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Evolving Gender, or is it a Revolution?
2nd-Sep-2005 12:15 pm
Do I need to introduce myself? Hi, I'm new. There you go.

I had this aggravating conversation with a friend yesterday that I just wanted to bitch about. I'm not looking for advice or reassurance- just to relate the experience to others who'd understand where I'm coming from. Misery loves company and all that.

Some background: I've been with my boyfriend for nearly a decade. We don't share a living space, a bank account, or any offspring. I own my own house down the street from him, have a career, and don't feel the need to get married anytime soon.

So what happened was that this friend of mine had the audacity to contest all the independence and autonomy that my current relationship stands for by asserting that if I met the right man, I'd change my mind lickety-split and become marriage material, because-

are you ready?

"That's what chicks do."

Oooooh, that's NOT a good thing to say to me. He promptly got an earful (screenful?) from me about how my commitment to my boyfriend lies not in a need to tie the knot and be with him 24x7, but rather in the fact that I'm secure enough in our relationship that I see no need to rush anything. I'm still young, and enjoy having lots of space. It has nothing to do with being afraid to commit, and everything to do with recognizing that I have my entire fucking LIFE to be married, so I should take advantage of my youth now and enjoy what it has to offer in the absence of domestic disputes and bickering over who pays the insurance this month.


Though I'm hesitant to generalize based on gender, I do recognize that we're socialized in a certain way- and like it or not, a shit-ton of people buy into that. Based on where society is currently at in regard to gender roles, I would argue that it's actually men who change their minds when they meet the right person. Women seem to hit a certain point wherein they decide it's about time to be married, and they go out looking to find a husband. Men profess their (perhaps untrue but socially expected) desire to be lifelong bachelors until that special girl comes along, at which point they change their mind and suddenly become, as my friend put it, "marriage material."
Again, I'm not saying this applies to everyone. But there are a lot of fucking sheep in this world who like to fall into proscribed gender roles either because they genuinely like them, or because they're just too weak to challenge them. I'm speaking in general trends here, for the sake of the argument.

In any case, the crux of my argument was that it was insulting to assume that just because I'm enjoying my independence, I clearly just hadn't found the right man.

As though I'm simply fooling myself into thinking I'm happy, trucking along in ignorant complacency, in denial that my boyfriend isn't the right guy. When in fact one of the things that I love most about him is his own independence and ability to let me live my own life- he's under no delusions that I need to be taken care of or provided for, and that understanding isn't something he struggles with. He's just not threatened by someone who can take care of herself- thank god.

As though it's necessary for women be married in order to be fulfilled. Yeah, that's what life is about for me. I just can't wait until my wedding day. It'll be the culmination of all my dreams.

Anyway, I think I got my point across to him. One thing I should add, though, is that he's from the South, where (supposedly) chauvinism and misogyny still have a stranglehold on society, which may explain his way of thinking. Is anyone out there from the South? Can you refute or support that claim? I'm not about to let him off easy just because he's grown up thinking that women are only complete in the presence of a man; that's shoddy thinking that doesn't allow for any progression of social roles. All the same, I wonder if the environment in which he was brought up really does color his thinking in that sense.

(x-posted because when I have something to complain about, I want everyone to know it)
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