Maybe it’s because I’m getting larger and waddlier (definitely a word) by the day, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent a semester discussing feminism in all its variations, but I think it’s time to talk about a really important thing: depending on a man for help.
Now, I’m not saying women can’t do amazing things, or should be excluded from doing certain things they want to do, but I also don’t think there’s anything wrong with admitting, “Y’know what? I want a big strong guy to help me with this.”
Women may be able to move furniture, but that doesn’t mean they should have to. Of course, a man isn’t always around at a convenient time (in fact, often they aren’t ;)), and then, by all means, go ahead and do it yourself. But don’t let your man convince you that because you did it once you can (read: should) do it forever after. This goes for taking out the garbage, changing the high lightbulbs, cleaning ceiling fans, painting spindles and digging…anything.
Like when we have a baby, I’ll take it everywhere – grocery shopping, visiting, church, wherever, it’s never an issue. But if we’re out together, do you think I’ll ever carry the carseat or drag the stroller out of the trunk? Nope, sure won’t. Probably couldn’t do it even if he asked me.
Men and women were created differently, not just in how they communicate, but also in how they do things. I am happy to consider myself a feminist who feels a little more calm and in control with my man beside me, a feminist who will stand barefoot in the kitchen to bake a cake for the man I love. If we both had the exact same roles, some things would never get done and other things would be overdone.
What about you? Do you believe there’s still any such thing as a “man’s job” or a “woman’s job”? Do you think it’s wrong to teach your girls to expect or look for a man’s help?
I’m curious where others stand on this…because definitely, holding large birds of prey is a man’s job, in my personal books of bias.
Su VdH says
In my house we call them “blue jobs” and “pink jobs”. But it’s always a pleasant surprise when one does what is usually done by the other. I think we naturally gravitate towards things that we are better at, or enjoy more, and compliment each other that way. I agree that things should be divided evenly, but I’m not a stickler on it. Even with my kids, with my oldest being a boy, he just has more responsibilities as the oldest child, but also as a brother. Chivalry is not dead! :)
I won’t step into the fray but will say I enjoyed the write-up and the pictures :)
Kristy @ She Eats says
Oh Anna! We could drink bottles and bottles of vino over this topic and I’m GLAD you brought it up. Both because I think it’s bs that some men don’t think they need to help or that some women think they shouldn’t ask for it… BUT also because gender stereotypes are also bs. There is no such thing as a “man’s job” or a “woman’s job” in the natural sense of the world – it’s all conditioned and learned. In fact, many women’s roles were once taken up by men and vice versa.
Are there social expectations of what is mans work and what is womans work? Yes. Is there a systemic and problematic problem with that? Yes. Anyone who tells their little girl she can do anything she wants is lying to her. She can’t. Sorry honey. There are limits on all of us that we can’t control on our own. BUT… that doesn’t mean we have to be defined by those expectations or that we can’t work collectively to change things and be who and what we want. It also doesn’t mean we HAVE to resist them. I love putting together shit and doing it well. But I’d rather the bf do it.
PS. Don’t even get me started on the problematic nature of binary genders. What about everyone else who doesn’t consider themselves a man or a woman?? Where do they fit?
PPS. My inner-feminist is high-fiving you.
Oh the talks we could talk! Most boys can’t grow up to be “anything they want” either…life’s like that, sorry kids. High feminist fives all ’round :)
I agree with previous commenters re: labelling things as “men’s jobs” or “women’s jobs” — it makes assumptions about both genders that may not always apply or be helpful. We all feel much more comfortable in roles suited to our personality, preference and skill sets, I think, rather than what is traditionally assumed as “men’s jobs” or “women’s jobs” — which is maybe why that old-fashioned word “helpmeet” is still a good one. I do agree, though, that we should be teaching all of our children, regardless of gender, to know when and how it is appropriate to step up, share work, and ask for help. Playing to your strengths is a critical part of that.
I’d also say that this concept applies to more than just couples. As a single person, I’m responsible for 100% of my “household” — but I’m not good at all of it. (Some days, it feels like most of it!) I, too, need to ask for help — whether that’s from family/friends/neighbours, or whether that’s actually contracting out the stuff I can’t do / don’t want to do to those with greater skill or expertise. Or, you know, just let things slide. Which may or may not also happen. :)
Yes, I was actually thinking this as I wrote it how I might have a different perspective if I lived alone, but then I thought no, I would still have to get help with certain things and be ok with that. No one person really can do it all. Thanks for weighing in!
Every case is different. I know women who are more handy with tools than their husbands, or husbands who are better cooks than their wives. I think that as a couple, you decide together how tasks are going to be tackled and go with it. Instead of labeling jobs as ‘women’s’ or ‘men’s’ jobs, kids should be taught that work should be divided evenly. For example, I take care of all the outside work, while my wife takes care of all the inside work, but I am not about to teach my kids that this is the only way to do things. In my mind, a good way to do this would be to switch it up every so often. Maybe I’ll cook dinner one day while my wife mows the lawn.
At the end of the day, as long as things are getting done and the husband and wife are happy with how they are getting done, it’s all good.
I think I’ll go bake a cake now.
Good point – being comfortable in your role and being each other’s helpers is the most important!
Great post! Personally, I believe in chivalry. Yes, I can carry the heavy grocery bags if I have to, but I love that my husband always takes them if he’s with me. We women can do amazing things, but there’s nothing wrong with allowing your man to do “man things” for you. I hope my three boys will learn from their Dad, and that their future wives will appreciate them for it.
I tend to agree, but then I often resist certain things being labelled ‘women’s jobs’, so I wonder how consistent I’m being. If I’m telling my husband that taking out the garbage, mowing the lawn, moving heavy things are men’s jobs, I should be equally willing to accept if he feels that certain other jobs are women’s ones, shouldn’t I? :)
That’s true :) I actually have a harder time thinking of things I label “women’s jobs”, which isn’t really fair…in our house, one such job is definitely cleaning the bathrooms :)