You know how sometimes you’re snorting at something on the internet only to realize it’s just not that funny? That happened to me the other day as I was reading some blurb my son was showing me.
The article, which was really kind of funny at first, showed 25 things some husband somewhere had totally screwed up. Admittedly, the list was funny to me because I’d totally do several of these things myself, especially number 11, but I never once gave thought to why it might not be that funny until my son glared at me.
“Why do women think it’s okay to depict men as stupid and incapable?” he asked as I began to think about the implications of what was on that list. Sure, most of them are just jokes that someone might pull, but they’re also stereotypes not unlike some I’ve heard about women via blonde jokes. So I asked him how he felt.
“Being a man who has chosen to be a stay-at-home dad for part of my son’s life, and being that I was ridiculed and criticized by my in-laws, I don’t think these things are funny at all. These supposed jokes are why men try to stay away from being helpful and sensitive. If we are projected as being good at ‘women’s work’, we completely give up our man card. We’re only allowed to be violent and domineering, and that’s what ticks me off.”
I completely understood what my son was speaking about. He had stayed home with my grandchild for a good portion of his life. He cleaned, cooked, diapered, and wiped tears. He was supportive of his wife’s endeavors, and she supported his. Outsiders, however, called my son lazy and other pejorative terms that called his maleness into question.
My sons were all raised to cook, clean, sew, and other normal things humans do along with their ‘male’ chores like fixing the lawn mower, because as their mother, I don’t believe in gender roles. My son and his wife have never drawn clear gender roles within their home. Something needs to be done, and someone just does it. Isn’t that how life should work, anyway?
This kind, gentle man felt nothing but wrath and disdain from those old school folks who still thought he needed to be dragging home the dinner he killed with a club. Even after he and his wife lost their unborn child he was criticized for being at the hospital with her to support her and grieve.
I’m sorry, but this isn’t what I’ve worked to combat all my life. The feminism I believe wholeheartedly in says we men and women are equals. No one is superior or more capable. We work together to make a better world. I guess I’d never really given it much thought until he showed me that little list, but we really do give men a rough way to go when it comes to being comfortable in their own skin, too.
As much as there is a war against women with the SCOTUS decision about birth control and such, there is also war against men that orders them to never, ever act like a woman. It’s as if during this war, the male camp calls out its own members as traitors if they can cook or clean or change a diaper. Moreover, if a man shows sadness or weakness, even in losing a child, his admission to the Man Club is revoked, and not only by other men, but sometimes by women as well.
We have to give them a break. We have to let our men be comfortable enough to do the things we need to help us along. We’ve been helping them forever, and I heartily believe increasing amounts of men are ready to step up and support us women, too, but we have to allow them the breathing room to do so.
It’s not about superiority. It’s not about winning. It’s about being human.
Nothing makes me smile more than hearing my grandson ask his father to help him do things that kids have historically ran to mommy for. I love that he helps his daddy cook breakfast. I also feel proud that my son was so connected to his unborn child, which he and his wife lost, that he wept. To me, that means the world is making progress. We’re breaking barriers that have caused marriages to fail and families to fall apart. Finally, we allow men to be loving, caring members of a family rather than angry men in a recliner controlling the TV.
So yeah. I read the article and laughed. A little humor is a good thing. I also opened my eyes to the struggle of a man trying to be a good husband and father, and I know he, and many more like him, should never be stopped.
Tammie Niewedde shares her life with 24, 21, and 16 year old sons. She also has a 2 year old grandson whose energy level reminds her exactly how old she is (40, and she owns that proudly!). In her home, you will find a 120 pound fur factory named Dexter and a few cats whom have decided that she is merely their staff. The root of her love for books, writing, and animals comes from being a child whose only siblings were books and her animals. She is a full-time student, mother, coordinator of all that is chaos, and a hopeless list maker. Most of her writing is creative non-fiction that describes her real life adventures. Her acerbic, biting sense of humor may capture your heart, or it may induce rage. Nonetheless what she writes is true to life. You can often find her hanging out with the kiddos, studying, reading, writing, and making lists…of everything! You can find her on Facebook!