Photographer and mother of two Mary Catherine Starr recently posted a joke on Instagram about the different ways people view women and men. “I thought my friends had seen it,” he told me. “But it ‘s gone CRAZY. This article has been translated into more than 15 languages, and I have received many messages from people all over the world.” Here are all the jokes…
Here is Q&A with Mary Catherine:
Wow, your joke touched my heart. How are you doing?
Surprise and despair. I knew this was a big problem in the US, where our people thank men for their parenting work and do not expect women to be perfect. But I have no idea what these two standards are everywhere. People all over the world are saying, yes, THIS. I did not realize that the women of Botswana and Brazil and Russia and New Zealand and Norway could also feel very deeply.
What made you sit down to film this play?
It all started with something fast food. I do not get fast food because there is hope that mothers will give their children nutritious food. But during the epidemic, my husband started taking Five Boys. And my children were like, ‘Yeah, Daddy’s got Five Boys!’ If I did that, I would feel terrible, like a lazy mother, like a failure.
Expectations for men and women are night and day.
And frankly, I’m not saying men suck and women are weird. I mean, our team has created a system that even women can do, is not enough. And if men do less, they are considered amazing.
Recently I was talking to my girlfriend, who has three children. One day, her husband took them to the grocery store, and many strangers came and said, ‘You’re doing so well’ and ‘Wow, Super Dad! And his wife had never received a single comment; it is as if her upbringing was expected and she was invisible.
Yes! At the airport, if a father flies with his children, it is like, oh my gos, look at you. And when a mother flies with her babies, people get angry and give her a look. Men are praised and women are judged.
Men are also considered to be incompetent. Like, if a father puts his son’s coat on the back or weaves a twisted coat, it is funny and beautiful. If mothers do, it may be strange or embarrassing.
I heard from single women who live in a dormitory, and a single father lives in the house. Neighbors would bring her dinner and visit her. But they looked at him as if he were paralyzed. Every woman has 1000 stories like this. Some people may think, it is not true, probably in the 1950s. But if you ask ANY WOMAN, they can go on and on. And wise men will find it. My husband saw my sense of humor and said, ‘Oh, my God, yes, that is true!’
It’s fun because it’s an example of fast food, you said you were wrong you may hear. You did not mean for your neighbor to criticize you, but instead to judge yourself, do you?
That’s right. And many mothers sent me messages, ‘I don’t hear the judgments of others, I hear them in my head.’ But I want to tell them, that’s not your problem. The reason you judge yourself is the reason you send the message that we have lived our whole life. Culture tells us this. I asked a friend the other day, where are your children? And he said, Um, and their father. They are in the know, and it is very difficult to get out of it.
In fact, we have all put these expectations in place.
In fact, it hurts men too. Men have their own stories that say, ‘These dual qualities suck. My expectations are very low for me, and I am grateful for taking my children to the grocery store and it is ridiculous. ‘
How do you think these expectations affect the day-to-day running of men and women?
It’s funny because my husband and I had a similar marriage before we were kids. Have you read, All the Rage by Darcy Lockman? I read that after my daughter was born. It talks about how women treat children and think that everything will be the same, and then they find that they are always angry because they are doing everything. In scientific research, they observed families on weekends, and most of the time, men were in one room alone and mothers and children were in another room. Despite their best intentions, once they have children, mothers can do much.
Aaa, I insult my husband for sleeping on the couch on the weekends. I call him ‘Man in Repose’!
And I don’t think mothers are trying to be martyrs. I think we have seen this since the day we were born in our mothers, grandparents and caregivers, that they did not sit down, there is much to do. But men see their father watching sports, or their grandparents reading newspapers and restaurants. My grandma still sits down and shouts ‘waitress’!
Have you ever heard from friends or readers about same-sex relationships?
Not so much about these jokes, but I do know that people can experience the same frustrations in same-sex relationships, when the senior caregiver feels unequal at work.
What surprised you about this event?
What is most interesting to me is how I have heard from men saying, my relationship is the same and this upsets me. And I say, it’s amazing, and I’m so glad for you and your partner to realize this, but that’s the way our team calls women and men. Whether it is spoken loudly or unconsciously, this is what is happening. You and your wife may be doing the same thing, but the OUTSIDE does not.
This discussion is legitimate; I can speak forever. But my question is, what should we do then?
I do not know the answer. I do not know if they exist. It’s powerful, it’s very powerful.
Thank you so much, Mary Catherine! Please follow on Instagram, if you wish.
PS Marriage after children, is how you can raise kind children.