Saturday, May 1, 2010

Faux Fashion and Gender Roles

My son asked me to read a book with him while visiting my parent's home today. Sure thing, buddy. I can't recall the title...something along the lines of "Who Am I", but there hundreds of books with that title, so that does not do any good. The book had pictures of children dressed in the garb of certain professions. There was a statement each child said that led the reader closer to guessing what profession the character worked in. There was a firefighter, a doctor, an astronaut (which, as my 3-year-old pointed out, looked like a robot), and a set of parents. Now, there are, of course, stereotypical gender roles. This book, however, really stumped my son. The set of parents depicted the "mom" in high heeled shoes, baubly-looking jewelry and a large shiny purse. The "dad" was wearing a wide-brimmed hat and a flannel (I think). They were doting over a "baby" in a carriage. When I asked my son, "who are they?", he had no clue. I said they are parents...a mommy and a daddy. He looked at my face, then scanned me from head to toe. He got up and walked away. I took another glance at the picture. It was slightly ridiculous. I certainly have never worn red pumps and baubles. The husband certainly does not wear wide-brimmed hats.

Perhaps the picture would have been more effective if I had daughters. Maybe not.
My oldest already thinks that daddies work and mommas say home. Additionally, when I casually mentioned something about building the chicken coop he said, "I don't know any mommy's that build stuff, momma. Mommas don't do that kind of stuff." What?! Not my son saying these things. So, the husband built the coop's frame and I'm doing some of the other stuff like stapling the hardware cloth and nailing up the cedar planks. I'm simply not adept enough to cut angles with the table saw. However, I am capable of learning it and doing it. The husband is also a bit more on the "perfect" side...if everything isn't level and even, he won't be able to look at it. I would simply just slap the wood up there and call it a day...who needs a tape measure???

As a tomboy and a woman who has been called a feminist, I find it really interesting that I have fallen into the stereotypical woman's role. I am a mom and wife who cooks, cleans, does laundry and cares for the boys. I do, however, get to boast that I mow the lawn and the boys do refer to the lawnmower as, "your red lawnmower, momma." They are also fortunate to witness their father wash the dishes every night. Baby steps...

1 comment:

An Almost Unschooling Mom said...

Interesting thoughts. I have to figure out what my parents did to instill a sense of equality in our home. They were both in very traditional roles, but I know we children never felt there were things we couldn't do. I'd like my children to have the same sense of security, and freedom.