What about men and grandfathers?

I think I am a fairly reasonable person most days, but then there are the days when I am not.  This is one of the “not” days.

Today, I really must take issue with The Lakeside Collection catalog.  I was scanning their newest catalog offerings when lo and behold I came upon Cutting Boards for Special Women.  These cutting boards are part cutting board, part home decor, and part positive affirmation for women and grandmothers.

Cutting Boards for Special Women Cutting Boards for Special Women

Oh dear.  You know I am going to have to take issue with this today.  Sure, they are lovely and would likely make a fine gift for a woman or grandmother who values such a thing as a decorative cutting board.  I am not here to argue that.  What I struggle with is the notion that the purview of decorative cutting boards is gender-specific. What about men and grandfathers?

Which reminds me (before I go down the men and grandfathers rabbit hole) – why two categories – women and grandmothers?  When you are a grandmother are you less of, or more than, an amazing woman?  Perhaps that categorization is all a marketing strategy designed to push it as a Mother’s Day gift for grandma.  But if that was truly the case, why not have a mother version as well?  I guess I am going to have to conclude purely from this cutting board evidence that grandmothers are a class unto themselves; and, for my own self-inflation, I will likewise conclude that grandmothers are more amazing than the amazing women the other decorative cutting board is focused on (note, the entirety of this conclusion is based on this grandmother’s sense of status valuation and not on any real data – although I am sure there is real data out there to support this).

But back to men and grandfathers – where are their decorative cutting boards?  Don’t they need positive affirmation as well?  Couldn’t we just change the backgrounds a bit to include the stereotypical wildlife or nature components that adorn the vast majority of greeting cards for men and change “woman” to “man” and “grandmothers” to “grandfathers”?  Really, it should be that simple.  Perhaps The Lakeside Collection is waiting to roll those out a bit closer to Father’s Day – is that the plan?  Because speaking as a woman who only has a kitchen because it came with the house, I find the underlying assumption of these cutting boards – the assumption that the kitchen is a woman’s place – more than a tad irritating.

To be fair, I recognize that The Lakeside Collection is not the only offender here.  This type of gender stereotyping is endemic in society.  How often do you see male-specific cards or gifts adorned with flowers, shoes, butterflies, or bluebirds?  How often do you see female-specific cards or gifts adorned with sports equipment, mountain streams, television remotes, or beer cans?  The answer to both questions is – almost never.  We are still holding on (as a society) pretty tightly to gender stereotypes from the 1940s and 50s.

Most days it doesn’t irritate me quite as much.  As I said, most days I am fairly reasonable – but not today. Today I ask for gender equality in access to decorative cutting boards – even if they have wildlife or nature on them – we need to take some steps forward on this front.  And if you really want to gain my applause, put some butterflies and bluebirds on them. ;-)

Day one thousand three hundred and eighty-three of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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3 Responses to What about men and grandfathers?

  1. Becky Rider says:

    Hahaha! You are correct, of course, and I know Barrett and his male friends who love to cook have a tough time finding kitchen decor appropriate to them.

    Barrett’s girlfriend Ashley is a career girl, and would rather spend her time in rooms other than the kitchen, whereas Barrett likes to cook and enjoys spending hours in the kitchen, even though he works professionally in a restaurant kitchen.

    Cooking is not gender-specific, and I’m not really sure why this gender assignment continues when the societal norms changed some time ago.

    Perhaps there is some complacence by men who passively allow their partner to fill the role of cook and maid, even though both have other roles they fill both inside and outside the home.

    After all, it’s easier to let someone do what they think is expected of them anyway, than to step outside one’s comfort zone and share the roles equally.

    In my case, my honey is perfectly willing to cook, and already cleans up after meals, but I do the cooking most of the time for the simple reasons that I like to cook, and I’m good at it, while he does not and is not.

    For us, it’s not gender but inclination and ability that determines who does what in the household. He does chores I’m not inclined to do (though I’m able) like scrubbing the toilets, and work I’m not able to do like repairing the car. Likewise, I do chores that he either is not able or not inclined to do.

    Works for us. Nice not to be locked into gender roles (and limitations) in our house.

  2. Logan Adams says:

    The message is one thing, but what truly is obscene is these cutting boards are made out of “glass and rubber.”

    Glass is the worst cutting-board surface in the world. It is far harder than any knife steel and will destroy any blade used on it. Save your knives’ edges and use a proper wooden, bamboo or composite cutting board.

  3. Kathi says:

    I agree with the cutting board, I wonder if they sell very well, they’re not usable, just decorative. What can a man want? Hmm, how about a deer clock, for the garage, with some sentiments written on the antlers. However, I must say that I’m sort of torn with placing gender specific responsibilities on certain tasks that are done around the house. In our household, like most, my husband and I work 8 -10 hours a day at an office, 5 days of week. Because of limited time in the evenings, we both are responsible for doing those household duties. Unlike in the ‘olden days’ when the wife stayed home and took care of ‘inside’ duties and the husband took care of the ‘outside’ duties, most likely on the weekends. Times have changed, and so have the roles/responsibilities in keeping a household in order. Both need to cook, clean, grocery shop, mow the lawn, take out the garbage, keep the yard work up, shovel, laundry. However, I think it’s important not to forget that there really are woman responsibilities/roles, and man responsibilities/roles, there needs to be some separation with the genders. I love a manly man and I’m sure a man loves a womanly woman. I understand why those cutting boards are sold in those cute little stores. But no matter what anyone says or does, the kitchen is considered the ‘woman’s place’ and the garage is considered the ‘man’s place’. I’m sure there are rugged garage things to be bought, they’re just not cute as kitchen stuff. And that’s just another separation between the genders, and I like it that way.

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