In recent days a short video clip has taken social media by storm and earned the status of one of the most viewed posts. It throws light on gender roles in relationships and the prevailing issues.
In the video, a young man is being told by an off-screen voice: “because of the COVID-19 exposure, you need to be quarantined.
But you have a choice:
A. quarantine at home with your wife and kid B…”
Before the voice even says what the option B is, the man responds without hesitation: “B, definitely B.”
Hundreds of thousands of people watched the video and found it extremely funny. There were different versions recorded by others and circulating on YouTube.
Gender roles and inequality
Gender inequality in a marriage made me sad. What does it say about our society?
Are the gender roles in relationships justified?
It appears that years after the so-called women’s movement and talking about equality, not much changed regarding gender roles in relationships.
Women are still thought to be responsible for taking care of kids and family. These are the roles of a wife apart from careers and earning money.
Men can, at best, help out with “domestic work,” but they don’t have to worry about it. It will be taken care of, no matter what.
The typical society defines the role of a husband to just go out for work and earn money. It also portrays men as irresponsible brats that care only about their own comfort and pleasures.
I don’t think any of those pictures are accurate and bring more harm than good to people’s minds.
The need to revise gender roles in relationships
I live in a small community and can see many examples of dads spending quality time with children and families. I see couples playing together outside, men shopping, walking kids to school, teaching them sports, or everyday activities.
Why are we still perpetuating the old image of a man self-absorbed in his world and disliking anything that relates to domestic life, family, love, and attachment?
Why do we continue telling men that they don’t like being with the people they love? That they would rather spend time drinking beer with buddies than actively participate in the lives of their own children and spouses.
Why do we continue to create the division between “them” and “us”?
I am afraid I don’t know the answers to those questions. But I know that this kind of stereotypical portrayal of our society is not suitable for young couples that I often see in my practice.
He didn’t know how to explain to his buddies that he decided to stay in the marriage rather than “be a man and kick her out.” He worried about his image as a man, not about his relationship and his family.
I remember working with another man who wanted to take paternity leave and stay at home with his first newborn but was terrified of a reaction from his friends. He had no idea how to tell them that his wife will be a breadwinner, and he will run the household and take care of the child.
We have gendered feelings; we have gendered activities, responsibilities, likes, and dislikes; we have gendered pretty much everything in our world.
And it makes some sense; men and women are different; there is no discussion about it. But we are also very similar in many ways.
The more we focus on differences, the more we hurt both sides.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Eva is a co-founder of Discover Counselling located in Squamish, British Columbia. She helps her clients to overcome self- limiting beliefs that prevent them from having a satisfying and meaningful life. She also works together with her husband of 40 years, Josef. They use a unique couple-working-with-couple method in relationship therapy.