“I think I’m losing my masculinity,” George said yesterday after attending a League of Women Voters meeting with me. “I’ve been doing the Susan Komen Race for the Cure—even wearing the T-shirt with pink logo. Now, I’m thinking of joining the League of Women Voters.” (The LWV has included male members for several years). George even gave up deer hunting several years ago when he saw the deer’s eyelashes through his rifle scope.
George’s lament made me think of my brother’s comments at our dad’s funeral. Dooby talked about our dad functioning as both mom and dad after our mother died leaving him to raise a 10-year-old, 8-year-old and 2-year-old alone. Dooby talked about Dad working long hours in his grocery store while juggling meals, child care, parent-teacher conferences, doctor and dentist appointments. “He showed me what it is to be a man,” Dooby said.
Dooby’s right. Being a man isn’t about killing animals, building biceps, or forcing others to submit to his will. It’s about doing what needs to be done—whether he wants to or not.
Likewise, being a real women isn’t about bra cup size, reproduction, or cupcake decorating. A good friend undergoing chemotherapy last summer wrote me about three women in her ward who showed up to do her yard work. These women didn’t ask the bishop to send over the priesthood to help their friend. They saw a need and took care of it.
I really did have a neighbor once whose husband worked out of town—sometimes for weeks at a time. Her family spent the whole winter slipping and sliding on snow-packed sidewalks and driveway—apparently because neither she nor her three teenage daughters could figure out how to operate a snow shovel.
Thank heaven our culture has moved beyond the stereotype of rigid gender roles. And more power to NFL football teams who wear pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.