Woman Uses 'Boy Math' To Explain Men & Women's Wildly Different Ideas Of An Equal Workload

One woman is using men's response to the "girl math" trend to expose the very real ways men's perceptions don't add up.

Emotional labor of a woman vs man = boy math pixelshot, StopTheSpread, Petri Oeschger, Winnie Bruce, ANASTASIIA SOLOVEVA, CatLane, oleksandranaumenko, RossHelen, Sarah Chai / Canva

The "girl math" trend has taken TikTok by storm in recent months as women have pointed out the clever and often hilarious ways they justify irresponsible expenditures and turn them into bargains with the use of often absurd numerical wizardry.

Now, as was inevitable, a certain kind of men online have seized on it too, often in ways that either miss the point or are downright misogynistic. So women have birthed a new trend — "boy math" — and it's revealing some pretty stark differences in perceptions between men and women.


One woman is using the 'boy math' trend to show how many men's ideas about gender equality don't remotely add up.

Part of what made "girl math" work so well is the way it perfectly sends up all the age-old sexist jokes about how women spend too much and don't understand math. It turns the whole "women be shoppin'" meme on its ear, a sort of reclamation of the perception of women as profligates and turning it into a celebration of treating yourself and just... well, enjoying your life, responsibility be darned.

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Predictably, as when pretty much any marginalized group reclaims the stereotypes routinely held against them, "girl math" has left a certain type of man online incensed. And on X, aka Twitter, it has resulted in a lot of men throwing misogynistic temper tantrums.

Women on the app have taken the uproar as an opportunity to call out many men's lack of not only empathy, but fundamental understanding of women's lives and experiences — even as they purport to know everything about the topic. 


One woman used the 'boy math' trend to highlight men and women's wildly different ideas of what an equal household workload looks like.

Janel Comeau is a Canadian writer, comedian and illustrator who's become well-known on Twitter for her witty and hilariously incisive takes on everything from relationships to America's shambolic politics.

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Her take on the "boy math" uproar pretty much says it all about something that has become a constant topic of online debate online in recent years — buzzphrases like "married single moms" and "weaponized incompetence" that highlight the wildly unequal and inconsistent division of household labor between men and women.

tweet about boy math trend and unequal labor between men and womenPhoto: @verybadllama, X/Twitter


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"Boy math," she wrote in her tweet, "is when he does the oil changes and snow shoveling and she does the cooking and laundry and he decides they have equal workloads because they both do two chores."

For many women, her tweet points out a common misconception between men and women about their respective workloads.

For example, a friend of mine with three kids has an agreement with her husband that they have a tit-for-tat arrangement for "night's off" to see their friends — if he takes the kids solo so she has a night off, then she does the same for him the following weekend.


But that doesn't take into account the many ways in which a mom flying solo with her kids is often an entirely different workload than a dad's. For starters, she feeds their twin babies with her actual body, to name just one difference. She also works from home and is with their kids all day, for another. 

Thankfully, her husband recognizes this and they find other ways to offset this difference in labor. But many women aren't so lucky, of course.

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Unequal divisions of household labor between men and women seems to be the norm all over the world.

Women and men having completely different perspectives on what it takes to run a home and parent their children appears to be one thing countries all over the world have in common. When UK newspaper The Guardian asked women in countries as disparate as Vietnam, Uganda and Brazil, they all reported the same experience — their male partners weren't pulling their weight. 


A recent study in China found that even in rural subsistence-farming communities in remote parts of Asia, men and women have very different workloads, and study administrators didn't rely on mere perception to prove it; instead, equipping subjects with activity trackers. The women worked harder than the men across the board.



An unequal division of labor has been a problem in households for pretty much ever, but a study from Canada's York University found the problem has severely deepened during and since the pandemic, even in cases where both spouses work from home. Tellingly, they also found that many women who reported an equal division of labor with their male partners also felt guilty about it.

In the end, Comeau's tweet speaks to one of the core issues many therapists say underlies this inequality: a lack of emotional intelligence that leaves many men incapable of understanding, let alone addressing, their partners' needs.


You'd be hard pressed to find a more perfect example of this lack of understanding than the vitriol that spawned all the "boy math" tweets in the first place. 

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John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.