The Strawberry Social.
I am a little embarrassed to say that this was the highlight of my year growing up. I went to a church in the country and I was very happy to be involved with the youth group. The strawberry social was always my favorite event because the guys and girls would all go berry picking together, come back to the church and stuff into the small kitchen to prepare the berries while rocking out to popular music. Every year was a magical experience for me.
The last year I was involved was a bit different. We all went berry picking together, but as soon as we got back to the building our leader said " Ok girls, head to the kitchen and make those berries worth it! Boys-let's head outside!"
We all wondered if he was serious because we knew that the tradition was to work together so that we could ALL go outside and hang out before the event started. But the boys sheepishly left, and the girls tried to voice that this wasn't fair, although we ended up just sounding like whiners.
The morale of the event that year was a lot different than previous years, the energy was not there and the boys didn't seem to know what to do while the girls were busy in the kitchen all night. I remember thinking, if I could have just told the leader what our tradition was maybe we could have made the night more special for everyone. Not sure what held me back.
Now- I am not opposed to women cooking or being in the kitchen. Although I struggle to cook even the simplest of meals, I don't feel oppressed when its my turn to cook. However, what hurt was that the leader didn't make it a conversation. He just decided based on his understanding of what the boys and girls should be doing. I am sure his intention was not to stereotype or to offend, but moving forward I believe that more sensitivity needs to go into these types of situations. Assuming will get us nowhere, but discussing and working as a team will benefit everyone. And even if the end result IS having all the girls in the kitchen, at least we talked it out and ended there together. Healthy communication is what would have changed this story.