Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Men? Women? No Different?

One time I was at the open air market in Estonia, browsing hand knit mittens with my friend Rebecca.  I have never really liked being approached by sales people and was trying to remain anonymous.  I loved talking with Estonians in the market, unless they were trying to sell me something.  Rebecca was not interested in buying anything either.  An elderly woman selling her wares tried to entice us to buy something.  She held up a pair of mittens and said to Rebecca,
"Men? Women? No Different?"
"Yeah. They're no different." she said continuing on.
"Men? Women? No different?" she said to me, holding up the mittens.
"I gotta follow her." I said.

But, it is an interesting question, no?  Men? Women? No different?  Yeah, I gotta say, they're pretty different.

Tad and I try really hard to mix up the gender roles in our house.  We bought dolls for Coen when he was young and cars for Lucy.  But still, Coen will be smashing two Star Wars figures together in a rough battle, sending one flying across the room and hitting the wall.  Meanwhile, Lucy is sitting quietly on the floor "nursing" her baby doll.  It doesn't seem to matter what kind of toys we give them.

And we even try and switch it up in our house.  Why, just this morning while Tad cleared the table and rinsed dishes, I was under the sink with a wrench working on a clog.  Often when I'm out cleaning gutters or shoveling snow, our older neighbor will say, "Where's your husband?! He should be doing this!" And I always reply, "He's doing the harder job.  He's watching the children."

It doesn't seem to matter though.  Coen likes to wrestle and kick a soccer ball and battle his toys.  Lucy likes to do puzzles and art and play with her dolls.  But you know, sometimes the children will join each other in a game of house or Pokemon battle and that makes me happy.  And raising my kids to be strong, independent, feminist individuals includes me accepting and embracing all things they want to do--no matter what gender roles our society has assigned them.

It's an interesting question though.  Men. Women. Girls. Boys.  Speaking of which, I shall end with this:

Here is a conversation between Tad and I during a discussion on men and women making friends as adults.

Me: Why do men in their 30s not make an effort to become friends with each other? Women do.
Tad: You're the smarter sex.  That's why women have been incrementally surmounting men year after year.  Except for hand to hand combat and the hundred meter sprint. That's about all we've got on you.

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