BY CHRISTINA PERLEBERG
A few weeks ago, I was at the Moorhead Menards picking up kitchen backsplash tiles for my aunt. The tiles weighed probably 50 pounds, and I was by myself to pick them up.
The young man that helped me in the stockroom made many comments like, “Are you sure you got it?” “You know those are heavy, right?” I carried the tiles myself after telling him, “Yes, I am sure I have it. Thanks.”
This week, my boyfriend and I went grocery shopping. It was minus 17 degrees outside, and extremely unbearable for more than 30 seconds. To save time for the both of us, I grabbed all the groceries and told him to get the doors. If we both had groceries, fumbling for keys in the cold would have taken longer than we wanted.
On our way in, another tenant came in the door behind us. He made a comment that truly irritated me. He said, “Oh, you’re making her do all the work?” This could be seen as just a playful jest to ease the awkwardness of running into someone in the entry or an attempt at small talk. I don’t think so.
This man, and the young man at Menards, were solidifying the widely held stereotype that women need men to assist them with everything, even something as simple as carrying groceries up a few flights of stairs or taking tiles out to their car.
Here’s the deal; I can handle myself, and hopefully so can the women out there reading this. I don’t need a man to carry my groceries. If I lived alone I’d be doing it, and no one would say anything.
It boils down to the gender socialization that our society is so fond of placing on women and men.
Men are strong, capable of hard work and should handle all of the manual labor while women shouldn’t lift a finger because they’re not physically as able. That is simply not the case in my life, and
I don’t need to stand around and wait for a man to help me out.
Sometimes my boyfriend does carry the groceries, but I would like to think our relationship is based largely on equality. He doesn’t tell me I need to make him sandwiches because I’m a woman, and I don’t tell him to dig my car out of the snow just because he is a man.
We are equal, and we treat each other that way.