Far from being a trivial topic, the place of pets in the homes highlights the persistent inequality between the sexes in the couple.
In fact, it seems that the burden of an animal does not escape the prevailing gender norms in most French couples, as it is in fact the women who are, as in other areas of home life, in the front line when it comes to taking care of our four-legged friends. As a source of tension, this situation is likely, as this study shows, to lead to recurring strife or even be the cause of rupture.
Thus if this Ifop study for Vetocanis reveals that our furry friends exert a real attraction in the form of seduction, it also shows a kind of enchantment in the couple.
The pet, source of additional mental strain for women and tension in the couple
- Although it is often the result of a collective decision in the household, the arrival of a pet in many cases involves an overload of domestic work for women. 81% of them think for various reasons (purchasing food, agreement with the vet, managing the care of the animal for the holidays, etc.) do more than their spouses, where the latter are 64% to say they are more concerned than their partners. Like various other household chores, caring for pets activates a patriarchal logic in most French homes.
- This unequal distribution of tasks related to pets is felt directly by the couple since almost a third (31%) say they argue due to lack of involvement of one of the spouses. Here, too, women are fighting more: 35% of them say they quarrel with their spouse on this subject compared to 27% of men. Young couples also seem more weakened by the burden of petsprobably because they are more concerned with having an equal distribution of household chores: 46% of those under the age of 35 quarrel about this, compared to 23% of those aged 65 and over.
- The consequences of unequal care of pets in the couple can sometimes lead to more serious consequences. Take effect, 16% of people who have experienced a couple with an animal believe that they have gone apart for this reason. A particularly high score among teens who often own a pet before starting a relationship : 42% of 18-24 year olds say their relationship has already paid the price, compared to 12% of 50-64 year olds or 8% of people aged 65 and over. Between the search for greater equality and the discovery of life together, pets can constitute a real “handicap” in a young couple’s life.
Privacy required by seven out of ten French people
- Another topic in a couple when you have a pet: intimate life. If they often relax even in the bedroom, dogs and cats are invited by a large majority of the French to leave the premises when their owners love there. Thereby, 72% of respondents could not have sex in the presence of their animals, a situation that bothers women (75%) more than men (67%)..
Subject to excitement, certainly, but also to seduction
- Before they are a source of excitement for some couples, pets can nevertheless play an important role in the seduction phase. First, because having an animal can help attract people by having: 31% of them find it more attractive. And very young French people are more sensitive to this criterion : 40% of 18-24 year olds find a person with a pet more attractive compared to 30% of 25-34 year olds.
- This stronger attraction for animal masters seems to be reflected in facts, whether it is on the side of the seduced or the one who seduces. Take effect, more than 4 out of 10 owners (41%) explain that they have or could use their animals to start a relationship with a person by showing him that they have something in common or even softening him.
- Pets also have their role to play in the birth of an idyll. The latter participates, certainly marginal but real, in the triggering of romantic relationships. Whether primary or secondary, the role they play was for 17% of the French the origin of a relationshipa proportion reaching 25% among young people under 35 years of age.
The point of view of François Kraus, director of the gender / sexuality department at IFOP
This study, the first to look at the distribution of animal-related tasks in the household, highlights the same trend toward gender inequality that is found in the handling of household tasks in general. Although the choice of pet is often a collective decision, it is ultimately the woman who most often takes on the responsibility because it is she who the gender stereotypes assign the responsibility for the good household. Taking care of animals also obeys the logic of “care”, which applies to children and the elderly, who are mainly cared for by women. This overload of domestic work is a potential source of tension in relationships, and can even, as especially the youngest suggest, lead to separation or constitute one of the triggers.