If you want to stir up controversy, just talk about gender stereotypes sometime. Are they inherent, or imposed by society?
Everyone in the Dixon house has a role, a certain job to perform. That includes our two schnauzers, Rufus the Wonder Dog, and his little sister (same parents, different litter), Raffi the Dog of Destiny.
When Rufus was a little kid, he always insisted on sleeping up on the bed with my wife and me. But now that he’s an adult— four years old this month — he prefers to sleep downstairs.
Raffi will be three on her next birthday in August. She still likes to start the night sleeping on our bed, but as she gets older she usually ends up sleeping in the living room, too.
Rufus’s favorite place to spend the night is on the western side of the sofa, or on the floor right next to that side of the sofa.
“Why that spot? There must be more comfortable places in the house,” I’ve wondered, watching him sleep.
Then a couple weeks ago I noticed it’s the one spot in the entire house where Rufus can keep track of who is going in and out of nearly every bedroom or stairway in the house, and can keep an eye on two out of three doors leading inside.
No one taught him to do that; he just took it on himself to assume the role of Dixon family night watchman. He takes his job very seriously, and I make a point of thanking him now in the evenings or mornings.
Raffi, on the other hand, likes taking on the traditional girl roles of being snuggly and pampered.
In the mornings, Raffi becomes the Dixon family social director. After she takes care of business in the back yard, she likes to run inside and search out everyone in the house, one at a time.
She gives each of us our morning greeting and wakes up anyone who is still in bed, while Rufus just lies there in the living room and watches, yawning.
Again, it’s a role Raffi takes very seriously. No one taught her to do it — she just searches out and says hi to everyone one at a time because doing it is important to her.
Now I wonder — inherent, or imposed by society?