Friday, January 30, 2009

Gender roles? what gender roles?

I was reading Brittany's blog and her post about her little brother, I'm sure that most kids in his place would've turned out about the same. That is, spoiled by the older and wiser sisters, and perhaps less in touch with their father. Much more likely to be forgiving and introspective, perhaps. I know a little how he feels, in part because I've four girls. My daughters look to me to shop for matching outfits and have developed their tastes in shoes springboarding from my own. Unlikely as it may appear, I fix my girls hair, and I mean curl, wave & straighten, am picky about product on their manes (all wear their hair long), shop for their clothes and pick their shoes. Oh, and for my wife too. I admit to this only because marriage and fatherhood have a way of blunting the sharp edges I once sported with such pride. I remember my wife asking me all sort of details about our wedding reception and I repeating in a monotone "I don't care". Well, a few years later, I had to care. All because of continued exposure to people MUCH more honest with their feelings than I am with my own. I doubt that being able to apply makeup on my girls, or get an outfit together, or being able to answer the pleading "how do I look, daddy" with honesty instead of an automated "fine, dear, you look fine" makes me less of a man.
Incidentally I do own a couple of pink shirts, and I wear them regularly. Oh, and I started having kids never having changed an infant, I'm a regular diaper changing robot now, capable of heroic and stomach churning efficiency...


  1. That is fabulous! I have to say that despite his troubles my brother is a little spoiled. :) We like to say he will know how to treat/talk to a girl. My dad gave me my first set of braids! The fact that you do your daughter's hair is something that will be precious to them for a long time to come. My father is my hero for all that he has done and for what he has put up with! Even if gender roles do exist I am glad that inside the home of a loving and respectful family they tend to break down. Home is a haven for sure!

  2. Ben- I love this post! My father had four daughters. When people hear that, they say 'Oh you poor man' and then he responds 'Are you kidding me? I wouldn't trade it!' I salute a man who has adapted to a talk-about-your-feelings-sometimes-PMS-does-this-look-okay-everything-pink-hey-there's-a-sale-boy-drama-analysis-etc kind of world. There's nothing unmanly about it. My dad says, "Yeah I'm in touch with my feelings. I have four daughters. I have to be sensitive!" And he's proud of it. So thanks to any man who values personal connections and relationships over gender stereotypes.