Screenshots from a TikTok showing a woman exercising. There is a text overlay that says she worked out despite the house being 'a disaster.'


TikTok dad reinforces separate spheres ideology in his video ‘praising’ his wife

It’s a very gendered TikTok.


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Feb 1, 2023   Updated on Feb 2, 2023, 7:22 am CST

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In a video set to the TikTok audio “Emotional Piano Music for the Soul,” TikTok dad @leansquad1 tells viewers that “today I walked in on my wife working out while our newborn napped.” What’s revolutionary about her workout, @leansquad1 says, is that their house, at the time, “was a disaster.” 

“Dishes needed to be done. Laundry needed to be done,” @leansquad1 wrote in the video’s overlay text. But the TikTok dad says he “could not be more proud” of his wife for taking time to workout amid the mess. “The mess and chores can always wait.” 

Unsurprisingly, TikTok users commented on @leansquad1’s video and ridiculed him for his framing of the situation. Many people noted that he could have been doing the chores he listed instead of recording his wife while she worked out. 

“Husbands will do anything but the household chores,” @salem_ash1 commented. 

“This video alone is my nightmare,” @celestial.momma wrote. “Someone watching it pile on me and just clap… Congrats to me for keeping it together? HELP HER.”

And, of course, the fact that the mom’s time for herself is a work out wasn’t lost on commenters either.

“‘She’s getting into shape for me and that’s more important than HER chores!’” @whitmersarewinners commented. 

@leansquad1 wasn’t spared in stitches of his videos, or tweets about it, either. 

“Stop cheerleading the woman and get off your ass and fucking help her,” @make_do_and_mand said in a stitch of the TikTok that has over a million views. “You men.”

Why it matters

@leansquad1’s video implies that a mother’s—or, just a woman’s—work is in the household, or of her body (the workout). It’s a very gendered TikTok, and while it’s only fair to say that we don’t know what @leansquad1’s intent was in making the video, its impact is sexist

The TikTok takes us back to separate sphere’s ideology, a Victorian-era doctrine that posited that because men and women are innately different, they should have different responsibilities: Men work outside the home, and women work in it. 

While it’s upsetting that some people still think this way—or, at least post a video seeming to imply that they do—at least the overwhelming response to @leansquad1’s video was calling him out for such backward praising of his wife.

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*First Published: Feb 1, 2023, 6:00 am CST