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TW: sexual assault.

This subject has been on my mind for months now. And before anyone gets defensive, I am literally married to and live with a man.

I don't think it's natural for a home to compose of one man, one woman, and their children. I think an overwhelming amount of the time, the mother becomes the head of the household (in every way but name) and ends up feeling lonely and experiencing burnout.

I've also been letting go of the belief that men are willfully incompetent. To be honest, I'm starting to think it doesn't fucking matter if they're being stupid and inconsiderate on purpose or not. Even if they are 100% willfully incompetent, what does it say about the male sex that so many of them are totally okay with turning a blind eye to dirty laundry thrown around the house, poorly wiping their own s****y buttholes, treating childcare as if its babysitting (having to be asked by the mother for help instead of just, you know, being a dad), and so on. At this point, who cares if they're doing it on purpose or not? They're assholes either way: they're assholes if they think, "fuck it, she'll take care of it," and they're assholes if they 'genuinely' don't 'notice' their female partner having much less free time than they do.

My point is, what the hell are we trying to negotiate here? Isn't there that saying from a TV show or something, "if someone shows you who they are, believe them"? Why aren't we believing men already? They're showing us who they are: inconsiderate, bad team players, selfish, ignorant.

And this is just the "average" wife/girlfriend problem here.

There's also the fact that women now live in a house with a person who is stronger than them and could potentially kill or seriously injure them. In many cases of DV, men don't have to worry very much about being caught, because it's them against a woman and maybe children. Many men beat their small children in order to discipline them. Even if a man doesn't beat his partner, he could easily rape her, or worst yet her/their children.

Why would nature intend for it to be this way? For girls and women to be exposed to these testosterone-fueled people, who refuse to express their feelings in civilized ways an overwhelming majority of the time?

Then there's the high rates of men leaving their partners when they need them most: when they become disabled, or get diagnosed with something like cancer (that would reverse the caretaker roles in the relationship which most men have no desire to take on), or in many cases when the woman simply ages and isn't bouncy and cool like many men think women should be. In a female-oriented community, she would be OK when he leaves because she would have women who are still there for her. In fact, I don't think he would be there at all, he would have just been a fling and would have left and forgotten about decades ago, because men would be free to do this without hurting women's livelihood.

My solution here, it's so far-fetched and fantastical at this point, but my solution is that we simply are not supposed to live this way. I think how it is "supposed" to be is women living in mostly female communities, with plenty of female-only spaces within them. Men are not excluded from these communities necessarily, but women simply do not need them there because they have each other. Men come and go. If they cause trouble, they are not allowed to come back under any circumstances. The men who would stay there would be serious partners of one of the women in the community. It would just be totally optional for them. Women would hopefully feel less pressure to have a man and so all the women wouldn't be slobbering all over the few men in said community. If they wanted a man they could get one easily, as it is now, except without women being desperate for anything even remotely competent.

I think the only reason women depend on men so much is because men created the world this way. But it is not the natural order. The natural order is women being in charge of the communities we live in. Whether it is because we are more able to, or because we simply care more, we are the ones who make things happen. I think female values are different than men's, and in this man-made world we cannot honor those values. Among these values are: rewarding teamwork, unconditional support, and safe spaces for expressing feelings. I don't see men honoring these things nearly as much as women do. Our friendships are richer, even our familial relationships. I may not always love my relatives, but it is a pleasure to cook our feast with them and clean up altogether when we are done. The only displeasure is the men getting to mooch off of our hard work. In a female-driven, female-focused, and female-oriented community, most of those men would not even be allowed in because not contributing would be considered a form of misbehaving.

Ended up rambling more than I wanted to. Any thoughts?

TW: sexual assault. This subject has been on my mind for months now. And before anyone gets defensive, I am literally married to and live with a man. I don't think it's natural for a home to compose of one man, one woman, and their children. I think an overwhelming amount of the time, the mother becomes the head of the household (in every way but name) and ends up feeling lonely and experiencing burnout. I've also been letting go of the belief that men are willfully incompetent. To be honest, I'm starting to think it doesn't fucking matter if they're being stupid and inconsiderate on purpose or not. Even if they are 100% willfully incompetent, what does it say about the male sex that so many of them are totally okay with turning a blind eye to dirty laundry thrown around the house, poorly wiping their own s****y buttholes, treating childcare as if its babysitting (having to be asked by the mother for help instead of just, you know, being a dad), and so on. At this point, who cares if they're doing it on purpose or not? They're assholes either way: they're assholes if they think, "fuck it, she'll take care of it," and they're assholes if they 'genuinely' don't 'notice' their female partner having much less free time than they do. My point is, what the hell are we trying to negotiate here? Isn't there that saying from a TV show or something, "if someone shows you who they are, believe them"? Why aren't we believing men already? They're showing us who they are: inconsiderate, bad team players, selfish, ignorant. And this is just the "average" wife/girlfriend problem here. There's also the fact that women now live in a house with a person who is stronger than them and could potentially kill or seriously injure them. In many cases of DV, men don't have to worry very much about being caught, because it's them against a woman and maybe children. Many men beat their small children in order to discipline them. Even if a man doesn't beat his partner, he could easily rape her, or worst yet her/their children. Why would nature intend for it to be this way? For girls and women to be exposed to these testosterone-fueled people, who refuse to express their feelings in civilized ways an overwhelming majority of the time? Then there's the high rates of men leaving their partners when they need them most: when they become disabled, or get diagnosed with something like cancer (that would reverse the caretaker roles in the relationship which most men have no desire to take on), or in many cases when the woman simply ages and isn't bouncy and cool like many men think women should be. In a female-oriented community, she would be OK when he leaves because she would have women who are still there for her. In fact, I don't think he would be there at all, he would have just been a fling and would have left and forgotten about decades ago, because men would be free to do this without hurting women's livelihood. My solution here, it's so far-fetched and fantastical at this point, but my solution is that we simply are not supposed to live this way. I think how it is "supposed" to be is women living in mostly female communities, with plenty of female-only spaces within them. Men are not excluded from these communities necessarily, but women simply do not need them there because they have each other. Men come and go. If they cause trouble, they are not allowed to come back under any circumstances. The men who would stay there would be serious partners of one of the women in the community. It would just be totally optional for them. Women would hopefully feel less pressure to have a man and so all the women wouldn't be slobbering all over the few men in said community. If they wanted a man they could get one easily, as it is now, except without women being desperate for anything even remotely competent. I think the only reason women depend on men so much is because men created the world this way. But it is not the natural order. The natural order is women being in charge of the communities we live in. Whether it is because we are more able to, or because we simply care more, we are the ones who make things happen. I think female values are different than men's, and in this man-made world we cannot honor those values. Among these values are: rewarding teamwork, unconditional support, and safe spaces for expressing feelings. I don't see men honoring these things nearly as much as women do. Our friendships are richer, even our familial relationships. I may not always love my relatives, but it is a pleasure to cook our feast with them and clean up altogether when we are done. The only displeasure is the men getting to mooch off of our hard work. In a female-driven, female-focused, and female-oriented community, most of those men would not even be allowed in because not contributing would be considered a form of misbehaving. Ended up rambling more than I wanted to. Any thoughts?

127 comments

[–] TransWidow Memoir Soon! 41 points

Just for the record, I had that Nigel some of you are bragging about: did housework, mild mannered, compassionate, feminist (insofar as that's possible for a man), hard working, appreciated simple living, certainly no abuse, mental or physical. Then (about the time I started aging--coincidence?) he lost his mind and transitioned, and turned into a needy, lying, sobbing layabout who would eventually accuse me of abusing him and turn all our friends against me.

I don't wish it on anyone, and I don't claim they're all going to change for the worse, but there's that for ya.

Oh my god that's so scary!

This is so creepy about this cult, you seriously never know who is gonna fall for it and who is sort of resistant. My guess is he had a hidden porn addiction? Or did this genuinely come out of nowhere? Ugh men are scary....

The ones that seem nice on the surface also harbor some crazy in them. It’s just not in your face. Men cannot be trusted IMHO.

Studies have shown that marriage reduces a woman’s life span but increases a man’s. Marriage, as an institution, is much more beneficial to a man than to a woman.

Also partnered with a man, I completely agree.

My spouse is a very good man. He is, objectively, by every metric, exceptional when it comes to taking on his actual share of relationship and domestic labor. Most men don't even think about, let alone attempt, the type of equality that my spouse lives with me.

And our relationship is still unequal in his favor.

I no longer believe it is possible for hetero relationships to NOT be exploitative of the woman. There are just too many ways that men are privileged, too many incentives for them to slack off, too many ways in which they are conditioned from birth to feel a level of bone-deep entitlement that they simply cannot unlearn.

The best we can do is have a relationship in which both parties see and admit the inequities. Which is pretty pitiful.

In what ways is it still unequal?

He is still praised to the moon for doing tasks that I am expected to do as a matter of course. He is still viewed professionally as a "provider" and receives career advantages as a family man, while I am still widely seen as a liability because I am assumed to be the primary caregiver to our children. He is still, after 20 years, not the person his family expects to keep track of our kids' schedules and our household plans and his family's birthdays and events. Stuff like that.

And there's a kind of...I'm not sure if it's confidence or what...something, that men (including my spouse) have, from a lifetime of being the default human. I can't ever have that, and he can't ever not have it.

And there's a kind of...I'm not sure if it's confidence or what...something, that men (including my spouse) have, from a lifetime of being the default human.

Entitlement?

And there's a kind of...I'm not sure if it's confidence or what...something

Could it be also that he expects you (even subconsciously) to be immensely grateful and thankful of having him as a husband, that you're lucky to have him and not another incompetent man?

A feeling that you can't escape that you awe him something for just doing his role in a relationship?

I'm just wondering.

Same issue. My Nigel is my soul mate and I hope we age together, but there's still vast differences in expectations and he has that male entitlement that all men have. It's not enough to leave him or make me unhappy and so far the positives far outweigh the negatives but I know what you mean.

Sorry if I come across as nitpicky, but based off of what you've said here, it's not your relationship that is unequal, it's society's expectations on both of you that are unequal.

[–] Sylvanas 21 points Edited

One thing I remember from law school is that we were taught that the modern concept of marriage is, well, very new in human history (we learned this in contract law - marriage was a contract). In the not-so-distant past, marriage was not supposed to be based on love: it was a business transaction, a merger. An exchange: she offers house chores and heirs, he goes to work and puts food on the table.

I would like to argue that this concept is antiquated, and somewhat irrelevant in our modern economies. Both spouses have to go to work, and one salary is no longer sufficient to support a single household. But women are still expected to do most of the housework, as well as raise the children etc.

We’re getting screwed here. This is a bad bargain.

The alternative of basing marriage on “love” is also flimsy. These brain chemicals have a limited life expectancy. When the feelings are gone, you’re often left with a housemate who doesn’t wash the dishes. Or cheats.

My mom is divorced. Both my aunts are divorced. My dad is now twice divorced. My cousin is freshly divorced. It all ended up being very expensive - lawyers cost a tonne.

I made a decision not to aspire to that. I play guitar and travel the world. I walk 10k steps a day and listen to audiobooks. I play pub trivia with the same group of friends every week. I have a career in a major tech company. I live a full life, perhaps fuller than many women who sacrificed their dreams and comfort for societal standards.

Right there with you, sister. I find the institution of marriage not only completely unnecessary in our modern world, but disturbing. I am disturbed that my female friend who makes more money than her male partner decided to marry him, even though they do not want children. I know it wasn't about the tax break.

I decided not to marry once I was finished with college. I am THRIVING now that I've fully kicked men to the curb. Growing up, I heard lots of older men who had the traditional setup (man works, woman stays home) saying "marriages these days fall apart too quickly, look at me and my wife! We've been together 50 years and we're fine!" but in secret the wife was miserable and wanted out, for every good reason.

I'm so glad I have my bank account, my job, my cat, my hobbies. I wish there were more women like us.

I hope your high-earner female friend has a prenuptial agreement. Divorce can bring financial ruin upon women. Some of the aforementioned women in my family lost their pants.

Ooh are there pics of this cat of yours? Pay the cat tax please.

She didn't get a prenup. I found that out over a year after the wedding and was horrified. I wish I had known beforehand so we could have talked about it. I'm still shocked--she's usually so sensible about everything.

I don't have any pics of my baby on this device, but she is a gorgeous tortoiseshell tabby with a white chin and the craziest meow in the world. I love her so much!

I think it can work in some communal settings where work isn’t distributed based on sex. I think one of the features of the nuclear family is that it guarantees the isolation of mothers. And I mean mothers, specifically.

We should be discussing ways to bring mothers back into the conversation and back into a sense of community where they don’t have only themselves to rely on. Feminists across the board have completely dropped the ball and have isolated mothers too.

I won't ever be a mother myself but I support this message. One of the things that drives me crazy is when feminists turn against mothers. Women who are childless don't have to resent or hate mothers just because they resent and hate the pressure to be mothers, but too often they do.

Hard agree. I’m married and I love my husband, but if we divorce or he passes, I have no plans on ever cohabiting with a man again. My sister and I have talked about how nice it would be to live communally: alternating meals and shopping, getting the kids to school and activities, having a garden and chickens. Both our husbands are more involved than the average American man, but when we vacation together we (sister and I) feel our responsibilities are eased just by having each other.

Same. The women on my mom's side of the family tend to do this after their husbands pass, and it's really great. I am fortunate to have a metric ton of sisters and halfway cannot wait for cronehood.

But it sucks that we pretty much have to wait to be old to have this kind of safety, freedom, support and companionship. This entire thread really supports the fact that marriage was invented by men to serve men.

Yeah true. I would do anything to have my babies though. That's how they get us.

Maybe one of these days you will be able to have a female only living situation with kids. I guess I could've gotten sperm donated, but that other income stream from the dad helps sooooo much with making it actually economically feasible to raise a kid. Plus I got married too young to be able to even question the patriarchy much before I was locked in. (And I wasn't that young, late 20s)

You're absolutely right, the American nuclear family was a post-war invention that was built off the fruits of the industrial revolution and intended as a sort of social support system for all the men returning from the war. The middle class lifestyle was intended to be a mini-version of upper class patriarch headed families, where the wife was both house servant and breeding stock. It replaced the much more typical scenario of poor and working class people living in extended family groups.

Before the nuclear family, women lived with the husband's extended family which comes with its own set of problems. So many women have been mistreated by their mothers-in-law

So many women have been mistreated by their mothers-in-law

There are millions of women in China and India now who aborted their daughters and whose grown sons can't marry because all the women in their villages also aborted their daughters. They're sad now in part because they won't get their own daughter in-law to beat and work half to death. They're also sad because there's "no one" to take care of them as they get older, because obviously their sons aren't going to cook and clean for them.

I read an article on that recently and it really disgusted me how the sons would sit around while their elderly mother did everything. I can’t even imagine being that lazy and self entitled.

women lived with the husband's extended family

That's definitely how the landed gentry in American and British societies would have lived.

A lot of Europe had nuclear style legal families for centuries, despite often having intergenerational homes that could be found in both upper and lower classes. In many ways, and depending on the culture/country, this family structure allowed women to start businesses, leave husbands and own property, as it had to be passed down. Other cultures that were more pastoral or migratory didn't give women the same independence and freedom to control households and economic ventures, instead kept them separate from civil/leadership society and education/work/travel which kept women a secluded caste, unable to have power or land or businesses. I'd take the nuclear family option over living with in-law familial extended family who only see you as a breeder for their men. It's not perfect, but there are historical theories showing how the nuclear structure improved women's lives vs. pastoral.

It’s not my favorite musically, but I find a lot of wisdom in the line from “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” that goes, “Some boys take a beautiful girl / and hide her away from the rest of the world.” That’s the best distillation I know of what happens in hetero relationships.

Yeah, I love that lyric too. I think women all over the world understand it.

[–] sunhatpat 31 points Edited

You are so right! I agree with everything you said. I have a couple of references for you, if you want them. In October 2019, just before the world closed down from Covid, I took a workshop/pilgrimage with Carol Christ in Crete. (It turned out to be her last one, because Covid, and then she got sick with cancer, and died.) Anyway, she was an expert on the goddess-based culture of ancient Crete, wrongly called the Minoan culture, which came later, and she believed that that was exactly how this culture lived. The women had the big house, or houses, and each woman got a small room of her own when she came of age. She could entertain a man in her room if she wished to, but he did not live there, and he went back to the men's house when she was through with him. Men, if they had any family loyalty at all, were loyal to their mother and sisters, and if they invested emotionally in children, it was generally an investment in the children of their sisters. The women did everything; they organized rituals, traded in food and other goods, made clothes and jewelry and containers, and governed, to the extent that it was needed. Men helped with the heavy lifting, and spent their time on sports and hunting. It seemed like a paradise, and was the last great female-centered culture in the European part of the world. The second reference is a book by Evelyn Reed, called the Evolution of Woman: From Matriarchal Clan to Patriarchal Family. She published it in 1975. She claimed that it was women who civilized men, at a very early stage in human evolution, by discouraging men from both cannibalism and incest, i.e. trying to have sex with the children. She drew some very amazing conclusions in this book, and she too maintained that is was normal and common for women to live apart from men, because men had different diets (more meat), bad behaviors, and other qualities that were inimical to cooperation and development. This book really influenced my thinking. And if you haven't discovered Marija Gimbutas, do check her out: she is amazing as well.

Wow, thank you for this comment. Looking into these women and their work that you've referenced

I was most definitely hoping for some references so I really appreciate this! I will read that book, I'm very interested in this topic.

I have wanted to go on this pilgrimage, I was so sorry to hear of her death but still hope to learn more about this culture someday.

Men bring absolutely nothing to domestic relationships with women. Maybe some bring financial security, but that is increasingly rare. Otherwise, compared to women, men have nothing else to offer.

[–] TransWidow Memoir Soon! 7 points

Yeah, but don't they kind of provide the financial security that they took away in the first place?

[–] GenderHeretic 7 points Edited

It's part of the same protection racket as "men protect women from danger".

I said "Maybe some bring financial security, but that is increasingly rare."

[–] Lipsy 24 points Edited

ugh I'm so deeply and irreconcilably conflicted by this topic.

What you're saying is obviously correct across a broad majority of probably all societies—but I've been raised, along with my 3 older sisters, by my widower father for pretty much this whole earthly life (i have no memories of my mom, who died when I was about a month and a half old) and i honestly can't imagine even one way I could've been raised better.

My dad is communicative, patient, resolutely pro-Female, supportive, nurturing, and empathetic to an extent that approaches telepathy at times. He holds me and my sisters to incredibly high standards and just expects, without explicit pressure, that we'll meet them—which we pretty much alws have. I can't help laughing at the parts about how men/boys are slovenly and can't keep up a house, because my dad has alws run a tight ship, with us contributing from early enough ages to actually shock some people (my first memory from kindergarten was how many other kids were Shocked! at the idea of a 4-year-old routinely washing and folding laundry—and me being Shocked! right back at the idea of a 4-year-old NOT helping with the laundry.😂) And he insists in total seriousness that we have 'raised' him more than the other way around.

I also strongly suspect that being raised by a widower (and with no immediate Female relatives other than my sisters) is the main reason why, in large part, I haven't developed any of the self-limiting or self-sabotaging tendencies that are all too often relentlessly reinforced by Female socialization.

I know my family and my dad aren't normal, but... blaaaahhh I don't think i could realistically ever bring myself to materially support or live in a gyno-separatist community personally—even though from a detached objective POV I think the arguments for such a thing are pretty convincing.

I realize that the value-add of this post is basically nil. But now you know why I don't have any value to add on this topic! Lmao.

I can't help laughing at the parts about how men/boys are slovenly and can't keep up a house, because my dad has alws run a tight ship

Men will earnestly explain that they can't wash the back of a plate or pull the shower curtain shut because they just "don't notice" things like that because their masculine brains are meant for big game hunting, not detail-oriented gathering.

Meanwhile, the most masculine institution on earth, the military, has ruthlessly strict standards for cleanliness and personal hygiene.

That's for sure.

My dad was a lifer in one of the world's most disciplined militaries. The influence on how he ran our household is not difficult to see.

I wonder, if your family had included brothers, whether or not he would have held his sons to the same standards as his daughters.

That's an interesting question, and open to wild-eyed speculation for sure.

He'd almost certainly have had stricter standards for boys—in direct contravention of the usual sex disparities—on some counts of social interaction and conversation.

Can say with high confidence because he held himself to the same disparate standards, in some ways that my sisters and i never consciously noticed until they'd already played a part in shaping our personalities and conversational tendencies.
As one example, my dad NEVER talks over us, or over any other Woman, and if a Woman interrupts him he'll almost alws just let her keep talking. That's the diametric opposite of how most societies overwhelmingly work, of course, but that isn't something we rlly noticed until we were well into adolescence—by which point our own unusual assertiveness in conversation had already been carved in stone for years.

my dad's like that too...never overtalked us and allowed us to interrupt him all the time. In fact, I've been told I'm unique in that I never hesitate to interrupt men who try to over talk me. It was both an asset and a detriment in corporate jobs.

For some reason this comment reminded me of a friend of mine who thinks her father was the greatest ever because he did housework, with a smile no less according to my friend, while her mother didn't. That was until dad and the doctor had mom lobotomized. This is a true story from mid 20th century America. I'm not saying your dad did anything to your mom, it just made me think of wonderful, wonderful Dudley.

Your example perfectly illustrates how men can be caregivers and responsible for multi-tasking around the home. It really proves the point that men's ignorance/ineptitude is willful.

I can't help laughing at the parts about how men/boys are slovenly and can't keep up a house, because my dad has alws run a tight ship

Where does this stereotype even come from? It seems to be a matter of training combined with individual personality, not biological sex. As someone else pointed out, the male-run military is notorious for having those strict standards. In my immediate family, my brother was always the person most devoted to order and cleanliness, my dad and I were a close second, my mother third, and my sister a distant fourth.

Indeed. I suppose the stereotype and the training get into a vicious cycle all too easily—and of course Female socialization ropes plenty of Women into cleaning up after others, whereas no such pressure prevails upon males.

[–] Lilith 3 points Edited

I guess I grew up in a place where men felt free to share their candid understanding of gender roles. These college boys, barely adults lived in self-imposed squalor and talked openly about their dreams of having a live-in girlfriend or wife to keep house for them. They wouldn't bother to learn cooking or cleaning skills because that was what women do. I'm sure that's because they did not want to lose face with their male friends, to be mocked and emasculated for girly behavior. As the culture shifts, men are confronting long-term bachelorhood for the very first time and discovering that it might actually be in their best interest to learn these basic skills. They never did before because they really never had to, and I guess they didn't mind some messy arrangements and eating ramen every night if that was a temporary arrangement.

[–] TransWidow Memoir Soon! 3 points

Not saying your dad's not a good guy, because obviously he is.

But I wonder how much differently men treat a person (wife) they're sleeping with versus people who aren't meant to provide that service. I just don't think men have good control over their sexuality and thus don't behave as well when that distraction is in the mix.

The only real datapoints I've got on that one come from my older sisters, who judge these things by high standards (for more or less the same set of reasons already laid out in this thread). They've had only good things to say about his treatment of her.

FWIW my late mom was (and is) definitely the One True Love Of His Life kinda thing.
She's been gone almost twenty years at this point and he has no intention of remarrying, building a life with another Woman, or otherwise "moving on" in any material way. He's still at a place where, e.g., he's willing to pay penalty fees every year for marking the "Married" box on a couple different forms (not tax returns) because he just flat-out isn't willing to acknowledge the marital rl as any sort of 'no longer alive'.

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