‘Are you going to do some weeding? Garden’s looking pretty bad…’
‘Nah, that’s a boy’s job.’
‘You’re a really shit Feminist.’
It’s funny how thirty seconds of dialogue can really get you thinking. I’m all about declaring that I’m just as good as a man, that I don’t believe in gender stereotypes and that women are equal to men.
Basically, I’m the first to say I’m a Feminist and this all got me thinking maybe being a Feminist means doing some of the shit stuff too. You know what, men get a tough time in society too. Fuck it, men are just as stereotyped as women. Whilst I’m often fond of saying that women are presented with an impossible and unrealistic image daily by he much maligned media. So are men! This in part links to my views on the phrase ‘Man Up’ but how often are men presented with a ridiculous or stupid image?
We ask a lot of men. Women want a man to sensitive and gentle, but God forbid he should be ‘girly’. Growing up if a boy expresses an interest in a typically Feminine pursuit he is labelled as ‘gay’ (Hello, Homophobia). As for fashion, to an extent, women have much more freedom than men. It is not socially expectable for a man to wear a skirt. Why the fuck not? Skirts are comfy. Why shouldn’t a man wear girl’s clothes if he wants?
I’ve read in countless women’s magazines about different types of males: Metrosexual (great, lovely and sensitive, but OMG WTF is he crying?!), Alpha Male (breadwinner, strong, probably has deep seated issues), Beta Male (Mummy’s boy, bit of a loser, but in recessionary times he’s the one to watch!), and of course The Lad (a right laugh when he’s had a few drinks, likes football, unreliable.)
Well, that’s just wrong isn’t it? All the men I know can be lads when they go out, metrosexual when they go shopping, alpha male when they’re having a good day at work and beta male when they’re having a less good day…
Feminists fought so hard to break the Angel/Whore archetype, so why aren’t we trying harder to break the male stereotypes? We are people. Not types. Perhaps the most wonderful thing about being human is that we are all different, so why are we trying so hard to categorize others?
So if you are equal to a man (and you SO are), you should take on some ‘manly’ tasks. If we’re trying so hard to break down gender stereotypes then we need to do just that. There’s no such thing as a ‘manly’ task, there is just a task.
I agree that it is harder for the average woman to do some heavy lifting than the average man. But we CAN put the shelves up, we CAN mow the lawn, and we definitely can do a bit of weeding.
There are plenty of nice things about gender inequality. It’s nice that men are expected to ask us out, that they are expected to pay for dinner and open the door for us. Chivalry’s cute, of course it is.
But, with the good comes the bad. If women want to be treated as equals, we need to act like equals. And that means paying for dinner sometimes.
So here’s one for the boys. Because a lot of people forget that the best Feminists are often men. It’s not about a fight between the genders. It’s about uniting them. To me, what Feminism truly means is equality of the sexes. So why not cut a man some slack and ask him out? And let’s all stop calling everyone and everything gay all the bloody time.
My first resolution is to buy my boyfriend some flowers. Because I want to subvert the gender norm. Because I’m a real Feminist. Because I’m sure he’ll love receiving flowers just as much as I do. And, quite simply, because I love him.