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Monday, August 12, 2013

What Real Men Do!

I was lucky growing up...  no one told me what "real men" are supposed to do.  This allowed me the freedom to decide what I, as real a man as I know, thought the genuine male should spend his time on.  Interestingly, there's not a power saw or football to be found in my personal list.

We often hear about girls who've been told that they mustn't do this or shouldn't do that because it's not appropriate for someone of their sex.  Happily, this seems to be becoming more a thing of the past.  But boys, too, have been subjected to the expectations of others when it's decided what's right and proper for young men to be interested in.  While this may also be changing to some degree, I still see plenty of typecasting when it comes to male versus female hobbies.

I don't know why, but no one ever laughed at me because I was interested in royal families instead of baseball teams.  No one made me feel badly because I could tell you everything you wanted to know about the Kennedy White House restoration by age twelve, but couldn't shoot a hoop to save my life.  How did I get so lucky?  I couldn't tell you.  What I do know is that I ended up with a huge variety of interests, a very happy life and a lot of unique information to share with the world.  Does my wife care that I can crochet or do needlework?  Well, yes, she does...  But not for the reasons you might think!  Since she isn't proficient at these ancient "womanly" arts, it's handy to have someone who is.

One of the things that's bothered me about crafting information for men is that it always seems to revolve around "manly" things like wood or metal or leather.  Really, is there something wrong with the man who prefers the very same kinds of crafting materials and mediums that women do?  It seems that somehow a love of beauty and the ability to create it is shorthand for "sissy".  If that's the case, Monet and his water lillies and Van Gogh and his sunflowers are about as sissified as one can get!

My points are this...  First, to the crafting world:  You have a large group of people who have the interest, talent and money to enjoy your wares!  Help make creativity popular among men by helping to normalize their interests.  To parents:  See that boy sitting over there knitting?  Yeah, that's your son and he's probably incredibly creative and talented...  Instead of shoving a football in his hands, buy him some more yarn!  And, finally, to all of the men who love to make things...  Come out of the crafting closet!  I know enormous ex-football players who LOVE to quilt with their wives...  But only after dark and with the curtains tightly drawn.

I'm lucky in my family...  I have a wife who loves me in part because we share so many interests.  I also have a daughter and seven sons who know that it's perfectly acceptable to come in from playing football and pick up that cross stitch project.  Thank goodness no one's telling them how to be "real girls" and "real men"!

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