Why Gender Expectations Hurt Men Too

Why Gender Expectations Hurt Men Too

gender_expectations_men

Ladies, we all know that gender expectations suck. We have to be sexy with big boobs, tiny waists and breakout-free skin. We also have to be classy and well-dressed and educated. We are supposed to know how to bake pies, cook dinner, iron wrinkly clothes, dance on poles, and make lots of babies – all without shedding a bead of sweat. Then the faulty stereotypes like: We are SO emotional, we don’t think logically, we are all wired to be nurturing mothers, we are nags or bitches, etc. Blah. We know how unfair and how exhausting this all is.

Gender expectations are unfair to men too. Yes, girls play with Barbies with their dangerously skinny proportions, perky boobs and long, blonde hair. Boys play with G.I. Joes and Superheroes with their tall bodies and chiseled physiques. Girls are told to play with baby dolls and kitchen sets, implying the expectations for their futures. Boys are told to play with guns and swords, which also imply the expectations for their futures.

From the very beginning, both boys and girls are set up to believe that there are certain roles that they must fill. And if a man or a woman WANTS to fulfill those roles, that’s awesome! But not every woman wants to be domestic and a stay at home mom. Not every man wants to be a soldier or a fighter or manual laborer.

Women already know that our society is flooded with subtle (and not-so-subtle) messages about how they should live their lives. And yes, this is happening at such a large scale, it can be hard to see anything else. But negative gender stereotyping happens to men too.

  • Men are told it’s “gay” (offensive on so many levels!) or “weak” to show emotions. But men are humans, and humans have feelings. Emotions aren’t a woman thing; emotions are a person thing.
  • Men are still expected to be the breadwinners for their families. Considering over half the breadwinners are now women, this is setting men up for failure. Maybe they should be encouraged to work really hard at what they love and then see their spouse as a teammate!
  • Men are supposed to like sports, beer, red meat and hunting. And many do. And many don’t. You’re not a man or a woman based on your interests.
  • Men in sit-coms, especially fathers, are depicted as bumbling idiots with wives who are shrews because they have to be the “adult” in the house. Unfair to chronically depict women as nags; unfair to chronically depict men as clueless.
  • Men are way too often all grouped together as threats to women. This is a lie. Yes, we still live in a patriarchal culture with way too many misogynistic men. But this is not true of all men. I wasn’t raised by a man like this. I am not in love with a man like this. There are lovely men who love women.   Find them, hold on to them, and celebrate them.

As a feminist who wants to shine a light on women’s issues everywhere, I believe it is important to address issues when they cross the gender lines. Every single feminist should be the side of good men everywhere. (Chauvinist pigs and violent predators can fend for themselves). Gender expectations put unnecessary pressure on everyone. And it’s unfair. Nobody is wired the same way; we aren’t robots.

Featured Image

I’m Worried About Hate, Not Too Much Love

I’m Worried About Hate, Not Too Much Love

love_hate

In case you haven’t heard, on Friday the Supreme Court made it legal for everybody to get married and everyone started putting rainbows everywhere because rainbows are awesome and gay people are awesome and you’re awesome and I’m awesome and life is awesome and love is awesome…

In the midst of all this awesome, there were those who really didn’t think it was awesome. Actually they thought it was dangerous. As in, the world is now going to end because Rick and Larry are getting married. Because apparently those who believe being gay is a sin have never seen anybody who sins get married beforeI was a little irritated about all this. Which was sad because there was so much awesome going on…

And now I’m going to tell you a story.  It’s relevant, so keep tracking:

My boyfriend and I went to breakfast Saturday morning. A woman sat down next to us with two young boys around 6 and 9. The older one touched the younger one; the younger one tattled. Total brothers. Instead of scolding the oldest or telling the youngest to not tattle or any other typical parenting tactic, the mother chose to say these things to her son:

“I should never take you out in public.”

“I should have left you alone with the animals.”

“All those problems you’re having with kids in school – it’s you, not them. You’re the problem.”

“You’re stupid.”

“You’re a disgrace to the family.”

“You’re a fucking piece of shit.”

From a mother to a young son. In public. Imagine private life! Long story short, I freaked out on this woman and tried my best to remind her son that he was not a piece of shit. It was a terrible thing.

But I realized something important. There is so much hate in this world.  So many terrible, horrible people spew hate on other people. Verbal, physical, emotional, sexual hate. It’s overwhelming and exhausting to start comprehending even a portion of the hate in this world. Human beings kill, rape, and abuse each other. Everyday.

In a world with so much hate, I don’t understand the people who are upset about too much love. I wrote a song a couple years back with the lyrics: “They think love is sometimes evil and hate’s sometimes ok. If that’s the truth than up is down, there’s got to be another way.” There are mothers in this world who call their children “fucking pieces of shit” and yet two women getting married is going to ruin America?!? There are gunmen who blow up churches, but this country’s downfall is two men loving each other?? I’m not buying that.

Now, suddenly, social media, the blogosphere and human beings seem to be sharing the message that it’s all gone to hell.  It wasn’t a white male who murdered black church-goers in Charleston. It’s gay people getting married that apparently stirs the wrath of God.  I’d be a hurt and mad if I went on social media and saw that Christians (who are totally allowed to believe that homosexuality is sinful) claim that MY “sin” was God-angering, but mentioned NOTHING about THEIR sin or about the truly terrible things that happen everyday.

I’m too busy being concerned about the horrendous atrocities human beings do to one another to buy into the fear that God is less concerned about the acts of hate in this world and more concerned about Pam and Jane loving one another. If the BIGGEST problem in this world is two people loving each other too much, life must be pretty damn wonderful.  But that’s not the case, is it?  Our priorities are way off base if we think God is now too offended, or if you think God deals with all your crap, but now the gays are getting married and He’s reached his tolerance level!!  That’s fear and insecurity talking.  Not love.

Remember that little boy at breakfast?  What if all the energy being spent frustrated with gay marriage went in to helping him?  What if we were more focused on ridding the world of hate than policing love?  I’m gonna worry about the hate, and embrace the love.  Rainbows all the way.  Gay marriage is now, simply, “marriage.”  And love won.  Because LOVE ALWAYS WINS.  And there is never, ever, ever too much love.

Featured Image via Flickr

I Missed “How to Be an Adult 101″

I Missed “How to Be an Adult 101″

grown-up

Dear Universe:

We got a little problem.

See, I’m 24 years old. I’ve been a legal adult for 6 years now.  So I don’t really know how it happened. But somehow I missed the registration for the How to Be an Adult 101 classes. I’m a teeny bit lost.

Frankly, Universe, I don’t know what the freak I’m doing.

In my childhood, I learned to count and read. In my teen-dom, I learned to do algebra, write papers, and kiss. In my college years, I learned to speak my mind, take shots, and buy take out. Now, I know these are all enviable skills. (Especially the kissing). But kissing skills can only get you so far in this world. Other than a really strong tongue muscle…. I digress…. Be mature, Taylor, be mature….

x354-q80Buying this…

How was the How to Feed Yourself 101 day? Do other adults do this easily? I mean – You plan a meal and high five yourself. Then you go to the grocery store, forget your list, remind yourself you’re too friggin awesome to forget 3/4 of your ingredients, learn you really are that awesome because you only forgot 1/3 of them, go back to the store to spend more money on the ingredients you forgot, only to follow a recipe perfectly and still have the nastiest salmon dish your mouth has ever tasted. That’s just too much work on a Tuesday.

How was the How to be Cool, Calm, and Collected 101 day?  Because I really could have used that one.  All these grown-ups walking around like they know what’s up and it’s all under control.  They answer “I’m fine” when you ask “How are you?”  Fine?!  I’d believe it if fine meant F-ed up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.  When I’m supposed to be demure and poised, I’m more like an excited dog or a fire alarm or an airplane crashing over the Sahara Desert in slow, fiery motion.

Oh and the Sex and Relationships 101 class?  I know I’ve already discussed my great kissing skills, but beyond that it’s a little mushy.  Did you teach everyone how to stick two people in the same house and have it be love and roses and a romantic comedy with sparkly lights?  Because it’s more like “Why did you leave that wet washcloth on the sink?” followed by “Did you really just stink up the bathroom before I have to use it?” followed by  “I haven’t shaved in five days, wanna make out?”

Then the bills, the doctors, the insurance and retirement and investments, the family planning, and the Good Lord why in the name of everything holy do doctors get to charge you when you’re a few minutes late, but have no problem making you wait until all the eggs in your ovaries expire before writing you a prescription for Z-Pac?! I could have told the doctor I needed a Z-Pac!  I can see the white strep-throat-spots.  I DO have an iPhone flashlight, a mirror, and the ability to stick out my tongue and say “Ah” like a good 5-year-old.

Universe, either you forgot to sign me up for Adulting classes OR everyone else is faking it.  Like little toddlers in tall, awkward bodies thinking they got away with something and wondering who the hell decided to pass out “You’re an adult now” licenses.

So now I’m gonna drink a glass of wine (how remarkably fully-grown of me), then keep pretending like I know what I’m doing.  Or maybe I won’t.  Maybe I’ll just say – “I ain’t got a clue, but I’m gonna make it work anyway.”  And I’m gonna kiss a lot while I do it, probably mess up a pinch, but always be fabulous.   Because I might be an adult with adult responsibilities, but nobody told me I had to grow up….. Probably because I missed that class.

Sincerely,

Taylor the Adult But Not Really

P.S. If you don’t laugh at life because it’s so silly, you’ll cry because it’s so not silly.

P.S.S. An apple made my permanent retainer become unglued while I was writing this post.  Nothing drives home the point of not feeling like an adult more than calling the dentist to fix your retainer.

grown_upOur “We seriously have to adult?” faces

How to be a Beauty Product Minimalist

How to be a Beauty Product Minimalist

millennial_minimalists

I like looking pretty and enjoy trying a new beauty product, technique, or style.  When I took a salon receptionist job as a teenager, I learned that I really loved makeup, hair color, and the perfect skincare/hair products.  I think nothing about this is wrong!  But just like all good things, it can be taken to an extreme. For me, this can happen in two different ways:

1) I can buy (literally BUY) the lie that there is no such thing as natural beauty, that women need the latest and greatest to be considered beautiful.  When cosmetics become my NEED instead of a way to enhance what’s naturally there or express personality, I’m going down a dangerous road.

2) I can take my purchasing habits to a materialistic extreme.  How much money am I willing to part with over mascara? moisturizer?  What else can I use that money for?  Buying these items is not bad; I use both every day.  But I don’t use 50 of them at a time.  And I don’t need to shell out hundreds of dollars.

Also, I can’t travel frequently with so many products.  I pack a small cosmetic bag for trips and am completely satisfied – why should home life be different?  Tackling my beauty products was my first step in striving for the minimalist life.  I attempted a “realistic” approach since I still truly enjoy using lots of beauty products.  Keep in mind, I just downsized in February before a move.  This was 10x worse a couple months ago! Yikes.

beauty_product_minimalist

1. Take Inventory

My makeup drawers were overflowing, so was the cabinet under my sink.  It wasn’t until I pulled it all out that I realized how many products I actually had.

#MillennialMinimalist Challenge: A good way to take inventory is to “pack” one cosmetic bag as though you were going on a trip.  Use only what you packed for a week.  See what you missed and what you didn’t.  If you never missed it, do you really need it?

beauty_minimalist

*not pictured: shower products and my lipstick collection*

2. Create Throw-away and Give-away buckets

Throw away anything past its prime or empty. If you’re like me and have a handful of younger female family members, you can easily put the good stuff you no longer want/need in a bag and pass it along.

3. Get Rid of the Duplicates

Slimming down on the repeats is an easy place to begin if you don’t know where to start.

Exhibit A: 8 shades of blue nail polish.  Painfully unnecessary.  I cut it down to two.beauty_minimalist

Exhibit B: 13 Eye shadow palettes and 4 singles.  I cut it in half.

beauty_minimalist

4. Put all the near-empty items toward the front

I still had some high-quality cosmetics that I enjoyed using, but were almost empty.  Throwing them away would be throwing away money.  Instead, I placed these items toward the front and committed to using them first.  In a month or so, my collection will be even smaller without waste.

beauty_minimalist

The outcome:

Ongoing!  But I managed to throw/give away over half of my products.  I went from my makeup not fitting into five drawers to fitting comfortably in three drawers.  My nail polish now fits in one small container, my shower products take up a tiny corner of the shower, and my hair care bin is half the size.  Once I get through my almost-empties, samples, and my “I can’t believe I bought this, it’s so unnecessary, but I’m going to use it up anyway” products, I’ll have a collection that’s more manageable for me.  While still having fun cosmetics to play with.  I’ll post an updated picture once that happens.

beauty_minimalist

Other steps I’m taking:

– Replace expensive products with cheaper and more natural options, like coconut oil as a makeup remover.  And use essential oils I already have for beauty boosters.

– Stop buying things I already have.  I don’t need to buy lip products for 37 years or so.  I have enough.  STOP THE MADNESS!

If any of my other fellow Millennials are minimalists, or are in the process of minimizing (like me!) – let me know! I’d love to hear your tips and possibly even link up to your work!

Life is full of beauty. Notice it. Notice the bumble bee, the small child, and the smiling face. Smell the rain, and feel the wind. Life your life to the fullest potential, and fight for your dreams. – Ashley Smith

Reading Resources For Minimalism

Click on the links before to learn more about my favorite books on minimal living.

1. Simple Living – 30 days to less stuff and more life

simple-living

2. 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess

7

3. Organized Simplicity: The Clutter-Free Approach to Intentional Living

organized

 

**Some links may be affiliate links. This means I can make money at no extra cost to you. As always, I only recommend products/books that genuinely adore.**

Chasing Lovely & Wander Woman

It all started when my friend Katie and I were visiting at a coffee shop.  She asked: “What would it look like for a group of young, Millennial women to get together as a group to empower and support one another?”  It started that way.  It ended this way….

chasing lovely

Last weekend, women between the ages of 18 and 25 gathered into a home. We called ourselves “Wander Woman.” Most didn’t know each other, many came alone which is scary and brave and awesome.  We had a table where they could write why they were there (most of them wrote about how they wanted to be with other women who support and encourage each other), they put on name tags, and wrote one word on a mirror to finish the sentence “I am…” These women wrote words like “strong” and “worthy” and “enough.”

woman_chasing lovely

chasing lovely

Then they poured mugs of coffee and tea and gathered around in a living room of twinkly lights to listen to other young women read things they had written about self-love and being enough.  Girlfriends can write, y’all.  We laughed, some cried, some just listened.

The delightful duo from Nashville Chasing Lovely joined us for the evening and shared ten songs and their hearts.  They exceeded all expectations – their music was beautifully written, their voices were strong and flawless, and their kindness, style, humility, and wisdom was refreshing and inspiring.

chasing lovely

chasing lovely

We finished the night by taking photo booth style pictures.  We laughed and chatted and ate a lot of dessert and laughed some more.  We made new friends and discovered we are all so much alike.

woman_chasing lovely

wander_woman

So – What would it look like for a group of young, Millennial women to get together as a group to empower and support one another?  It would look like this:

chasing lovely**some girls had to leave before this photo was taken – and they were awesome too!!**

You can also read about this event on Katie’s blog.