Men Can Do Anything

International Women’s Day was observed a week ago and I was thrilled to see a ton of formal and informal discussions about women empowerment, women’s rights and women-related issues in general. Formally, since I work in non-profit, these is no escape from events of all kinds in such kind of days. Informally, much thanks to Mr. Zuckerberg’s algorithm’s power of showing what’s familiar to you, I notice loads of posts relating to women-issues in my news feed. I would like to focus the casual aspects here, or more like one thought sparked by reading an informal discussions. (You want formal ones, just go to website of any INGO/NGO.)

One thing that grabbed my attention is some posts, ranging from simple to eloquent, from well-intentioned to sarcastic, from actual believers to hypocrites, which can be summarized as, “There is nothing a woman cannot do.” Sure, I have seen a lot of sentences like this this before. However, what provoked my thought here is the funnily-phrased posts and discussions under these. Some are insightful, some showed no merit rather than their freedom-of-expression, some reflected the courage and struggles, and some, as Joey and Monica said to Rachel in F.R.I.E.N.D.S “Women can do, you can’t!” (or more like, you never had the intention to do these, phony.)

Nonetheless, I like the idea that there is nothing a woman cannot do. So, being a man, I thought “Hey, the same is true for men.” In fact, there is no job that’s too big or too small or irrelevant to anyone. So, if any women can do anything, likewise is applicable for men. However, a lot of people in this country seem to disagree on this big time, at least when it comes to cleaning the house, doing the laundry and the unspeakable horror of doing the dishes.  Here I said people, because it’s not just men. I got remarked too frequently from a young, educated woman that “My husband/father/brothers would have never done such a thing” upon hearing I, being a man, do house chores. Sometimes they seem surprised, sometimes they cannot hide their pride for their male family members, sometimes they cannot hide their scorn for me on doing these “lowly” things and for lacking decency to hide. I feel equally confused in these kinds of situations as well since I do not know whether I should congratulate or offer sympathy in return.

There is no denying that doing house-chores suck and I would rather not do if I could not (which I actually kept to bare minimum during my late-teen years when I was alone at abroad). However, growing up as an only child, you know that if you don’t do it, either your mom or dad has to do it. Consequently. while I can no longer remember the exact age, I started doing chores before I turned 10 (in hindsight, I could have sued my parents for getting a child-labour without pay, even if I don’t go as far as that Indian guy) and I see no reason to stop upon becoming an adult and a married-man. Moreover, it’s just quicker and get more jobs done by working together. Also, there are some equipment that I am more proficient at, such as the vacuum cleaner since I have been using these for 2 decades. Of cause there are some parts that I suck at and I have happily conferred to my wife, such as cooking. I cannot eat what I cook and I have no heart to feed what I cook even to the most insufferable folks, let alone my love ones. But other than that, I doing some chores is still better-off for entire household.

So, in short, “Men Can Do Anything”, and we should do anything that could contribute to the well-being of family and the larger society. No job is too big or small or irrelevant for anyone, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls!

Thant Zin

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