Ah. The entry I meant to write before getting derailed by a troll.
My last few entries have been dealing with stereotypes and respect. Women are just people, with individual desires and interests, just like men. Don’t use race as a shorthand for a stereotypical character (tech smart Asians, drunk Indians, sex-crazed men). In our lives, and in our writing, it boils down to individuality, avoiding stereotypes, and respect.
And it goes both ways. I chose to write mostly about women because I am a woman. These are the issues that affect me directly and concretely. But I’m happily married and so I see the affects of the double edged sword all the time. The double standards hurt men too.
I will not be able to touch on all of them here, I probably don’t know all of them.
Husband shaming. Husband dehumanizing. Husband infantilizing (not a word I know). My husband is my partner. He is intelligent, he has more than the common share of common sense, he is a good father, a hard worker, and a kind man. I do not use terms, sayings, or memes that downplay his role in my life. I did not train my husband to cook or do dishes though I have taught him a few tricks in the kitchen (he bakes better bread than I do and I didn’t have anything to do with that!). I didn’t train him to do laundry either. You train dogs. You don’t train husbands. He’s not my child. When he’s with the kids he’s with them, not babysitting them. Yes, I leave him written reminders, he works hard, he works long hours, he’s asked me to write things down for him and I do. That doesn’t make him stupid. I am not always right. He doesn’t have to be miserable because I’m miserable.
To be fair, we both have a good laugh at some of the more creative memes that play on relationship stereotypes because they are fun and can be presented in good humour.
Physical contact. I played full contact football. If I got hit it was my own damn fault for being out there. I knew what the game was about. I didn’t get to whine or bitch because “you hit me, you can’t do that I’m a girl.” Too many girls expect this double standard and while I don’t condone abuse or violence, they need to smarten up or they’ll get hit back. Yes, typically most boys and men are stronger than the girls and women in their age bracket. Yes, my mother-in-law, in her prime, a hard-working farm woman, was probably stronger than a lot of teenage boys. But for the most part males are physically bigger than females. So we teach them not to hit girls. But when a girl winds up and punches a guy, be he a friend or a boyfriend, and then she laughs and says “What you gonna do? You can’t hit me, I’m a girl.” He can hit her. If she can resort to senseless violence so can she. This idea that women’s actions are free from repercussion doesn’t fly with me. I do believe in “turn the other cheek” and I don’t ever condone violence so I’d prefer it if he dumped her cold and walked away but yes, if she’s being a violent bitch, he can hit her back.
NO I DON’T CONDONE ABUSE. I DON’T GIVE MEN PERMISSION TO HIT ANYONE. I DON’T GIVE WOMEN PERMISSION EITHER. THAT’S MY POINT.
Sexualized ads. We’re fighting to see a decrease in women’s body’s, particularly breasts, being used to sell products. And then we’re not allowed to post breast feeding photos. Right. Well, the same goes for men too. We can’t use sexy male bodies to sell romance novels if we want them to stop using women’s bodies to sell … everything.
And while we’re on the topic of sex, not all men are sex-addicts, porn addicts, etc. They don’t think about sex all the time. They don’t even think about sex the entire time they’re alone with a woman. No jokes. No punch line. Men are intelligent, just like women, and can and do have interesting, deep thoughts much of the time.
BBQs, fishing, hunting, video games … men have individual interests. Used to drive me crazy at Father’s Day because my dad didn’t really need any tools, he didn’t BBQ, hunt, or fish, and when I was growing up video games were Nintendo 64 and he wasn’t into that sort of thing. So what could I buy him?
Stereotypes, tropes, and short hands hurt people, they are lazy marketing, lazy writing, and lazy thinking. And they don’t just target women or racial minorities.