This article is to explain the handyman in my area in Harrisburg, PA phenomenon from a gendered sense. For example, for ages the domestic household work has been attributed to the women of the respective household. So, what makes this phenomenon gendered? Is it the fact that the household chores though attributed to women in the private affair, the gender role when it comes to public affairs is divided or flipped? Or are there more variations to household chores than what it seems to be.
But a question that would come to anyone’s mind is what a handyman is? So, in layman terms a handyman is a person employed to do occasional domestic repairs and renovations. The job includes a series of minimalistic ingenuous tasks like plumbing, carpentry, appliance installation etc. Now the term in itself is sexist as there does not stand a female counterpart to it. But that is not of much relevance for now. Let us first try and understand the questions put up in the start. Here I would argue that there is no change in gender roles and stressing and putting my focus on gender differentiated character of household work. For instance, there are a lot of stereotypically masculine forms of domestic chores like that of gardening and plumbing. These roles are seen as traditional jobs which a man is supposed to perform regardless of the nature of it being a part of a private affair. This in fact has been aggregated to the social sphere and thus has ultimately given rise to what we now know of as a handyman. This has also been driven by the increase in quality of life and rising capitalism. With more women driving out of the domestic sphere and more men getting higher wages this new class of people has risen the ranks to provide services to chores which were earlier a representation of gender identity.
The handyman industry is huge now with a total of 91120 handymen employed in the US alone. But what one would find intriguing is the demographic stats. For example, 95.8 percent of handymen are male. This is a dramatic difference and thus begs the question of women participation in the industry. Answer to this question is no different and has relations with the entire profession being an extension of the patriarchal system of assignment of gender roles.