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Arts/Society What are your thoughts on the interaction of male / female relationship of marriage?

Discussion in 'Language, Arts & Culture' started by Harkiran Kaur, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    This question was brought on by reading in another thread... the idea of 'femininity' which may in that case have been taken out of context, but this is something I have always wondered about.

    What are your thughts on the interaction of a husband and wife and what is expected of each?

    I have seen both extremes and everywhere in between, but the majority of Sikh couples I know, fall into the "husband says what goes, and she must blindly obey without question and be subservient to him" camp. I have seen this go very badly too... to the point where if she disobeyed at all, he became abusive and they are now separated (They are here in North America). I do realize in many cases this is result of Indian society in general and not Sikhi. But Indian culture in general, does permeate the psyche of many Sikh families.

    So... do most Sikh women hand over their autonomy all together at the marriage door? Do they become 'doormats' essentially to their husbands? Sikh men, do you expect your wife to obey you without question in all things... 100% of the time? If so, what about her needs, and her desires, her happiness??

    Wouldn't a marriage like that result in him being happy 100% of the time and her life being miserable having to cater to all his needs all the time, at the detriment of her own happiness?? Isn't marriage (in the Sikh sense) supposed to be an equal partnership where husband and wife work as a team on even ground... to the point of being one soul in two bodies? That to me implies equality, and not a dominant / submissive type relationship.

    As I said I have seen the other way too... where the wife says what goes and she hold the puppet strings of her husband... but this doesn't seem to be the norm. It seems far more common that the woman is expected to be subservient and fully obedient.

    Growing old alone in that case, sounds possibly a better option for women in the end.
     
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  3. Ishna

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    I don't have time for a quality reply, but I would say I think girls are somewhat conditioned to base their happiness on the happiness of their future husband, with the aim of finding their own happiness through their husband's happiness, by serving him completely.

    I don't think this is a healthy type of relationship, but neither is the opposite extreme. Each partner should care for and serve the other equally, and should approach problems and challenges together as a team.

    In practice it does become difficult, especially if the wife wants one thing and the husband wants another - someone is going to have to compromise. I haven't got the art of compromise figured out in my own marriage yet. We both resist because we both want our own way over an issue or dilemma, then we both back down at the same time, and it's always bittersweet for the person who gets their way. That's not healthy either!

    But we're not of Indian cultural heritage so my reply is a bit off topic.
     
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  4. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Yes, I think with indian culture the woman does hand everything at the door to the husband.
    And I don't think it's a healthy marriage with husband being dominant.
    However, I think that the woman knows and accepts this submission from the beginning.

    My marriage is very far from this and we have had our equal submissions with the help of role reversals.
    My wife plays the exact role that I played for many years before and I play the role that she herself played !!!- (sounds complicated and crazy...I know!!)
     
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  5. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    absolute equality with no cultural or religious pre determined facets of what is feminine and masculine.

    I see this again and again, but in truth, in most Sikh couples I know, the wife says what goes, but encourages the husband to think it is his idea!

    we have a strange marriage, we expect nothing of each other, the traditional roles of man and woman have been flung into the air, I cook, I clean, she washes up, and puts up with my madness, I put up with her madness, if someone wants something, no matter how crazy, we both pull together to get it, there is no checking system, no discussion about whether such is a good idea or not, we do not try and talk each other out of things, which sometimes has bad consequences, (I am thinking Range Rovers here), but we support each other and love each other, she, however is not my mother, and I am not her father.

    My wife prefers the twin flame route rather than the soul mates route, soul mates implies two people similar in outlook mirroring each other, the former implies mutual respect rather than assimilation.
     
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  6. SaintSoldier1699

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    A marriage where there are no ego's, insecurities, would effectively mean equality so, no role's to play for society just a relationship based on transparent truth - yet it seems quite rare to see this?

    Also, coming from an Indian culture its very very difficult to not be effected by all the "dramas" and role expectations of society etc.

    I was married and my wife wanted to be in charge, self proclaimed leader of the marriage. For which I would have been totally happy with, if only the ruling was fair! Clearly we weren't meant for each other!
     
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  7. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller United Kingdom
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    absolutely! it only works for us because my wife is an orphan and I am not allowed to socialise with the extended family on account of being the black sheep, which is a blessing I cannot even begin to describe! lol lol
     
  8. ExploringSikhi

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    Is this always a good thing? I don't mean the "absolute equality" part, I don't believe that a husband should be able to exert his will on his wife if she doesn't want to do something (or vice-versa), but is it a coincidence that most cultures do label certain things to be "masculine" and others to be "feminine", and that these labels tend to be the same in all of them?

    Is it really such a good idea to blur the line between "masculine" and "feminine", is this not a rejection of our evolutionary past?
     
  9. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    Well for myself personally.... do not want to be told that I can't do something because it's reserved for men only. Makes me feel somehow inadequate so then I feel even more driven to prove I can do said thing just as good or even better than any man can!!!

    I am just not interested in cooking, scrubbing floors, cleaning toilets, etc. as a career choice. I find it about as interesting or fun as most men would....

    Are you saying I am rejecting my true nature? Sorry... nothing will make menial house chores appealing to me. Those evolutionary past ideals that are being rejected, tend to give men preference and all the fun while locking women into subordinate and menial role. That's actually against Sikhi as everyone are equal.
     
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  10. ExploringSikhi

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    You have misunderstood me. It is not about being told what you can and can't do, reserving certain careers for men only and others for women. My uncle is a nurse, that is considered a "feminine" job by most people, but I don't see anything wrong with a man being a nurse. One of my best friends, his mother, when she was younger, was part of the armed forces, and is now a cop. Again, this is considered a "masculine" career, but she is really good at it and enjoys it, and I don't think that anyone should have the right to tell her she shouldn't be doing it.

    But if we went back to living in caves today, men would be required to hunt and women would stay home. Of course there are exceptions, my friend's mom, for example, may be able to fend for herself, but gender roles were not created by humans, historically they have existed largely because evolution demands it. Men and women are equal, but I think it is dishonest to suggest that on average, we are the exactly the same as well.
     
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  11. Ishna

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    Someone has to cook, wash floors and clean toilets. Perhaps part of the problem is the stigma around those chores. I enjoy cooking, washing floors and making my entire bathroom sparkle, but as the primary breadwinner in the family it is my husband who does most everything at home now. Im not sure he'd enjoy being told how menial the work is that he does, or be made to feel worthless for doing such. It beats by far me having to work each day and come home to a messy house with chores to be done. In fact this period of role reversal has given me more insight into the traditional husband and wife roles at home. A persons care of the home is integral to the working party's wellbeing and can be fulfilling for the person staying at home too. I think we tend to underestimate the value of "menial chores" and housework unfairly.
     
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  12. Harry Haller

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    Could you kindly inform us all what exactly are masculine and feminine traits?

    Is rejecting our evolutionary past a bad thing or a good thing? Should we also give up airplane travel, the internet, as well as embracing century old ideals?
     
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  13. Ishna

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  14. angrisha

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    I think ive always been really lucky with my parents, because both my parents are very equal partners in their marriage. Everything from cooking, cleaning to financial decisions have always been made jointly. As a result I think, its allowed me an my brother to be very grounded, and having accepting parents has allowed us to find our own path...

    The whole society thing plays a big role, more so than I think we even realize. When I moved back home last year, it hit me how hard it gets to navigate your own personal beliefs when everyone's telling you what should be happening. Including, who or when and what type of person you should get married too.

    Lots of aspects which we didnt wish exist still do, like background, caste, eduction etc still come up. And, in many ways define how ppl will interact within a marriage, and how they interact with others. Lets face it, in our culture marriage is rarely just 2 ppl, it often involves the whole family which complicates these gender roles further.

    Akasha Ji-

    I think if we could all practice what we preach, we wouldn't even be having this discussion. Talking about equality is great, actually having it is a totally different thing.

    Housework is only subordinate if someone makes you feel that way, otherwise its just work. If no one else was around, youd have to do it yourself or maybe hire someone. But, if you feel subordinate its because either from your judgement it is something too feel subordinate about... or someone else is actually making you feel that way. Either way, you can change your perspective or remove yourself from that person.
     
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  15. ExploringSikhi

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    Firstly, I do not see how airplane travel or the internet has anything to do with with rejecting or accepting our evolutionary past. Airplane travel and the internet are conveniences that make our lives easier, they are essentially tools that humans have created which have allowed us to better adapt to our environment, they have absolutely nothing to do with "masculinity" or "femininity". It isn't much different than when humans first invented spears to hunt with, or discovered fire. They have allowed us to better survive in our environment, which is kinda the whole point of the process.

    As for your other point, about what is "masculine" and what is "feminine", all you have to do is turn back the clocks and figure out what the role of males and females has been throughout history. We are not asexual creatures, there is a reason why two separate genders exist, and they were not created for the same purposes.

    In a nutshell, masculine traits are those which display an ability to gather resources and improve survival of off-spring within this context (ie the ability to protect from predators, capable of catching prey and protecting partner and off-spring etc).

    Feminine traits are those which display an ability to child-bear, raise new-borns into infancy and thus improve survival of off-spring (I will spare you the details, but you get the idea).

    Masculinity plays a role in child-rearing and femininity in resource accumulation but they are not primary traits but rather secondary (ie men showing children how to hunt and women picking fruits and berries).

    It is the difference between hunter and gatherer, the contrast between protecter and nurturer.

    That said, like most things in life, it isn't purely black and white. There is no such thing as a "pure" masculine trait (only found in men), just like there is no such thing as a pure feminine trait. Even something like physical strength, which is almost synonymous with masculinity, is present to a certain degree in women, because in life or death situations, women do need the ability to protect themselves and their off-spring from harms way.

    Men also need to be able to nurture and form emotional bonds with their children, because if the female partner dies, the man becomes responsible for the physical and psychological upbringing of his off-spring.

    But at the end of the day, on average, men have more masculine traits (and to a more powerful degree) than women, females have more feminine traits (and to a more powerful degree) than men.

    I will refrain from listing any specific traits, since I don't want this to turn into a gender war, but hopefully that was clear.

    10-15,000 years of civilisation will not outdo millions upon millions of evolution (with mamallian evolution being 200 or so million years).
     
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  16. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur Canada
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    My point was only to illustrate the fact that for ages, men have purposely made women to feel that those tasks are menial. You know the old saying "That's women's work" as if to mean those things are beneath men because they are better than women.


    ExploringSikhi: OUtside of the biological function of actually bearing the child, it's been proven that babies who get to bond equally with both parents actually fair much better.... and it's also better for the men as well to bond with their children.

    And those biological differences should not be used to put one gender at a disadvantage. For example... men have always been able to be janitors.... but women have have not always been allowed to join the military. It's when those differences are used to force one gender into a disadvantage that it's wrong. AND women have ALWAYS been at the disadvantage.

    Well... not always... there have been societies that were matriarchal... prior to patriarchy dominating the world, there were societies where women had the upper hand and men were seen as the 'lower' gender and seen as just hard labourers and intellect was seen as more in the female. This of course was squashed when men realized they could bully women.

    And how do you explain women who have absolutely no inkling to have children at all? A few women in my family do not ever want children... should they be barred from the male dominated careers that they choose and enjoy, simply because they CAN bear a child??
     
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  17. Luckysingh

    Luckysingh Canada
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    Typical masculine and feminine roles have been created by society throughout the times.
    In any relationship I think there is always one that has the more masculine role and one that has the more feminine role. Most gay couples will always relate to this as well.
    I think that the roles overlap quite a bit in todays time compared to the days when Macho man of a man would be out sweating and farming all day whilst the maid of a wife stayed at home, cleaned and cooked in time for macho man to come home !
    Why do I say macho man ?
    Because he did all the fixing and manual work around the house, car and machines.
    When he got thirsty, he would call his maid wife or kids for a drink.
    If his son ever were to approach him and hint that he may be gay or not interested in girls, then macho man would belt him down like a man !
     
  18. ExploringSikhi

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    I agree, I think it is important that a father has a healthy emotional bond with his children, I did not state otherwise.

    I think you should stop stereotyping men as ruthless monsters and look at this from an objetive point of view.

    For the human species to survive, we must reproduce and that is something neither men nor women can do on their own. For the purpose of procreation, the two genders are tied together, we are dependant on one another, that is the way it is supposed to be, otherwise if one gender could reproduce on its own, the dependancy would not exist.

    It takes a lot of work to not only bring a child into the world, but to care for it, provide for it, nurture it, protect it and raise it to be self-sufficient.

    There are tasks that must be carried out, responsibilities that must be met. The burden falls upon both men and women, and the best way to go about carrying out the tasks is to specialize in what you are good at and "trade-off" for what you are not.

    On average, women, no matter how much you may not like it, can not "do anything a man can do or better." The same applies to men, they can't do everything a woman can do or better. There are obvious differences, this isn't difficult to understand.

    Women cannot hunt as well as men can, women cannot fight as well as men can, women cannot protect as well as men can. Men cannot nurture as well as women can, men cannot bond as well as women can, men are generally not as in-touch with their feelings as women are.

    It makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, in fact it is downright silly, to have expected men to, throughout history, stay at home while their wife goes out to put food on the table. It is not "bullying", it is not men being unfair, it happened because this is the way nature set things up to run. Do you know what would actually have been oppressive? If men had used their superior physical strength to force their wives out of the house while they lazed around at home, forced their wives to go out and hunt and bring food back for the family, that would have been oppression, then you would have had the right to complain, but the way things actually played out, you do not.

    Everything has an opportunity cost. Men going out of the house for hunting/protecting/feeding their families while women stayed at home and took care of the kids is much more efficient and has a much lower opportunity cost than women going out to hunt/protect/gather food while men stayed at home and looked after the kids.

    However, our civilization, at least in the west, has been advancing quite rapidly over the past 50-60 years. Hard labour is no longer the only, probably not even the primary way to provide for the family. We live in a corporate world where most people earn by sitting at a desk. And what do you know, over the past 50-60 years, women in the west have been getting more rights, getting a better education, entering the workforce and are now pretty much on par with men in all of those things. So much for male bullies :thinkingmunda:


    Perhaps you could read my posts thoroughly before replying? On the last page, post #9, I have already talked about this.
     
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  19. ExploringSikhi

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    How oppressive of "macho man", forcing his wife to stay at home while he was out "sweating and farming all day", breaking his back to provide for his family and put food on the table, he should have stayed at home and allowed his wife to have the fun of bustin' her behind in the hot sun for hours and hours, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Macho man is obviously a male chauvanist.
     
  20. Luckysingh

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    Yeh........Don't you feel sorry for the macho man ??
    0:)

    I mentioned the above post because all these masculine/feminine roles have been created by society itself !
    Yet, now we try and brush them away.

    Fact is that they will stay and like I said even most gay couples have a masculine and feminine assignment in their relationship.

    Does it bother me or affect me ?
    Not in any way.
    As I mentioned earlier, mine and my wife's roles have been reversed.
    I do all the house, kids and maid stuff whilst she is the breadwinner.
    At the moment, we BOTH feel that we have contributed very equally into running the household.
    ....and anyway, she knows much more about cars and machinery than most men including me !
     
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  21. ExploringSikhi

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    Yes, I feel bad for poor macho man lol

    I think that because of our environment today, gender roles are becoming less and less important. This is mainly to do with the nature of breadwinning, it is no longer about killing a grizzly with your bare hands, now you provide for your family by working 9-5 in an office five days a week.

    I disagree with one part though, that gender roles were created by society, they may have been enforced by society, but their necessity was put in place by evolution, 2 separate genders, 2 separate jobs, coming together to accomplish one goal, to have children and raising them to become self-sufficient.

    Edit: I agree, I don't think that "masculinity" and 'feminity" are going away anytime soon. Opposites attract, in my experience, and talking with my male friends and female friends (I have plenty), I have found that most women are still attracted to men who display masculine qualities, men who, if we went back to living in caves today, would still be able to sustain, protect and provide for their family. We all know who these guys are, they stand out in a crowd, they are natural born leaders, with dominating personalities and, to a lesser extent, dominating physiques (not bodybuilder, just in good shape).

    And most men are still attracted to certain qualities in a woman, although I am hesitant to list them out of fear that it may be taken the wrong way.
     

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