Why I’m Thankful for Changing Gender Roles
November 21, 2018
The biggest holiday in November may be Thanksgiving but have you heard of lesser-known days like “National Men Make Dinner Day” and “Sadie Hawkins Day”? No? Read on to see why we should be thankful—in the spirit of Thanksgiving—that the concepts behind these days are now pretty outdated.
Let’s start with “National Men Make Dinner Day” (the first Thursday of November). A day for men to, well, make dinner, it seems like kind of a joke. The website for it even mentions that guys who cook regularly are in the majority. Traditionally, cooking may have been considered a “woman’s task,” but we already know that that’s no longer the case. According to a 2013 study from researchers at the University of North Carolina, there has been a steadily increasing trend of men cooking. The study showed that around 43 percent of American men are cooking for almost 50 minutes a day.
Sadie Hawkins Day (the first Saturday after November 9th) is based on a 1937 story from a comic strip called Li’l Abner. Sadie Hawkins was described as a physically unattractive girl whose father was scared that she would never be married. He created “Sadie Hawkins Day,” featuring a race for all of the bachelors in town, with Sadie chasing them down. This became an annual event where, if an unmarried woman chased a bachelor and dragged him across the finish line, he would have to marry her. This idea was then picked up across the country as a way to have women take the initiative by asking a man out—something which used to be really rare.
Besides being offensive (and, in the case of Sadie Hawkins, downright sexist and heteronormative), these “holidays” might seem bizarre to us today, and that’s a good thing. These days, a man making dinner is nothing to praise, it’s just them doing their fair share of cooking. And who needs a holiday to get the courage to ask someone out? Most of us know that if you are interested enough in a person, you should do it regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. Maybe in the past, it was a surprise to see a man cook dinner or a woman ask a man out, but thanks to more gender equality, these things are becoming less surprising.
It is good to look back sometimes just to see how far we’ve advanced. Another thing to be thankful for during Thanksgiving!