Today has been a little cooler than it was over the weekend, which made my lunchtime walk a little more pleasant. I always like to go for a half hour walk at lunch, usually incorporating a trip to the shop if we’re in need of a loaf of bread or something.
There are a few different routes I take for variety and today’s took me past one of the town’s schools, which is a primary school. I’m a little out of the loop these days so I’m not entirely sure of the age range, but I think it’s 5 to 11 years of age. The playing field is bounded by a hedge and as I walked along the side of the hedge I could hear a female teacher explaining to her pupils how to throw a ball. It must have culminated in her throwing it because she said, “There, just like that.” She followed this with, “I know it’s not brilliant, but I thought it was pretty good for a girl.”
It actually quite shocked me that a teacher would use a phrase like that in this day and age. What sort of lesson is this teaching those pupils? That girls have to apologise just for being girls?
Now I undeerstand that there are and always will be differences between the sexes. Girls like to do girl things and boys like to do boy things and we shouldn’t stop them from making uncoerced choices. I also understand the need for competition, both amongst the members of each sex and between the sexes, but no one – male or female – should ever feel they need to apologise for any natural lack of expertise or ability whatever the context.
This actually reminds me of a time when June and I were first looking at houses in this area. We went to one house that smelled really strongly of dog as soon as we walked in. So strong that I felt like being sick. The guy apologised and said that his wife had divorced him a few months ago and “well, you know us men are no good at housework and stuff”.
Any man who cannot keep a house clean, wash and iron clothes, sew a button on, take up the hem of a pair of jeans, cook a meal, wash pots, etc. etc. should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves. My father is in his seventies and even though he’s not as sprightly as he used to be he still maintains his house to a high degree of cleanliness. He even spent a lot of time nursing my mother until she passed away last year.
When it comes down to ordinary, everyday things of just getting on with our lives, neither sex should claim to be better or weaker than the other, we should just do these things.
Of course, my position on gender equality is undermined to a small degree when I’m informed that dealing with spiders “is a man thing”.