Monday, March 16, 2009

katie vs. the south

i grow weary of gender-role conversations.

i really do.

mostly because i hate feeling like a jerk, which is what always happens. i think it's because i'm misunderstood. i do not seek to batter kind men. that's not it at all. i'm not here to kick any man in the shin who even thinks about opening a door for me, or not allowing me to do manual labor.

thank you, kind men, for your kind deeds. it is not your actions against which i argue.

for some of you (and some of you women too) - it is your motivations, your thinking, your mindset.

i am 100% for acting kind, loving and courteous towards members of the opposite sex. that's very nice. i am not, however, willing to accept that these gestures are necessary or expected because you are a man and i am a woman. i do not want that door held for me (though i promise not to kick anyone in the shin) if it is because you are a man and i am a woman, i want it held for me because we are two human beings and you are showing kindness and consideration.

if i hold a door for a man out of this same kindness and consideration, i do not want to be looked at as if i am some sort of terrorist seeking the demise of the american family. i am not. i am simply seeking equality and understanding, love, humility, selflessness, and everything else that can be developed through remembering to serve others.

i think that my perspective is a bit unique because i have been rather independent for a very long time - no boyfriends carrying things or fixing my sink. now that i am in the south, men often offer to do things like walk me to my car, even when it's not very far and the journey is through a populated parking lot. i feel awkward when this happens, and i act awkwardly, and then the man rolls his eyes because he knows i am one of 'those girls' (the terrorist kind). this saddens me. i don't mean to be awkward and ungrateful. men, think of if every time we ate together, i offered to cut your food. that would seem awkward and unnecessary, right? sort of like i was treating you like a child? well, that's what these little gestures feel like to me.

(further more, if i were to offer to walk another female to her car, i would get the same terrorist look, as well as the awkward and unnecessary look. why? i think that i would be able to provide as much safety as many a man. if you're getting attacked, having another person around, be they man or woman, would be rather helpful, would it not?)

i'm working on being more accepting of these things, but it would be easier for me to do so, if i felt confident in the thoughts behind them.

let me reiterate that i am not calling for the cessation of all chivalric behavior, or any chivalric behavior. all i wish to challenge, is the thought behind it. i don't mind if a man offers to carry something heavy for me. he's probably stronger than me, so that makes sense. i'm not saying i wont offer to cook something for a man, if there's a good chance i'll be better at it. i would also offer to cook something for a woman, if there's a good chance i'll be better at it. this shouldn't be offensive, just like it shouldn't be offensive for a stronger man to offer to carry something for a not-so-strong man. we are all people with different abilities, largely disconnected to our genders. let us offer them up accordingly and offer little things out of love and not out of duty.

please, don't consider yourself kicked in the shin.

share your thoughts.

much love.

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