The idea that women are innately more nurturing than men and have maternal instinct might sound endearing and without broader social context, even complimentary, because hey, its a great attribute to be loving and useful in a family setting, but it isn’t. To every demand of women, there is a lenience for men. When girls/women are understood as not only made for household duties, but actually enjoy it, the requirement for men to hold up their portion of domestic duties dissolves.
Women aren’t uniformly anything. Some might be nurturing and appreciate home labor, some might not, just like some might be tall and some might not, but its not a biological trait. Ultimately, its a sporadic characteristic turned social expectation which patriarchal standards have so deeply normalized that its made to be intrinsic.
This expectation has daunting consequences for practically every young girl and woman. Girls are domesticated young, trained to take on chores, while boys have the freedom to be a “mess”, or human. If a woman is married (in a hetero union), she is assumed, perhaps even socially coerced to do housework and child care. If a woman doesn’t fancy cooking or cleaning and has no desire of motherhood, she is seen as deficient, unfit as a spouse and “less of a woman”.
One of the most challenging aspects of fighting modern (meaning neoliberal) heteropatriarchy is the acuteness of which oppressive behavior occurs. Many millennial aged liberal men wouldn’t outright say they demand women to serve them and probably even support surface level feminist theory, but still legitimatize and absorb repressive gender roles in their understandings of and interactions with women. And many will resist being challenged on these ideas, no matter how counteractive the real life results are.