Interest groups are notorious for creating controversy. Every issue has two sides, and we are either “for” or “against.” Such issues are labeled by political analysts as “wicked problems,” and as the name denotes, they are usually problems that do not foster agreement. Party lines are drawn, walls are built and tripwires are set. The issue of gender roles is among these hot button issues, and God bless the person who tries to tackle the topic without being labeled a finger-wagging June Cleaver or a raging feminist.
Our skewed perception of gender roles has us believing that we are funneled into categories by our interests or that we reject our gender by doing things unconventionally. Has anyone ever stopped to consider that broadening our interest could make us better players in our role? It’s all in the way we mold our character (in both the moral and acting sense.) If I were to ever have children, I would want to teach them how to be a strong and sensitive girls or gentle and protective men. We should be able to be both without being accused of blending.
Everything I do, whether girly or tomboyish, I do to fortify being female. I love being a girl. And I love proving how beautifully strong we can be. I like getting dressed up, but I also don’t mind being sweaty and smelly after a workout. Sure, I wear makeup, but I also burp (out loud.) I know the importance of children being raised by a family, not a system, but I’m not opposed to working mothers who love their career. Why? Because muscles are pretty, being real is charming and putting our learning to use is commendable.
Instead of deterring a little boy from playing house, encourage him to be a good daddy and take care of his home and family.
Instead of telling a little girl to build a princess castle, not a spaceship out of that cardboard box, praise her for her budding interest in a career.
There are girls. There are boys. But we all are human. And if we strive to be better and more confident in our roles, we will be better for one another— thus giving life to a new generation of confident, unafraid, well-rounded little humans.
This is not necessarily about equality in the workplace, women’s rights or blurring gender roles (although commendable topics.) This is a plea for you to be you and do so to improve your role, not reject it.
I can rack my own barbell, but I like chivalry too. I earn my own degrees, but I don’t mind a caretaker. Compete with yourself, not a gender. Believe you can surpass expectation, not achieve dominance.
Be strong, whoever you are.