Gender Roles Or Life Skills?
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Gender Roles Or Life Skills?

Why do we assign certain skills with a gender?

Gender Roles Or Life Skills?
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I grew up in a family of men. I have three brothers and no sisters. The men in our family view their role as providers and protectors. If I need something done that's considered a "manly" task, I don't need to worry about doing it myself; I have four guys who will take care of it for me. In other words, I'm extremely blessed.

However, this blessing can be frustrating at times. When I express a desire to develop these "manly" skills myself, I receive amused or incredulous faces, protests, and questioning of my motives.

Recently, while sitting at the dining room table, I announced that my car needed an oil change and that I'd like to do it myself. My dad looked highly amused and my little brother looked at me with that scrunched up face that just asks, "why?" The conversation quickly got off topic as the guys expanded into larger topics, such as female mechanics. "Now there's something I'll never understand: why a girl would want to be a mechanic? They just can't; there's no reason for them to be doing that." This statement was met with the logical agreement of, "Yes, they might mess up their nails!" After his statement, my dad looked at me and grinned because he knows just how to get under my skin. In the end, my dad and my brother showed me how to change my car's oil, looking uncertain about my capability but encouraging in their instruction.

I did it. It really wasn't that hard, which is why my brain goes a mile a minute when someone tell me I can't or that I don't need to as a girl. My mom says I need to just find a husband who can take care of all that for me. But to me, why would I want to be dependent on some potential husband in my future life? How many things will I excuse myself from learning because it's not my female responsibility?

In my opinion, life skills are neither male nor female. They are skills that humans in general need to know in order to thrive in their world. I hope that my future husband has learned how to do his own laundry and cook because those are life skills that a successful adult knows how to do. The last thing I want to hear him say after the proposal is, "I'm so glad you're marrying me so that you can take care of these roles in my life! I was really getting too old to have my mom keep doing them." Likewise, I don't want to tell my future husband, "I'm so glad I'm marrying you because I don't know a thing about finances or cars or repairs. It simply isn't my job to learn about those things!" Sure, there will be skills that I haven't mastered, but I don't want to knowingly say, "Oh, that's not my job because I'm a woman."

I'm thankful for all of the men in my life who have worked hard to learn and pass on valuable skills. I'm thankful for their resourcefulness and independence. I admire it, and I want to be a part of it. With knowledge comes power, and as women continue to seek an equal voice with men, I want to take the opportunities I'm given to gain equal skill, resourcefulness, and independence.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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