Hello My Imaginary Friends,
There’s a trend that has been pissing me off practically my entire life. The self-righteous arrogance of judging what others do with their time.
It’s a hundred times worse when it comes to parenting. (Pro-tip for parenting: No matter what you do, you’re doing it wrong according to someone.) Here’s the meme that set me off most recently:
It’s cute isn’t it? Daddy teaching his little girl how to fix cars.
There is so much wrong with this meme but let me stick to two major points:
- Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
- Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
1. Men are not immature idiots and we shouldn’t treat them like they are.
It’s a common trope that men are irresponsible or unable to take care of themselves or children. It’s a common and pervasive stereotype. I mean boys will be boys… right?
You know what happens when people are always expecting, and allowing, you to be a certain way? You start thinking you should be that way or that you’re wrong/broken for not being that way.
I don’t fix cars, I don’t build things, I hate yardwork, and couldn’t care less about the latest sports thingy. I do love to watch sappy movies, read, cook, and be responsible.
No matter what your gender identity is, it’s possible to be an inconsiderate deadbeat stupidface.
2. Just because you don’t understand my hobbies doesn’t mean they’re stupid.
I will never understand wanting to get on a motorcycle and cruise around. It sounds uncomfortable and bothersome to me. That doesn’t mean I think it’s worthless. It offers people a safe (when done properly) thrill that they enjoy. Yay to enjoying yourself.
So why is driving a dilapidated boat into the middle of nowhere to throw string into the water to maybe catch fish considered a wonderful bonding experience, but playing a video game as a family is an immature waste of time?
Seriously, why is one hobby considered more valuable then the other?
Video games are educational, emotionally compelling, and even the worst of them help develop problem solving skills.
Anything can be valuable
When I was a kid I didn’t have the greatest relationship with my father. I don’t think he knew what to do with a nerdy bookworm. He tried to get me into helping with the car and I was totally not interested. I tried, but it usually devolved into him calling his buddies and them drinking while they did car stuff. To me, it was smelly, greasy, and generally uncomfortable.
On the opposite side of the coin, my mother and older brother loved video games. I grew up watching and playing with them. I remember being the navigator for old role playing games. We played as a team, each of us having input in what we did and where we went. I learned so much from those games and those times we did things as a family.
I understand that this meme is trying to say that doing something with your child is more valuable then ignoring them. But a person can ignore their child while working on a car just as easily as playing video games.
How about we as people, and especially as parents, show tolerance for things we don’t understand and back off on the gender stereotypes?