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The complications of ‘hiring a hubby’: gender relations and the commoditisation of home maintenance in New Zealand

Cox, Rosie (2013) The complications of ‘hiring a hubby’: gender relations and the commoditisation of home maintenance in New Zealand. Social and Cultural Geography 14 (5), pp. 575-590. ISSN 1464-9365.

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This paper examines the commoditization of traditionally male domestic tasks through interviews with handymen who own franchises in the company ‘Hire a Hubby’ in New Zealand and homeowners who have paid for home repair tasks to be done. Discussions of the commoditization of traditionally female tasks in the home have revealed the emotional conflicts of paying others to care as well as the exploitative and degrading conditions that often arise when work takes place behind closed doors. By examining the working conditions and relationships involved when traditionally male tasks are paid for, this paper raises important questions about the valuing of reproductive labour and the production of gendered identities. The paper argues that while working conditions and rates of pay for ‘hubbies’ are better than those for people undertaking commoditized forms of traditionally female domestic labour, the negotiation of this work is still complex and implicated in gendered relations and identities. Working on the home was described by interviewees as an expression of care for family and a performance of the ‘right’ way to be a ‘Kiwi bloke’ and a father. Paying others to do this labour can imply a failure in a duty of care and in the performance of masculinity.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an electronic version of an article to be published in Social and Cultural Geography. The final version is available online at:
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): care, New Zealand, masculinity, DIY, home
School or Research Centre: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy > Geography, Environment and Development Studies
Depositing User: Rosie Cox
Date Deposited: 06 Aug 2012 08:50
Last Modified: 01 Mar 2014 00:11

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