Originally appeared on Role/Reboot. Republished here with permission.
Of all the holidays that I bemoan, Thanksgiving is the one in which I play my Pick Your Battles card and allow myself to enjoy without too much inner turmoil. In spite of the holiday’s history, for me it prevails with a modern, singular purpose that I don’t mind: familial appreciation.
That family might be your community family or maybe your blood-tied family, but either way it tends to be a holiday centered on getting into the same zip code as the people you love most in the world. My own family’s Thanksgiving observations have altered many times over the years, ranging from eight-hour drives to my aunt and uncle’s house when I was a boy to smaller gatherings at my parents’ house during my teenage years to the modest tradition today comprised of family and friends of family.
Regardless of where or how Thanksgiving happened, one constant remained throughout all those alterations: Traditionally, the women cook and the men watch sports and talk in the den. Keep reading »
Thanksgiving is a lovely time of year to not only see distant family and beloved friends, but also dredge up decades-old resentments. A famous familial bugaboo is who helps clear the table/wash plates/Saran Wrap the leftovers and who sits on their ass, pretending to be paralyzed by a food coma. (Of course, food coma person perks right up when the pecan pie comes out. I’m on to you, Christian.) I am fortunate that I grew up with a father who has always shared 50/50 of chores equally with my mother, including on holidays. The fact that my parents’ kitchen is clogged with women doing cleanup has more to do with the fact they have four daughters than anything else. Keep reading »
“Whether it’s a summertime dress that makes me feel carefree, an evening cocktail dress that makes me feel fancy, or a vintage dress that makes me feel like a ’50s housewife—which I enjoy feeling like, for some reason—I just really like dresses. …
If I feel too much like I’m wearing the pants, I start to feel uncomfortable and then we break up. … [I]t’s wonderful to hand over the reins to your boyfriend when you control so much of these big, high-pressure decisions, you know? That is a huge defining factor in who you choose to be with. Some combinations of people are toxic, you know? You have to find the right one that isn’t just going to explode into fiery ash and destruction.”
This is Taylor Swift in Harper’s Bazaar magazine, first talking about her love of dresses, and elsewhere in the interview talking about what she wants from a relationship. Tay-Tay is someone I’ve criticized in the past because she seemingly doesn’t understand feminism whilst declaring herself not a feminist. Fine, don’t be a feminist, but at least understand what it actually is that you’re disagreeing with. So I found myself nodding my head in agreement when I read these quotes above that she gave to Harper’s about what kind of dudes she likes to be with in a relationship. I nodded my head because hey, Taylor Swift, I am the exact same way.
So I was somewhat dismayed to see Taylor getting trashed for these quotes on the blog Mommyish. Keep reading »
I grew up blissfully ignorant of gender roles. Growing up in the ‘90s, I never thought I’d one day need a man with a six-figure income to take care of me. But I wasn’t a feminist, either—I didn’t even know what feminism was until my 20s. All I knew was what my mother taught me—that I’d have to work hard to become a self-made woman—and what Hollywood taught me — that eventually I’d meet a Jonathan Taylor Thomas look-a-like and be swept away to my happily ever after.
Though my JTT look-a-like never surfaced, I did find someone to share my happily ever after with. When we first entered couplehood, neither of us had much in the way of disposable income. Date nights included hitting up Applebee’s for happy hour and grabbing a $.99 movie rental. If I had to name one of us as the breadwinner, it was him, but money was such a non-issue in our relationship that we never thought of who earned more. We viewed each other as equals so we split the bills down the middle, paying little attention to who earned what. We were in love and that was all that mattered, right? Keep reading »
Last month, the student society at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada, approved $30,000 to establish a men’s center. The center’s main supporter, a student named Keneen Midgely, said the volunteer-run men’s center would only be equitable, considering SFU already has had a women’s center since 1974. It would be a space, he pointed out, for men to support each other and deconstruct masculinity and gender roles just like SFU women can.
I couldn’t agree more. Yet somehow, establishment of the SFU men’s center is controversial. Instead of being seen in a positive light as a “safe space” for men, it is being seen as an unnecessary, even frivolous, expense to give men their own space in what is already a patriarchal culture. Keep reading »
Once upon a time, a male kindergarten teacher or a male nurse was an oddity, even a novelty. But changing gender roles — and a turned-on-its-head economy — mean that more men than ever are working in what were previously considered to be “pink collar” jobs.
In an article about the trend today, The New York Times explains that “pink collar” jobs in fields like health care and home care/child care haven’t been bombed out by the economy because they cannot be outsourced and they are available to anyone without a college degree, regardless of gender. Hence, while jobs in all those fields are growing in general, the numbers of men working in them are increasing apace. Keep reading »
I’ve been reflecting more on why I felt such deep shame while watching “The Bachelor” finale the other night. I think part of it has to do with the way they talk about the bachelorettes. It’s like they are stock characters. Well, I guess they are. It’s television. But in real life as well, I find myself irked by a certain subset of commonly used phrases to describe women. They are just kind of one-dimensional, stereotypical and well, annoying. After the jump, the female descriptors that make my skin crawl. Keep reading »
I won’t beat around the bush: “tips for a happy marriage” from Michelle Duggar are as bad as they sound.
In the season premiere of “19 Kids and Counting” this week, the reality TV mama (whose family is stumping for Rick Santorum) is filmed at a conference on how to have a happy, evangelical Christian marriage in which the man is the authority and head of the household.
Michelle passed out tips from her lecture to the audience and a viewer screengrabbed the advice, where it was posted on Television Without Pity. Not suprisingly, you might want to “keep a barf bag handy” as Faith Goes Pop blogger Lilit Marcus puts it, because Michelle Duggar’s happy marriage tips include become financially dependent on your husband, always keeping your hair did, watch your weight, and being more “loyal” to him than your family and friends.
You can read some of the more egregious tips from “7 Basic Needs Of A Husband” — the workbook off of which Duggar was reading — after the jump: Keep reading »
“Grooms get in free!”
That’s the generous offer from Austin Monthly, my local glossy society rag, for its “Couture, Cakes and Cufflinks,” uh, “Bridal Bash.” There’s nothing particularly unusual about this kind of shill party, and that’s what makes it particularly offensive. It’s every disgusting wedding narrative rolled into one day-long event that women are actually expected to pay to attend.
There’s so much to hate about mainstream wedding culture — the consumerism, the gender policing, the fucking consumerism, the body-shaming, did I mention the consumerism? — but perhaps the wedding-related narrative that pisses me off more than any other is the idea that men are incapable of being interested in weddings and must be coddled and babied so that their delicate wedding-hating sensibilities are not offended. Keep reading »