While not what I was planning to write about today, a blog I happened to come across changed my mind. I won’t name it as there is really no point to that, and of course the owner has the same right as I or anyone else to express personal opinion. Suffice it to say, I found it to be the typical patriarchal stereotypical view of the “appropriate” female and male roles. There was the obligatory claims of course that the site neither promoted “patriarchal views” nor “stereotypical roles” but what I think was a fair sampling of the articles published, all neatly fit into the categories of…
- Dominant males and submissive females is the “natural order.”
- No woman really wants a passive (read that submissive) man.
- All women “want” to be dominated by their male partner even if they don’t immediately realize it and simply need a little “reeducation”.
In other words, the typical patriarchal views that men have always been and always should be the dominant partners and the leaders of relationships and that any alternative is unnatural…blah…blah…blah.
Relationships should not be about the enactment and legalistic observance of stereotypical roles based solely on a person’s gender. If we are ever going to experience progress, growth and enlightenment in the human experience, at some point those antiquated ideas must be consigned to the rubbish bin where they belong. Relationships need to start being defined by the needs, desires, goals and dreams of the persons involved not by following some lock-step role expectation imposed by some arrogant, know-it-all group who is hell bent on maintaining the status quo. Personally I favor a more matriarchal society because it happens to fit my submissive male paradigm much more efficiently than the patriarchal alternative. Yet I can offer that as personal opinion without making a statement that anyone who disagrees is ignorant, lacks understanding, is abnormal or just plain wrong. Two people embarking on a relationship in my opinion are the only one’s with opinions that need to be considered as far as that relationship goes and should be able to decide on their own what they wish their relationship to look like without any fear of condemnation from those who don’t happen to see things from the same perspective.
It seems to me at least that when a relationship begins, in starts with two people being more or less on an equal footing. As time passes and they grow more deeply and intimately acquainted, learn each other’s strengths, weaknesses, needs and desires, a dominant personality emerges. It just seems to me common sense that the dominant personalities become the leader. I do think it normal and natural for one person to assume the leadership role in a relationship just as it is normal, natural and needful in any human endeavor. It seems impossible for a relationship to operate as a democracy with each person having an equal vote. Because if that be the case, what happens when each person has an opinion that is exactly the opposite of the other? The result is a tie and by definition inactivity. Even in a democracy, whether it is a government, a corporation or other collective entity, someone always has the power to cast a deciding vote, Otherwise you end up with the entity being ruled by committee and nothing gets accomplished.
How two individuals choose to interact inside a relationship is no one’s business but their own. Expectations that individuals must behave according to some preconceived, gender based, stereotypical role is simply ridiculous. You don't have to take any notice of someone else’s “rules for behavior” or definition of “femininity” or “masculinity” or anyone else's idea of what or how you should be. You don't have to feel abnormal or weird just because you choose not to surrender your freedom of choice to those who think it is their way or the highway. You are free to be your own unique person and to fashion a relationship with another unique person that makes sense for both partners.
My opinion is that we should distance ourselves from stereotypes such as “a feminine woman” or “a real man”, when those stereotypes do not fit our personal beliefs or lead us to a place of contentment. To do otherwise is simply a matter of denying our true natures. Our personalities and natures are complex, dynamic, evolving and anything but static or stereotypical. Allowing yourself to be forced into someone else's definition may result in them seeing it as a perfect fit but it may not feel that way for you. Be honest with yourself, resist pressure to fit inside someone else’s particular box and don’t feel compelled to be someone you’re not.
When a man claims and embraces his “submission”, he may be told that he is in denial and not submissive at all but dominant because that is what being a man means. He may be accused of not being a “real man” and told that he must be a wimp, a freak or weak. When a woman claims a dominant role, some may conclude that she is not feminine, but merely bossy or bitchy. Unfortunate as that is, it is just life. You have to live your own life the best way you can, maintaining your own dignity and choosing your own labels of definition.
If gender based stereotypes don’t fit you, then ignore them. In the final analysis what matters more? Subjecting yourself to someone else’s preconceived notions of how you should act to be regarded as “manly” or “feminine” or working out a committed, meaningful relationship with someone that allows you to find contentment and that meets your deeply felt needs? I wish others could show a bit more tolerance towards those with different world views and perspectives, especially with regards to gender roles. But until that day comes, ignore the nay sayers, be true to yourself. Be the person that you are and seek a partner who shares your views. For only then will you find yourself in a relationship that fosters happiness.