Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

So if you stopped by yesterday, you saw a pretty heated debate both here and on the Twitter (I like adding the word “the” in front of stuff for no reason) about Morehouse’s new dress code. In summary, some supported it, some didn’t, but pretty much all the disagreement was centered around whether or not men should be allowed to wear women’s clothes on Morehouse’s campus. No one even touched the issue of sunglasses or gold grills or sagging pants or hoodies inside, so I’m going to have to infer that everyone’s fine with banning these things. After all, these are accoutrements of the underclass, and no one wants to be associated with poor blacks. It’s fine to judge and look down upon people socio-economically, as long as it doesn’t infringe upon a gay person’s right to wear the new Louboutins (sp).

But what about a straight person’s right to do the same? Aisha1908 on Twitter made the point that dressing in women’s clothes and being gay aren’t necessarily synonymous. There are straight dudes who wear women’s clothes:

Do I have a problem with the above gentlemen’s choice of haberdashery? Nope. Do I respect the right of a private institution to say, “naw, folk, you ain’t fina come to class like that.” Yup. But we’ve already hashed out that discussion.

The question that lingers in my mind is just this: Is there any room for gender roles left in our society? Am I, and the people who agree with me, a bunch of out of touch dinosaurs hellbent on maintaining a heteronormative society by brutally squashing people’s right to express themselves?

Whooo! Fuck womens rights! Yeah!

Whooo! Fuck women's rights! Yeah!

If you were wondering, from Wikipedia:

Heteronormativity is a term for a set of lifestyle norms which indicate or imply that (1.) people fall into only one of two distinct and complementary sexes (male and female) with each having certain natural roles in life, and that (2.) heterosexuality is the only normal sexual orientation, thus making sexual and marital relations appropriate only between members of the opposite sex. Consequently, a heteronormative view is one that promotes alignment of biological sex, gender identity, and gender roles to the gender binary.[1]

Those who identify and criticize heteronormativity say that it distorts discourse by stigmatizing and marginalizing some forms of sexuality and gender, and makes certain types of self-expression more difficult when that expression violates the norm.[1] Non-heterosexual and gender-variant people who transgress heteronormativity include homosexual, bisexual, asexual, intersex, and transgender people in addition to people who are married to or form pair-bonds with more than one partner such as polygamists or polyamorists.[citation needed]

By the above definition, I’m technically not completely Heteronormative in the sense that I don’t believe that straight relationships are the only valid relationships. I know enough gay folk to know that, well, they’re gay. You can’t pray it away, suppress it, destroy it, or treat it with medicine if you wanted to. I know at least one transgendered person. And for me to say that they CAN’T or Shouldn’t be with another person of the same sex would be ludicrous to me. You’re an adult, that’s your call.

But what about the gender role part of that equation? And let’s assume we’re talking strictly about straight people, since obviously the gender roles in non-straight relationships are going to be much more complicated. Since we’re saying it’s ok for gay people to throw off the yoke of societally acceptable gender roles, should straight people be allowed to do the same? Should they want to?

Let’s look at a couple constructs in dating. The homette Kimmy Frye did a blog a while back about a “Turnaround Party” in New York. Her take:

Hmm. let’s review the key points:

  • Ladies pay a stiff cover.
  • Ladies are encouraged to buy the man drinks.
  • Men’s turn to relax.

Ummm – No thanks, i’ll pass.

I have zero interest in meeting a man who thinks this is an awesome idea. That would give him a totally false perception of who I am.  Set all kinds of the wrong standards. I’m all about playing the role of a woman and my man being, well, a man, in all the most traditional ways.

OK, she’s not a fan. Let’s see what the commenters had to say:

2 Responses to “Turnaround Party?”

  1. where they do that at? @trgriff said this on August 20, 2009 at 2:46 pm
  2. I love that @trgriff commented…when I saw your “um no thanks Ill pass and I have zero interest in any man who thinks thats an awesome idea,’ I died laughing. Of course we will pass…not for me! xoxo missbridge said this on August 25, 2009 at 5:10 am

From another enlightened-esque woman, Blackie Collins:
I like men. Let me rephrase that: I like manly men. I do not like skinny jeans wearing, Zac Efron hair flipping, weird, non-prescription glasses sporting, take longer than me to get ready men. Nothing makes me feel more butch than feeling like I’m the guy in our union. And nothing makes me feel more feminine, than being with a man who is just that: a man. There’s something about broad shoulders, a nice suit or regular fitting jeans, maybe some crisp Tims, a few tattoos, those nice cuts along the abs…ok, you get it. If you’re the kind of guy who waxes his eyebrows, you’re out.

Let’s be honest, if you’re too busy at your waxing appointment, you won’t be around to protect me (and maybe you should be protecting Steve instead). I need to feel protected. I need for you to be the dominating animal in our pack. I need to know that if something goes down, you’re on it, or at least we’re in this together. Even my gays can remember they’re men when shit pops off (have you seen those guys fight!), so I know you can do it too, punchanella, punchanella.*

Jackies real life boyfriend, Earl

Jackie's real life boyfriend, Earl

Guess that vastly unscientific poll of women says no, this does not rock. But why not? I mean, over the last 30-40 years, we’ve seen a dramatic crumbling of “gender roles.” Women now have the right to equal pay (whether or not that’s fully realized), economic equality to buy what they want and start businesses, be CEO, run for President, run for Vice President, and all kinds of other stuff that I think most people agree is a good thing. I’ve had women bosses before, most of whom were just as if not more competent than male bosses I’ve had.

But let’s look at what else has happened over the past 30-40 years. Divorce rates have shot through the roof, something like 70% of black kids are now born into single parent households, black men trail black women in huge numbers in college and graduate school admittance and achievement. Are the two linked? NO idea. I’m not a sociologist, and don’t pretend to be.

But it does occur to me that if we’re going to throw out some facets of gender roles, why not throw them all out? Here are some things that would happen:

1. Men would no longer exclusively approach women. As equals, women would now also have to approach men.

2. Men would not pay for first dates. you have a job, we’d split the cost.

3. Men would no longer walk on the outside, open doors, or pull out chairs. These would be seen as an insulting infringement on a woman’s independence.

4. Men would no longer help build bookshelves, move furniture, or mow women’s grass, nor change their oil. This would be patronizing and assume women are too weak or mechanically ill-inclined to do things themselves.

5. Forget about Alimony. Leave with what you came with.

6. Men would have the option of being house husbands. It would be insulting to assume that women are somehow naturally better child-rearers than men.

7. Women should no longer expect any show of chivalry, sacrifice, or romance by men to garner their affection.

8. Engagement rings would no longer be purchased by men to propose to women. When the parties agree to enter a marriage, they would exchange watches.

9. Women would no longer be expected to be good cooks or have any household skills. Attempting to seduce a man with cooking skills would be looked down upon as an archaic celebration of oppressive gender roles.

10. Fathers will no longer tell their sons ridiculous things like “Boy, take the trash out!” or “Don’t you let your mother carry those groceries in here by herself” because these would suggest that the woman is incapable of doing manual labor and feeds into the stereotype that men should do “man’s work” or help “weak” women.

So is this a better construct than the current state of heteronormativity that so many people feel is so bad and so oppressive? Would you prefer to enjoy a freedom from gender roles, or would you just laugh if a man expected you to pick him up and pay for his meal? Discuss: