Monday, April 22, 2013

Because a blog post seemed like a less-annoying place to say this than a Facebook status.

I like to do a lot of things that many people consider to be "man things."

A few of these things might include: playing sports (any sport, always), eating until I want to barf, climbing things, wrestling with my brother, wanting to play football every night ever, watching Sports Center, building things, punching people, talking about sports for hours, not showering, eating things off the floor, watching bloody war movies, watching bloody zombie movies, hitting things really hard, not being scared of bugs (except cockroaches, I'm still human), setting things on fire...the list goes on.

I like this stuff.

Maybe this is because I grew up around mostly boys, maybe this is because my mother is like this in a lot of ways, maybe this is because I'm Katie freaking Wade-Neser and this is just the way I am.

This isn't to say I don't like certain things that are considered to be "feminine" as well. Namely: Pinterest and mustard yellow.

It's just that little things lately have gotten me thinking about the idea of gender roles and why they often bother me. Now I'm not talking about the whole "man works, woman stays at home" idea. That might be a conversation for another day. I'm looking more at interests. Like...the things we do when we aren't at school or work (which, for me, is never), or the things we talk about in casual conversation.

I saw a few things on social media today that got me thinking about all of this. The first was something I saw on my twitter feed:

For some (or obvious) reasons this really irked me, and I spent a few minutes wondering why. I knew it wasn't just the fact that this person was claiming that something as simple as having a commentator of the opposite gender could RUIN something they previously viewed as "awesome." It also wasn't just the fact that I am a woman, and a statement like this is obviously demeaning. I eventually realized that the root of the anger or slight pain I felt from this statement was this:

When this person said something was wrong with a woman talking about sports, it felt like they were inadvertently saying that something was wrong with ME.

Why can't it be normal for a woman to talk about sports? That announcer probably really likes sports. She probably really likes talking about sports. In fact, she has probably worked countless hours and long nights trying to find a legitimate job in a field that is generally seen as a boys club.

Things like this make me sad, which will probably be seen as a feminine reaction.
In reality, I think it is more of a human reaction.

Does it ever feel good to have someone tell you that the way you are is wrong?

I don't think it is bad to have certain things that allow you to bond with your gender. I often have really positive experiences empathizing with other women over the difficulties and joys of womanhood. Men and women are different and that is just fine by me. I'm just thinking...what if we worked on making a little more room for social exception? A woman being interested in sports has very little to do with eternal roles and a lot more to do with social ideas and constraints.

I know I am not the only person who feels this way. There have to be other girls who don't like pink, or glitter, or who have never seen the movie "The Notebook" all the way through. There have to be other girls who know so little about celebrities that they still get Tyra Banks and Beyonce mixed up (I know, I know, not even close to the same person...and yet it always happens.) There have to be other girls who wrote "punch someone in the face" on their bucket list they made sophomore year.**

And so, because I know you are out there (and I know there are boys out there as well who don't like the stereotypical "male" things), I'm going to say this:

Think about the things you are saying. I know I'm going to try harder to do so. If something you are going to say might make another person feel like the way they are or the things they like are wrong...don't say that thing. Easy to write, not easy in principle. But I know we can do it.

Just now, as I am writing this, a teenage kid with crazy hair, a t-shirt to his knees and huge headphones just walked past our house and accidentally knocked over our trash can on the curb. Instead of walking away, he stooped down and slowly picked up each piece of trash and then righted the can. I'm sure he thought nobody was watching him as he walked away.

People surprise me every day.

I want to be more open to the surprises people have to offer.


P.s.- If you want to see a phenomenal movie that gives a much better perspective on the way we should treat people, you should check out this movie:

**I don't see all the examples in this post as strictly "feminine" or "masculine," I just recognize that large portions of society do.