So a few days ago, Mr. Twistie and I headed out to the grocery store for provisions. While there, my attention was grabbed by an item in the magazine rack. The title was DIY Bride. It’s actually what’s known in the trade as a ‘bookazine.’ In other words, it looks like a magazine, but there’s only expected to be the one issue and it costs more than the average magazine.
Still, since I write about weddings and I write about crafts and I’m kind of generally obsessed with both subjects, I couldn’t resist. I love a good mine of ideas and inspiration as much as the next writer.
But there’s an aspect of this bookazine that’s really sticking in my craw.Project after project, there are handy suggestions about whether to do them alone or in groups… and the groups are mostly broken down strictly by gender lines. Apparently both sexes can work together to make nice chocolates for favors or programs, but only women are capable of making: place cards, invitations, boutonnieres, and the ring pillow. Guys, however, are the only ones who could possible construct a canopy or make bamboo tea light holders for the reception tables. There are lots of projects that are exclusively for the bride all by her lonesome, but none that the groom should create by himself. In fact, I think the only project that specifies the groom should help with it is the custom aisle runner, since fifty feet of paper might be a bit much for the bride to wrangle by herself.
This is bad enough, but seriously, the explanations of why one project is best for one gender and tips for making the party Even More Fun are giving me itchy flashbacks to a world of Leave It To Beaver gender roles.
For instance, if you plan to make the pocketfold invitations, here’s how to set up the shindig:
Gather your moms and maids together for an afternoon of crafts and bonding. Play chick flicks on the DVD, sip some wine, and let your hair down. No boys allowed!
Compare that to the party plans for making those tea light holders:
Save your sanity and pass this off to the manly men of the wedding party. Best for outdoors, this project is perfect for a groomsmen barbeque. Spark up the grill, chill the microbrew, and whip out the tools. Divvy up the tasks as follows to make light work of the bamboo.
Note the coy tone of the women’s project as opposed to the active tone of the men’s project.
Look, I’m certainly not saying that women shouldn’t make ring pillows or men should never touch power tools. Far from it. It’s just that in my experience the best way to divide the group projects is by which people are best for each task based on their individual tastes and talents rather than what they zip into their pants. And while my tastes in general lean more to the traditionally feminine, you couldn’t pay me to sit through the Sex and the City marathon suggested for the table numbers project. Also? I seem to be constitutionally incapable of cutting a straight line. You probably don’t want to hand me a stack of high-quality card stock and a utility knife. I am, however, perfectly capable of holding up a pole of a canopy or carrying some of the heavy stuff.
So DIY Bride, I put you on notice, a la Stephen Colbert. There is no craft that is the exclusive property of one gender or the other. Plenty of men hate barbeque and beer and there are lots of women in this world who cannot be paid to sit through the standard ‘chick flick.’
We’re just people, in the end. People with surprising talents and unexpected dislikes.
Do what appeals to you and fits your abilities. Have a great time doing it. Anybody who has a problem with it? Is the one with a problem.