Friday, April 11, 2008

man or woman?

ryan and i start the day out together and finish our day together (usually). sometimes, that's the common theme in our lives--our home and our family. he goes out everyday in a nice shirt and tie and sells payroll. this can mean making phone calls, stopping in to see someone without an appointment, visiting people who were referrals and bringing people starbucks so they'll like him and use his services. when he gets home he has all of this computer work to do, papers to fill out and even more papers to arrange neatly in some sort of file folder (i'm not really clear on what all those papers mean).

my day is a little different. i have to get up early if i want to exercise and shower before ava wakes up. i do all of my magazine editing stuff in the morning, my scripture study and minor tidying. when ava wakes up, i'm taking care of her, entertaining her, cleaning up after her and attempting to enrich her. my day is spent running errands, doing dishes, talking baby talk about princesses, juice and puppies.

at the end of the day, we're both tired. and we've both done different things. so my questions for you ladies and gentlemen, is this: is it easier to be a woman in today's world or a man?

my argument doesn't stop at comparing days, however. what about how boys and girls are raised and treated? what about the opportunities and expectations society provides for men and woman?

in the beginning i think boys and girls are treated the same. and they should be. i think, however, when you get to school age and you start to think about your life as adult, girls are given far better treatment than boys.

girls are told, you can do anything, you can be anything, you must do everything (because this is what your grandmothers and great-grandmothers wanted for you). if you have to be tough, be tough. because it's a tough world out there. but it's more than that, it's also: be skinny (but not too skinny) and be beautiful, be smart and popular and kind (but not a doormat). be a mother (but don't let it define you), be your own boss, don't marry young (it's a mistake, it's giving yourself up for a man). yeah, it's hard to be a girl because of the expectation, but at least we have guidelines.

with boys, i think it's different. their guidelines are contradicting. they are told: never open a car door for a woman (which later cane become, "i have to walk all the way around the car to open your door? like a slave?") but in the movies some suave and manly actor opens the door and all the women ooh and say, "you never open the door for me!" men are told to be manly; hide your feelings, but be modern and express them--but not too much. they are told to care about how they dress and then teased when they do. they are told with a careless shrug to be whatever they want and yet, make a lot of money. and to not pay for dates and to not expect anything of their women. i think being a man with tiny messages is harder than being a girl with all of the big messages.

but maybe i just think that way because i like being a girl and i'm grateful i'm not a boy. i knew what i was going to be when i grew up because so many people wanted to talk to me about it. and sometimes i envy ryan because he goes out everyday to do his job and everyone can slap him on the back and reward him for his efforts. it's easy to look at my "job" and see that i'm wearing jeans and playing with my daughter and when she naps, i sit down with a good book. but no one sees my efforts (except ava) and there are rewards for my efforts, but if i'm feeling cranky or unappreciated, they're hard to see. it's green grass on the other side sort of feeling.

so what about you, man or woman?


Justin said...

Hmmm. Interesting topic. I think I'm going with woman, and I shall explain my choice. In the context of the gospel, each sex has a role, working in harmony within the family structure. And the male role (provider and leader-ish figure) hasn't been assailed as much as the female role. Don't get me wrong, I think it's difficult to be a PERSON in this day and age, but a woman can no longer be "just" a homemaker, "just" a mother, etc. Now society tells us that in order to be "fulfilled", whatever that means, a woman needs a career. That's why they're told they can do anything, be anything. Sometimes I think they should be told you can do everything, be everything, because that's how it ends up. So women have to contend with being looked down on for the huge job of caring for their homes and families, for "staying home". As if we aren't educated or dynamic or using ALL of our talents doing the work we do. I don't object to women working, far from it. I do object to society defining a woman's role for her. (I realize I just undid everything the feminist movement ever worked for, but I think the feminists did some harm and some good.)

redstarmama said...

That wasn't Justin, it was me. I hate it when that happens.

Annie said...

I don't know. It's hard for everyone. I was reading an article the other day about raising boys and it said that boys, especially little boys, don't get the nurturing they need because they are expected to be tough and to suck it up. And that's so true. So sad. We rush to our baby girls when they cry and comfort them and sooth them, but when our baby boys cry out we tell them they're okay with maybe a pat. (And by baby, I mean toddler.) And school is harder for them because they don't develop intellectually as quickly as girls do but they are expected to and they need a lot of physical activity, but recess is getting cut at a lot of schools to make room for more academics (for kindergartners!), so the boys suffer because they can't keep up. It will be interesting (and sad) to see what happens to this new generation of boys when they get older.

As for girls, it's hard. It's so hard. Some many conflicting ideas, like you said.

I don't think it's easier for either sex. We all bear our burdens, different as they are.

Molly said...

i'm kind of in an odd situation... i'm the worker and the provider. ben works, but i make about 4 times as much, and it'll probably be that way for quite awhile. i'm desperately envious of women who have husbands who make more than them so they can stay home and have babies. maybe someday.

on a side note, does ryan work for ADP? i reeeeally want to get into their sales department when we move back to arizona!

Mike & Lauren said...

I love being a woman. I work at home too, and wouldn't want it any other way. I admire that my husband enjoys getting up and leaving for work every day.

On a side note, when does Ava get up??? If I wanted to get up early and exercise, read scriptures, clean, etc. before Maddie awoke, it would have to be 4 a.m.!!! :)

Freckles said...

Very interesting, i don't know which is harder, but I do know boys and girls are treated differently, even by myself! I spend much more time teaching Natalie and playing games with her than I do with Kai, simply because Natalie actually acts interested and will hold still for more than 30 sec! I try to make sure Kai has more physical play time to get all his wiggles out before bed which means less time to teach scholastic things. I really hope he does well in school, I can see why girls excel at school earlier than boys, boys do need more time to run, jump and play! If Kai hasn't broken himself or a piece of furniture it has been a good day! Natalie almost knows the alphabet song better than Kai and she's not even 2 yet!

I also hate how as a woman you are defined by your career and that simply being a mother somehow doesn't count! I, too work from home, not to have a "career" but to recharge my soul so that I can be a more patient and loving mommy. I think every mother needs something else to do once in a while (away from the kids) to re-energize and remember why we had kids!! : ) But I am so thankful that I get to be home full time with my kids. No success at work could equal all the "I love you Mommy"s, kisses, and new experiences they share with me!

Hernan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hernan said...

Well this is how I see it:

Being a woman seems tough. I mean… the entire pre-during-post pregnancy thing, and the sensitivity and insecurities and the need to prove the world that they are independent and self efficient…

All the yelling and the none-sense they can do are almost unbearable.

The ‘period’ and its reactions toward themselves and others!!!

The cheesiness and contradictions that they expect from everyone else is a nut case.

All the “society” standards of beauty that are dictated by magazines and TV Shows ran by other women that tells the rest female world what is cool and what is not these days…

All the required makeup, hair salon hours, nail polishing, skin care, painful hair removal and of course: expensive shoes and purses. (Or clothing in general)

And don’t even get me started with the personal products they use (or suppose to use) for their personal hygiene.

Not just singles… oh no, that would be too simple… married women are worse in keeping trying to look stunning…

For those who do not look great is because they have better things to do, like take care of the babies, or the house, or their husband, or what ever.

For some women though, that is too much work already, so they hire another woman (from another race or country) to clean the house, cook and/or take care of the baby (ies).

Women seem to hate each other. They gossip about each other, they criticize, envy and judge each other. (But they love that, they enjoy being observed, judged and criticized… that’s why they do it, because they know the other girls love it too)

So there you go: being a woman suck.

Being a guy it’s much easier, no doubt about it.
Less clothing to choose from… but more women to choose from (There are 7 women for each man in this world)

We get better jobs, and better pays. And better offices and opportunities.

We don’t care... about caring…period. Maybe we do care about some stuff, but it is not ok to share… so we just don’t care. (Maybe we would care if someone tells us to care, because it would be ok to care so we would care)

We get to be presidents, governors, missionaries, mission presidents, bishops, leaders, bosses, and even prophets more often than women.

We do go to work, and it’s true, work can be hard… but is not really… you know why? Because we just don’t care.

You know what the hard part of being a man is? The woman. (Can live with them either with out’em)

*If you noticed sarcasm… you might be getting it… (or not… what ever)