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.