Thursday, April 1, 2010

He's a Man, Man

My grandmother once said that she felt bad for modern men, because they really have it tough these days. I was young and I probably rolled my eyes and thought, "Yeah, right. Guys have it soooo bad, what with the sports and video games and beer and not having to bear children and all," but as I age I realize that (as usual) Grandma was right.

Think about how gender roles have shifted, even in just the last 30 years.
Women are in the workforce, empowered to do, "everything a man can do," and are spending less time at home. It's not just that women are now doing "men's" work, but also that men are now expected to do their share of the traditionally "women's" work, too. We expect them to do their own laundry and dishes (um, damn straight) and split the cooking and cleaning 50/50. Sometimes we even expect them to be stay-at-home dads. I think all of this is great; the redistribution of power between men and women was inevitable and we women should thank our lucky stars that we have opportunities that our grandmothers never had, and never dreamed of having.

BUT (and there's a big but, here) I think some gender roles aren't so bad at all. There's a reason why our male ancestors hunted and women took care of the house and kids, and these biological imperatives still exist within us and our DNA, no matter how much we fight against them by being, "modern," and, "evolved." These are things we should be embracing, lest we risk losing them. The difficult part is striking a balance between honoring our gifts as human women, and those that society has given us just because we are lucky enough to be born into a more equal world.

So how do we do that? The truth of the matter is that in relationships these days, men usually follow our lead. We have to be willing to give up that lead once in a while, to soften our approach and relinquish a little bit of that control we've claimed. I have a major problem with this: letting men be men. Just because we can take care of ourselves without help from anyone doesn't mean we always should. I'm working on, well, being a woman.

1 comment:

  1. I like this post! Sums up a lot of my own thoughts in a nice way. I think couples sometimes run into problems when they feel like equality MUST be present at all times in a household... like you just HAVE to split chores 50/50, etc or somehow you're not being a modern woman or something. Instead I think a better approach would be to just do what feels right... like if the woman in the relationship doesn't mind doing four household tasks and the man does three, that doesn't mean they aren't equal, it just means they do what works for them. Kinda like how my boyfriend is a terrible mess and I'm a neat freak... instead of trying to beat him into submission by splitting cleaning 50/50, I just do it because I like the way I do it, I'm faster at it and he really hates it. Then he cooks because he doesn't mind it and I really hate it, lol. Maybe that's not 50/50 but so what? Whatever works!