Men are from earth, women are from earth

Shocking news: Heterosexual couples don't actually fight much over the TV remote.

Published September 26, 2008 1:40PM (EDT)

Are you sitting down? A recent Pew Research Center poll on decision-making behavior among heterosexual couples has revealed some shocking information: Men and women control the TV remote just about equally! "The poll found that 27 percent of people say women control the remote; 26 percent say that men do; and 25 percent say the couple decides together." You guys, lousy comedians have been lying to us all this time!

The poll asked 1,260 people cohabitating with a partner -- some married, some not -- about their decisions in four categories: finances, weekend activities, television choices and big-ticket purchases. Overall, they found that women made most of the decisions in 43 percent of couples, men made most of them in 26 percent, and the decisions were shared equally by 31 percent. But here's the interesting thing: The questioners didn't even offer "we decide together" as an option -- they just asked whether the man or the woman of the house made decisions in each category. The 31 percent of respondents who said they shared responsibility volunteered that information, but you've got to wonder how many others felt forced to choose, even if their gut response was, "Both of us." What if there's even more joint decision making going on than these either/or questions revealed? It would almost be like men and women aren't from different planets after all! Bad news for marketers, self-help authors and lousy comedians, perhaps, but good news for the rest of us.

By Kate Harding

Kate Harding is the author of Asking For It: The Alarming Rise of Rape Culture--and What We Can Do About It, available from Da Capo Press in August 2015. Previously, she collaborated with Anna Holmes, Amanda Hess, and a cast of thousands on The Book of Jezebel, and with Marianne Kirby on Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere. You might also remember her as the founding editor of Shapely Prose (2007-2010). Kate's essays have appeared in the anthologies Madonna & Me, Yes Means Yes, Feed Me, and Airmail: Women of Letters. She holds an M.F.A. in fiction from Vermont College of Fine Arts and a B.A. in English from University of Toronto, and is currently at work on a Ph.D. in creative writing from Bath Spa University

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