Well Rounded Women in a World of Square Men

I have a friend who has a very curious and active 11 month old boy, for whom she prepares all of his organic baby meals (pureed chickpeas, pulsed carrots) and carts around to swimming class. She works part time in at least three different roles, extending herself way beyond the regular job responsibilities to bake cookies for potential customers and spending hours on details of electronic newsletters. She listens to NPR, reads books from the library. She points out the best features of her husband. She keep physically fit and does the best leg waxing job I’ve ever seen. She has a sense of humor, a love of dance and culture, and is a whiz a map reading.

Seriously, people, she is amazing. And one of many of my gal pals who lead thriving lives. And I have to say, that we are lucky to live in America to develop such a wide range of activities and pursue them with freedom as women. Her work ethic is exhaustingly admirable. I’d totally be smitten if she were single and male…

Which brings me to my point: Why is it that I can name many examples similar women who fit such description and so few men that do? Perhaps it’s due to lack of exposure, after all, my close friends are exclusively women. Perhaps it’s due to our horrific culture that tells women “you can be anything” and have sent woman catapulting off in a self-critical pursuit of perfectionism…all while tsk-tsking boys who cook or sew and aren’t gay. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that we live in an age of instant gratification that feeds a male’s intense preoccupation with a handful of interests (video games, sports).

I don’t know why. I just know that in the past 9 months of volunteering at Habitat for Humanity or at the assisted living center, pursing the public library events, taking cooking classes, attending political events, I have yet to come across single men.
I feel lucky to be my friend’s friend (she’s currently supplies my yogurt addiction) and even luckier to consider myself so well rounded…and at the same time concerned for her son and all the growing boys and already grown (I’ll use that term loosely) men out there. Am I biased? Am just not seeing things correctly?


4 thoughts on “Well Rounded Women in a World of Square Men

  1. AH! You are RIGHT! I used to think that I was just choosing “girly” activities that didn’t draw men (yoga and feral cats, anyone?) but actually, that’s in part because men are encouraged to shy away from a wide range of activities deemed too feminine (ie, even cooking still often falls into this category, which is dumb because we *all* have to eat). –Christina

  2. I think is is important to reflect that maybe men may not be interested in these activities. But in some activities that I engage in, like sewing and cooking, it gives me the sense of being independent and not depending on others to meet my needs.

  3. Great post! I haven’t thought of it this way before. I’ve thought that in general men seem to be less involved in the daily grind of the world but then I always chalk that up to growing up in a stupid little town and my filter on the world.

  4. I’ve noticed this my whole life. Some of the activities I’ve pursued as an adult are girlier than others: photography, hiking, cycling, writing…but no matter what the context, almost no men and certainly no single men. A male friend of mine told me it’s not because men don’t like the activity itself, it’s because they don’t want to socialize-especially with strangers- as much as women. I do buy that.

    But in general terms I do believe that for some reason we’ve got a country of well-rounded super women and a lot of mediocre men tagging along with them. I do think it’s because of the pressure on women to be perfect. You have to get that leg wax AND cart around that kid AND go that extra mile at work AND get that work out in AND read that book. If you skip any of these things, you’re not a real woman.

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