Equality isn't all it's cracked up to be

On Power and Love I found reference to this film review by Steve Sailer:

In “Dentists,” the husband ... seems hemmed-in, his manliness encumbered by all the domestic trappings. Nor does it enhance what's left of his aura of masculinity that he and his wife ... are equal partners in their dental firm, and that when they get home, he does half (or more) of the housework. The audience, therefore, is less surprised than he is when he glimpses his wife in the arms of another man, perhaps the director of the amateur opera in which she's appearing as a slave girl. ...

As so often happens in feminist-influenced movies, the words don't match the pictures. Scott, who also produced, claimed that the wife falls for another man because her husband is “uncommunicative,” but his character hardly has any time to communicate. While she's running around, he cooks all the meals and cleans up all the messes, which only appears to make her more contemptuous of him.

Instead, Rudolph's images subvert the script's conventional explanations with a disturbing idea: the perfect equality of their marriage has sapped the sexual energy from it. Because he has no power over her, she doesn't find him exciting...

Tom Newman comments inter alia:

I think most Americans know down deep by now that “equal” marriage does not work and that women want the man to lead. At some point, we will all start admitting it in public.

I don't think all women want the man to lead (some prefer women anyway ;-) ) but for those who do, an overtly equal marriage would be less likely to work.

Moreover, not all forms of equality are equal. The so-called “unequal” relationship favoured by Tom and many readers of Taken In Hand is in a very real sense more equal and consensual than many a so-called “equal” and pro-feminist relationship. Plenty of pro-feminist New Men create the mere semblance of consent whilst acting in highly non-consensual ways.

Consider a relationship between an ardent radical/victim feminist and a New Men who stridently advocate “equality”, and who would be quick to brand us “unhealthy”, or “reactionary” or “atavistic” and the like. In some cases, of course, they have a genuinely good relationship. But in other cases, if you look beyond what they say to what they do, what you find is that one or other of the two (or both!) passively-aggressively imposes his or her will on the other, not just occasionally and not just in fun or in an otherwise consensual way.

Their relationship appears prima facie to be very fair and equal and consensual but it is just the semblance of equality, a sham; the form is equal and fair, but the substance is highly non-consensual. People can be very intransigent and fail to take their partner's wishes into account, whilst appearing to be models of equality and caring. People often proclaim their belief in equality whilst making life miserable for their partner through apparently nice but really toxic passive-aggressive behaviour.

The reason this is important for readers of Taken In Hand is that one of the criticisms levelled at us (apart from the usual vacuous “this is unhealthy” rubbish) is that relationships of this sort can't be good because they are not equal.

There is nothing particularly good about equality per se, because what one person might like, another might hate—it might be better for person A to get X and person B to get Y—both might be happier with that then if A and B both have Z. What people mean when they advocate equality—or rather, what they should mean—is that there should be consent.

To judge whether or not there is consent, you can't just look at the form of a relationship or an interaction and get a reliable answer. For some people positively want a relationship which to the outside world looks unequal and quite possible non-consensual. It might appear that way but be incredibly consensual and a source of great joy and personal growth to both partners. It is not merely that you can't judge a book by its cover, you can be wildly misled by the “cover” when the “book” is the kind of relationship discussed on Taken In Hand. What we have to remember is that it is the consensual substance that matters, not the non-consensual form.

the boss

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Comments

equality

Good article!

The point of living, and having relationships, is happiness, not equality. Equality is a nice thing to have, here and there, but if it doesn't serve happiness, what good is it? The pursuit of equality for its own sake is a kind of insanity. People just aren't equal—they're different. And trying to bang them all into the same mold just makes everyone miserable.

I commented somewhere else that I think the pursuit of equality in marriage tends to leave the woman in charge. As it's difficult for a ship to have two captains, and as it's more politically correct for the man to let the woman have her way, that's what often happens. The man may deeply resent this loss of power without actually knowing what's wrong. And his resentment may play out in a loss of connection with his wife, a loss of sexual interest, and lots of irritating passive-aggressive behavior.

This is not what the wife wants at all. She wants lots of talking, lots of good sex, pleasing behavior, and she wants him to be happy, too. You can't get happiness for both people without consensuality—without a deep search for what both of you truly want.

We do believe in equality on this site—when it makes sense. We believe that men and women are equally deserving of happiness, don't we? We don't advocate relationships that make one person happy and the other miserable.

Melanie

Changing Language

Or as someone in Alice in Wonderland said, "When I use a word it means whatever I want it to mean"

Equal and fair have more than one meaning. The problem is that, in the society in which I live, the meaning that is usually given to them is one that implies both/all parties have to act and be treated in an identical manner. Which may actually not be fair (as in the "just/appropriate behaviour in a given circumstance" meaning, which is also the first entry for it in the online Compact OED, and whatever it is I have a paper copy of).

Equal, again from the dictionary, is "being the same in quantity, size, degree, value, or status", or "evenly or fairly balanced". Well, to my thinking, if both parties in a relationship aren't of equal value, then it's at least bordering on unhealthy, possibly verging into abuse. They may do totally different things, but what they bring to the relationship is of equal worth.

And up until my husband and I started to explore a DD relationship, I was as "guilty" as the next person of seeing equality and fairness as being about being identical in every possible way.

Maybe I should have just quoted that small piece of folk wisdom instead—"Opposites attract"—I think that says it clearer than I've just tried to :)

--

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

There is no equal

No relationships in life are equal; I don't know of a single one. Parent/child, teacher/student, boss/employee, trainer/athelete, Colonel/Major. In business, sports, the military, learning institutions, you name it, someone is in charge or has a higher status and someone takes the orders or is a subordinant. Even with your friends there is a subtle power shift; one of you is almost always the more dominant of the two.

For some reason, even though the entire planet works on this premise, including the animal kingdom, when it comes to a marriage you're expected to be "equal" in all things. This is nonsense. A person's dominance will always struggle to rise to the fore. They may be female or male, but one person is going to fight to get the ultimate control.

There is nothing wrong with this unless they *both* want control and endlessly fuss over it. Which is what happens with almost all "equal" marriages.

Doesn't it make better sense to formally agree that one person has the ultimate say?

How long would a business run, how long would a football game be played, how well would students learn, how successful would the troops be if there was "total equality" in all these areas?

It's a compelling idea in theory, but not realistic in actual practice.

Blinkered vision?

Amber wrote:

How long would a business run, how long would a football game be played, how well would students learn, how successful would the troops be if there was "total equality" in all these areas?

Hear hear.

And we have enough expressions to indicate that everyone being exactly the same is not considered a good way to run things (too many chefs spoil the broth, too many chiefs not enough indians, and so on). So why the recent blinkered thinking when it comes to relationships? If neither party is being forced into a role they don't want, then surely it's their business if only one's in charge?

My Mum put it best—in her marriage, my Dad is very definitely head of the household/HoR—I have no idea if they use any form of DD—I suspect not (my Mum is very open)—but she said "despite that, we're both equal in our own different ways"—they both put in equal effort to make their marriage work, in different ways. I think that's what I was tying to say in my earlier reply. :)

And as I type, I can mentally hear my parents laughing in a "told you so" kind of way—they once tried telling me that there would always be one dominant partner in marriage.

--

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

On the Subject of Equality...

I've been reading many wonderful articles on this site. It is truly a great website: thought provoking, mature and truthful.

The boss's article on equality made me remember my days in college. I'm a single male in my mid-thirties with very firm ideas regarding relationships--having learned the hard way, but I was not always like this.

In my early 20's I remember the contradiction of being influenced yet confused about this equality concept. On one hand, I understood and accepted the fairness it proposed but on the other hand, somehow my own biology rebelled against it and I against biology. I felt an uncomfortable split between my dominant biological urges and intellectual reasoning. In my case, intellect always won but at the expense of feeling dishonest with myself and others. I observed how somehow real behavior didn't match with the words.

An example of this took place one day in a film theory class I was taking. I had been assigned to a group and our mission was to re-edit one of Orson Welles's films. We had to discuss different ways of telling the story. I don't remember what exactly happened that triggered a nasty argument among ourselves which only escalated by the minute. What I never forgot is that I was furious and this petite yet highly spirited Spanish girl who got angry with me as well. In desperation she blurted out, “Why don't you hit me!” And she kept pushing and pushing me with insults and daring me to do something to her. I was really struck by her aggresive attitude and my own barbaric behavior. The following day, feeling embarrassed I thought I do what every rational, decent person might do, which is: apologize. Again I was surprised, the Spanish girl just smiled and said, “Apolize for what? You were right.” She then went on to support me without any hesitation, always with a big smile. Before this incident, she never even said hello to me. I acted like a barbarian and she was all smiles.

At the time, I didn't really understand all the undercurrents that were going on. Whatever I managed to digest at the time was counteracted by very radical feminist views from the professors. I remember one young, attractive Sociology professor simply say, “Men must liberate themselves from their manhood because it oppresses them just as much as it does women” If men liberate themselves from their manhood and women liberate themselves from their femininity, then as humans what do we become? We have created a society filled with drastically and disturbingly mixed messages regaring the sexes and this in part is responsible for the anxiety, stress and schizoid behavior we are living through. It therefore leads to a more profound question: Is this definition of equality worth sustaining?

Equality Works

Equality works just fine when people don't keep scrabbling for the top position. It doesn't mean everyone has to be the same all the time. It doesn't mean there can't be some division of labor in a relationship. But, it's perfectly possible to have a good relationship without one person being in charge. Equality to me means no one person gets the final say all the time. It means that can shift depending on the issue, depending on who has more expertise on a particular topic, or who has more at stake. I don't see why that's a difficult way of handling a relationship.

Re: Equality Works

I am sure you are right that most people would hate to be in a Taken In Hand relationship. That being the case, as I keep saying, they should have the sort of relationship they prefer. I do not think that the man should have the final say, I think that if the man and woman involved want that, there is nothing wrong with running things that way. There is a big difference between, say, Ramileous's position and mine. (Hi, Ramileous ;-) )

But for the record, as I have said before, a careful reading of my article will (unless I wrote really badly—which perhaps I did if you have misunderstood it) tell you that my intention was not to decry equality at all really: it was actually to point out that what passes for equality is often in fact coercive and effectively unequal and unpleasant—the mere semblance of equality—and that by contrast, Taken In Hand relationships are in a deep sense highly consensual and equal in the sense that matters. I was trying to point out that it is the substance that matters, not the form, and that if you just look at the form and ignore the substance, you will approve of highly coercive, unpleasant but ostensibly “equal” relationships, and you will disapprove of Taken In Hand relationships despite the fact that they are deeply consensual and desired by those involved.

BTW, in my article, I don't want to be a servant or slave, I wrote:

I want a relationship with a man, a lover, a friend, an equal.

[emphasis added here]

Now that might look glaringly inconsistent to you, but it really isn't at all, because in that sense, I am all for equality.

I hope this helps.

Re: Equality Works

What you say about your article and the way it reads are not quite the same. I understand where you are saying that relationships which are supposedly scrupulously equal may actually be riddled with hidden passive-aggression and hidden nonconsensual aspects. That's very possible. But the same might apply to a Taken in Hand relationship. Until you get behind closed doors you really can't be sure what a relationship is like (and, you'd still have to turn yourself into a fly on the wall so that the couple would not behave with their public faces in the presence of a third party).

What also comes across in your article, though, is a suspicion aimed at relationships that are supposedly based on a feministic version of absolute equality (and identical roles? Perhaps). The implication is that this is often a coverup for unequal and nonconsensual behavior. Why that should be any more the case than in a Taken in Hand relationship, I don't understand. I'm sure we could find more than one woman who told her husband she wanted a consensual Taken in Hand relationship and the guy either misinterpreted what she was saying or took the opportunity to become the tyrant he always wanted to be.

The fact that a concept can be misused and undermined doesn't take away from the concept itself, it just points to human frailties and failures of good will. So if people declare they want a fully equal relationship where no one person makes the decisions for the other as the permanent "tie breaker" there's no reason to squint at their relationship and hint around that they just might not practice what they preach. That is, in fact, what your article is saying.

If Taken in Hand stands as a good model for a relationship between two people who want that, it stands on its own, without needing to put down egalitarian, nondisciplinary relationships. It's when I hear the put downs of the more mainstream type of relationship, that I begin to wonder why Taken in Handers would need to bolster themselves that way. Personally, I do not care how people choose to organize their relationships, as long as they don't tell me I have to do the same, or conduct them so as to wind up costing the taxpayers money.

Live and let live

A reader wrote:

I do not care how people choose to organize their relationships, as long as they don't tell me I have to do the same, or conduct them so as to wind up costing the taxpayers money.

I quite agree. (And I also don't want to hold myself up as any sort of judge of whether or not such-and-such a relationship style costs the taxpayers more.)

Equality Didn't Work For Me

Anonymous Reader wrote:

If Taken in Hand stands as a good model for a relationship between two
people who want that, it stands on its own, without needing to put
down egalitarian, nondisciplinary relationships. It's when I hear the
put downs of the more mainstream type of relationship, that I begin to
wonder why Taken in Handers would need to bolster themselves that way.

You may hear me putdown the mainstream type of relationship because it
turned out disastrously for me. I went that route simply because, as
far as I knew, that was the only item on the menu. I didn't know I had
a choice, so I settled for something less than what I wanted. I
dreamed of what I wanted, but I thought I couldn't have it because it
was a social taboo.

I am strongly tempted to launch into an angry tirade over this, but I
have already posted my negative feelings here many times about how my
acceptance of the mainstream had an adverse effect on my life.

I have no argument with those who have successfully made such
relationships work. What I do object to is the brainwashing that
society inflicts upon us telling us we have no other choice.

KrosRogue

Re: Equality works

Anonymous reader wrote:

What also comes across in your article, though, is a suspicion aimed at relationships that are supposedly based on a feministic version of absolute equality (and identical roles? Perhaps). The implication is that this is often a coverup for unequal and nonconsensual behavior. Why that should be any more the case than in a Taken in Hand relationship, I don't understand.

I do understand. It’s because strict equality is the relationship model of our times. Most couples try to do it because they’ve been taught it’s the one right way, and the only alternative they know of is “turning back the clock” to the bad old days when women had no rights. When people do things by default, without thinking or choosing, they tend to have more problems than when they consider carefully, search their souls, and choose something based on their true desires. Because the social climate is against Taken In Hand relationships, those who do choose them are very likely to be in the latter category. And many of them were previously in the former category, doing equality because it was the “one right way” and having problems with it because it wasn’t right for them.

I'm sure we could find more than one woman who told her husband she wanted a consensual Taken in Hand relationship and the guy either misinterpreted what she was saying or took the opportunity to become the tyrant he always wanted to be.

Yes, there is probably a situation or two like this. But if the woman was capable of telling her husband in the first place, she should be able to correct a misunderstanding. And if her man always wanted to be a tyrant, he was probably being controlling under the pretext of equality anyhow. Better to have it out in the open so she knows what she’s dealing with.

So if people declare they want a fully equal relationship where no one person makes the decisions for the other as the permanent "tie breaker" there's no reason to squint at their relationship and hint around that they just might not practice what they preach.

I wouldn’t question anyone else’s relationship myself, but I do think it’s healthy for people to look at their own relationships closely to see if they really are what they want them to be.

If Taken in Hand stands as a good model for a relationship between two people who want that, it stands on its own, without needing to put down egalitarian, nondisciplinary relationships. It's when I hear the put downs of the more mainstream type of relationship, that I begin to wonder why Taken in Handers would need to bolster themselves that way.

Well, perhaps because people are viciously attacking our kind of relationship every day of the week, we feel the need to point out occasionally that there may be some flaws in their way. I doubt there are very many people in Taken In Hand relationships who are yearning for equality, but we know from experience that there are many people in equal relationships who yearn for what we have, or who are unhappy but don’t know what it is they’re missing. It is for them and for ourselves that we point out the pitfalls of a relationship based on strict equality. If people are blissfully happy with whatever they have, we don’t mess with them.

Melanie

Lose the Guilt

I couldn't agree more. Society is great at making us feel guilty when we don't fit the norm.

Equal isn't all it's cracked up to be

I was slightly puzzled by the reference to the film 'Dentists' which I haven't seen anyway, but I gather the reviewer disapproves of the man in the film because—shock horror!—he does half the hosuework (gasp!) Considering both he and his wife have full-time jobs, I should jolly well hope he WOULD do half the hosuework, why shouldn't he? Is this what Taken In Hand means, that a wife should be her husband's slave? My husband's always done a lot of housework, still does, even though I don't work at all, I can't say it's affected his masculinity; why should it? And why on earth does a marriage have to be like a SHIP, for goodness sake? I mean, that dominant/submission thing is a lot of fun, but surely it becomes a bore if you do it ALL the time. I mean, surely even Taken In Hand wives aren't so poor-spirited that they don't sometimes want to do just what they like, and think for themselves? ("The thing that all women most desire is their own way"as it says in Sir Gawain and the Loathly Lady). Surely Taken In Hand husbands get tired of laying down the law ALL the time, and just want their wives to get on with it? Do all Taken In Hand husbands want to be authoritarian ALL the time? If so, why don't they join the Navy and have done with it? Doesn't it get rather exhausting keeping it up all the time. My husband doesn't mind doing the dominant male thing, but a lot of the time he just wants to get on with things: like the chap in Secretary, sometimes he's just too busy!

Taking it too literally?

It's not about the husband micromanaging the wife. Yes, it's about the husband having the final say, and the wife respecting that -but it's also about communication (usually) before any "major" decision is made (and what might be major to me may be of no note to the next person).

B is Head of Household in our relationship, yet I retain the independant and playful personality I had when we first met (in fact, since we started this, it's become more evident again). Yes, if I want to do something out of the ordinary, I will check with him—but it's far more out of courtesy to him than needing his permission. We share the housework, more or less evenly—just because I submit to him doesn't mean I'm subservient.

As for the reference to Dentist (not seen it either, not even heard of it!), it sounded more like the man was doing far more than his fair share of tasks, and the woman far less, in a situation where there was no real reason for it (if I'm recovering from a serious illness or injury, I may be able to go to work, or do my share of the housework, but not both, f'r example)

--

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

Is taking a woman in hand exhausting?

Louise wrote a comment saying taking a woman in hand sounds exhausting. I'd like to hear from the men reading this site if that's true. If it is true, Taken In Hand is not gonna work.

Is taking a woman in hand exhausting?

I was fairly new to this site when I wrote that comment, I reacted to the things I read here with shock, incredulity, scorn, and (increasingly) envy. I was stunned to discover that there were people who lived in real life the way I had always fantasised about living. I'd always thought that it was all right to fantasise about being submissive, but nobody could really want to live like that in real life,it was just too silly for words. Wasn't it? It took me a while to admit that really envy was the feeling that was uppermost, and that yes, really, I did want to try and live like this. Also, I never thought my husband would be able to take it seriously, but he has, in fact he's taken to it like a duck to water. There are still things I would find hard to swallow though. I mean, my husband isn't interested in controlling me to the extent of telling me when to go to sleep, when to wake up, not letting me get out of the car by myself etc, I think it would probably get on both our nerves if he felt he had to go quite that far. But as far as he does go, I find it surprisingly easy, most of the time, to be compliant, and I find that that delicious submissive feeling, which I used to experience only in occasional flashes, is now present most of the time, instead of just for short periods. As far as I can judge, he doesn't seem to find it exhausting, in fact I think he's a lot less exhausted now, because we don't fight nearly so much, any potential rows are nipped in the bud before they get started. My inner Shrew still emerges, snarling, from time to time, but these days she is more easily subdued.

Re: Is taking a woman in hand exhausting?

I was fairly new to this site when I wrote that comment, I reacted to the things I read here with shock, incredulity, scorn, and (increasingly) envy. I was stunned to discover that there were people who lived in real life the way I had always fantasised about living. I'd always thought that it was all right to fantasise about being submissive, but nobody could really want to live like that in real life, it was just too silly for words. Wasn't it? It took me a while to admit that really envy was the feeling that was uppermost, and that yes, really, I did want to try and live like this.

May I congratulate you on your honesty, Louise. It takes courage to face this stuff.

There are still things I would find hard to swallow though. I mean, my husband isn't interested in controlling me to the extent of telling me when to go to sleep, when to wake up, not letting me get out of the car by myself etc, I think it would probably get on both our nerves if he felt he had to go quite that far.

When you put it like that, it does not sound at all appealing, and I don't think I like being micromanaged. Nevertheless, I do find Blush's Romantic rituals for the taken in hand article hot. And as with all these things, if you don't like it, don't do it. Do what you do like!

But as far as he does go, I find it surprisingly easy, most of the time, to be compliant, and I find that that delicious submissive feeling, which I used to experience only in occasional flashes, is now present most of the time, instead of just for short periods.

Yeay! I am so happy for you, Louise!

As far as I can judge, he doesn't seem to find it exhausting, in fact I think he's a lot less exhausted now, because we don't fight nearly so much, any potential rows are nipped in the bud before they get started. My inner Shrew still emerges, snarling, from time to time, but these days she is more easily subdued.

This rings so true to me. (I mean about the fighting being nipped in the bud, not about your inner shrew snarling!)

Fighting is indeed exhausting, draining, life-sapping, unpleasant. I for one would much prefer to be taken in hand (whether physically or otherwise) than either a fight or distancing.

Not exhausting

A good example of what I meant about it not being exhausting occurred last night. I'd thrown a temper tantrum about something and my husband said "Right, that's it, we're going out to the workshop now." "No" I said sullenly, "I don't want to, I'm not in the mood." He looked at me. "I'm afraid you don't get any choice in the matter," he said "Get out there NOW". My defiance ebbed away rapidly and I went, feeling decidedly apprehensive (justifiably, as it turned out). The point is, before the regime change, if I'd said I didn't feel like it he would have accepted that, I would have gone on sulking, he would probably have ended up losing his temper,and yelled at me, then he'd have felt guilty about losing his temper and apologised, I would have taken ages to unthaw like I always did, and it would have dragged on for hours, possibly even days. As it is, it was over almost as soon as it had begun. Considerably less exhausting, for both of us, than the other scenario would have been. You are so right about being Taken In Hand being better than fighting or distancing.

Equality

Someone wrote:

We can talk all we like about equality, but the fact is men and women are not equal. Men have endowed by nature with built-in biological advantages. They're bigger, stronger, faster, and they don't get pregnant.

Okay, men and women are equal, strength, size etc doesn't matter. so why then have men been the dominant sex for the entire history of the human race?

This is just such crap. Strength, size, etc. was meaningful when dinner meant clobbering and dragging home a woolie mammoth; when justice meant trial by combat; when international relations meant divide and conquor.

We don't live in those days anymore. You can't measure equality or worth based on history.

Seriously. Consider the people who are considered to be powerful in today's society. How many of them arrived in those positions by being bigger, stronger, and faster? Bill Gates—richest man on the planet—pretty powerful in our society. I'd bet on my 11 year old daughter if she was to take him on in a fight. But he's still pretty powerful.

Civilisation can put a veneeer of equality over this inbalance, but it can never really correct it.

Two words: Smith and Wesson. Bigger man = bigger target. Are you faster than a bullet?

So without context the arguments about "equality" are meaningless. Strength and speed are valuable characteristics in a firefighter—but they aren't so necessary for a neurosurgeon. Both save lives. Would both be of equal value to society? Would you really care if the firefighter dragging you out of the house was a woman? Would you reject a skilled neurosurgeon if she was not a he and you needed a brain tumor removed? Betcha wouldn't.

And the whole pregnancy stuff really bugs me. My wife once said to me, "without women, civilization would end because there would be no more babies born." My response was that without men (and sperm) there would be no more conceptions and no more babies. So how's that for equality —1 sperm (from man) plus 1 egg (from woman) equals life.

Doesn't get much more equal than that.

But getting back to feminism. Maddy, I like your definition. Feminism is the belief that women should have the same choices and opportunities in life as men. It's about the right to choose. That means, if you want to stay home and have babies, go for it. But, if you want to be a firefighter, go for it. You want to be a neurosurgeon, go for it. You want to be a career woman and build an empire to rival Billy, go for it.

So maybe you fail the anatomy exams. Maybe you can't pass the physical testing for the firefighters entrance. Maybe you only get as rich as Donald Trump. Feminism means that if you so choose, you should have the right to try. And in the context of Taken In Hand, if you choose to take a submissive role in your relationship, go for it, go for it. It's entirely your call!!!

Steve

Nobody ever explained to me that I could have babies

Feminism is the belief that women should have the same choices and opportunities in life as men. It's about the right to choose. That means, if you want to stay home and have babies, go for it.

You know, all of a sudden feminism is starting to look like it might make sense.

The trouble is that with all the pushing about women wanting to be in charge of things, no one ever told me before that I am now able to have babies, by feminist decree. So I am equal to a woman after all!

Douglas.

But where's the fetus gonna gestate?

Douglas,

This made me laugh and think of Monty Python's Life of Brian. I got the quote from Life Of Brian

[Revolutionaries try to formulate their platform.]
Reg: Furthermore, it is the birthright of every man —
Stan: Or woman.
Reg: Why don't you shut up about women, Stan? You're
putting us off.
Stan: Women have a perfect right to play a part in our
movement, Reg.
Francis: Why are you always on about women, Stan?
Stan: I want to be one.
Reg, Francis: What?
Stan: I want to be a woman. From now on, I want you all
to call me "Loretta". It's my right as a man.
Judith: Well... why do you want to be Loretta, Stan?
Stan: I want to have babies.
Reg: You want to have babies?!
Stan: It's every man's right to have babies if he wants
them.
Reg: But... you can't have babies.
Stan: Don't you oppress me!
Reg: I'm not oppressing you, Stan, you haven't got a
womb! Where's the fetus gonna gestate? You gonna
keep it in a box?
[Stan/Loretta starts to cry.]
Judith: Here! I-I've got an idea. Suppose that you
agree that he can't actually have babies, not
having a womb—which is nobody's fault, not even
the Romans'—but that he can have the right to
have babies.
Francis: Good idea, Judith. We shall fight the
oppressors for your right to have babies, brother.
Sister, sorry.
Reg: What's the point of fighting for his right to have
babies when he can't have babies?
Francis: It is symbolic of our struggle against
oppression.
Reg: It's symbolic of his struggle against reality.

Sorry I could not help myself! :)

Take care,
Tevemer

A non-equal marriage looks like this:

I had a marriage of supposed equality for 20+ years. Underneath the talking, the negotiating, the power struggles, and the fights, however, lay the truth: we were miserable. Right from the start, we fought constantly over every little thing, and these fights were often loud and sometimes violent. When our daughter came along, I threatened to leave him once in particular because of his uncontrollable temper. He modified his anger, but never really got it entirely under control.

And believe me, I didn't help. I wanted to him to take charge, but never trusted him enough, or respected him enough, to get out of the way. He tried to get control, I know, any number of times. I fought him at each turn. One of the most difficult issues for us was that I wanted to be able to rely on him completely, and have him go out and be the breadwinner, a role he deeply resented. He wanted the equality he assumed I was offering, since I always worked. I wanted to be able to have a close, intimate marriage, and raise our child and have this man available. He was a workaholic. This marriage was utterly miserable, and I know now that it's because under the surface of what looked like an egalitarian set-up, we were both not-so-secretly wrestling for control, a control he wanted, but didn't want the responsibility for. And I wanted him to take that responsibility and yet fought him every step of the way on the little things. An impossible situation.

I was in the process (a very long process, I might add, since it's taken my entire life it seems) of finding out that I don't want to be in charge all the time, I wanted someone I could trust to take charge. As with others on this site, my parents often told me I'd married a wimp. That of course did not help, even if they were right!

The marriage became a series of compromises, none of which made either of us happy. Our roles, at the end, were polarized. He worked and made all the money; I had become a stay-at-home mother when my daughter was a teenager. The concept of our roles being in any way egalitarian was ridiculous. He often declared "this is so unfair," as though fairness was something one was entitled to. I pointed out to him that, when viewed objectively, it's just as unfair for the woman to bear children (risking her life; I literally almost died during childbirth) as it is for the man to then take on virtually 100% of the financial burden and responsibility, but that's just the way it works.

He never liked that. He would have liked it if I had taken on more of the financial burden. Gee, if that were to have worked, it would have been nice if he had taken on my child's birth. Not possible... ;-) But he never accepted these limitations of our biology and my personal needs. He always resented the fact I was not bringing in enough money. I always thought this attitude ignored reality (I had earned a doctorate when my kid was little, and gave up teaching when she became difficult to deal with as a teenager). My precept is, you can't have it both ways. Life is not, ultimately, fair. It just isn't. We each have tasks and challenges that are different, some based on biological issues, some based on intellectual limitations, some based on sociological and economic restrictions.

So I reject utterly the notion that life can be fair, or that it is possible to have a truly egalitarian marriage. There will always be power struggles, areas where one person is better at something than the other. That's the way it is. Without those differences, I suspect we would all be clones of one another, and that would be very boring.

"He always resented..."

"...the fact I was not bringing in enough money"

Wow, what a twist. And **I** always resent the fact that **I**
don't bring in enough money. But I find ways to survive and support
the woman who chooses to be with me. NO woman who has EVER been by my
side has found it NECESSARY to work for us to survive. I have a "wired
in" obligation to support her. If she can't understand that or refuses
to comply with that, then the relationship ceases. I have EXTREME
difficulty understanding a man who feels otherwise.

The "Old School" concept is embedded into every fiber of my being,
so to deny it is to deny myself and my very identity.

Mike Starre

Equality

Okay, so what I wrote is crap. Size, strength, etc, don't matter. Men and women are totally equal. There are no differences between men and women that matter. Why, then do so many women on this webswite crave male domination? Why does any profession that becomes female-dominated always suffer a decline in status? (this has happened in the UK with teaching, and is now happening with medicine, just as it did in the old USSR)When men decide to sweep aside equality (as they did in Afghanistan, for instance), they can do it easily enough. Perhpas it couldn't happen here, or perhaps it could, I don't know. Of course I believe in equality of opportunity, you twerp, I never said I didn't, but I maintain that the number of women capable of becoming firefighters etc, is always going to be pretty small compared to the number of men. And since you ask, I personally would definitely prefer that the person dragging me out of a fire was a big strapping man rather than some little girlie. And if you think pregnancy doesn't change women, then how come so many women take so-called 'maternity leave' and never come back? Can you explain that, Mr Milquotoast?

P.S.

As for your Smith and Weston comment, I'm ENGLISH, ducky, we're not allowed to carry guns in this country, only criminals have guns over here, or haven't you heard?

P.P.S.

And another thing. You say it's entirely a woman's call if she chooses to take a submissive role in her relationship, but surely even you are not so far gone in smugness that you're not aware that in much of the world (the real world, that is not the fantasy land you inhabit) a woman does not have a choice about whether to have a submissive relationship or not, it is a legal and social requirement.

FYI

Louise wrote:

You say it's entirely a woman's call if she chooses to
take a submissive role in her relationship, but surely
even you are not so far gone in smugness that you're not
aware that in much of the world (the real world, that
is not the fantasy land you inhabit) a woman does not
have a choice about whether to have a submissive
relationship or not, it is a legal and social requirement.

Louise, in the USA there is always a choice—no legal or social requirement here, and I am going to assume that is Steve's POV. In fact I can definitely see where men in the US could have a very difficult time taking a woman in hand because of all the laws reguarding the treatment of women both at home and in the workplace.

And name calling (i.e. twerp), please lets not do that here. A lot of times people have difficulty thoroughly explaining themselves, even when they have the opportunity to go back and edit what they wrote. I know I do.

I think Steve has a valid point but it is much more complex than can be put in a post or even an article. The genetics and neural wiring of male and female are wired so differently with roots in the developments of ancient mans survival techniques. Both were different, but had equal value to the survival of man. This has to be taken into account first, before moving to how societies evolved, and especially where we are at today.

Don't get me wrong, I definitely believe in equal opportunity for everyone, (I am the ex-female athlete who competed in male dominated arenas). But that doesn't mean that deep down (even subconsciously) that the strongest female in the world, still does not harbor a need for that equally strong man to protect and dominate here. That is what I am coming to terms with in my own life.

On pregnancy and equality

Steve wrote:

And the whole pregnancy stuff really bugs me. My wife once said to me, "without women, civilization would end because there would be no more babies born." My response was that without men (and sperm) there would be no more conceptions and no more babies. So how's that for equality—1 sperm (from man) plus 1 egg (from woman) equals life.

Doesn't get much more equal than that.

Yes, both sexes are needed to create a baby. But given your eagerness to point out that in the modern, Western world things like sheer brute strength have little role to play, I'm surprised you didn't mention that after the man has squirted his seed there is nothing else for him to do. No sabre-tooth Tiggers rampaging through the local park to fight off, no woolly mammoths to club and drag back for dinner. Both sexes may be needed, but the woman has the whole nine month pregnancy thing, and then usually ends up taking on most of the childcare.

And the risk to him in the whole process is fairly minimal (unless the woman decides to murder him for putting her through it, of course...). Even today, in Western countries, in modern, well-equipped hospitals, there is a risk of death associated with childbirth—less` than if that medical attention wasn't there, but a risk none-the-less.

As for strength, size etc—men are more likely to be bigger, stronger and faster than women. There are exceptions to this rule—Paula Radcliffe is probably faster than a good many men, f'r example. And yes, Bill Gates may look like the stereotypical nerd, and yes, he is one of the richest men in the world, but the field he's in is still a predominantly male one. It's slowly getting better, but when even the women who work in the industry can have problems coming up with ideas on how to make it seem attractive to schoolgirls, then it's going to take a long while before it gets very much better.

Equal opportunities does not mean that any given job can be done equally as well by a man or a woman, or by an able-bodied or disabled person; but that if a candidate can do a job, it doesn't (shouldn't) make a blind bit of difference if they are male, female, able-bodied or disabled, black, white, straight, gay, or a Martian (immigration laws allowing).

Finally, in relation to this bit:

...when international relations meant divide and conquor. We don't live in those days anymore.

As an onlooker rather than a participant in internation relations, I'm not entirely sure we've got past those days yet.

--

"There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so" Hamlet, somewhere.

Equality

Yes, Steve may well have been talking about the USA, but unfortunately I don't live in the USA, and nor does most of the population of the world, and in a very large part of the world, women ARE required legally and socially to be submissive. For instance, I recently read anewspaper article about women in Afghanistan who have been sent to prison for leaving abusive husbands. The woman governor of the prison had no sympathy for these women, she explained that the reason they had left their husbands was that they were illiterate and ignorant, if they were educated and literate like her, they would know that their husbands had a perfect right to beat them if they felt like it,and they'd accept it. Nor an I entirely persuaded that women always have a choice in the USA either, what about all those fourteen-year-old Mormon girls i've read about who get taken out of school to marry disgusting old men? They don't appear to have been given much choice as far as I can make out. As for name-calling, might I point out that he started it by telling me my opinions were crap?

Maybe...

But that doesn't mean that deep down (even subconsciously) that the strongest female in the world, still does not harbor a need for that equally strong man to protect and dominate her.

Maybe but maybe not. Other than air, water and food, I don't know that there is anything we can say any other human being absolutely has a need for....

I've always wanted a protective but authoritative kind of lover. When I was single and oh-so-independent I had a fantasy composite of who my Prince was and what he would be like. I kept it well suppressed because I thought I was still in some sort of unresolved pre teen state emotionally, dreaming of what could never be. I was lucky and found MB. So I understand what happens when we finally find this lovely quality in a man and have to change many aspects of our thinking and living.

But is it hopeful thinking to suggest every woman is like we are, deep down?

That would suggest a simplicity in life that I don't think exists.

But then I am a born cynic...

Maddy

Maybe

I would certainly agree that not all women are looking for a dominant man, they can't be, after all, how else can one explain the enormous popularity of Hugh Grant?

RE: Maybe

I didn't mean to suggest that all women are looking for the dominant male to lead the relationship, I was just suggesting that maybe that one feminist stong female that no one would suspect, might actually be craving a more dominant male somewhere deep down inside of her.

And, btw, I am a bit of a cynic myself, Maddy ;)

My misunderstanding

I didn't mean to suggest that all women are looking for the dominant male to lead the relationship, I was just suggesting that maybe that one feminist stong female that no one would suspect, might actually be craving a more dominant male somewhere deep down inside of her.

Sorry Jayda! I really did think you meant all women. I guess I was just overreacting because it's a theory I've seen so often at sites like this. i.e. The dominant male is 'God's will' or the way nature intended us to be or ....

The second argument always floors me because it is based on such a limited knowledge of natural history. From spiders to seahorses to bonobo chimps, males are not always the dominant sex.

But like Louise says there has to be some explanation for the popularity for the likes of Hugh Grant!

Maddy

In response to Hugh Grant

One of my favorite Hugh Grant movies is Notting Hill. In one particular scene Julia Roberts (she portrays a hollywood actress) is hysterical as there have been semi-pornographic pictures distributed to the press. Hugh interrupts her tirade, says "we'll sort it all out" and offers her tea and a bath. She immediately calms down and admits at the end of the day that "this was a good day, which under the circumstances was unexpected."

How commanding was that?

How Commanding was that?

Well, it was very nice but I wouldn't precisely describe it as commanding. Hugh Grant is very amusing when he does all that dithery diffedence that he does so well, but as far as I'm concerned you might just as well talk about being Taken In Hand by Stan Laurel.

Equality?

Since I started reading this site a few months ago, I have always been surprised to see articles that favor an un-equal relationship. The reason is that in my mind's eye, equality does not mean being the same and having the same. Equality means bringing your specific gifts into the marriage/relationship and having those gifts appreciated. From this view, my husband and I are very equal.

He brings his great qualities and I bring my great qualities. Some of those qualities are the same (we share parenting values, business eithics and formal schooling); but some of those things are very different. For instance, I am better at creating our home environment—and while he appreciates that he doesn't live is squalor and his home is nice to look at as well as to live in—he in no way wants to be involved with the choice of curtins, carpet, floors, appliances, paint color, etc. If I asked him to go with me to a home store, he would say "why—don't you feel like driving?" LOL. He on the other hand is better than me at taking care of the outside of our home, the cars, the stuff in the garage that I don't touch. In addition, he is better at teaching our children what it means to be a man & I am better at teaching them what it means to be a woman. We are cetainly different. And we are certainly equal.

S does punish me when I step over the line. He does command (not demand) resect. He 'takes' me when he wants. He also cherishes me, respects me and loves me. I am happy to choose to obey him when I can, and when I can't (or won't- smile) a spanking helps me remember each of our roles in this family and our promises to one another.

When asked, S often says we equally bring our talents into each others lives, but never would he say that this means he is not in charge. He is definitely in charge & we both like it that way.

M-

Equality

Well, an equal relationship is generally assumed to be one in which both partners have equal rights. This is clearly not the case in your relationship. Your husband is in charge, he tells you what to do, and he can punish you when he wants to. He can have sex with you whenever he likes, without you having any say in it. You are not 'equal' in the sense that most people mean when they use the word 'equal'. If one person in a relationship is subordinate to the other then they are not equal.

Furthermore, when it comes to you taking care of the inside of the house, and him of the outside, that isn't equal either, since outside things generally only need doing now and again, whereas the business of keeping a house clean and orderly is a more or less unceasing activity. The one involves considerably more work than the other.

Louise