Does anyone think that they missed out the day they handed out instruction books for life? I’m not talking about some book that Google recommends when you look up “Instructions for life” because what tells me is that life is guaranteed to be successful if you do the simple things like “Talk slow but think quick” or “Believe in love at first sight” or “Never laugh at any one’s dreams.” Sigh, if your into that stuff, check it out here. Otherwise I recommend the link as a laugh.
I don’t mean instruction books about common decency or other things that I would think are innate or come pretty easy to us (as the rule “when you say I love you, mean it” does, or the rules that seem to be up to a persons personal preference, such as the love at first sight one above. I mean a book that explains things that we should probably know at a certain age. I got the idea from a podcast I’ve been listening to (btw, podcasts= awesome time wasters on the skytrain), called You Look Nice Today. They were discussing a handbook for men, things each guy should know and how some should know at a certain age, like changing the oil in your car or bbq-ing a steak. Some of the stuff is your basic gender-role and may be insulting to some politically correct, I can do anything just as good as the other gender people, but at the same time, I see the point.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m as politically correct, and feminist leaning as many other women, but I do see the point to some gender roles, I’m not about to mow a lawn or change a tire, I like the idea of guys doing that and showing their “manliness” just as much as I’m prepared to do the cleaning and laundry in my future house. Growing up in a house where gender roles were mixed but still held some ground, I see the point in men doing certain things, they’re stronger and therefore it is easier for them to do it, in return I will do my end of the chores. On the other hand, things like cooking and dishes are a mixed affair and left up to whomever.
Anyways, my handbook idea. I sometimes feel like there are probably things that I should know by my age. Things that probably came easy to generations before me, or maybe not easy, but they learned them. Like shouldn’t it somehow be ingrained in me to hem a pair of pants without staples or duck tape or pins, I mean I should know how to sew, right? I theoretically do, but it’s not a good job. Also, I feel like at my age if I wasn’t able to grow something in the past my family would starve to death, right now the only thing I’ve kept alive is a bamboo shoot that I’ve had for 4 years, but that’s generally because those things do not die. In the old days you grew crops to feed your family, men hunted and gutted things, how many of us can say the same about ourselves?
(I also understand that at 27 I would be middle to old age and would have a family by now, but I like to pick and choose the scenarios in this situation)
And I get it, we have evolved past these needs, we have stores and restaurants to buy our meals at and tailors or seamstresses to hem our pants. But isn’t there something inately “woman” or “man” we should be able to do, doesn’t it make you sad to think we’ve evolved these skills away?
Another thing that got me thinking during this particular podcast was that the hosts labelled guys like Robert Duval or Morgan Freeman as the “men” to learn from, just as I’m sure John Wayne or my personal favorite, Humphrey Bogart, would be considered ” manly men.” They’re the quintessential guys who you want to be like, the guys who could kill the bad guys, who spoke with authority and would die before they shed a tear over anything. Guys who got any girl they wanted and spoke to them romantically but also in a way that made them seem like the one in charge. Admit it, as a woman we kind of like that, I know Bogart in Casablanca was one of the sexiest things ever. And there really aren’t men like that nowadays, no matter how much George Clooney tries to make it happen.
But who are our female role models? Carol Brady (Brady Bunch)? June Cleaver (Leave it to Beaver)? First of all, those weren’t the real people, but characters. And I can’t necessarily say I have much in common, or look up to housewives. And I don’t understand people’s obsessions with Marilyn Monroe. Sure she was beautiful, but her life was tragic, and she wasn’t exactly all there mentally and died of an overdose. She’s not exactly the best role model for women, I don’t understand starlet’s wanting to be just like her. I want to say Sophia Loren, but I’m having a hard time thinking of why. Sure, she’s beautiful, gorgeous really, but she’s not really celebrated for being a “woman’s woman” but merely for being sexy. The men’s examples are more well-rounded examples, they were/are smart and “manly” whereas the women are merely regarded as role models because they’re sexy. I do give people like Marilyn or Sophia credit, they have a sexiness that is innate without being overtly whore-like or trashy like a lot of today’s so-called role models, it is a talent for sure, but are these women also regarded for their ability to run a house? Did anyone ever say Mrs. Brady was sexy? Can women not be both the complete woman in regards of ability to run a house and sexy at the same time?
Why am I even thinking women need to be this way? Maybe I see a point to gender roles. Maybe I just wonder about times past and whether we’ve evolved ourselves out of it. I see the point to both, on one hand gender roles, while being politically incorrect now, has there purposes and must obviously been made with reason (quite honestly, we have to admit, men being the stronger set are better hunters and gatherers, women being more nurturing by nature are better caregivers. Do not fight the laws of nature!). At the same time, I see why we’ve evolved past it, with technology and convenience we no longer have the need for roles and set chores, we can quite honestly hire people if the other doesn’t know how to do something. But don’t you wonder if we’re going to eventually evolve past the need to have a partner? I mean it’s starting to look that way anyways, we’ve figured out how to have children without direct male involvement (or only the involvement of females for a 9-month period).
Maybe at this point I’m starting to enter a slippery slope of gender purposes and roles in each others lives that need to be explored by more educated and thinking writers. I’ve come a long way from instruction manuals to gender purposes, but that’s the way the mind works on Saturday mornings while I contemplate life.
Back to my original thoughts, who would you add say is a “woman’s woman” and what would you add to a instruction manual for life?