Ask the Married Girl #9: Steteotypes

  • By
  • June 16, 2010 at 10:37 pm

The Married Girl on Stereotypes

Many a relationship has fallen victim to stereotyping.  I know we live in the year 2010 but many people still hold on to gender stereotypes.   I think that this is because while technologically we have progressed but when it comes to the fight for equal rights we really didn’t turn up the heat until the 1960s and 70s.  Basically we have been working on improving computers and space travel for longer than we have been working towards true equality between the genders.

These gender myths, such as “women don’t like sex” or “women are too emotional” or “men are supposed to earn more money” can do real damage to a relationship, particularly when only one of you actually believe it.  If only one of you believe in the traditional gender roles but you both proclaim that you do then it’s going to create false expectations.  Over time, these expectations are going to need to be fulfilled and when this happens one (and ultimately both) of you are going to be very unhappy which is likely to result in arguments and probably a break-up.  OK, so what do you do about it?

Make sure that you are open and honest about your true views before you commit someone.  I’m not saying to bare your soul on the first date, which would be crazy, but make sure you do it before you get serious.  You need to know where each other stand before you have the chance of really messing each other up.

If you are a guy, don’t try to play Mr. Bad Ass and say things like “Women should be seen and not heard.” Or “Woman, where’s my dinner?” even in a joking manner.  If you don’t believe it should be that way, then don’t even joke about it.  There is an old adage that all jokes are based on facts and no matter how understanding “your woman” is, she is not going to take these comments well.  She may laugh it off at first but deep down she’s going to think that’s the kind of woman you want, and you may not like what follows.

Additionally, if you are a woman, don’t play to these stereotypes to “get a man” if you don’t believe them.  I cannot tell you how many times I saw girls pretend that they couldn’t play pool/billiards just to make a guy feel better.  If he needs to win at a game over his girlfriend to feel like a man, then he is not a man.  If you really do want to be a housewife then that’s great, but please don’t act like this is what you want if it is not.

I think that if you are honest with each other you can work past your differences.  I was raised to believe that I could be what I wanted to be when I grew up.  Being a housewife was not a part of my dream.  My husband, however, was raised to have more traditional views.  He didn’t think that all women should only be a housewife but he did think that we all wanted to be one “deep down” and that we just pretended to want to work.  Well, obviously our views didn’t match up 100% but overtime through honest communication, we got through it.  That doesn’t mean there weren’t bumpy times.

I remember one time when we were first together he ran out of clean clothes and he asked me why I hadn’t done the laundry.  I just looked at him and said, “Well, I’ve been busy with work and school.  Why haven’t you done it?”  He then looked at me and said (not joking) “Well, I thought that was the type of stuff you are supposed to do once we got married.”  I laughed.  Truth be told, it was all I could do to keep from wanting to physically harm him. After laughing I just said, “Look, I told you before we got married that I wasn’t here to replace your mother and I didn’t want to be a housewife.  I have full time work and school and all you have to do is work, so if you need clean clothes, then wash some clothes.  When I have time, I will wash them too, but you are not going to place 100% of the cleaning on me.”  I think you could have knocked him over with a feather.  He sort of stood there in this stunned silence and then started to do some laundry.  Later that evening he said “Well, I know you told me your expectation before but for some reason I just didn’t believe it.”  If we hadn’t talked this through, and we had just acted our “parts” it would have turned into a lot of pent up hostility and ill feelings that certainly ended up in an argument.  Today we split all the household chores and I think we are both the better for it.

I hope this helps at least a few of you out there in dating land.

Happy Reading!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Add Your Comment