Have you ever noticed that each member of the family has a different role to play? This isn't a serious social sciences discussion here, but I have some examples.
When I was growing up, it was just understood that Dad makes the coffee. Before any of us children really drank any, it was just mom and dad knocking back the java. I remember days where mom would go without coffee because dad wasn't home to make it. Jake and I were sitting around the table with my family on Saturday night when someone mentioned coffee. Mom and Dad aren't the only ones drinking it anymore. They trained their three girls well (for some reason our brothers just aren't into it!) Ten minutes later, Vanessa, my sister, impatiently shouted out, "Dad! You have to make the coffee now!" and that's just how it's done. Dad makes the coffee (with some friendly nudging on the side), and what good coffee it is!
My brother Graham, on the other hand, is quite adept at making a nice bowl of perfectly salted and buttered popcorn. When movie time came around, who do you think got asked to pop some kernels for us?
If someone wanted any sort of treat bought for them (i.e. candy, Iced caps, donuts, you name it), they would ask Melissa. She was the 'sugar mama', and I think Karl and Vanessa still take advantage of her generosity.
Vanessa was the dynamo, the activist (and still is...see the coffee example!). If anyone wants something to get done, quickly, ask her. She does the job, and in lightning speed. (No wonder she's got the best marks in school out of all of us!)
Mom is just good at everything, much to her chagrin. I think most moms are, though. But I've never met a mom who could provide you with a last-minute gift (from a stash at home), including the gift bag AND card for any occasion. My mom can do that. AND how! It's incredible!
Karl is still too young (and came at the end of the line) for us to know his role yet, and I simply can't remember mine. Oh, selective memory, you have failed me yet again!
Roles like these are, in some ways, tongue-in-cheek, and borne from familial habit and consistency rather than a societal definition of who does what.
This morning I was reading in the news that a conference taking place in Israel is allowing only men to be keynote speakers. This wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that the topic is gynecological advance, which is a matter that concerns women. The article said that there are many professional women who could speak on the topic, but they are only allowed to sit in the audience.
In North America, we have taken women's rights for granted. I do not claim to be fully knowledgeable about matters that take place in other countries, but from what I hear and read about in the news, there are still women who don't have a say, even in things that directly pertain to them.
It is unfortunate that some roles are still being defined, but encouraging to hear that people are pushing back and questioning tradition.
What are your thoughts?