There was an episode of The Cosby Show where a father-to-be was really anxious about the gender of his child. At first he was worried that it would be a girl, not because he hates girls (if I'm remembering the episode right), but because he was afraid he wouldn't be able to relate to a girl. It seems like a pretty reasonable fear, and it's probably one that a lot of parents go through. But sometimes I wonder if these days, men are afraid to have girls because it means they'd have to do girl things.
There was an episode of Suburgatory (see how I relate everything to sit-coms) where the very gay teacher finally came out of the closet, and the biggest part of his relief was that now he could do all things he couldn't do as a straight man, like wear v-neck sweaters and watch figure skating. We were like, "Uh...you can do that as a straight man." The only thing stopping him was preconceived (though not necessarily inaccurate) notions of how people would judge him. Ultimately I think that's the biggest problem--judging and image. People have this idea that you're only allowed to be a certain way if you fit in a certain category, and if you want to be labeled in X category, you're not allowed to like anything associated with Y.
So we as a society try to make people feel less insecure about the way they are. But instead of saying, "There's nothing wrong with a man who likes figure skating," we say, "There's nothing wrong with being gay." (To clarify, we wholeheartedly agree that there is nothing wrong with being physically attracted to members of the same sex. As long as no one's breaking the law of chastity, everything's good.) Regardless of their feelings on whether or not there's anything wrong with being gay, it seems like there are a lot of straight guys who don't want to be seen as gay. And so they avoid figure skating like the plague, because even though there's nothing wrong with being gay, apparently there's something very wrong with being a straight guy who likes figure skating. (On the other hand, we read an article online somewhere where a guy said even his gay friends don't want to be seen as the girl in the relationship. Obviously, this is a very deep-seated issue.)
And then this seems to carry over to the women. We were extremely frustrated one Sunday when we had a Relief Society lesson on President Uchtdorf's talk, "Your Happily Ever After". It's all about fairy tales and how we can learn from them, but the woman teaching the lesson was very clearly unfamiliar with fairy tales (she even said as much), and even seemed to think that fairy tales are only for girly girls, which she is certainly not. She grew up with a lot of brothers, and as the youngest, she probably had to work hard for their approval. Of course the boys, wanting to be manly men, wouldn't touch a princess movie with a thousand foot pole, and that would explain why she hadn't seen any. In other words, for the girls to fit in with the boys, they have to give up anything that might be construed as girly. And so the cycle of defining strength as anything macho and manly continues.
And I think that's about as much as I can say without confusing myself.
Today I'm thankful for being a girl, being done cleaning the floors, the little gag bits in Chihayafuru recap, finally getting to see our favorite Kingdom Hearts scene in Japanese (oh yeah, I had something to say about that...), and getting to sleep in this morning.