Monday, January 28, 2013

Gender Roles. // Jen J.

I don't know if this is a good idea or not but I am going to run with it.

I have a question and I want to open the comment section for a debate.

Some of you may have noticed that some of the lady bloggers in our community have been receiving a lot of flak for the amount of time they are spending in the gym versus the amount of time they spend with their children.  I am going to be honest, sometimes I have thought to myself who in the hell has time to spend two+ hours at the gym on a regular basis.  I do not even have rug rats and I do not have time for that. Between my full-time job, the commute, keeping the house clean, fitness, quality time with my favorite people and my social media addiction, I am lucky if I get six hours of sleep a night.

But, who am I to say what is what and how long is too long.  There is no way I can fully grasp the dynamic of their lives from the snippets they share on their blogs.  Maybe they have a 15 minute commute to work versus my sometimes hour commute.  Maybe they are rich and can afford a maid.  I also don't know what role their husbands play in their family.

My thoughts wander to gender roles.  I feel as though my perspective on the topic is somewhat unique.  1) My profession is pretty male dominated so I personally don't feel confined to typical gender roles.  I work with all men and only one of their wives work, the rest stay at home (and a huge kudos to them; I know it's hard).  Sometimes we travel a lot which takes us away from our loved ones.  In fact one of my male co-workers and I took a 6 month overseas assignment together and at no time did I hear him receive any criticism for being away from his three kids for that amount of time.  2) I was lucky to be raised in a household where I never had outside care.  There was always a parent home with us.  My dad taught during the day and my mom worked nights at the hospital.  So typically it was my dad feeding me dinner, brushing my hair after a bath, and tucking me and my sisters into bed.  Therefore, I am a big believe that the a father can be just as nurturing as a mother.

I am not trying to be Debby Defender here.  I am just trying to be objective and non-judgmental.  But my thoughts do bring me to a question. 

Do you think these bloggers broads would receive such criticism if they were men?


  1. No I don't think they would be criticized if they were men. I definitely don't. Not at all.

    I very much enjoyed reading this because it is so true. I am a teacher and even in the teaching world these expected gender roles are an issue. If a male teacher is a coach, good for him. If a female teacher is a coach, when does she have time for her family? I personally know several women who stopped coaching when they had their children and there are male teachers whose wives had babies without a thought going to quitting coaching.

    Obviously this is a very isolated example, but seriously. WTF oppressive gender roles?

  2. I honestly don't think they're getting flack because they are women... I have a few opinions and will use this post to openly lay them out.

    1. Jealousy. --These women seem to have it all, (full-time job, husbands, children, significant weight loss, successful blogs, thriving social lives)and for a person struggling to juggle just two of the above mentioned things, it can seem unjust to the reader. That being said, these bloggers are showing you snippets of their life... If a blogger only posted about how hard it was to be a mom, how much their job sucked, how little sex they were having, how hard it is to lose weight, nobody would read. We are receiving hope, encouragement and inspiration from these women.

    2. They can no longer relate to their favorite blogger. --People change and of course, their writing style and subjects will change to. Mommy bloggers are more than their children. Fitness bloggers are more than a sweet running playlist. Accept them for who they are, because they do the same.

    3. Selfishnes. --If someone bashes a popular blogger, fans flock to the site to pore over posts and rally around their pal... That in turn drives up the views of the basher's site and if their blog is monetized, earns them money.

    There is nothing wrong with realizing that you don't agree with or can't relate to one of your favorite bloggers... Do the classy and adult thing... UNFOLLOW and leave them be.

  3. I don't believe there would be nearly as much criticism if the roles were reversed. I think we live in a time where women can do anything they want, BUT they take the risk of being guilted into thinking they don't love their families just because they take a moment for themselves or they go away on a business trip. I grew up in a home where my mom supported us. She worked more than full time, then came home and cooked and cleaned and sewed and everything else that needed doing. Not once did I feel neglected. Even when she needed a moment to herself. I on the other hand was a SAHM for 10+ years and loved every minute of it. And I never felt like I was missing out on anything. I think it is all about personal choices and what makes your family work!

  4. I think there are many factors that play in. I was raised by my dad so I know first hand that dads are capable of taking care of the kids and the home. For me, it's biblical. Sounds old fashion but I believe God created me to be a mom and to stay home with my kids. I mean my baby goes to bed at 6pm. I would get home and be able to spend a half hour with her before she goes to bed. That is just not enough for me. I think everyone is different and there is no right or wrong way to do it. Do what works best for your family. I myself just couldn't imagine someone else spending more time with my kids than me :) I feel very blessed to get to stay home with my kids. With that said, I also have to make choices especially with our budget to make that work. I have become very frugal and I am ok with that.

  5. I have many thoughts. First, everyone seems to forget that blogs/ anything online shows a snippet of real life, not the whole picture. And it's generally a very controlled snippet. Do I personally have 2 hours a day to spend in the gym? No, and that's not who I want to be. But if they do, and it works for them, who am I to criticize? And no, I don't think they would be getting anything but positive support if they were men.

    Second, I am part of a religious culture that frowns upon women (mothers) working outside the home. But I do, and have for the majority of my life. Does that make me less of a mother, wife, or person? Not to me, or my family. But that's very difficult for my friends and aquaintances to understand & accept. My husband works long hours, sometimes nights, and with a schedule that changes every week. The only way for our family life to run smoothly is for me take on the responsibilities at home. My job, and any of my personal outside activities NEVER compromise my family. If I have a conflict, I figure it out. And is my house spotless? No. But we're making it work.

  6. I think Heather hit the nail on the head

  7. I agree with Heather. Especially the part about jealousy. Yep, these women seem to have it all, and to those of us struggling with weight loss (and in turn, sometimes low confidence), it can be a tough pill to swallow. But we need to remember to use these women as motivation - and we need to build each other up, not bring each other down. It's sad that women now are constantly belittling each other. I admit, I've been known to do the same when I see a hot girl on the street. But we have no idea what these women really go through in their everyday lives. It's like that quote that's been going around quite a lot lately..."Don't compare your behind-the-scenes to other people's highlight reel."

  8. Boom. You nailed it.

    What I find interesting is that almost all the criticism I hear about how moms are spending their time (no kids yet, so the criticism I hear is about others) comes from other WOMEN. Weird. I think men are more likely to try to "protect" my boss. He's constantly scaling back my coworker's responsibilities because she's a mom and he doesn't want her to have to sacrifice her time with her kids. It drives her nuts, but at the same time, he's also trying to get appoint her as our team lead, so there's obviously no malice on his part. He's just trying to be helpful. I'm not saying men are more for equality than women--there's more to it than this issue. But when it comes to parenting, and a woman's role in raising her family, the ladies seem to have more to snipe about than men. Go us.

  9. First, yes, [many] women are catty and criticize others. I think if there is not abuse or neglect, it really isn't my business to judge. Why would I spend my precious time reading about someone I hate? It is wasteful and unhealthy.

    About gender roles: one of my biggest pet peeves is a father saying he has to babysit his own kids. Really? When do you ever hear a mom saying she has to babysit her own kids?

    I am the mom and the primary income earner in my family. I love my husband and kids. Most days, I work out early in the morning and am ready to get kids up and eat breakfast together. My husband takes the youngest two to school. I leave at 7:30 and get home at 5:30.

    That said, sometimes I need a few hours to myself on a weekend day. I need alone time to do what I want and not be on a schedule or to answer to anyone or I feel like I am going to explode. It isn't pretty. If someone chooses to judge me for that, perhaps that person should not spend time with me.

  10. I don't think it's a gender thing at all. The time you spend with your children/outside the home reflects the same for a man or a woman in my eyes.

  11. I don't think that men get criticized as much for time away from their families. Not at all. It should be equal, but it isn't.

    With that said, I'm going to take a less popular stance for a second. Yes, it is true that blogs only give us a snippet of someone's life, and we should give them the benefit of the doubt. Maybe they get up at 5am to do those 2-hour workouts, or maybe they are home from work at 3pm. We should definitely keep that in mind.

    BUT...when I read about women who have left for work before their kids are up, work out for two or more hours every day after work, and ONLY get home in time to put their kids in bed....I don't think that's right. Yes you need to make time for yourself, but you definitely need to make time for your kids - and more than half an hour a day. I don't understand what the point is of having kids if you only get time with them on weekends. (Which makes me think, that must really suck for divorced parents who only see their kids once or twice a week...but I guess that's another topic entirely). The key is balance - I find we're often stuck between two extremes: not enough time with our families, or not enough time for ourselves.

    With all that said...very rarely is something spelled out in such full detail on a blog, so I would always give someone the benefit of the doubt before criticizing. And if I think they are neglecting their kids, well...I just won't read!

  12. (BTW, everyone I said applies to men as well. I am not biased based on gender!)


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