26 Apr Stereotyping And Gender Roles
The day I began writing this article was a very eventful one, and I struggled to focus on the topic at hand when it was time to get to it. I did a quick google search just to get my head clear of other topics, and within minutes, I, to no surprise, was fuming over the disgusting things I was reading. No, I wasn’t coming across nasty amateur youtube comments. The things I was coming across, though, were steadfast and deeply personal anecdotes about the NEED for gender roles. One bit of commentary in particular that stuck out to me most blatantly discredited couples planning to share responsibilities in and out of the home.
It stated very clearly that there are exceptions to the rules (which they so kindly took time to mention “tragedies happen where a woman may need to provide additional income for their family because husbands can become ill or disabled”) and God understands these exceptions, BUT a woman and or couple should never ever dare to plan on sharing the responsibility to “provide”; it is God’s will for men to provide, and Gods will for women to submit and concern themselves with the home.
So Where Does My Family Fit In?
If it is God’s will for men to almost always be the sole providers, where does my partner fit in? My partner was born with a physical disability, and received many surgeries as a child to make it possible for him to do things most of us can automatically do with ease – walking, talking, typing, and so on. But even still, there are physical limitations to what he can do. He couldn’t be a full time welder or a diesel mechanic or a professional athlete without assistance and significant modifications to the workplace (which isn’t likely in any of those fields). because he isn’t a physically conventional male, does that mean he doesn’t qualify to be a conventionally providing husband? and if so, does that mean he isn’t made by God to fulfill the role of a man? and if so, where does that line get drawn? To what level should he be removed from these roles hes supposed to fulfill, but cannot? Is he simply not fit to be a husband or father because he cannot be a typical provider? How much dehumanization needs to take place when the standards do not apply? These examples and conclusions may seem extreme, but our relationship finds the confines of gender roles to also be extreme.
Naturally, I need to mention that modern gender roles are impossibly confusing. Eisenhower, Reagan, and (Teddy) Roosevelt were cheerleaders in their day, when cheer was considered a sport too “masculine” for women, what with the shouting, jumping, heavy lifting, and so on. Blue was long considered a delicate and feminine color, despite the current use of blue for boys. That being said, a lot of antiquated ideals still exist. In modern culture, masculinity tends to be associated with dominance and strength, while feminine roles are associated with being gentle and subordinate.
If any of you reading have seen my posts on social media or know me in person, youre well aware how open, determined, and vibrantly passionate I can be. On the other hand, too, if anyone knows Phil, they are well aware that he is kind, quiet, and quite gentle in all of his affairs. These qualities alone really do break a lot of typical gender stereotypes. Aside from our personalities, though, we face a lot of situations daily that call for us to break away from the norm.
Because Im the physically bigger person, I do a lot of running behind our toddler, keeping her out of things she shouldn’t be getting into, lifting her in and out of the carseat, and more. I also tend to make most of our meals. I do the heavy lifting, driving, and the regular car maintenance. I work a standard 9-5 out of the house in an industrial environment (think big trucks and manual labor). Phil’s responsibilities in our relationship range far and wide, including tidying up the house, washing dishes, and laundry. He helps our sweet kiddo dress morning and night as well as keeps her occupied throughout the day, and works from home in web design.
To put it simply, if there was an expectation for Phil to deliver all stereotypical male responsibilities, his quality of life and happiness would plummet. The same can be said of the assumption that I should be a delicate submissive ladylike figure is laughable. marginalizing someone based on their gender leads to the belief that someone who does not comply with the norm is incompetent or invaluable. A typical day in our relationship abolishes what is considered normal in a relationship between man and woman, and focuses on each others’ characteristics, and by doing so, we worry less about the paradigm and focus more on our happiness, and harmony.
Guest Post by: Kathleen