There’s been a lot of videos on social media lately, reversing the roles of men and women in every day society. Very often they are done in a humorous way to showcase just how idiotic and sexist men can be. I find them entertaining, even a little educating. They do a good job of showing perspective without directly attacking a man’s ego.
The comments that usually accompany these posts however, are a completely different story. They can be nasty, mean, full of anger. I can’t say that I totally understand because I am not a woman and to a certain degree can never walk in a woman’s shoes. – metaphorically speaking anyway.
But I’ve got a couple anecdotes I would like to share:
When Katie was an infant I walked into a hardware store with her in a stroller. At the counter, the young college aged woman looked at me and asked, “are you baby sitting today?”
I said, “no, I’m not the babysitter.” Her head tilted. Her brow furrowed. A light bulb went off.
“Oh! You’re a nanny!”
I walked out without a word.
Several years back I took my then very young kids into a Starbucks. This was before we knew about Brooke’s autism, before we (both Jess, Katie, I and Brooke) had the tools to help her more easily cope and engage her environment. It had been a difficult night with a late night feeding. I had let Jess sleep because she needed to be at work early the following morning. As I struggled with both girls, a couple of women behind me in line snickered.
“Baby sitting today? Now you know what it’s like for us every day honey.”
I stood and turned. Ironically, she and her friend were without children. I looked her right in the eye.
“I. Am. Not. The. Babysitter. I am their father and I am a stay at home dad.”
They didn’t say another word to me.
This has happened to me on a steady, regular basis, in some form, for almost 13 years. What it comes down to for me is this – snarky, even nasty comments about micro-aggressions aren’t productive. Do I think men need to learn a thing or two?
Based on my experience, so does the other half of society.