A few years ago my husband came home with one of his work colleagues who was in town from Chicago. My Mother happened to be over because she was taking my daughter to something (Broadway show if I ventured to guess)
I was doing whatever, and my husband and F sat down in the living room and talked. My Mother called me into the kitchen:
Mother: Don’t you offer him coffee?
Mother: You’re the lady of the house. The lady of the house offers coffee to guests.
Me: K is the man of the house. He can offer his friend whatever he wants to.
Mother: dismissive language and body movements…
Want another anecdote?
About fifteen years ago when my daughter was about three, my sister in laws husbands brothers wife had a baby. (OK- I couldn’t think about how to show this connection so I hope you get what I mean). My Mother in Law calls me up.
MIL: Did you get A a baby gift?
MIL: A. M’s brother in law. He just had a baby.
Me: No. I didn’t get them a gift. I barely know them. I didn’t even know she was pregnant. I don’t even know if I knew he got married. Who did he marry?
MIL: You have to get a gift.
Me: (in my head- WTF) He didn’t get me a gift when I had a baby.
MIL: Men don’t know how to do those things. That’s a woman’s job.
Ok- so what did we learn here other than I have overbearing people in my life?
There are still people who define things on the basis of sex. Should a woman be responsible for providing refreshments and buying gifts? There is nothing wrong with offering a beverage to someone who came to your house. There is nothing wrong with buying your sister in laws husbands brothers wife a gift…
But does the responsibility lie upon the feet of the woman?
Is it still “expected” for a woman to do these things?
Now I want you to think about your own life. Have you ever inadvertently assumed something was the responsibility of either one sex or another?
There have been a bunch of jokes recently about parents teaching their kids, how difficult it is, etc. But the really funny thing about these jokes is that the vast majority are of the Mother teaching the kids. I don’t know if I’ve seen one that shows the Father playing teacher. Now is it because Father’s are much better at home tutoring their kids? (Challenge if that’s the case…) Or is it because we just assume the Mother will be teaching? Are Mother’s teaching because it is assumed to be “their job”?
When women and men go out- who usually drives?
Who is supposed to take our the garbage?
Have you ever told son “Watch out for your sister?’ Do you tell a girl to watch our for her brother?
Are we clinging to gender stereotypes just because?
What are we telling our children when we continue to cling to traditional gender roles?
What are we telling ourselves?