I found this NPR article the other day that asked this question: What Object Makes You Feel Like a Man? There were some pretty good answers to the question; the person in the interview mentioned his Adventure Time Bathrobe. One dude said a lawnmower, another a Swiss Army Knife. Mostly it turns into a talk of power tools and doing things on your own and feeling proud of your accomplishments.
The only problem I have here is that I don’t feel the question is fully understood (by that I mean I don’t understand the question). I don’t get the question because I guess it seems odd to me to “feel” manliness. Let’s take the lawnmower guy for example. No doubt the gas, the noise, and the accomplishment of finishing some yard work are good things. If I didn’t have allergies, I could no doubt experience the same thing by mowing a lawn (it’s also in my lease that my landlord takes care of that anyway), but how does that all add up to feeling like a man? What on earth does that feeling have to do with having a pair of testicles between my legs?
I can see some of you rolling your eyes here. “Look, Pat,” you might say. “This doesn’t have to turn into a thing about gender identity and roles. You know what feeling manly is.” To which I say: No, I really don’t. I know there are things that make me feel GOOD. There are things that make me feel STRONG. There are things that make me feel a sense of accomplishment, but that doesn’t mean they have to be MANLY.
I’m really uncomfortable with gender roles, as I’m sure you’ve figured out by now. I think it’s ridiculous to say that there are certain things only men do, and certain things women do (outside of their roles in procreation and childbirth, these things should be MUCH more flexible). For example, I think that the idea that women should be homemakers regardless of their employment is preposterous. There’s no reason a man can’t be a homemaker (I grew up with a stay-at-home dad). The assignment of the role of homemaker to women is something our society is moving away from, and for good reason; it’s ill-founded and rooted in patriarchy. This isn’t to say women can’t be homemakers if they so choose, but that should be the reason that they enter into it: because they WANT to.
So let’s get back to mowing lawns. Plenty of people of both genders like mowing lawns, so why are we assigning that feeling the role of “manliness?” Is it because only men should mow lawns? Yes, lawn care has traditionally fallen to the male in the past, but given our society with it’s blurred gender roles and everything, it seems counterproductive, then, to continue using what is effectively patriarchal language to describe emotions and feelings.
What say you, droogs? Am I off my rocker?