Random acts which betray how we've been programmed to think about gender stereotypes.....

(56 Posts)
HerrenaHandbasket Mon 22-Apr-13 20:56:17

....or something like that.

Basically I just chose a new toothbrush from the multipack DH and I share. The choices were blue, green, purple and pink. I always use the pink, he always uses the blue, the other colours are more of a toss-up.

I've noticed that I do this (automatically choose the 'girliest' colour) and have tried not to do it as it's madness (it's a toothbrush FGS). However, I then find myself forgetting which toothbrush is mine and gravitating towards the 'girliest' of the options available. This has occasionally meant that both DH and I use the same brush for ages whilst the other sits there and gathers dust blush

So what do you lot find yourselves doing/thinking that you kind of wish you didn't?

StickEmUpPunk Mon 22-Apr-13 21:05:30

I just asked dh to put the hoover away as i was being a wimp and couldnt be arsed to pick it up.
I out a girly face on and say pweeeze.

Today, i said pweeeze, then said fuck im a feminist now and did the damn job myself.

HerrenaHandbasket Mon 22-Apr-13 21:19:47

It's ok to ask for help with heavy lifting if there's someone else present who's stronger than you! Although it does sound like you could manage just fine wink

It's also DH's job to take out the bins as boys can cope better with mess than girls can doesn't explain why nappy-changing traditionally falls to females but hey ho

StickEmUpPunk Mon 22-Apr-13 21:30:25

Its a dyson that needed pulling into the cupboard ... I was being a lamo.

Errr, tomorrow, you take our your bins!

I double dare you.

I just asked DH to put our bin out - it's usually my job. However, at the weekend I filled it with spent wet compost and it weighs an absolute ton - it was all I could do to get the wretched compost into it in the first place, in batches. (As I was shovelling heavy new compost out of our compost bin I contemplated getting him to do it but decided that would be too wimpy.)

But I still hate that he's stronger than me... actually, even he struggled with the fruits of my gardening.

Beamur Mon 22-Apr-13 21:39:20

I try and get DP to look after the cars. I can do it myself (and often have to) but it's a job I would like to delegate!
I also have to call him in if I get a jar I can't open...

Earthworms Mon 22-Apr-13 21:43:53

Now I do let dh do the cars, but because he genuinely enjoys tatting about with them, but to me it's just a chore.

Now gardening is relaxation for me, again to him it's a chore

So we pick tasks we like. But it worries me how gender divided out likes are. And I am / was a huge tomboy.

NiceTabard Mon 22-Apr-13 22:29:37

I always took green / blue on the toothbrush just to be contrary to the manufacturers. Take that, toothbrush manufacturers!

On tasks, I used to do everything, lived merrily by myself, was super-independent, i loved it. Thing is DH is big and tall and strong and if he spots me trying to lift/reach anything he immediately jumps in and offers to do it. And I am quite lazy so always say yes. And now after some years there are some things I expect him to do... "Oh DH I don't suppose you could carry the hoover upstairs please smile Not good it's been a gradual erosion and now I feel like a right lazyy bastard and it's all his fault for being so nice angry

He is shit with cars though grin

Selba Mon 22-Apr-13 23:26:26

Getting the stronger person in the household to do the tasks requiring strength has bugger all to do with gender stereotypes

IDoTakeTwo Mon 22-Apr-13 23:29:00

I am carefully not interfering with Dh as he makes a birthday cake.

I am right on! Clearly!

PurpleThing Mon 22-Apr-13 23:35:31

Ha yes I also pick blue toothbrushes! And I do a strict rotation of every colour available for ds.

But we live in the country and I realised he was slightly confused when I said the woman on the bus was a farmer. So I must have given him the impression that farmers are men. I try very hard with FireFIGHTER, police OFFICER etc etc.

And I think this earns me some kind of Super-PC-Twit award in most people's eyes. I don't say Green/Red Man about road safety grin.

DH has a pink toothbrush and I have a green one atm.

However, I can't smug because something that I really dislike is that, by default, DH does the bins. blush I think that one is really bad, actually.

It doesn't in the slightest bother me that DH is stronger and does the heavy lifting. He is twice my size and he hardly notices the weight of something that I would put my back out to lift. But I'm coming at this from an odd perspective, because my parents are not dissimilar in terms of strength and I didn't grow up expecting there to be someone strong around - then my brothers grew up and suddenly there was! So I'm 'programmed' to look at the tallest person and think 'stronger than me!'. grin

Galangal Tue 23-Apr-13 07:55:52

This is really making me think. I'm a lone parent so was doing everything myself. But now I have a bf and I've stopped fixing things and glueing things. I just leave them until he comes over. And I have no idea why

He's great at helping out with whatever I ask him to do. There's nothing he would consider as my job. But there are definitely jobs I ask him to do when I could probably do them myself if I decided to, or wanted to give it a go.

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 23-Apr-13 13:23:14

I have an inner conflict about this taking-the-bins out business and using the drill and mowing the lawn - if I do them too then I would be doing everything, but I don't like not doing them either! (DH does do his fair share when he's home, but I'm home more.) Can I please please please leave something out of my repertoire?

I think what galangal said was also described in Delusions of Gender.

BeCool Netherlands Tue 23-Apr-13 15:13:24

I am now a single parent and I do it all.
I don't like using a drill though. I sometime wish there was someone around who could do some competent drilling (ExP was worse at it that I am).

blueshoes Tue 23-Apr-13 15:18:35

Dh opens bottle tops. It is a man's job.

grimbletart Tue 23-Apr-13 15:19:32

Where does this weird obsession with bins come from BTW?

I was amazed when I first heard this on threads about jobs division and men taking out bins.

It never occurred to DH and me. Whichever one of us remembers it's bin night takes the bins out. Sorted.

Bizarre. grin

Sunnywithshowers Tue 23-Apr-13 15:35:35

My DH was unemployed for some time, and I found myself incredibly resentful that I was the 'breadwinner'. On reflection (and reading this site) I realise I behaved much like some husbands towards SAHM. (We don't have children.)

I get DH to do computer and DIY stuff. When I lived on my own I'd have been more likely to do it myself.

DP does DIY, mows the lawn, grows veg, deals with the car and barbecues. I hate doing/ have no interest in these things. Although if there's heavy shit to move/ something needs demolishing I am in there!
I do the lions share of the housework as I am SAHM.

Oh yeah, and computer/ tech stuff. I am a technophobe.

grimble - erm, it might come from houses where the bin is a big fuck-off heavy thing you have to pull out, I guess? I've sort of unthinkingly picked up the idea that DH does the bins cos it's heavy lifting, but where we live now, it really isn't so I have no excuse.

grimbletart Tue 23-Apr-13 18:03:23

LRD - never found our big Wheelie bins too heavy, even when cram full of heavy grass mowings. And used to do it before Wheelie bins came in, when you had to actually lift the blasted things.

Maybe I just eat plenty of spinach! grin

Is grass heavy?! confused

I'm thinking of (eg) lifting a recycling bin full of bottles down two flights of stairs. That is something DH can do much better than me. Not that I can't do it, obviously, but it is pretty heavy.

No excuse now, though.

ChunkyPickle Tue 23-Apr-13 18:12:59

DP is totally impractical, so I do all of that kind of thing - haircutting is what's on my mind - I have a son, I cut his hair short because he's a toddler, he gets gunk in it and I have no interest in brushing the hair of a crying child, or spending ages washing it.

If I have a girl, I'm struggling with the feeling that I wouldn't want to cut her hair (apart from fringe to keep it out of her eyes), or at least wouldn't want to give it the number 4 I give DS.

In most other aspects I'm fairly non-gender stereotyped (I think) - technical job, share household tasks, not fussed about colours or toys, putting a girl in DS's hand-me-downs etc. but this one little thing perplexes me.

NiceTabard Tue 23-Apr-13 18:26:58

Grass is heavy is there's a lot of it and/or it's damp!

I think the bins thing must come from before wheelie bins. I was confused by the bins = man's job when I came on MN as well!

Good to know. I've never had a garden (I have about a metre-wide strip of grass now, yay!), so didn't know. Sorry, way off-topic.

But yes, that was my thought process and like most of them, it's basically about letting yourself use crappy sexist excuses. On par with 'I shave cos it's well hygenic', I think.

sunlightonthegrass Tue 23-Apr-13 20:06:17

May I ask a very genuine question, as I am fairly new to this part of the site so please don't flame me.

Is the colour of a toothbrush really important? I don't personally think it is as it makes no difference really to how men/women are perceived; I presume both clean teeth equally well?

The random acts that seem to be inherent in my part of the world at least are that: the woman will give up her job/go part time after having children, do the various domestic chores which is promoted by the media (I constantly hear 'mum' on TV adverts, as in "Mums will LOVE!" - why, dad will love it as well, surely?)

I am on my own so do everything myself, I leave a couple of things to my dad on the rare occasion he visits because, frankly, I am crap at them! grin

Nah, of course it isn't! grin

Well, that's just my view.

It's just funny that we go for the pink (or some of us do). It's not something that matters in itself, it's that it's something that reminds us how much subtle conditioning there is.

Conditioning is something that applies to virtually everything we do in life - a lot of it is good. It's conditioning (for example), that makes me check the back door is locked every night, because I grew up knowing that was my job - and I'm glad I'm conditioned that way.

It's just interesting that this bit of conditioning says something about how women are expected to like pink.

With you on the 'mums will love' thing!

sunlightonthegrass Tue 23-Apr-13 20:25:06

Yes, I do know what you mean there! I like those oral b vibrating toothbrushes and they only come in blue, green or purple so that's what I use! I do know what you mean about the conditioning though. It's like when you're driving and see other cars, nine times out of ten when I see couples it's the man driving. I wonder why? hmm It does almost seem to suggest that he is quite literally in the driver's seat.

I haaaate "mums will love/great for busy mums/mums always ..." so much!

Yeah, I notice that with cars. I mean, I know there are a few men who would consciously feel that they had to drive to be manly, and a few women who would consciously want the man to drive so they could feel feminine (I know some people like this). But I think far more there's just a sort of unconscious thing going on. I really notice it because DH is learning to drive, so I've always been the driver.

I have a dead silly one, which probably shows how dull my life is. grin

When DH and I eat out, I will always ask for the wine (if we're drinking), and the bill. And I'll always put my card down. Then we see what happens.

They're usually pretty good at either giving me the wine to taste or asking who wants to taste it - it's only maybe 1 in 5 that automatically pour it for DH. With the bill, though, something like 75% of the time they will hand the card machine to DH.

My card has a gender-specific title on it. hmm

clam Tue 23-Apr-13 20:46:40

With us, I tend to put out the bins (although dh does at the moment as I've broken my leg). I do all the gardening (ordinarily), DIY, dusting, hoovering and ironing. Dh does all the food shopping and cooking.

I tend to drive (unless there's an issue about who's going to abstain from wine, in which case we take it in turns) because 'my' car is the big comfortable family one that he hates driving and I refuse to set foot in his manky little rubbish tip fierce one. I hate being driven anyway too much of a control freak.

CognitiveOverload Tue 23-Apr-13 20:52:06

Heavy lifting done by dh woth good reason.

grimbletart Tue 23-Apr-13 21:10:17

Is grass heavy?!

You'd better believe it. Try lifting a bin full of damp grass (mind you, I doubt you would have to carry it down two flights of stairs) grin

Seriously, it is very heavy.

HerrenaHandbasket Tue 23-Apr-13 21:33:08

DH was away for a week recently, during which time I found myself managing to empty bins and ferry the recycling to its appropriate home quite easily did sprain something in my hand when attempting to open a magically-sticking-to-table baby bowl though.

I was slightly blush upon his return about all the times I'd ranted at him for not emptying the bin and how I couldn't possibly manage it during the course of the day whilst juggljng a baby and a toddler! Of course I bloody managed it. It was fine. Yet now he's back, I have resumed my old routine.

Must. Resist. Entropy.

I am taking the grass warnings on board and mentally delegating wink.

I have a positive one for this thread though.

When we first got married I got fairly narked with DH, because although he's not, like, awful, he's not brilliant either. Your standard 'AIBU to think my husband is ...' with anyfucker being pithy in response. And we had some heated arguments and I read Wifework and so on.

And I knew we'd changed some behaviours, but I didn't think we'd really shifted how either of us felt about it all. Ie., I still felt as if I'd be 'judged' on a messy home and he still felt the level of mess was perfectly acceptable, but he cleared up anyway cos he could see why I felt how I did. And one of the things he said was he'd do the hoovering.

However, I have recently noticed that when the carpet gets messy, it does not bother me in the slightest. I genuinely don't 'see' the mess until DH gets the hoover out, at which point I dimly register it needed doing and looks much nicer now.

Good, innit? smile One very small step for LRD, etc. etc.

sashh Wed 24-Apr-13 05:51:21

I also have to call him in if I get a jar I can't open..

Whack the edge of the lid on the work top, it will open.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Wed 24-Apr-13 06:03:52

Dh hoovers as standard (i do do it sometimes but it's his job grin) everything else is strictly gender stereotyped sad not deliberately, and he will, say, stack the dishwaaher or stick a wash on but I'm the one who does it in general sad he and his family also talk about "x's house" etc where x is the male half of the couple. Grr.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Wed 24-Apr-13 06:06:35

that said I do do bins, and driving is shared according to who can be bothered / fancies having a drink if we're going out.

HighBrows Wed 24-Apr-13 09:55:02

I feel I've 'arrived' in my feminist ways!

I do grass, bins, driving etc...

The only thing I don't like doing is anything that involves height, so changing a light bulb can be challenging however I force myself to do it on occasion. but not the one in the landing that's over the stairs and involves leaning off the step ladder, I don't have a death wish and it requires someone with more height then me

That's interesting stealth, everyone I know will refer to 'womanpartner's house and especially to 'womanpartner's kitchen', whereas a shared car is 'manpartners' car'. My uncle's new partner spent the best part of six months assuming we had two cars because every time she referred to 'DHName'sCar' we'd correct her and say it was mine, so 'naturally' she assumed that the little Mazda in the parking spot was my runaround and DH's car was elsewhere.

Cos he couldn't not have one, could he? shock

Bless her, she's a nice woman though.

grimbletart Wed 24-Apr-13 12:10:40

Re opening jars: If a tight jar is big DH can open it easier than me because his larger hands provide more grip. Conversely I am better at opening small jars because my smaller hands provide more grip.

Boasting here because I have an enormously strong grip. However, hubris as got me because I now have arthritis in my hands and my grip strength is getting weaker, so am dreading the day when I have to give up and say "Darling, can you open this jar for me please?" - all nice and fluffy like. sad

TigerFeet Wed 24-Apr-13 12:13:50

I put the bins out in our house, I mowed the lawn before we moved but we have a bigger lawn now so have bought a flashy new toy gadget lawnmower so dh has decided he likes doing it hmm

We do have a number of stereotypey roles. DH drives, we used to share but he's a DREADFUL passenger so I refuse to drive him unless he particularly wants a drink at the other end. He drills, I sew. I cook, he washes the cars. We're both good at the things we do so it works for us. I do the majority of the housework and childcare but I work fewer than half the hours that he does so fair enough really. I went away for the weekend last week and I came back to a tidy house and happily entertained, well fed children so he's just as good at it as I am.

The worst case of stereotyping I have encountered is when I was caught by a speed camera a couple of years ago. I was driving, dd1 was in the passenger seat. We were in dh's car which I'm fully insured for etc etc. When the notice came through I signed it and sent it back saying it was me rather than dh driving. I got a letter back asking me to call as there was a problem - the bloke that I spoke to when I rang wouldn't have it that I was driving as there were two people in the front and the car was in dh's name... fucking cheek of it... he was stopping just short of outright accusing me of trying to do a Chris Huhne/Vicki Price type points thing but it was very heavily implied. He only backed off when I informed him that if he didn't believe me I could easily get medical proof that it wasn't dh driving, as he was seriously ill in hospital at the time and couldn't even bloody walk never mind do 68mph in a 60 zone on the A52 near bloody Grantham. Wanker. It was two years ago and I'm still bloody cross about it now.

BornToFolk Wed 24-Apr-13 12:23:50

I'm a single parent too, so do everything. I was doing some painting outside a few weeks ago and a neighbour came by and said "oooh, aren't you good for doing that!", I laughed along but seriously, who did she think was going to do it if I didn't? 5 year old DS?!

A couple of years ago, I was going to buy DS some bubbles. The mix came in two bottles - Disney Princess or Cars. They didn't have any Cars ones left so I didn't buy any. I was half way down the street before I thought "that was a really stupid thing to do! DS doesn't care if there are Princesses on the bottle, he'd just like bubble" but I guess the conditioning of "Princesses for girls, Cars for boys" took over.

HerrenaHandbasket Wed 24-Apr-13 13:52:42

I bought some of those bubbles the other day, borntofolk. Having checked them, I can confirm that I bought Cars rather than Princesses. I'm sure my DSs will neither notice or care hmm

UptoapointLordCopper Wed 24-Apr-13 13:55:51

We both sew, so that's good. DH can operate a sewing machine but I can't. He can even darn socks, which I also can't. In fact I'm quite impressed with that. grin

Another tip for opening jars: if you can put a rubber band round it it gives you a better grip. I've opened many a jam jar using that method.

Yet another tip: bottle opener to release the seal. Then it opens easily.

HerrenaHandbasket Wed 24-Apr-13 14:06:35

Bit of a random question, maybe: do you ever encounter gender-stereotyping attitudes from other people (wrt to colour/jobs etc) when you're not expecting them?

I'm thinking of a gay friend of mine - she and her partner have a DS and we spend a lot of time together as we're both SAHMs, live near each other and my DS1 and her DS are almost the same age. She has occasionally commented on things DS1 is wearing/playing with, saying stuff like 'That's a bit girly!'. I always respond that I'm sure he doesn't care and we carry on as before. I'm always slightly surprised by her comments though.

I guess I feel that an openly gay person will already have been confronted by the 'boys like girls and vice versa' attitude of society and has chosen to show that they feel differently. So, reasonably or unreasonably, I expect her to not automatically accept other stereotypical nonsense like 'boys like blue/girls like pink/boys are rough/girls are dainty'. Also we tend to agree on most other things, so this sticks in my head as one of the few topics upon which I beg to differ grin

Hopefully that was coherent and I haven't offended anyone. I would be interested to hear any opinions!

CockyFox Wed 24-Apr-13 14:07:56

I have a blue toothbrush, (because it was the first one on the shelf in 99p stores) I also put the bins out, cut the grass and do any heavy lifting required in the house (DH suffers with his back after a slipped disc). DD wears DS' s hand me downs and hss Kickboxing lessons
Has Mumsnet turned me into a feminist?
And I don't make DH's sandwiches for work.

StealthOfficialCrispTester Wed 24-Apr-13 14:33:27

Lrd his whole family do it. "next door is trying to sell his house ".
I kept asking "ooh is there just one person living in that big house" but only Dh got what I was trying to say. In fairness he does understand why it winds me up.

KoPo Wed 24-Apr-13 14:38:40

I find its more other peoples perceptions than mine/DH's

Bins are easier for him as we have steps and he has the size and physical power to do it easily.

We do however get a hmm look when he says his kitchen. But the one that really winds us up is when people say he is babysitting our kids when I go out, they are both of our kids and WE DO NOT FUCKING BABYSIT THEM! As DH says babysitting is what we are doing when we have other peoples kids.

CockyFox Wed 24-Apr-13 14:56:46

Yeah the baby sitting one annoys me. "Is DH babysitting? Err no, the children are with their Dad.

Beamur Wed 24-Apr-13 21:55:32

Last time I tried the tapping the jar trick to open it I somehow managed to smash the jar...can't I just make use of the man as he's here? wink
I did actually challenge a colleague who when asked what he was doing that evening said he was 'babysitting' - when it transpired they were his own kids, I did ask him 'is that not just, parenting?'

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 25-Apr-13 15:07:35

Beamur you don't know your own strength. wink That's why I never use that method for opening jars. The rubber band one is my preferred method.

Leafmould Fri 26-Apr-13 10:32:16

Not household based here, but I made a really embarrassing assumption recently when I met the minister of a church. Her name was eunice, which is not a name I am familiar with, and I introduced myself at the desk and said I am here to see the minister, and referred to her as a 'he', oh no, the lady said, the minister is not a he......

I was absolutely mortified.

FoxMulder Fri 26-Apr-13 11:04:38

My DH does the bins, because they're smelly & I don't want to!

He does all the DIY, but then he is a builder.

He also does all the sewing. I don't have the patience.

Actually, I think he might do everything practical (I do paperworky/computer stuff)! Except the laundry because I have lots of specifications about what can and can't go with each other and what kind of cycle everything must go on. He does his work clothes though. Too mucky to go in with anything else!

I mow the lawn, but 'no' to pink toothbrushes. I don't like pink.

FoxMulder Fri 26-Apr-13 11:14:28

Oh, and I know a gay couple (men) who split household chores using a 'pink list' and a 'blue list'. You can probably guess the sort of things on each list...

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