I can’t give my son a pink plate or bowl.
Of course the woman’s study student/social liberal in me is pretty appalled by this inability. I tell my girls all the time (and I do truly believe this in my heart of hearts): There aren’t boy colors or girl colors.
I could even do a long and pretty well-informed rant about the fact that pink used to be the color for baby boys (the softer version of red, which was considered a masculine color). And how marketers have co-opted the color pink for girls for their own nefarious purposes. (Not that making money is nefarious, but the whole gender-ization of toys and programming is, IMO.)
And yet, every time I reach to set the table, I give Michael a blue, green, orange, or yellow plate, while one of the girls gets purple (we have a system as to who gets the purple plate on what day. I should just buy another purple plate), and the other one gets another color, including, possibly, pink.
I have no problems when M decides to put on his sisters’ shoes to wander around in. If he wants to play with a doll, I’m good. If he even wants to try on a skirt for dress-up pretend play or slip one of my bracelets up his little arm, no alarms go off in my head. When someone else gives M a pink dish or bowl at mealtime (as has happened), I don’t hurriedly switch it out. I don’t care.
But I can’t give him one myself. How weird is that?
I will also admit that when it comes to household chores, I am a total sexist. I think Dan should take care of the following: yard work, the cars, any handy-man chores (plumbing, painting, etc.), taking the garbage out for collection, mopping the kitchen floor (it’s labor intensive, especially with how seldom we actually mop the kitchen floor). Now I also believe that Dan can stay with the kids alone for a couple of hours, and he is very capable of changing diapers and giving baths, and I happen to know that he is a better brunch maker than I (although I rock the French toast).
But it bugs me when I have to bug him to, for example, take out the trash. Shouldn’t he just know he has to do that because he’s the guy? It’s his chore! Why do I have to remind him every week?
Again, the feminist in me is kind of appalled at this kind of thinking. But in practical terms, we’re a pretty gender normative household. Dan makes more money than I do, works more hours, and I do the bulk of the household and childcare stuff. I’m not too resentful of this. If I made more, or if our situation called for a stay-at-home parent, and Dan wanted to do it and it made financial sense, I’d sign on for that.
Is being gender normative equal to being a lazy feminist?
On the other hand, I did respond to a tweet about splitting the check on a date. The tweet asserted, “Now women are supposed to split the check on a first date? Man UP! Call (not text), hold the door, and pick up the check!” I tweeted back, “What if *she* wants to split the check?” My thoughts were along the lines of two things: First, women coming out of school now are making more or as much as men right now. (That can change over the course of her career; pay inequity still exists, although by the time my girls are in the workforce, it may literally be a thing of the past.) Second, splitting the check, especially on the first date, keeps expectations light and allows for more room to consider a second date.
So with that, maybe my feminist bona fides are still in order.