manage things too much, that we have too many opinions, that women are tired of us interrupting, trying to boss everything, that we need to defer more to women who know what they’re doing. Is there a more logical way to happily share power than to concede household decision-making to the person who’s closer to the issues (if they are) and has strong opinions about the way things ought to be done?

        Both of these things are likely (IMO) to be huge factors in this dynamic, and they got short shrift in this comic. Men are not infants, or mentally deficient – when living alone, we manage to keep ourselves fed and not light ourselves on fire. Usually. The question of why men might defer to their wives in these areas deserves a deeper look than it got.

        3) The “emotional load” issue. There are two pieces to this: the first is just the Burden Olympics feel it has to it. Of course women carry a lot s*** men often don’t know about. Why wouldn’t the converse be true? Yes, the manager of the house will carry the “mental load” of managing the house. And if you both have fulltime jobs, that load should absolutely be shared.

        But in the context of all of life, it’s unseemly to present one gender over another as doing all the heavy emotional lifting. It’s fine to call out people’s actions, but you don’t get to use your limited perspective to decide how they feel, then tell them that based on your calculations they have less to worry about than you do.

        The second piece is about emotional maturity, intelligence, and continence. Just because we feel something relating to an issue doesn’t mean other people are responsible for that. If we’re worried about X, it’s no one else’s responsibility to try to read our minds about it and make it their primary concern. No one has ESP, and we all read a different textbook growing up, so be wary of grading your partner on a rubric that’s in *your* mind. Talk.

        If you have a partner who will respond positively to your requests you’re doing pretty awesome. The idea that “Making me *say* what I want/need is just too much work and unfair; you should already know or guess and take it on” strikes me as unrealistic self-absorption, an extension of “If you really loved me you would…”

        Communicate. I’ll cop to speaking out of traumatic personal experience with this, and I know I speak for a lot of other humans as well. Talk. Say your truth. The “emotional burden” of articulating what we want is part of life, and we don’t get to dump that on our partners.

        So, yeah: if you both work, and your dude expects you to do the dishes while he watches TV, then he’s being a douche. Unless you also expect him to fix the lawnmower while you do your nails. Then it’s just division of labor. And also yes to many the examples in the comic – the dude is being an infant – but also no to some of them. That is, some of them are easily fixed with clear communication (as Emma said, “divide up recurrent and non-critical chores” – ie, talk.)

        At the end of the day, I suspect your (Emma’s) position might be “I’m talking about a specific – and also common — situation, that many people resonate with, not invalidating any other people’s experience.”
        But that’s not reflected in the language of the comic; in fact, the opposite (“The mental load is almost completely borne by women.” “Women…remain the only ones in charge of the household.” “If this gap is narrowing, it’s not because men are doing more.” “It’s clear that men have to learn.” “…only feminists are demanding longer paternity leave” “…emotional work…also gets heaped on women” Etc.)

        Yeah, a big side-eye to that — words matter. Absolutes and hyperbole are rarely useful, especially when talking about relationships.

        Final point: am I reacting/speaking in large measure out of butt-hurt due to my personal history? Absolutely 🙂

        1. Too one-sided, hyperbolic, and absolute
        2. There are other more benign reasons for this dynamic besides socialized systemic inequality
        3. How do you know who has more to worry about? And it’s not a contest anyway.


    3. When we moved in together you took over everything. I thought at first: Wow! Great! She’s so wonderful.

      Then you started making decisions I didn’t like. About my “stuff” as well as your stuff.

      Like you, I didn’t exactly know how to say I wasn’t happy with the status quo.

      Over time I stopped taking responsibility b/c either we talked about it and I was dissed or I was rude in the first place.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you so much for this post! I had so many of these feelings and I didn’t know how to explain them to my spouse. Reading this comic was a bit of an eye opener for him, and we’re actually working together to share the mental load a little more (I realized I also needed to let go of things a bit so he can help out more). I wrote a blog post sharing our initial experiences. Would you mind if I share the top bit of your illustration, with the link, for context?


    1. I posted my response to this cartoon! I think it was great because it helped open up dialog between my husband and I. I think people can read too much into this. Not every situation in the world is going to be exactly like this comic, and not every reason for that situation is going to be the reasons listed in this comic. But people, statistics are there and they don’t lie! And many people do feel exactly like this illustration depicts.

      Instead of being so defensive about what’s being said, why don’t you think about how you can improve? On both sides! My husband considered this as something that was important to me. And I also had to re-evaluate my thoughts on reacting to his help.


  2. I think the problem may come from too many men going straight from living with their parents and not having to totally take care of many chores, to living for a short time alone whilst not mature enough to do the chores for themselves thoroughly, to living with their girlfriend who unconsciously take’s on the same role she may have seen her mother do. That being said, I also know a lot of women who are incapable of doing many household chores thoroughly by themselves, since they were too used to their mother’s doing it for them.


  3. This is a great way of conveying the mental duress of what women have to go through with children, especially as our child is going through a particularly clingy phase. I wonder if there was a cartoon depicting what men go through and maybe there would be a better understanding of each other’s point of view?


  4. Reblogged this on Ladyliciousness and commented:
    This is the best and clearest illustrations (literally) of mental load. The extreme different approaches that arise because women have more diffuse awareness. I’m sure most women can relate, and men too – my boyfriend sent me this one. I can’t wait to see more. Thanks Emma.


  5. This is an important debate well presented in comic form . Delivery of vegetables and choosing a nanny give away a class bias which does you no favours really. I think relationships built on love, trust and respect should involve men taking on their share of domestic chores and child care. What you are asking is that men anticipate and worry about them as much as women do, and Im not sure that is ever going to happen. Id suggest women worry too much and men don;t worry enough and the ideal might fall somewhere in the middle . Men are also put off by some tasks which result in women tutting and rolling their eyes at us for our efforts which are well meant but don’t reach their standards. Richnsoul UK

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Or, instead of just the husband’s POV – a valid point – challenge more than the status quo.
    That would be…. yourselves, people. And your ASSumptions.
    Why are people in such a hurry to breed?
    If she thinks he’s an arse, why doesn’t she challenge herself and ask why she married an arse?
    And took it further by squeezing out a baby.


    1. You’ve made a good point but I would encourage you to be careful not to jump to assumptions yourself. I can only speak for myself, but in my situation, that sort of entitled, selfish behavior did not appear until AFTER the babies came and he decided they were more work than he’d thought.


  7. Oh, man! This is so incredibly true. I have five children and my ex NEVER helped with anything other than tucking in his son at night. From cooking, to cleaning, to doctors’ appointments, to knowing which kid was allergic to what foods, to schooling, to clothes shopping, to painting the house, to laundry, to you name it, he didn’t do it even if asked. He’d just tell me to ask one of the older kids to help out. But there are some things a child can’t do, even if they’re the oldest. It was beyond exhausting and if I didn’t do it, not only would it not get done but, depending on what “it” we’re talking about not getting done, the children suffered and he didn’t care because it wasn’t “his” job to do it.

    It’s been easier raising my kids by myself than trying to do it with him, and that is the sad truth. Something has to change. Thank you for putting this into words so eloquently.


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