Country Living Series

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Gender roles in prepping

A recent trend, not only in our society but also in Europe, is to raise genderless children. In one extreme example in Canada, a couple refuses to divulge the gender of their third child lest “it” be relentlessly categorized as either a boy or a girl.

Besides the patent absurdity of going through life thinking of oneself as genderless, the fact of the matter is we desperately need the gender roles we were biologically assigned in order to make it through hard times.

That’s because each gender brings unique strengths, skills, interests, and abilities toward Preparedness. This is where we fall into the realm of stereotypes, but stereotypes usually exist because they’re based on a kernel of truth. And the one thing to remember is that a blend of stereotypical behavior between the genders can lead to a well-balanced whole.

The fact of the matter is, we all have a job to do. Or, to be more precise, we will all have a job to do at some point in the future if our current life of ease and luxury is interrupted for whatever reason. Those “jobs” should represent our innate strengths and interests.

Of course any particular issue will cross gender lines to some degree, but unquestionably the interest in guns, ammo, and family protection tends to fall on men, and the interest in food preservation and medical care tend to fall on women. It is time to embrace, not fight, these strengths, because the time may come when we may need every strength we can get.

Contrary to what some people say, our society has progressed beyond the sexist role assignments of our forefathers (and fore-mothers). No longer is a woman presumed to be intellectually inferior and fit only to cook meals and clean toilets. Please, don’t misinterpret what I mean when I urge people to embrace their gender roles.

But the fact also exists that toilets (or outhouses) must be cleaned and meals must be cooked. Similarly – to resume the look at pioneer gender roles – fields must be plowed, animals must be butchered, and homes must be protected. Back in pioneer days, people seldom whined about gender roles because both men and women recognized the value of both sides of the equation.

So when preparing for hard times, go with your strengths. My husband could try endlessly, but he will never awaken in me anything more than a lukewarm interest in the nitty-gritty details of firearms. I can shoot and shoot well, but that’s it.

Nor will I ever be able to awaken in him more than a passing interest in canning. He knows a wide-mouth from a regular-mouth canning jar, and that’s it.

So he takes care of our household protection, and I take care of the food storage. Both of us are happier for it, and both of us do well in our “assigned” roles. And since both things need to get done, who does it isn’t an issue.

The problem with trying to erase gender roles is it also erases the function of those genders. Who will be the warriors if boys are not encouraged to be boys? Who will be the nurturers if girls are not encouraged to be girls?

Because I can assure you of this: the enemy doesn’t care about your gender neutrality. The enemy only wants to win. Whether that enemy is literally the barbarians at the gate, or the desperate “golden horde” raising a city after an EMP attack, or even just coping with a long-term power outage – we need the warriors among us to protect and defend, just as we need the nurturers among us to care for the wounded and act as quartermasters.

Like it or not, men have testosterone, bigger muscles, and bigger bodies. They are biologically designed to do the heavy work as well as the brave work. Like it or not, women have estrogen and slimmer bodies. They are biologically designed to bear and nurture children and be keepers of the home. By no stretch of the imagination should either of these roles be denigrated by either gender, because the roles and duties and preferences and interests and abilities are critically necessary as a whole unit to keep things functioning.

But if you have a society of pansy-boys and bulldog-girls who have no understanding or (more importantly) appreciation for their biological destinies, then you’ve lost the critical infrastructure that has allowed societies and cultures to flourish for thousands of years.

I believe both genders should be able to cross the gender divide in order to perform whatever functions are necessary. It is useful if both genders can cook a meal, bandage a wound, shoot a gun, bury the dead, console the grieving, preach a sermon, clean a house, grow a garden, butcher a steer, etc. In other words, in a Prepper situation, both genders have to be able to do what must be done. The list is endless.

But within this list, it’s necessary to understand that there are certain things men will do better than women, and vice-versa. That’s just the way we’re built, and those strengths should be recognized, embraced, and appreciated (by both genders).

In a changed world, a genderless society may no longer be possible. If there are no sleek air-conditioned offices for us to work in because the power grid has brought America’s infrastructure to its knees, we had all better be at least marginally familiar with the gender-given strengths we were born with; not only familiar, but willing to embrace them if necessary.


  1. They may strive for what they call genderless but All I see is an attempt to "free" women from any gender responsibilities they may have had in the past while they continue to force men to "Man up" to theirs. Of course many men simply reject them and will continue to reject those duties in such a biased atmosphere. These women want their cake and will eat it to and get paid for doing so.

    I agree with your post but I also think it is a chicken and egg scenario. Feminism and political correctness are the ultimate causes of the changes we are rabidly approaching. They have been one and the same since the feminist infiltrated the civil rights movement in the 60's. We have wasted so many resources and so much money trying to make square pegs fit in round holes we have broken ourselves not only financially but morally to do so.

    Natural balance will be restored.

  2. Granola ConservativeJanuary 8, 2012 at 8:20 AM

    You opened the door with the 'pansy' reference--so I am not off topic here--but can someone tell me, in a boy-boy or girl-girl pairing, how do they produce ancestral lineage based on DNA? And aren't these so called 'gay marriages', not only an attempt to dilute a role, but our society as a whole, based on thousands of years of ancestral lineage: grandmothers, grandfathers, nephews, nieces, in-laws, etc. This blending or removal of roles altogether is just the tip of the iceberg, from dressing a young child as a girl and sending them to school, to the replacement of gender body parts under the guise of 'moral relativism'. The agenda of the Liberal Left, where anything goes and you had better not speak up about it or be called racist or homophobe or some such nonsense.

  3. Perfectly said! I couldn't agree more with this and have seen both in action.

  4. The hubby and I were just talking about this, as there is a trend for the young girls in our are to be "dating" these young ..."males"... who wear makeup, and dress in skinny pants, etc.; what would these males do if they NEEDED to protect someone from something? We have been told they are called "metrosexuals" or straight men who like to be femenized in their dress and action. Husband calls them "zombie snacks".

  5. Vive la difference! or long live differences in the sexes. The dull grey world of "unisex" is not a world worth living in!

  6. Vive la difference! or long live differences in the sexes. The dull, grey world of "unisex" is not a world worth living in!

  7. Since moving to the country, my husband and I have worked harder than we ever did living in suburbia. I am a feminist who has discovered my mate IS more suited to digging post holes, and I'm more suited to planting beans. HOWEVER, I think the bashing you sometimes give feminists is misplaced. I was born in the 50s and clearly remember the MadMen attitudes toward women and the sexism that pervaded our lives. I think the whole feminist movement is responsible for many great changes in our society that we now take for granted. My sister, who lost her husband, is able to make a decent enough living to raise their three sons (not that it hasn't been a challenge) without relying on charity or tax dollars or living in a slum OR marrying a man she doesn't love to support her children. I would never in a million years want to return to the days when men patted our bottoms and dismissed what we said because we were women. Yes, the genders do have certain general strengths and weaknesses, and we can work with those. But we need to honor individual strengths as well. A girl who IS interested in guns and hunting should be encouraged to develop that interest. A boy who is interested in canning or taking care of the chickens shouldn't be teased.

    I liked your article on Prettiness, Patrice, and agreed with much of it. I'm sure you've seen the news this last day or so about the (very pretty) girl who is suing her yearbook because they (rightfully in MHO) rejected her skanky yearbook picture that would be more in place in Playboy magazine.

    However, we can't all be Audrey Hepburns. There has to be a place for the Katharine Hepburns, too.

  8. Hear, hear! This is beautifully put!
    As I've grown in my own marriage, it's been difficult to reconcile my mother's litany of "any MAN who wishes you to do a 'woman's job' is simply AFRAID of strong women!" with what my heart and mind say are a natural course of action... I don't see how I am possibly burying myself alive simply because I consider my husband's opinions before making a decision which is requested in his absence... and I don't feel like less of a human for cleaning a toilet or cooking his lunch, since he handles all the "heavy lifting" at our house... And every single time someone presents the argument that women can do anything a man can, and men should take up domestic roles in acquiescence, I remind them that EQUAL is not the same as IDENTICAL, and would they like milk with their coffee? My husband would be happy to get it for them, but he's outside using the chainsaw. :)

  9. I remember reading about China and Mao. First thing he did was introduce the drab gray typical clothing for all to wear. He removed femininity and gender and blurred the sexes. Even haircuts were similar.

    To destroy a civilization one needs first to remove self or the individual. The story you link to is not the tragedy, but our society that has made men of little worth and women the hero. I mean who else has the Constitutional right to kill another anywhere, anytime, besides a woman that has a baby in her womb?

    We are far down this slope...
    proud to be stay home wife-

    this is My Resume that I posted on the farm about being a stay home wife and mother

  10. I totally agree, but can I add one little "but"? I think everyone should learn to cook well (including canning). I think it would be great to teach every boy and girl how to sew and make at least minor repairs to cars and other mechanical equipment. I think everyone should take a class in home maintenance/repair.

  11. I also remember the Madmen days, when men were so condesending to women, and our career choices as women were limited. (I was one of the first women in LA County to become a steam engineer (1980's)and a petition was passed amongst the men who thought it unseemly!) I am very grateful that both men and women have more social and cultural flexibiity now. We lost alot of ego and just plain obnoxiousness in exchange for more fairness and freedom of choice. BTW: became great friends with the gentleman who initiated that petition!! I did finally become an engineer--with his help!!

    I am also a woman who has "Cowboy'd" from AZ to MT. I prefer to round-up, vaccinate and brand rather than hang with the ladies indoors making pies. Have found total acceptance by both sexes in that regard.

    I was married and lived in the wilderness for several years with my husband who could easily out do me in every respect--outdoors. But he never declined my help. The indoor domestic duties fell to me, and I don't recall that he ever offered to help!! Here lies another source of angst between the sexes!!

    Love your blog Patrice!! Keep it up, please!!

  12. I must say, I love reading pieces like these from you. Personally, I think that it's super important that men and women, boys and girls work as a must to get through the hard times.

    Personally though, and this is just me (in reference to the first, no I think it was the second paragraph about boys/men and interests in ammo/guns/protection/etc) but I love gun, I love shooting, I love hunting. I know just as much (heh, if not more) about it than my husband. But anyhow, I like how you said:

    "I believe both genders should be able to cross the gender divide in order perform whatever functions are necessary."

    That right there! There's nothing wrong with that, in fact, there's everything *right* with that sentence. I personalty have no problems embracing the things that I, as a woman was, well...born and meant to do...just so long as I'm not told I can't so something "because" I'm a woman. (not that I have ever encountered this)

    I really, really love your blog. Please, keep up the good work and God bless! :D

  13. Wonderful post, I am soooo not into the whole gun, ammo, lets skin a deer stuff, I do know how to shoot but would rather not!! I enjoy my role as a woman, cooking, cleaning, sewing, the whole nine yards. Our girls were brought up to be girls, our gand boys are boys the girls are girls, why do people try to confuse our children, crazy nuts!!

  14. I recognize the innate talents and abilities that differ by gender, but I also allow for individual differences... my husband hunts during bow season, and I get gun season. He field dresses and drags the deer to the vehicle, and I butcher them once he gets them home. This works well for us and I do not believe it is against any Biblical principle. He works outside the home, and I work in it, cooking, cleaning, and homeschooling our children. He would go nuts if he had to do that all the time, and I would feel my life was being wasted if I worked outside the home and hired a maid to clean, bought tv dinners, and shoved my kids in public school. And I would greatly resent it if I had to work outside the home and still do all the work in it, because it IS a job in itself.

    Because of the shrinking pool of real men (as opposed to boys) available for my daughters' generation, I have decided to teach them how to do things that aren't generally thought of as feminine... (they take rifle lessons, and do marital arts, and we will eventually rebuild a car together - I will have to learn alongside them to do that one) but I dearly hope they have sense enough not to marry some useless metrosexual.

    Keep up the thought-provoking posts, Patrice - my husband and I both enjoy the blog.

    Xa Lynn

  15. Patrice,
    We'll just have to wait to see how these gender "neutrals" handle the crunch to come...
    including also the "metrosexuals", I'm betting they won't fare well at survival.


  16. Boys aren't allowed to be boys anymore. Boys are active, rowdy, reckless, all the things our society doesn't value anymore. Instead of giving boys an outlet for these tendencies, they label them as ADHD, pump Ritalin into them, and then throw them out in the cold when they're 18 and cut off of the med... can we say potential crankhead...?

    Sorry for the rant.

  17. I have always thought this way. We had to have women's rights but we lost something as well. In my house, I'll do the cooking, and butchering, he can kill everything.

  18. I admit to being biased but I don't see these people becoming 'genderless'. To me it appears as if both are becoming feminised (admittedly both are equally becoming loutish at the same time).

    I'm a nurse (male - ever wonder why I still have to add that qualifier whilst women don't in what were predominantly male roles in the past?), as such I work with women who demonstrate minute by minute that they are as good as men in all fields. You cannot in any way justify differentiating between men and womens academic abilities or personal strength, and watch a petite lady move a 16 stone patient and you don't question their physical strength either. I learned all that quite quickly (I have a number of bruises and a slight limp to prove it too :-) women are so violent!).

    My personal belief is that there are no appreciable differences between men and women in any sphere. Individuals will have different strengths and weaknesses, and yes the average man will be larger and stronger than the average women, but so what. What we do, and should, is gravitate to what we have an interest and talent in. The evidence is unquestionable that boys and girls at a certain age generally, but not exclusively, become interested in different things. I believe it is genetic and nothing else. Dressing a boy in a dress wont make him a girl, he's just a boy in a dress.

    I agree with PioneerPreppy that feminists appear to want their cake and to eat it but that appears to be a different discussion. I notice that young girls are no less feminine than they used to be (when I was young and dinosaurs ruled the earth) but that the boys are, as you say, wearing make-up, jewelry and clothes to appear less masculine. I wonder why, I fear it may have to do with the lack of male role models, the constant and continuous undermining of the male image (if you see a stupid/incompetent/idiot on the tv today, guaranteed it's a man). Then of course there is the portrayal that all men are closet violent/rapists/pedophiles. etc. etc.

    I agree that should a collapse of infrastructure occur, the trend will be back to traditional gender roles. Why? because they worked for millenia because they rely on the strengths, abilities and interests of each gender. Anyone who assumes that these roles preclude equality is a fool (yes I agree the 50's was a bad time for women, but even that was a relatively new phenomena, dating back to the Victorian era of women seen as weak and frail). My parents held traditional roles but we all knew who 'wore the trousers' in our house, and it wasn't my father :-)

  19. Everything you say makes so much good sense, Patrice! Anyone with a conscience who knows right from wrong, has a good grasp of what's rational and irrational and has even a modicum of common sense would agree with you. However, anyone who would rear their children as "genderless" has none of these qualities. Only a truly insane and deeply disturbed person would ever do such a thing to their child.

    But even worse than parents doing this to their children is the fact that our liberal leaders actually CONDONE this sort of insanity! They encourage teaching the homosexual lifestyle in public schools. They support incidents such as the OWS protesters (even Obama gave them a thumbs up!), same-sex marriage and transgenders being allowed into women's dressing rooms.

    Things have gotten way beyond "bad." Please, dear lady, never stop showing people the right way and the wrong way. If it weren't for voices like yours, there would be no hope left in the world! --Fred & Deb in AZ

  20. How about $45,000 worth of 'appreciable differences'?

  21. You could even argue male and females differences(not just physical)are good from an evolutionary standpoint. It's what I call A Full 360 Degree View. There's Guy ways and Girl Ways of looking at and doing things-both are equally important. It's like saying which is most important, the engine or the transmission? Without both in place, you ain't going nowhere.
    Without both Guy and Girl outlooks are important. There may be some crossover during times of emergency( Dad may have too cook and so on if the wife is in the hospital),but regardless of how you try to smother basic guy and girl diffferences, they are still there.
    Generally speaking,boys are rowdier and more active. They wanted my cousin to give her son Rytalin when he was small-Why? All I saw was a normal 8 year old boy. She didn't allow it(tho' the school tried to talk her into it). Now, he's a normal 17 year old.I wonder what the long term effect of such drugs will turn out to be?
    There are people with birth defects that make them sort of ambiguous, but that's rare..

  22. I think that good relationships find a sort of balance naturally. Labor is divided up naturally (it just happens, not 'natural' like arguing biology or something) and those most inclined and interested take the lead in that area.

    If the Mrs was raised working in her fathers auto shop and hubby spent a decade cooking in a restaurant then having him try to fix the car and her cook dinner just because they are steriotypical gender roles would be stupid.

    In my house things break down pretty cleanly along 50's esque gender lines. However since Wifey grew up horse trading (literally) she is the one who does the buying and selling of things. Also later in life when we start raising animals she will take the lead because she knows how to do that stuff.

    Lastly to steal a phrase from a song "a woman is a woman and a man ain't nothing but a man." Those who fail to acknowledge biological differences are just stupid. There is a reason that seperate divisions for sports exist, even for ones like bowling.

  23. there is a difference between gender and sex. Sex is what is biologically given to us, not gender.