Modern Gender Roles

November 20, 2009

There is no such thing as a stay at home Dad.

That’s Mark Driscoll’s opinion, as I recently found out. I like Mark, but he’s not one to mince words. If you’re a guy and you’re staying home with the kids, he thinks you’re a fraud. Ladies, if you have kids and a job, he thinks you’re a fraud too.

I thought it was interesting that Mark would take such a hard line on those gender roles, but it got me thinking. There are lots of gender roles, and a lot being broken down every day. Since I believe God created Adam to hunt wild animals, and He created Eve to turn said animals into jerky, naturally, I think gender roles still have a place in our culture. I thought it’d be a great idea to re-evaluate what jobs, pastimes and activities are best considered ‘manly’ or, (in the least sexist sounding manner possible,) ‘woman’s work.’

Gender Roles: a Modern Guide

Giving spankings
“Wait ‘till your father gets home!”
This time honored tradition is a tradition for a reason, I feel. The dread of the looming punishment was usually worse than the punishment itself, and struck fear and respect in the hearts of children. Unless you were raised by a nanny. You know, the kind in old movies. She’d be mixing cookies, hollering at you to behave. She’d catch you by your ear and whack your fanny with the mixing spoon she’s using, then finish mixing her cookies with it. The cookies always tasted even more delicious to all the adults with the flavor of children’s tears.
Gender role: draw

Giving the look of disappointment
While Dad can be counted on for physical punishment, it’s Mom who can cut to the heart of a kid with a single look, the look that lets you know all her hopes and dreams that have rested in you, have just been crushed, never to be revived. Dad’s dreams were crushed too long ago for him to be able to fake it.
Gender role: ladies
There’s nothing worse about being sick than taking medicine. Somehow, Mom always made it bearable. I don’t know how she did it.

Administering awful medicine
Gender role: ladies

Administering tooth extractions
Dad always gets the short end of the stick. Whether it’s administering beatings to the buttocks or yanking baby-teeth, children learn that their father’s embrace probably equals pain. Plus, if it’s a particularly stubborn tooth, Dad may have to pull out some rusty tool from the garage that Mom would never be able to find among all his junk. And then Dad has to pay the kid out of his own pocket, just for the privilege of pulling his precious child’s teeth out.
Gender role: guys

Teaching reckless behavior
Guys are natural risk-takers. When it comes to driving a stick shift, buying stocks, or hiding electrical flaws from the building inspector with duct tape, it’s in a guy’s nature to live dangerously. Thus, it’s part of a man’s role to teach the young males the same edge-of-your-seat lifestyle that’s brought humanity this far…somehow.
Gender role: male

Teaching the art of eye-rolling
For every strong man, there’s a woman behind him…rolling her eyes. This crucial skill, passed on from one generation of women to another for millennia keeps guys in their place, letting them know that women think they are, in fact, ridiculous.
Gender role: female

Driving
Honestly, everyone is a terrible driver but me. Since I’m a guy, I guess I have to give it to the guys.
Gender role: no one

Making Art
Although painting, drawing, and sculpting might seem excessively ‘feminine,’ or God-forbid for the self-respecting man, ‘sensitive,’ history proves that our brains, designed for engineering and math, are perfect for creating breathtaking art. Sorry ladies, but who do you have on your side? Georgia O’Keefe? Those flowers aren’t impressing anyone.
Gender role: guys

Being Art
While the guys may dominate the paintbrushes, there’s no doubt that a painting is better with a lady in it, than with some guy’s ugly mug crowding things up. Sure, Michaelangelo’s ‘David’ is a masterwork. But I can see all that in the mirror whenever I want.
Gender role: ladies

Playing video games
Video game playing is predominately a male activity. That’s what makes it, in a word: gross. The traditional guy game has a hyper-muscular meathead protagonist (which is how the player imagines his flabby self to look), features shooting Nazis, aliens, zombies, or any combination thereof, and ogling peculiarly out of place women who must have simply terrible back problems. This makes video game playing a guy’s domain, but in a terribly unattractive, girlfriend-less way. But when girls play games, guys automatically think she’s cool. So somehow it’s both. But with guys, it’s bad, and with girls, it’s good.
Gender role: both, but better with a girl.

Being Peter Pan
For some reason, the boy who never grew up, has been played by a lot of chicks. Even with all the pirate fighting, I suppose the young boyish voice and leotards lend themselves better to women. Then again, why don’t they just find a kid to play him, since he’s, you know, a kid?
Gender role: female

Being Hugh Grant
This isn’t even a question. Only a woman could know how to entice women so charmingly.
Gender role: female

Smoking
I’m hesitant to say that smoking is attractive with either gender, but if I have to choose, the ladies need to quit. From James Dean with a pack of Marlboros under his shirt sleeve, to the Marlboro cowboy, to Sherlock Holmes with his pipe, guys make a terribly bad life decision look smooth and sexy. I just don’t get the same allure from a woman smoking her menthols on a hot summer day, saying she’s trying to get down to here ‘swimsuit’ weight. This is definitely male territory.
Gender role: guys

Making Sandwiches
Long time readers will recall, I believe the making of sandwiches to be the penultimate act of wifely caretaking. Sandwich making is one of the least time and labor intensive activities a man can do. Chances are, he made himself a billion sandwiches as a bachelor. Besides that, many of the most well-known chefs are men, so no guy can claim gender as a handicap in the kitchen. Which makes it even more absurd, and therefore satisfying, to bark and order for a sandwich and have it delivered by our sweeties, cut up in little triangles, of course. “Make me a sandwich, woman!”
Gender role: ladies

Being Pastors, Deacons, or anything else that sounds like it has authority
It’s in the Bible, plain as day. Ask any Baptist.
Gender role: male

Leading the children’s ministry, potlucks, or cleaning the whole church
You can have whatever job you want, so long as it doesn’t get the title of ‘deacon.’
Gender role: female

What do you think? In our so-called ‘genderless’ society, what roles would you definitely assign to one or the other? Do you think both genders are in all things equal, or there are some things one does better than the other?

And for all of you who’ve been praying for my Dad, thank you again. He’s in rough shape, but doing well. He’s in a lot of pain though in his hands and arms. So please, don’t stop praying.