Both men and women lament about how much of a man’s world this is: whether it be unequal political, economic, or social circumstances; one of the most surprising observations in my adult life, however, is observing how some women reinforce the patriarchal dynamic.
Some ladies want a man to be an emotional rock: someone to lean on when times get rough and be a support system at other times, so when a man shows vulnerability, some women run for the hills. Of course, some women find it sexy when a guy shows vulnerability. But that’s the point: there’s a vast range of possibilities. While some women find emotional outpours from men enticing, many others see it as a sign of weakness and will chastise a guy for sharing that side of himself. Shunning a man’s emotions may lead him to (falsely) believe that women don’t ever want to hear about what he’s feeling, and he’ll be less likely to open up to women emotionally as a result, thus reinforcing patriarchal behaviors.
While most women want men to treat them as equals, every woman has a different definition of what it means to be a man’s equal. Some women will be insulted when a guy takes charge whereas others expect a guy to take charge. Some women want a guy to be transparent whereas others want a guy to take a leap of faith and be willing to take the L. Some women will snap on a guy for being chivalrous whereas some women will snap on a guy for NOT being chivalrous. Once again, the breadth of womanly tendencies gives men inconsistent messages as to how to anticipate women’s needs. And a large proportion of the female population not only doesn’t mind, but actively encourages, patriarchal practices.
Women hate getting rejected as much as men, and no where is this most evident as when sex is involved. Many dating and sexual encounters see a woman refuse to make the first move; they often cede decision-making authority to a man, even when he asks for her point of view or she has a strong opinion on the matter. I’ve heard countless stories of women going along with what a guy wanted to do just because she didn’t believe she could say no. I’ve also heard girls say that it’s “their job” to please their man. Such beliefs, in addition to the tendency to “throw the ball back into a man’s court,” may slowly erode a man’s belief in gender equality, as some ladies’ actions make some men feel that some ladies are disingenuous about being his equal.
All women are not patriarchal. Women are diverse. That’s the point: SOME women reinforce patriarchy whereas others fight it tooth and nail. From a male perspective, the woman who is adamant about being treated equally has to be taken just as seriously as the woman who feels like a man should lead the household. Who’s to say which point of view is more valuable? Men will always be out for their own interest, and so will women. But some women’s interest is to be submissive towards men. The reasons vary by lady, but the fact that empowering men is a viable for strategy for some women will never cease to amaze me.