I recently read an article that said DIY is in decline because today’s men are too soft. Men are taking on less traditional gender roles, and doing less home improvement. We recently moved to Texas, and the house we moved into has several questionable repairs, one of which was some improperly installed can lighting in the kitchen. When my husband realized the extent of the strangeness of the “repair,” I think his head spun around a few times a la the Exorcist. I recently traveled back to Arizona to complete some light plumbing, concrete, stucco, and electric repair. People professed their amazement that I knew how to do all that.
So, are today’s men too soft or too wimpy? Before I give my opinion on that, let’s talk a little about the role of yesterday’s man.
One hundred years ago, most men were involved in some sort of physical labor: factory work, farming, auto industry, to name a few. We didn’t have the same level of automation or machines to do our work, so men had to be strong. Many people built their own houses a hundred years ago. Today, there are many, many jobs for men (and women). Most of them are “specialty” type jobs. What I mean by that is that a hairdresser doesn’t need to know how to wire a socket and a plumber doesn’t need to know how to grow a tomato. Many people are specialists, and know how to do one or two things. I would also argue that in some ways, hobbies are dying slow deaths, murdered by cable and Netflix. Most people don’t come home and tinker with the car or try out new recipes anymore. They watch something.
I read stories on the internet about how mothers want their boys to play with dolls and their girls to play with trucks, or both of them to play with blocks, and I get worried. I don’t see what’s wrong with boys and girls (or men and women) being different. I don’t see what’s wrong with stereotypical gender roles, as long as both people are on board. Now, if either party doesn’t want those stereotypical gender roles, then they shouldn’t have them. People need to do what’s right for them individually and in the relationship, not what’s right for everyone else. Every person is going to be different, and every relationship is going to be different. I believe that men and women are equal (or should be) even though they may be different. For example, physically, I’m weaker than my husband. So when I need him to tighten a bolt or lift something, I don’t feel threatened by that. I don’t feel like I’m lacking anything. Similarly, I keep everything organized and handle the money. Rather than feeling upset by that, he’s glad I have skills he doesn’t have.
I had dolls growing up, but I preferred to read books or wander in the woods and pretend. I wrote stories. I also liked video games (original Nintendo, woo hoo!). When I did play with dolls, it was more about making up stories for them than it was doing their hair or any of that stuff.
So, are men today wimpy? Maybe. And women are no longer Suzy Homemaker. Are either of those things bad things? Yes. And no.
Personally, I like that I don’t have to call a professional for many things. I like that I can fix many things by myself with some help from the trusty Googles. My husband also likes being able to fix things around the house. We’re both handy, and many a pleasant Saturday has been spent doing projects. But we like doing that. Not everybody likes doing projects. So, my thought is that instead of making a blanket statement that today’s men are wimpy, maybe we should just consider that they don’t need to do those things for themselves anymore. And if they want to call someone in to do it for them, that’s great too.
Personally, I’ll save my money.
Where do you stand on do-it-yourself?