TikTok Moms Call Out Dads Who Do Nothing With #WeaponizedIncompetence

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
TikToks about husbands not doing anything
Chris/Neil Shyminsky/TikTok

Women on TikTok are calling out men who aren’t pulling their weight with the hashtag #WeaponizedIncompetence

A TikTok hashtag is allowing women to come together and point out a very shitty male behavior called weaponized incompetence and if you’ve never felt boiling rage while watching a few TikToks, today might be the day that happens because this is a truly infuriating concept.

First of all, if you’re new to the phrase, here’s an actual man who once employed it as a child explaining what it means. Weaponized incompetence is when you “…pretend to be bad at something so someone else will do it for you.” In other words, probably the reason many women absorb the bulk of household chores and parenting tasks — because their husbands feign incapability and it’s “easier” to just do it all themselves.

If you’re familiar with the idea of “emotional labor,” weaponized incompetence is definitely related. Basically, even if your husband does things around the house and with the kids, if you have to continually remind him to do those things or how to do those things, it’s still a burden on you and can become only barely worth it to ask him to do it when you could just do it yourself and save the hassle. Having to ask in the first place is a chore.

Also, why do dads get the luxury of sleeping in, taking long, hot showers, and disappearing for 45-minute dumps? Because they aren’t good at helping so they might as well chill out and let the little woman do it? As educator Laura Danger, who runs workshops and creates resources to help undo these oppressive dynamics in relationships points out, MATCH THAT ENERGY, SIS. If he gets all of those perks, his wife should too.

Here is an excellent example of a husband’s incompetence resulting in a wife having to add a new and worrisome item to her mental load. He unplugged the wax melter as told but carelessly let the business end of the cord land in the hot wax. So now, as the TikTokker who stitched the vid pointed out, even if she asks him to do this again in the future, she will feel the need to remind him to make sure the cord doesn’t fall into the wax. Odds are, she will just make a mental note to handle this herself so she doesn’t have to worry about her house catching on fire because her husband is a careless jerk. How fun for her.

Like, are moms really out here dealing with grown men who can’t figure out that the clothing tag goes in the back? As the creator who stitched this vid about a dad who apparently can’t handle dressing his child points out — the kid in the video is around six years old. After several years as a parent, he’s still so incompetent that the simple act of making sure his daughter’s clothes are on correctly is out of his reach? Does he not know how to put on his own clothes? This is positively unacceptable, y’all. “Why is the bar so low, not only for men, but for fathers?” she wonders out loud. I mean, really — why is it?

One TikTokker gives examples of weaponized incompetence that will probably look familiar for far too many of us. In her mock dialogue, a woman asks her husband to help her clean the house because the mess is stressing her out. The male response? “You know I don’t notice stuff like that, you have to tell me what to do.” RAGE.

And some women might say — “Well, at least he is willing to help” and like, no. Absolutely not. First of all, “help?” As in, this is all a woman’s default responsibility and any part of it taken on by her male partner is merely help? Nah, I’m gonna take a hard pass on that when my husband also gets clothes dirty, eats food, poops in our toilets, and makes all the same messes the rest of us do. Help? No, what he’s doing is shouldering his portion of our equally shared household responsibilities. As any card-carrying adult should. We don’t need to give men cookies for doing the bare minimum required to be a functioning member of a household and we certainly shouldn’t be doing more ourselves because he claims he isn’t capable. Stop it.

Also? Having to patiently explain what needs done and when and how to do those things is a burden in and of itself. If I have to remember to train and remind my husband to do his part around the house that’s just an extra stressor on me. Why can’t he also see the messes and the child-related tasks and just.. do them?

And speaking of child-related tasks — no, your male partner is not a “babysitter,” he’s a parent.

This kind of behavior is just so deeply disrespectful. It means that he’s unconcerned with whatever extra work he creates with his lazy and incomplete ways of “helping.” How about grow up and be a fellow adult instead of one more person in the house your wife has to take care of and clean up after? Gross.

Clearly, this is a problem so many generations of internalized misogyny in the making and it’s on the men of today to be better examples for their sons — and equal partners for their wives. It’s 2021 and men can figure out how to do laundry. Enough already.

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