10/31/2005

I am a sexist

Jacob had his first swim class of the fall session today. We walked in, not late, but not exactly early, and the director of the program was already assembling the kids into their classes. I recognized the director from previous sessions, but I thought, who are all the old men gathered around her? I found myself looking around for the teachers, you know, the young lifeguards. The director announced the teacher for Jacob's class, and it turned out to be one of those old men! Seriously, this guy was at least 50, and didn't exactly look, um, very physically fit. The other teacher I got a good look at looked like he was pushing 80, but at least he didn't have a belly. Up til now, Jacob's swim class has always been taught by young, perky, extremely physically fit young female lifeguards who make you feel glad you don't have to stand next to them in a swim suit. You expect me to believe that these guys can handle all these young kids? Wow, they must be really scraping the bottom of the barrel to get teachers this session, I thought. All of this flashed through my head in the 4 seconds it took to get the kids over to where they were supposed to get in the water. I took my seat on the bleachers next to the pool, and watched the class very carefully, ignoring the director's instructions about how to keep your kid from pooping in the pool. And, wonder of wonders, Jacob's teacher actually knew what he was doing! He got into the pool in a silly and goofy way that made all the kids laugh, and after the kids would swim to him, he would pick them up and huck them high up in the air and let them swim back to the wall, grinning all the way. The lifeguards with the perky boobs and 19 year old butt never did that, I thought. He tested them on all their strokes, and actually seemed to give them real instructions about how to improve, other than just the vacuous praise like, "Way to go, you're awesome!" that I was used to hearing. So once again, I am confronted with a prejudice I never knew I had: Swimming lessons are a woman's job. OK, I'll admit, it's not a prejudice that is actually very earth shattering or life changing, (I mean, I don't foresee male swim teachers of America bonding together and marching on Washington for their rights to wear Speedos anytime in the near future) but nonetheless, it was a perception that I was unaware that I harbored. It makes me wonder what other sexist notions I have. I'm sitting here trying to think of something cute and pithy to say, but I really can't identify what else I think is only a woman's job. Yet, clearly, if there is one, there must be more, right? Hmmm....

17 Comments:

Blogger joe ford jr said...

There are very few jobs now a days that only one sex does. With the exception of a few obvious ones like child birth and breast feeding. I have yet to think of any. The only jobs to date that i can think of the is and always will be a female job is First Lady and nun. I hope I see a woman as president in my life time because it would be so cool. Heck if a woman became president and she was also black it would kill 2 birds with one stone.

11/01/2005 05:15:00 AM  
Blogger ed said...

One thing I like about the "Meet the Parents" movies is the way they consistently refer to Greg as a "male murse." That kills me. I think most people still have a hard time thinking of nurses as anything but female.

11/01/2005 09:24:00 AM  
Anonymous Susan M said...

I have a guy friend who taught kids how to swim for awhile. He's a diver, and now he's a diving coach at a college.

He was also in school recently to become a nurse.

11/01/2005 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger The Wiz said...

My girls have had both women and men teach them in swimming. They seem to prefer the women. I infer this from the fact that they say "Is my teacher a girl? I like the girl teachers better."

11/01/2005 11:04:00 AM  
Anonymous Chad Too said...

Try being a stay-at-home dad who takes his son to play in the park. Every questioning look you get screams "child molestor."

11/01/2005 01:15:00 PM  
Blogger ToasterOfen said...

Both my husband and I are swim teachers...and out of all the swim teachers I have known in my 10 years, about half have been guys.

Some little girls are intimidated by men, but most actually really like the guy teachers. My husband was a favorite among kids and parents...and most of the guy teachers I have known are really great. I've only known a couple of male teachers who had pot-belly's, but they were just as good as all the others.

Heather, I'm glad you were able to experience a male teacher...they have a lot to offer, can be really funny and goofy (something female teachers don't always offer) and are usually very loving and dedicated. In order to be a good teacher, you need to love what you do and love the kids.

11/01/2005 03:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Mary said...

Ed, just like in "Meet the Parents," my little grandma always refers to one of my cousins as a "male nurse." He's a strapping guy who just happens to love nursing. I thought it was hilarious to hear it used on that movie. I have another male cousin who is a kindergarten teacher. Two of my brother-in-laws have been stay-at-home-dad's as well. Our family likes to break stereotypes I guess...

Good luck with the swimming, sounds fun!

11/01/2005 04:18:00 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

I posted about SAHMs on my blog this morning, it's a spinoff post from OPRAH yesterday and would be interesed in how you all feel. I welcome your comments and opinion.
Thanks,
Adrianne

11/01/2005 05:13:00 PM  
Blogger joe ford jr said...

I think that the type of job a person does reflects on their personality. Because think about it how many nurses do you know that are mean and cruel. There aren't many because on some level they care about human suffering and want to do their best to ease it. You know the saying there are 2 sides to every thing well when it comes to me I almost always see both sides.But I this case I think this is one topic that doesn't really have 2 sides.

11/01/2005 11:23:00 PM  
Blogger Lisa M. said...

Intersting.

I wonder how I would feel?

I do know that when I discovered WHO my daughters coach was for water polo, I was a bit taken aback, since he looked about ten on a good day.

I henced changed my mind. He is a tiger of a coach, and I couldn't ask for better. I did slightly wonder though, when the kids were standing outside waiting for their Mom's to pick them up, if his Mom was coming to get him...

My daughter informed me. "Mom, he's MARRIED (in teen dramatic fashion).

*chuckle*

11/02/2005 02:30:00 AM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Adrianne-

Thanks for the heads-up on your article. I'm not sure if that post is actually serious or not, but given that you seem to be bent on offending SAHMs in the name of "helping" us, I'll take it that you are. One problem is that you have, once again, failed to enable the comments feature on your post, so you will get no comments on it. However, I'll be more than happy to link to it, and have the discussion over here, because, oh, boy, are you gonna get some comments with that one.

11/02/2005 12:23:00 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Hi Heather:
I was trying to be helpful, trying to get some SAHMs some insight, if SAHMS have time to blog, don't they have time to care for their bodies too? I am not saying all SAHMS ignore their bodies but a lot do. I have heard a lot of excuses they have for why they don't take care of themselves but they seem to be excuses. If you and your husbands are a team, why can't you both get up 20 minutes earlier and have him, watch the babies while you get ready? Or do your make up and hair while blogging. There is time, I think it's about making it a priority.

11/02/2005 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Adrianne-

I'm sure that lots of moms have reasons for looking like they do, and if you are serious about having a discussion, then I can post a link to your blog from here and we can have the discussion over here, or you can enable the comments on your blog and we can have it over there. Like I said, I'm sure that there are lots of moms who would like to respond. Let me know what you would like to do.

11/02/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark IV said...

Yup, you are a sexist. And an ageist, and a baldist, and a fatist, too! Or whatever the terms are. Oh well.

Chad too described my experience, as well.

11/02/2005 02:12:00 PM  
Blogger Adrianne said...

Heather you know I don't want to put any more pressure on moms than they already got, so I took down the post because it probably insults more than it helps, but I would like you to post about the topic and would like to discuss it on here. I meant to help but realize the post "attacked" so maybe we can chat about it here. because I think it is IMPORTANT.

11/02/2005 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Heather O. said...

Comin' right up.

11/02/2005 04:47:00 PM  
Blogger joe ford jr said...

I was sitting here and thinking about your question. About are you a sexiest. And I have come to this conclusion and that is if you thought that there was nothing wrong with thinking like you did then yes I would say your a sexist. But the sheer fact that thinking those thoughts maybe wrong shows that you think there is something wrong with thinking like that. I hope this helps sometimes it is hard for me to put my thoughts in to words and sometimes I get a little mixed up so if what i post here makes no sense I am sorry.

11/04/2005 02:32:00 AM  

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