The Roles of Men and Women (and the confusion thereof)

Warning: Completely off-topic post from photography.

I went to OSH to buy a fan this week and while I weighed the pros and cons of each fan, I overheard two male OSH employees talking about how if women want equality then they should pay for dinner, take out the garbage and do outdoor work. It ruffled my feathers because I do pay for dinner, I do take out the garbage and I do love outdoor work. I wanted to pipe in and say, “Ok, what about cleaning out the hair and filth from the drain, what about cleaning the toilets, what about sorting stinky laundry and what about cooking and cleaning and everything else that women see need done, but men never see? How come a man has to be asked to do these chores but a woman doesn’t have to be asked?”

But I kept my mouth shut because I clearly saw it was just a couple of guys flexing nuts.

Then recently I was watching a tv show where a woman was saying how upset she was that women get paid less than men. For at least half of my married life I have made more (per hour, but he worked more over time and essentially “made more” than I) than my husband, so I feel like this statistic is very controversial and perhaps false. But thats not my argument. A guy piped in and said, “Yeah, MAYBE (and thats a big maybe) men get paid more, but women get maternity leave.” That hurt my feelings. Big. Freaking. Time.

First off, many employers now offer maternity leave to men, too.

Second, while women may be granted maternity leave, it is not always PAID maternity leave. While their bodies recover, they have to forfeit income for their family. Yes, some CHOOSE to get pregnant, but some women do not choose to get pregnant.

Third, most women have painful periods once a month. Periods are exhausting and depending on your medical condition, can be so painful you want to throw up. I suffer from this. My periods are so painful that sometimes I curl up in a ball with my heating pad on my stomach and my pain pills down my throat as I cry and clench my hands in fists. But while I’m at work, I cannot curl up in a ball, I cannot take time to cry, I have to muscle through it and go home exhausted. And ladies and gentlemen, this is not once a year or even once a quarter!

Now these are hardships I endure, but what about working moms? How they do it I do not know, but they deserve all the praise I have to offer.

Let me stop all you men foaming at the mouth right now, feeling neglected and unappreciated. This post is NOT a Women vs. Men or visa versa. Men go to work, with the stress and pressure of trying to hold a stable job, knowing their family’s livelihood depends on it. I know I feel for my husband all the time because he constantly feels stressed out about providing a living for us. Growing up, my father spent countless months (that add up to years) away from our family while he worked out of town to provide for us. I remember the day I started working, and wasn’t treated the kindest, and in turn I realized not everyone idealized my dad as much as I did and probably got on his case and made him feel worthless and stressed out at his work. It blew my paradigm. I realized there were probably many people that did not recognize my dad’s worth and probably treated him like crap and it broke my heart to realize it. But my dad never told us, he was always so proud to provide for us.

I know its especially confusing in this day and age for men. Do they provide financially or take care of the kids? I know from experience that many women I work with all of a sudden became the so-called Bread Winners when this economy tanked and their husbands lost their jobs. I can only imagine and my heart breaks for those who all of a sudden couldn’t provide for their families anymore. I know men are constantly bewildered, “Do I hold the door open, or don’t I hold the door open?” “Do I pay for dinner, or don’t I pay for dinner?” “Do I take charge in the relationship, or don’t I take charge?” Its very confusing because every woman has their own view of suppression and guys just want to be a good husband. To blow a man’s self-esteem even further, I know a successful man is very often looked down on these days because they have “too much money” and are greedy if they’re successful. Talk about confusing! Men often can’t win for losing.

And this brings me to my point. I really hate (and I do mean hate in every strong implication of the word) hearing men say men are better or to even imply it. I really hate hearing women say they are better than men, because it is emasculating and turns men into either ogres or confused sissies, the exact opposite of what women need/want.

Here’s my definition of a real man and a real woman.

Men:
Work hard.
Tell their wife how valuable and beautiful she is.
Chip in without having to be asked.
Pro-active (not apathetic).
Know that he and his wife are worth more than anything.

Women:
Work hard (in the home or out)
Tell their husband how valuable and strong he is.
Supportive without having to be asked.
Proactive (not apathetic)
Know that she and her husband are worth more than anything.

I think the whole Men vs. Women conversations are so destructive to each other’s self-worth and should end YESTERDAY.

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2 thoughts on “The Roles of Men and Women (and the confusion thereof)

  1. I realize this is just a small part of what you said, but it is interesting–I may have posted this before, but I enjoyed watching it again.

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