It can be hard to see life from the perspective of someone who grew up with highly different life experiences.
Along those lines, most of us have culturally ingrained blind spots when it comes to how we view the opposite ends of the gender spectrum. Have you ever wondered where your own blind spots are?
Here’s a nearly instantaneous tool to check where you and/or your friends differentiate gender roles:
The Gander-Goose Test of Gender Balance
Reverse the genders of a social situation.
If you are equally comfortable, it passes the test.
Try it out on some of your friends’ social media. Look through your own posts. Run a few conversations through the Gander-Goose filter.
Here are some examples of what came out when I tested statements I’ve encountered. (You’ve probably heard some of these yourself.)
- He probably won’t come back to work after his baby is born.
- A man needs a woman like a fish needs a bicycle.
- Men just don’t belong in combat.
- He was warned. He was given an explanation. Nevertheless, he persisted.
- It’s basic manners: a woman should always open the door for a man.
- Women are what’s wrong with the world.
- Boys shouldn’t be told they’re being bossy, they should be told they have great leadership skills.
- His wife is going to babysit the kids while he’s gone. Gosh, I hope they survive.
- The future is male.
- She wants to be a female nurse? Biggest. Turnoff. Ever.
- Well of course he got catcalled: he was dressed provocatively.
Keep in mind that the Gander-Goose has limits: it won’t tell you what’s right or wrong; it’s designed to ascertain balance rather than equality; it cannot tell you what to do with your knowledge once you know it. If what you want to do is “share enlightenment” with your friends, be gentle: not everyone is initially open to acknowledging their blind spots.