I’m a Grown-Ass Man, and I Cook My Own Damn Dinner: notes on masculinity and gender roles
A lot is made of the meaning of masculinity in modern society, and there are those who believe and fear there is a decline in masculinity. Some are indoctrinated women, the Serena Waterfords and Aunt Lydias of the world, but most are men. Sad, angry, frightened men. These men, who live in fear of personal emasculation and figurative (and literal?) castration, are in fact the antithesis of masculine.
I enjoy cooking. I am not completely averse to cleaning. I cook food, and then I wash my dishes, and I do laundry, vacuum, scrub, whatever, all of it. Some would say that these behaviors are feminine. I’d say they’re the basic requirements of being a functional adult. They label cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, all “housework” as “women’s work.” Like I should have a woman doing it for me. That is bullshit, on several grounds.
First off, I don’t “have a woman.” I don’t have a wife, fiance, or girlfriend. If I did, I wouldn’t expect her to do any of those things for me because I’m a goddamn grown-ass man. I also don’t live with my mommy or have a maid. Again, because of the grown-ass status of my manlihood.
Second, there’s no reason that a woman should have to do any of these things for a man. If you’re a woman and you want to, then by all means. But if you’re a man and you want a woman to do them for you, there’s something wrong with you.
There was a time, a very long time, but not that long ago, when this behavior was treated as the norm. Men went to work and women stayed home and took care of all the household things. Boys went from living in their parents’ homes, having their mothers do everything for them, then got married and had their wife do everything for them. Rather than this being a model for masculine, or feminine, roles, one that celebrates the masculinity of men, it is instead emasculating and infantilizing.
Men who want, expect, and/or need women to do these things for them are pathetic and insecure. They are boys who want a woman to come take the place of their mother. I could make some Freud and Oedipus jokes here, but will settle for reiterating that these are childish excuses for men. Insisting that certain things should and must be done by women for men, like all performative misogyny, is covering for inability and personal inadequacy. These men are losers who, rather than being saved by some too-generous, brainwashed, or enslaved woman, should be allowed to simply die unaided. Because they can’t take care of themselves. Ultimately, they are incapable, and should by natural order succumb to starvation and disease beneath piles of trash.
If you reach adulthood and can’t take care of the most basic life functions of feeding and cleaning yourself, that’s pathetic. There’s nothing manly and masculine about not being able to do the bare minimum for survival. Regardless of sex and gender, if you can’t prepare yourself a meal and clean up after yourself, you’re a loser.
To want to “put women in their place” is a diseased and lothesome attitude to have. To be threatened by women working, making money, being powerful, is absurd, and further evidence of being a pathetic insecure loser. As is stigmatizing and insulting men for taking on what have been deemed “traditionally feminine roles.” Honestly, I think the idea of being a “househusband” would be cool. If I fell in love with a woman who has a high-powered job and huge salary, I wouldn’t be intimidated. If she suggested I quit my lower-paying job to stay home, take care of the house, the family, whatever, I wouldn’t feel emasculated. To be the trophy househusband to a badass sugarmama? That would be awesome. I’d get so much work done. Do some cooking and cleaning in exchange for staying home, writing, painting, exercising and shit most of the day? Sign me up! Hell, I could be building additions to our house, or building whole new houses and other “traditionally manly” things while she’s off stacking that dough for us.
I wouldn’t feel like any less of a man. Those who would, whose sense of manhood hinges so precariously on the enforcement of “traditional gender roles” are showing how little manhood they have to begin with.