STUDY: 88% of women struggling to find jerk-life balance

It’s a struggle for all of us, but a new study published today suggests it’s a particularly challenging one for women: the lifelong quest for the elusive “jerk-life balance.”
(Shutterstock / WAYHOME studio)

It's a struggle for all of us, but a new study published today suggests it's a particularly challenging one for women: the lifelong quest for the elusive "jerk-life balance."

The study, conducted by a team of sociologists at Toronto's York University, concluded that 88 per cent of Canadian women expend so much energy on dating, talking to, encountering, and avoiding jerks, that it leaves them with very little time to relax and enjoy recreational pursuits such as racquetball, painting, or painting a racquetball (either a different colour from its original colour OR depicting its likeness on a blank canvas, which is a very different thing).

Bram Sizemore, lead researcher on the study, explains that historically, women have always struggled with jerk-life balance. However, as more and more women are engaging with jerks outside the home, the demands on their time have become increasingly significant and unsustainable.

Helen Brochure, a 38-year-old nurse in Ottawa, explains, "people often ask me how I can possibly work full-time alongside two of the most patronizing male doctors atop the earth, go to therapy to process my anger toward my ex-husband Martin, who is a freelance drummer, see my personal trainer Kyle, who's casually fat-shamed me three times this week, and still make it out to movies and restaurants, see my friends, and sleep.

How do I juggle all that and still find time for my new boyfriend Jaysen, an aspiring juggler?"

"The answer is I don't," Brochure confesses. "I constantly feel like I'm failing. You really can't let your jerk define you. But honestly, it's just impossible to find time for much else."

Brochure adds that she would have liked to have taken up juggling "just as a fun hobby" but the proposition was simply too threatening for the exceptionally delicate Jaysen to bear.

While sociologists recommend that a typical healthy weekday be split up into 60% work, 35% leisure pursuits, and just 5% jerk management, the majority of women seem to be devoting well over half of their day to it.

Rachel Holbrook, 26, recounts her day yesterday, in which, after eight hours working for a boss who enjoys making racist jokes in meetings, she came home and spent three hours on the phone breaking up with Tyler because he absolutely refused to accept that she was ending their two-week relationship.

"He kept coming back to the fact that we'd visited the aquarium together, and that means something," Holbrook sighs.

"Anyway, I didn't get to eat dinner until 10:30 p.m. By 'dinner' I mean a bowl of Special K because that's all I had energy to make. Which is good! It's low in fat! The patriarchy tells me that's very important. Oh god I'm tired."

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About the Author

Sophie Kohn


Sophie Kohn is writer and producer with CBC Comedy, a stand-up comedian in Toronto, and a graduate of Second City's Conservatory program.