A warning: Some of my next statements are broad generalizations, and should be taken as such. Every relationship is different. I’m not looking for an argument on what some men are like and some women. I’m only stating that I’ve come to a realization.
While watching The Other Boleyn Girl, I heard the mother tell the daughter that she had to let the men think that they are always in control and get what they want through other methods than “stamping” their feet. That, she said, was “the art of being a woman”.
I’ve heard this repeatedly, beginning when I was very young. Women always say this, either through words or actions, and it conflicts completely with the feminist ideas that we in Generation X were so steeped. One of my dearest friends feels the same way that I do and even her dad has told her to do this. She and I both refuse to indulge in this distasteful practice with our husbands, offering the truth as we see it at all times.
Inequality in the Genders
Why do we do this? We, the genders, are supposed to be equal. But we are not. While men excel at physical strength, women excel with the emotional. While both have the ability to betray and deceive, women I find to be the most treacherous because of their sensibilities and emotions. It his hard to fully trust them. I know plenty of other women who feel the same, and I can completely understand how men would feel so manipulated by them.
I have always tried to be the least manipulative person that I could. As such, this tactic of making men think things are their idea, only to get one’s way, flies directly in the face of everything I’ve believe is right and fair in relationships.
Gender Mind Games
Still, at 32, I’m finding that this method is more truly necessary than I’d feared. I’ve been watching other women and how they act with their husbands and lovers. It is true. This is the way that women get what they want. I am amazed—shocked—humbled.
I thought more highly of men than this. I suppose it was naïve of me to think that women and men could avoid the mind games and all the intricate emotional dance. But I was wrong.
There are so many sparks over the direct confrontations that refusing to be more subversive causes. Being this honest requires giving the ugly truth to men who, in many cases, do not want harsh reality from their woman. They want their wives and girlfriends to be a welcomed break from reality, warm and soft. Women who are this frank are often looked at as nags and left for other women who offer more comfort.
Realizing this led me to understand that it’s not that the genders are unequal that causes this necessity but the relationship itself. When women have this emotional strength, they hold the ability to provide relief to the men who need it. If this means allowing the other person (man or woman) to see reality when they are ready and to feel some modicum of control over their own lives, is it so wrong?
It is, perhaps, more of a kindness that I’ve never understood. But I am learning, though my stubborn, fiery nature is making it a slow process. My poor husband must have an abundance of patience.