Changing Diapers and Other “Guy” Things

Recently I was walking with a friend near an empty grass field. The field was full of abandoned cars and other junk. I commented to the friend, who is a boy, that the air smelled like shotgun smoke. He turned to me, surprised, and asked me how I knew what shotguns smelled like. I am from Idaho and I think people there just know such things, but I asked him why he was surprised. He said he thought it was cool when girls knew “guy things.” I immediately got defensive, but stayed calm as I asked what “guy things” were. He said it was things like cars, guns, hunting, sports, things that guys do. And then he said, “it’s okay. I know how to do some girl things- like changing diapers.” I have to admit, I kind of blew up at that comment. I told him that changing diapers is not a “girl thing,” it is a “parent thing”- which means both parents- and that if he was not willing to change diapers he was not being a good father. I may have taken that comment too far, but I really believe my basic point was correct. There are not “guy things” or “girl things,” there are just “things.” Girls, simply because they are girls, should not be forced into being interested in something or not interested in something else. I am involved in a college jazz band, and I am usually one of only 2 or 3 girls out of the 17 members of the band. Why is it that girls are not involved in jazz? Is that one of the “guy things”? The ridiculous notion that there are interests or hobbies or talents that are specific only to girls is just wrong and is an inherent flaw in society. Society may teach that girls are not interested in sports, but the biggest and smartest sports fan I have ever met has been a girl. Society may teach that girls are not effective managers or leaders, but some of the most able leaders I have seen have been women. Society may teach that girls cannot play jazz, but I have known girls who could play just as well as their male counterparts. On the flip side, society may teach that boys cannot play the flute, or be a nurse, or be sensitive and caring, but I have met great guys who have done all of those things. Of course , women are able to be mothers and that does give them some specific responsibilities, but so many of the chores that are traditionally delegated to women could and should be completed by men as well. And that includes changing diapers.

—by BP

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