Now that Shaun is on the other side of the world, it is only fair to settle a long standing dispute. Like all married couples, we have a few conflicts from time to time. Most of these are centered over who does certain things better than the other. Those of you who know me already realize that I am a teeny bit on the competitive side, and I think Shaun just goes along with this simply to get a rise out of me.
Now for most things in life we aren’t extremely competitive against one another. I will readily admit that Shaun is much better at hockey than I, and he knows that I am a damn good jump roper from my days on the MacNeill Skipping Sensation.
There are also things that neither one of us really wants to be good at – such as taking out the garbage promptly. That is why we are actively engaged in a game of “garbage Jenga” on a regular basis. This game has the unspoken rule that whoever the garbage falls on will have to take it out.
However, there are certain things that we just get ridiculously competitive over. One of them is over who’s in better shape (Shaun’s dad likes to egg this one on) and the other is the writing on this blog. You cannot imagine what it is like co-writing a blog with someone who writes for a living. If I try to slack off at all, he is on me like curry on rice, and gives me a prompt deadline.
If there is one big difference between Shaun and I as writers, it is that Shaun will write something and post it even if he is a couple of gins deep and I have the need to have my work proofread. (For example, I don’t even know if this entry’s title is grammatically sound.)
*Warning – this blog entry is just about to take a wild tangent so I hope you can follow.*
Anyway, all of this has me thinking about a deeper question. Are these simply differences between Shaun and I or are they rooted in the differences of being male and female?
The other night, I was having a conversation with a couple of friends about the blatant display of male chauvinism that can exist in Sri Lanka. You don’t need to look further than a recent quote by the Sri Lankan Minister of Women’s Affairs (ironically a male) who believes, ‘“Even though we have paid special attention to the protection of women’s rights, when a woman is given authority in a department or a ministry they tend to suppress other women under their administration out of jealousy. This situation will lead to inefficiency in that particular organization. Hence, always the main chair should be given to a male and the assistant should be a female’ (The Daily Mirror Newspaper, Sri Lanka http://www.mirror.lk/news/5843-a-male-should-always-be-the-chairperson).
There are other examples I can point to which are a part of my everyday Sri Lankan experience.
- Women are expected to be quiet and polite. Whenever I calmly bring up any disagreement to a man, I’m always told, ” Please calm down ma’man. There is no need to get so angry.” Which ironically makes my blood boil.
- The bus / running/ creepy men incidents.
- It is not culturally appropriate for a local woman to wear a bathing suit to swim in, but a man may wear his see-through tighty whiteys into the sea.
- The liquor laws on the books in Sri Lanka still prohibit the sale of alcohol to women.
You might think this quote and my competition with Shaun are not at all connected, but I beg to differ. I would argue that inequality due to gender exists (although maybe in a subtler form) in Canada. In fact, my inhibitions about posting jokes and “crossing the line” with politically incorrect content are due to my gender; therefore, males are inherently able to more easily be funny and more entertaining.
See this Psychology Today article for some interesting perspective http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/humor-sapiens/201207/you-think-you-re-so-funny-if-you-re-man-you-might-be-right.
I believe that the article is bang on. Men are perceived to be funnier than woman, which leads to a self-fulfilling prophecy, but when people don’t know the gender of the humorist the difference is very narrow. So there you have it, I am genetically disadvantaged to compete with Shaun in humourous writing.
I think it is actually easier to get away with things when being a man. If a man does something silly and “crosses the line”, we chalk it up to him “just being a guy”. If a female does the same, she is labelled as “a bitch”, “a slut”, “stupid”, etc. depending on the situation.
Perhaps I am over-analyzing the situation, but I can’t help it as society has shaped me to be this way.
My point was reaffirmed when in an effort to avoid offending anyone and being labelled one of the above terms, I had Shaun proofread this entry before posting it. Shaun didn’t think twice about sneaking in the so-called witty tags.
Let the competition official begin! Show your support for me and women’s rights worldwide by continuing to read this blog even though Shaun is back in Canada and may not be including many more entries.