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Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mowing & Gender

I often have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from exclaiming, Oh, Zack you're such a boy!

It's almost a reflex anytime he plays with machines, pushes around a car, stacks some blocks, plays with a ball or tries to fight. It's a reflex most people in our family do not resist.

Stereotypes are ingrained in us, as much as they are in society.

It's the activities that are seen as masculine - but if you look to the left or right, nearly every time my girl is doing the exact same activity.

She too plays with balls, climbs on any tractor she sees, wants to drill holes in the wall or sling a hammer (like Mommy) and is as likely as he, to jump on your back and holler, You're going down!

How do you think it feels to her when she hears Zack is such a boy! for participating in an activity she too is doing? She might feel excluded from the activity or irrelevant in the situation. Overlooked. Dismissed. Obsolete. Unimportant. Left out. Invalidated and unacknowledged.

For girls and women these are familiar feelings.

You'll notice in the above photograph, Lowes has added women to their marketing displays for mowers. I had two simultaneous responses to this.

The first was, It's about time they acknowledged that women also mow the lawn.

The second was, We already do 75% of the housework and childcare and now we have to mow the flippin' lawn too?



But then I was distracted by Ainsley moving to a new machine and declaring loudly, I'm going to take over the world!

I believe her.

9 comments:

Cast Iron Balcony said...

You know what, it's not as if you and the kids are seeing the same thing, either. While the adults see the mowers as mowers - with the drudgery and responsibilityy and who-does-it that that entails - the kids are looking them as small, weirdly shaped, bright red vehicles to drive around in! Like little ATV cars. They're awesome. I don't see many of those close up, living as I do in small suburban push-mower land.

Tracee said...

That's a very good point Cast Iron Balcony. And it's not any more "boy" or "girl" to want to hop on a bright red ATV car and pretend to be driving it.

Yet, I still have the impulse to exclaim, "Zack you're such a boy!"

I think he hears this statement from others at least several times a day.

Mad Kane said...

Insightful and amusing! Mad Kane

Tracee said...

thanks Mad Kane

Anonymous said...

Hi,

i wanted to ask you a question unrelated to your blog but didnt know where else to ask it.

I wanted to know your opinion on the new st trinians film and what you thought it portrayed to young women? i saw it and found it distasteful but was curious on your opinion?

thanks

Tracee said...

I would love to help you, but I haven't seen the film.

I feel honored to have been asked though.

Jonna said...

I will never forget the moment at the beginning of my legal career, shortly after I had taken the bar exam, but not yet received the results. I attended a Continuing Legal Education seminar sponsored by my very prestigious law firm. At the end, it's typical for a sign-in sheet to go around, where everyone enters their bar number in order to get credit for attendance from the state bar (as a certain number of hours are required every year).
When the sheet came to me, I hesitated a moment, because I did not in fact have a bar number yet, but would two weeks later, and I didn't want the state bar to think I was being one of those sleezy lawyers or something.
The man teaching the seminar actually told me, in front of everyone, I quote: "Stop acting like such a girl and just sign the damn thing." I was so angry, I could have probably set my chair on fire with the heat emanating fr my body. I wanted to retort something nasty, but he was a respected partner in my firm. So instead I just satisfied myself by reminding myself that he was an old white guy with high blood pressure who would probably die soon. But still, it isn't fun to hear.
Counter this with his much younger, more progressive partner, who counseled me to never refer to myself as a girl, because I was, in fact, a woman.

Tracee said...

Jonna, I wish I couldn't relate. But, I can. Like the best compliment you can get in the professional world is to be "like one of the guys." Implying what? That being a woman is unacceptable?

JHS said...

I wish I couldn't relate to the comments about the male law partner. Sadly, I could write a treatise. And, in fact, have in a professional setting -- many years of civil rights work. The fight is far from over.

Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at A Child Chosen. The Carnival will be live on Monday, February 5, 2008, so I hope you and your readers will stop by and check out all of the fabulous entries included this week!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Mowing & Gender

I often have to bite my tongue to prevent myself from exclaiming, Oh, Zack you're such a boy!

It's almost a reflex anytime he plays with machines, pushes around a car, stacks some blocks, plays with a ball or tries to fight. It's a reflex most people in our family do not resist.

Stereotypes are ingrained in us, as much as they are in society.

It's the activities that are seen as masculine - but if you look to the left or right, nearly every time my girl is doing the exact same activity.

She too plays with balls, climbs on any tractor she sees, wants to drill holes in the wall or sling a hammer (like Mommy) and is as likely as he, to jump on your back and holler, You're going down!

How do you think it feels to her when she hears Zack is such a boy! for participating in an activity she too is doing? She might feel excluded from the activity or irrelevant in the situation. Overlooked. Dismissed. Obsolete. Unimportant. Left out. Invalidated and unacknowledged.

For girls and women these are familiar feelings.

You'll notice in the above photograph, Lowes has added women to their marketing displays for mowers. I had two simultaneous responses to this.

The first was, It's about time they acknowledged that women also mow the lawn.

The second was, We already do 75% of the housework and childcare and now we have to mow the flippin' lawn too?



But then I was distracted by Ainsley moving to a new machine and declaring loudly, I'm going to take over the world!

I believe her.

9 comments:

Cast Iron Balcony said...

You know what, it's not as if you and the kids are seeing the same thing, either. While the adults see the mowers as mowers - with the drudgery and responsibilityy and who-does-it that that entails - the kids are looking them as small, weirdly shaped, bright red vehicles to drive around in! Like little ATV cars. They're awesome. I don't see many of those close up, living as I do in small suburban push-mower land.

Tracee said...

That's a very good point Cast Iron Balcony. And it's not any more "boy" or "girl" to want to hop on a bright red ATV car and pretend to be driving it.

Yet, I still have the impulse to exclaim, "Zack you're such a boy!"

I think he hears this statement from others at least several times a day.

Mad Kane said...

Insightful and amusing! Mad Kane

Tracee said...

thanks Mad Kane

Anonymous said...

Hi,

i wanted to ask you a question unrelated to your blog but didnt know where else to ask it.

I wanted to know your opinion on the new st trinians film and what you thought it portrayed to young women? i saw it and found it distasteful but was curious on your opinion?

thanks

Tracee said...

I would love to help you, but I haven't seen the film.

I feel honored to have been asked though.

Jonna said...

I will never forget the moment at the beginning of my legal career, shortly after I had taken the bar exam, but not yet received the results. I attended a Continuing Legal Education seminar sponsored by my very prestigious law firm. At the end, it's typical for a sign-in sheet to go around, where everyone enters their bar number in order to get credit for attendance from the state bar (as a certain number of hours are required every year).
When the sheet came to me, I hesitated a moment, because I did not in fact have a bar number yet, but would two weeks later, and I didn't want the state bar to think I was being one of those sleezy lawyers or something.
The man teaching the seminar actually told me, in front of everyone, I quote: "Stop acting like such a girl and just sign the damn thing." I was so angry, I could have probably set my chair on fire with the heat emanating fr my body. I wanted to retort something nasty, but he was a respected partner in my firm. So instead I just satisfied myself by reminding myself that he was an old white guy with high blood pressure who would probably die soon. But still, it isn't fun to hear.
Counter this with his much younger, more progressive partner, who counseled me to never refer to myself as a girl, because I was, in fact, a woman.

Tracee said...

Jonna, I wish I couldn't relate. But, I can. Like the best compliment you can get in the professional world is to be "like one of the guys." Implying what? That being a woman is unacceptable?

JHS said...

I wish I couldn't relate to the comments about the male law partner. Sadly, I could write a treatise. And, in fact, have in a professional setting -- many years of civil rights work. The fight is far from over.

Thanks for contributing this post to this week’s Carnival of Family Life, hosted at A Child Chosen. The Carnival will be live on Monday, February 5, 2008, so I hope you and your readers will stop by and check out all of the fabulous entries included this week!