The debate on double standards in relationships is a long, winding and ongoing one with neither side ever reaching a truce. However, there is an angle that piqued my interest and I had to explore….naturally.
Everyone has been privy to insider information on someone’s relationships and we have all probably (or not), heard that the husband has cheated, probably even producing a kid with a mistress. The wife would naturally turn to her family or in-laws for advice and direction on how to move on. One of the common pieces of advise that has been repeated has been, “don’t worry too much, that’s what all men do. It is a phase, it’ll pass soon…”. Following this information, the wronged wife has to go back to her matrimonial home and pretty much accept and overlook the predicament and carry on. The ‘advisors’ in this situation also maintain their stance and proclaim that men will be men and women should just deal with it. What if the tables were turned, will men be so understanding?
What if the wife is the one who has been unfaithful, been flirting, seen talking to this man and that man, keeping her phone under lock and key, maybe even gotten pregnant by a lover; would the advice “don’t worry, that’s what women do. It’s a phase, it’ll pass on,” be uttered by anyone mediating the issue? I don’t think so either. If she as much as kills a fly, she is halfway out the door. So how come women are expected, even encouraged to accept such filthy behavior? Why is this behaviour given a pass when it comes to men but the same is a no-no for women? Is it because women want to be in a relationship more than men do so they are forced to accept anything and everything to keep it? Is it why women stay in abusive relationships, pampered by the “hold on, he will stop” advice? I had the discussion with my partner the other day and he suggested that most of the decisions that men make when it comes to relationships and women, come from the women in the man’s life; his mother, aunties, granny, sisters and the like. And most of the advice is centered around demanding the utmost in perfection when it comes to picking a woman. This practice has been around for centuries and men have naturally gravitated towards it and it has become a norm. I put it into perspective and as parents, I could see how we could end up suggesting the same. But should I not also groom my son to be just as perfect?
Females are given advise when it comes to picking a good man, however, the advice is a bit different. Women are mostly taught to find someone who works hard, makes an honest living decent enough to feed a family, has decent looks and has some education. Some of that advice does not include demanding that the man be faithful, or be a virgin (gasp!) or an honest man who never tells a lie. I see something wrong with that picture. From the time a child is born and confirmed it’s a girl, the list of expectations grows very quickly. From a very young age, you are groomed for your future husband and the responsibilities that come with raising a home; you have to know how to cook, how to clean, how to do laundry, good manners, how to maintain a good image, to be submissive, to obey your partner and not question him too much, you have to know how to take care of a baby and practice will be carried out on younger siblings….*breathe*….you have to know a few church hymns in case of a funeral, you have to know how to pray, you have to know the traditional way of greeting elders, you have to learn how to keep your emotions in check and god forbid if you sleep with anyone, you have to be a virgin….ok, I’m tired. But I’m sure you get the picture. Nothing short of perfection is expected of the female child. If she is not perfect, the man is über quick to dispose of her. Men KNOW they will find a perfect woman because he knows women will go to extra lengths to be perfect for them. Women HOPE to get a good man. How about women get on the same level as men; have that same assurance?
The man she is so carefully groomed for, let’s see. He is taught from a young age to…what? Know how to shave, know how to change a tire, get a job and be as sexually experienced as possible, bed as many conquests and this defines his manhood. This man, the one who is encouraged to be a whore, then has the nerve to demand a ‘perfect’ woman? Fair much? No. Now, I’m not trying to push the despicable notion that women should also be whores and bed as many conquests as men to be fair. I believe some of the problems that couples face maybe, just maybe, can be avoided by women also demanding as close to perfection from men. The excuse, “that’s what men do” should never be used, bad behaviour should just not be accepted or excused. Why should women accept these imperfections in a man who demands perfection from us? Why not deliver what you demand? In any situation, it is known that if an excuse if made for bad behaviour, that behaviour will not stop because there are no consequences for it. As parents, we should instill better expectations of our children, dare I say it, especially male children because in matters that are form part of the foundations of a happy relationships, ie, fidelity, men are extremely quick to get a pass. The requirements for masculinity should also include being faithful, yes, being a virgin, being trustworthy and being a perfect man. Honor should not be bestowed for changing females like we change socks, instead it should be awarded for how many women you DON’T sleep with. Women should shun the imperfect man, the same way the imperfect woman is shunned. I know my point of view is like expecting to wake up to a green sky because of how this practice is so engrained in us but hey, Rome was not built overnight. Maybe if we all demand perfection from each other, there will be better people in the world…just saying…
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