Sunday, March 12, 2017

Bad Gender Schooling

In days gone by when I was a kid in school, boys took "Shop" while girls took "Home Economics."  I have since come to realize that this convention didn't serve me well in life.  In shop class, I made things like crooked bookcases and really bad desk lamps.  I really didn't need to know how to make inferior goods to those which I could have bought reasonably priced at Walmart; what would have been nice to know was how I could have prepared and cooked something fit to eat, since eating is a required practice but making bad furniture accessories is not.  Most guys in that life gap between their mother and their wife or domestic partner find themselves having to do at least some survival level cooking, and for the totally unprepared the task can be daunting if not calamitous.  One can, after all, only eat so many peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

I understand that also covered in the mysteries of home economics might have been such topics as basic sewing.  Lack of this skill has caused me to attempt some repairs to clothing that turned out laughably hideous. Guys are filled with a wealth of worthless information, but many of us do not know how to sew on a shirt button without resorting to glue or a stapler.  Safety pins have held my pants together on more than one occasion.

My near total lack of cooking and sewing skills were the result of a previous generation's perception that the domestic arts represented "woman's work," and that knowledge of them was somehow unmanly; sexism 101 used to rule in determining such gender-based exposures.  All I know is that I wish I knew my way around the kitchen as well as I was trained to know hand tools.  A spatula can be used every day, whereas a hammer is an occasional need...