Why are some activities classified as “feminine” and others as “masculine?” It seems such nonsense to me.
A couple of examples come to mind. Woodworking is typically considered a masculine undertaking. Sewing generally is considered a feminine enterprise, at least in a home environment. I know of women who enjoy woodworking (a few of them are involved in our local woodworkers’ club, as I understand it), and I had a male neighbor in Dallas who enjoyed sewing far more than his wife did. Such people, though, are outliers; they are viewed by many as strange, doing things out of stereotype. They are judged for the pastimes/hobbies in which they have an interest. This not only perplexes me, it makes me angry.
It makes me angry because people should not have to feel uncomfortable talking about their interests in “mixed company.” I think the people who label female woodworkers “butch” are the same ones who consider male seamsters “ferries.” In other words, the same slow-witted, narrow-minded idiots. I would have said “judgmental,” but I suppose (considering what I have just written) that would be like the pot calling the kettle black. Yes, I judge those dim-witted knuckle-draggers; perhaps I’m not as liberal and open-minded as I pretend to be.
Why the rant on this topic? Because I was thinking yesterday afternoon about some ideas I’ve had about accessories for shirts for men…and I was thinking, “I should learn to sew so I can make these things myself.” I know I shouldn’t have felt it, but I did: I felt a tinge of fear that I would be judged if I moved forward. This isn’t the first time I’ve thought about sewing; it’s also not the first time I’ve had this tinge of fear, or whatever it is. Each time I feel it, though, it makes the blood rush to my face in anger.
I have some interesting ideas about “sleeve pockets” for pens, note-pads, even cell phones. I paid someone in Dallas…two or three years ago…to sew sleeve pockets on a shirt like I envisioned. She misunderstood what I was after and used a knit shirt, whereas I had in mind a woven fabric shirt. But, still, it worked as I intended. I want to explore variations, on my own; to do that, I’d have to learn to sew (and I’d need access to a sewing machine, I suppose).
Perhaps there are masculine and feminine characteristics…real ones, I mean, not the manufactured crap that informs bigotry. That being the case, perhaps there are degrees of masculinity and femininity in individuals. Assuming that is true, I have no qualms acknowledging my “feminine” side. All men and women should feel comfortable acknowledging their cross-gender characteristics, I think.
This may be a peculiar rant. Maybe it’s my femininity taking control of my personality. Or maybe it’s just the opposite…maybe I’m just über-masculine at the moment. Let me repeat, but using stronger language: This bizarre tendency to label activities by gender seems such bullshit to me.
It’s not just the interests one has that can be subject to scorn and ridicule, it can be the interests one doesn’t have. Sports, for example. Men who have little or no interest in team sports like football and baseball are “weird.”
All right. I’m all ranted out for the moment. Carry on.