Do manly stuff
I love chopping wood. I hate our wood pellet stove because it does not allow my husband and I to chop wood. Instead, we have to burn CO2, haul plastic bags of pellets around, and stay out of the woods where we used to gather downed wood.
I am slowing down, but I used to love climbing mountains. These are high-elevation mountains called “fourteeners,” that is to say, mountains that require gear and used to have glaciers before the planet heated up.
I loved science fiction, and most other fans were male when I joined up.
When I was a climber, there were few other women.
The same thing was true when I did logging jobs. Or with explosives.
I love hammering. Sawing. Repairing things. Working in the yard. Repairing a plumbing issue is a particular accomplishment. One of my closest friends growing up, another woman, was a journeyman carpenter, and another owned a tree surgeon company. Sue, a cousin, was a truck driver.
Masculinity is simply magnificent
Yet, although I and many other women do all of these things, they are still considered to be masculine roles. Why — when women are often discriminated against, harassed, and ridiculed for doing these types of activities — are they still attractive jobs to do?
A big part of the reason is not always obvious. Most women’s roles (which we also all do) are redundant, tiresome, exhausting, emotionally demanding, underpaid, and most of all, shamefully unappreciated.
Women traditionally are given roles of nurturing. Among these roles — which were once the few paid roles women were offered — were: teaching and raising children (teacher), healing and mending others (nurse), and supporting and running the office for a man or group of men, (secretary).
My elders frequently told me that teaching, nursing, and secretarial work were the only “real” jobs for “girls” back then. Of course, there was always “being a maid,” which is still a very demanding, menial, and largely unpaid position in most households.
But jobs that males were offered featured something new every single day, more status, more pay, more respect, more learning, and most of all, less work in the drudge spots.
Isn’t that a more magnificent way to live?
One way to look at it, then, is why would a woman not want to be competent, capable, and able to act as an independent agent in the world because she can?
And not just when the odds are against her, but often because the odds were against her. Nevertheless, of course, it’s time to change those odds.
Choice and voice
We are now, hopefully, entering a world where people can do what they want to do regardless of their sex or gender.
In Iran or example, as is often the case, women are leading the revolution.
Sure, we have a long way to go to have equal representation in the billionaire, punditry, CEO, sports, political, STEM, and faith departments. Still, attitudes are changing as any backlash will demonstrate.
That is, some feel masculinity is under threat because people are programmed to think they have very limited choices and voices. Or, some feel threatened with being replaced.
Our societal programming has always shamed women, but it also shames males who want to do “feminine” things.
And this is a terrible tragedy.
Because people can do many things, learn many things, master and/or flub up many things. We should all be okay with that.
No one should be locked into any kind of box. Not by biology. Not by socialization, and not by roles.
Why do I love to do manly things? Because I am a woman. Why should you love to do anything that floats your boat? Because you are a human person.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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