Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Bicycling & Gender Roles... or No Pain, No Gain

Aiden went to his friend's house after school yesterday which gave Solstice & me the chance to go for a bike ride. Aiden's bicycling proficiency isn't really up to snuff so we have to take these opportunities when they come, & she was so excited about it that she was talking about it from the moment I saw her after school. We decided to take a cruise around the 'hood before ending up @ the park which is where things went awry. We passed Kristen & Natalie & then turned into the parking lot. As I attempted to mount the curb & go to the swing set, my front tire had other plans. I caught the curb & went sailing over the bars & onto the grass. I was almost able to stop myself, but I realized sticking the landing would do more harm than good so I let myself roll over my right shoulder... the whole time Solstice staring w/ mouth agape & eyes wide. I took a hard knock on my left ankle, messed up the left bicep, & did something to my 3 center toes on my right foot. As I looked back to ensure K & N didn't see, Solstice asked if I was hurt. Pissed @ myself, I said, "Obviously... what do think?" To which she responded, "Well, you're not crying & you are a MAN so I thought maybe you aren't hurt." As I picked myself up, I asked her what she meant, & as it turns out, she meant exactly what she said. I had to explain that even her seemingly indestructible father gets hurt once in a while. Furthermore, we got to have a little talk about gender identity & the roles we fill in society based on our gender associations. We hung out on the swings & then went to the other park in the neighborhood where we continued this little talk. She asked me if a man could be a house-keeper. "You mean like Alfred Pennyworth? Of course, although they're usually referred to as 'butlers.' That distinction isn't necessary." People can do whatever job they want, regardless of gender. I asked her what jobs she thought women couldn't have & she said construction worker (luckily, she didn't say drag-queen... or that only women could be Tub-Girls, I don't know how I would have responded). I explained that many women work in the construction industry, & over all, it was a nice opportunity to turn pain & humiliation into a teacherly moment.

16 comments:

Rachel said...

You're lucky I didn't see this colossal wipeout, either. That would make for some relentless taunting at heathen soccer. ;)

~Rachel

Andre said...

Yeah, it was about a half hour before we ran into you. You went by during the house-keeper conversation.

Rachel said...

Ah, I see. Well, I'm glad you didn't break another pair of glasses.

biscodo said...

The way I see it, I take some sort of minor tumble on the bike at least once a year. Best that it's a little one, and to get it out of the way early on so it's not hanging over my head all summer.

That's pretty quick on your feet on the Teachable Moment, btw... nicely done.

so... helmet? If you don't have one, I just got a new melon-case, and if it fits, you can have my old one. It sets a good example 'n' all that, ya know?

Andre said...

Actually, I have a purple one, but I don't know where it is. Solstice has one too, & there's never a problem getting her to wear it... except when we can't find it.

Zoe the Wonder Dog said...

"her seemingly indestructible father"? [snort] I'm thinking that regular readers of Visions of Ypsi know better. Now, was that the sledding shoulder that took the hit again or did you get the other one this time?

Seriously, I had a similar discussion with E over whacked out perceptions of gender a couple of years ago. What did she get stuck on? President. "Women can't be president," she announced angrily one day. We had a good long chat. She's now decided if Clinton doesn't make it, she may just have to do it herself. Of course, she really only wants it if she gets to be the FIRST woman president.

Dig out that helmet. Every ride is teachable moment. Besides, there is nothing sexier than a man in a purple helmet.

stephanie said...

As a little girl I would have thought the same thing about my Daddy, in fact I guess I still see him that way for the most part. I'm glad she has a good strong Daddy too, who seems indestructable and yet is totally accessable and loving.
She's a lucky girl.

Megan said...

Way to go Andre! I'm always a fan of gender education (in fact, I minored in it). I'm very glad you took the opportunity to teach her about gender roles and the influence our society has on them.

On a side note, you should check out this book I'm reading called The Female Brain. It's kind of interesting, because from a medical stand point, it kinda presents the idea that a lot of what we think are social influences, are actually due to hormonal influences during infancy. I'm not sure how much of it I agree with, but you might like it.

Andre said...

Wait... women have brains? Since when?




Thanks, I'll check it out.

Matthew said...

Who is this "tub girl" you mention and why couldn't it be "tub boy" just as easily?

:-)

dan said...

Shit man, you have more accidents than a drunken senile man OR woman in depends!

I always think dads are good for threatening to beat people up.

Andre said...

A drunken senile man OR woman in depends?


If you say that shit again, I'll kick your ass.

Happy Housewife said...

Yeah our dad is so indestructable, one time I saw him douse a shed in gasoline and then light it on fire thus sending himself flying ten feet across the yard with burned off eyelashes, eyebrows and beard!
After that, I started to question his invincability.
I feel for Solstice because I know how her view of her easrtwhile hero/father is now slightly diminished after seeing him do something "clumsy". At least you covered well with a deep intellectual conversation. I think I got snarked out for just standing there in shock!

dan said...

I'd only have to get on a bicycle and ride over a curb. You'd go down so hard I'd make a clean get away!

peltierinator said...

At least you'll have an excuse this sunday when you come out after 5 min with a foot injury.

Andre said...

We have a bye.


Which is good time for the Mother's Day Brunch.