For thousands and thousands of years gender roles have been more or less fixed. In tribes, empires, feudal states and early nation states, men and women knew exactly what part to play. But in postmodern Western societies, the rules no longer apply, and if you haven’t already – it’s time for you to start adapting.
The story of humanity is one where collective negotiation between the sexes has always been the norm. Tribes didn’t succeed by having each man and woman quarrel about what tasks to perform. Men and women simply did what needed to be done in order to survive and to secure the wellbeing of their offspring. In traditional nation states men would support and protect the family, while women would give birth to children and work in the home. Roles were simple, efficient and clear-cut, with each sex respecting the other for the important role they fulfilled. However, the social fabric of the past is very much in the past, and it’s a new day with a completely new set of rules.
You may not have learned it in school, and your parents may not have taught you, but relying on traditional gender roles to get you where you want is uncertain at best. In this day and age we need to turn to individual negotiation, something that men especially need to start becoming aware of. Women have already made this transition to a much greater extent, thanks to the women’s movement. Women are more aware of their choices, and evolutionary speaking women have always had to think about how good a deal they can get when interacting with men.
Men, on the other hand, still believe that they need to perform their traditional duties in every area of life, and are rarely fully conscious of what they offer and what they get in return. If you are a man reading this, I therefore offer you this checklist of things to become aware of in your everyday life:
- Do you help your female friend repair stuff or do you help her move or carry things that she finds heavy? If you do, then you should fully expect her to come to your house to cook and clean every now and then.
- Do you buy drinks or dinners for women when dating? If you do, then what are you getting in return, financially? If the answer is nothing, then why are you doing it?
- Do you really want to spend $10,000-100,000 on a fantasy wedding? Or is that her fantasy, and her wish? Would she let you buy something of equal value from money that she has brought into the marriage?
- As long as family courts regularly award custody to the mother, it makes sense for every man to have a prenuptial agreement, so that you have the financial power after a divorce to compensate for her having power over the children.
- Do you even want to get married? Do you need to get married to satisfy what you’re after? Or is it enough for you to live with a woman and raise kids together?
My take on individual negotiation is that nothing is off limits. You can certainly marry a woman, give her the wedding of her dreams, and then support her for the rest of your life. The question is: What are you getting in return? Are you getting your money’s worth? If you feel that this way of thinking is crass and unromantic, then you are the one to stand corrected. Love is free. Romance is free. No money is needed for two people to talk, kiss or make love. Everything that we have been made to believe is necessary for romance (flowers, expensive dinners, an expensive car, an expensive wedding) has no natural connection to either romance or love. And by the way, have you noticed what gender has decided what to call romantic?
Again, nothing is off limits. You can do anything you want, including traditional romantic gestures. But start by asking yourself why you are doing it, and what you are getting in return. Becoming conscious in this ways is not unromantic, it simply means leveling the playing field with women, and having the chance to face women as their equal.