I’ve been thinking a lot lately about gender roles and stereotypes and how damn annoying they are. That’s probably going to be a series of posts, honestly – there are a few different areas I want to attack there – but I figured I should start said possible series with something positive. A pet peeve of mine, yes, but also something that makes me hopeful.
Caretaker boys are the absolute best thing ever.
Culture (more specifically American conservative Evangelical culture, but this does appear to be a wider problem so whatev) does not value “soft” traits in males. This is established fact, and there have been a whole bunch of articles and studies about that so I’m not gonna try to explain any further. You’re reading this online, you can take ten minutes and google that whole concept if you’re somehow unaware. Just try not to fall down a rabbit hole before you wander back here, okay??
What I wanna talk about here, in my little corner of the internet on this freezing-cold Friday morning, is how much I appreciate when guys don’t let masculine stereotypes stop them.
I have this friend, okay?? Guy I’ve talked about a lot lately, guy I’m kinda in love with, and he probably won’t ever see this post so I feel fine about gushing here. There are a lot of amazing things about this person, but you know what made me realize I was actually in love and not just in lust? He’s kind. Genuinely, passionately, glowingly kind. Not just to me, either; he’s like that with most people. It surprised me a bit – still does, really. I wasn’t sure that such people could exist in real life, but… apparently they can.
A while back, I came up with this theory about different expressions of love. I’ll explain it further in a future post (wow am I giving myself a list here), but basically, most people are either a protector or a caretaker. It’s not necessarily a gendered thing, and though there are pretty obvious “defaults”, it’s kinda cool when the less common forms happen.
It’s kinda cool when a childhood friend sees me having an anxiety attack and calmly talks me down and fixes the situation that was giving me trouble.
It’s kinda cool when a coworker asks if I need help with something that might be challenging for me as a tiny woman.
It’s kinda cool when my partner worries about me even though he knows, probably better than anyone, that I’m tough and I can survive almost anything.
If you’re a guy reading this right now… there’s power in softness. Learn it. Learn to love and be loved.
Chances are, someone’s gonna notice, and you just might save their life.