Listen, ladies. If a man that you are with talks like he owns you, you have cause for concern.
Yes, you may have lived with it for years. Decades, even. But when you start noticing that his remarks hit differently, there is a reason for it. Love shouldn’t hurt.
Up until just the most recent five, maybe ten years at the earliest, women have started to wake up.
We are paying attention to things that are happening to women around us. We are noticing injustice in the world, inequality in society, and misogyny in our communities, and yes, even in our homes.
No wife of mine will turn into an old hag.
I wouldn’t have a woman with tattoos.
I would never allow my wife to do jiu-jitsu with men.”
If you married 20 or more years ago, you married in a different time. Women were expected to be submissive, and men were expected to be leaders, especially within fundamentalist and evangelical faith traditions. Men have called the shots in marital relationships, and women, being the “emotional, weaker vessels” that we are, we’re just supposed to let the men be men and take it. Words can never hurt us, right?
Chivalry may be dead, but chauvinism certainly isn’t and chauvinism and misogyny are one in the same.
These boil down to one thing: the belief that women are less than men– less intelligent, less capable, and less trustworthy.
Never trust anything that bleeds for five days days and doesn’t die.”
Has your significant other ever asked for your input on a topic that you know a lot about or is even related to your career, and then discounted your response?
“Oh like you’re an expert on that. You’re not a (fill in higher-ranked associate than you).” Or maybe you handled a task that needed to be done, like filling the washer fluid in your car or switching the sprinkler system settings. Did he go back and check up on you to make sure that it was done correctly even though he knows you know what you’re doing? There is nothing quite like being made to feel incompetent simply because you own a pair of breasts.
Oh, breasts. Breasts are those bumps in the front of our shirts that some men feel free to remark on, even to their wives, and sometimes within the hearing of the women they are observing. “How does she keep those in her shirt? They’re HUGE!”, or “Damn, it’s nipply in here,” or, “No woman of mine would be running around in THAT outfit.” Those are just the remarks he thinks are appropriate to say out loud to YOU. What are breasts again? Those lovely adornments he’s always groping when you are busy doing other things, like trying to sleep… what are they for? Entertainment. Ah, yes. Misogyny.
Women drivers, no survivors.”
When my teenagers each took driver’s ed, the school required a parent to attend the first session. It was two solid, fun-filled hours of statistics on crashes and teens. One of the statistics that stood out to me was that 70% of all teens involved in crashes are male because they tend to disregard rules and take risks. Car insurance is cheaper for women, even young, fairly new drivers, compared with males, and yet the attitude exists that men are better drivers than women. Misogyny reigns here as well.
What exactly is misogyny?
You see, when a man says, “No wife of mine,” what he is really saying is that his woman is not allowed to do whatever it is that he’s talking about. “No wife of MINE will turn into a fat hippo after having two kids,” which is really just an asshole thing to say about your wife, particularly if she is pregnant when he says it, as is often the case. These men are dictating how they think their women should be, even in situations we have no control over, such as weight gain during pregnancy.
What if we flip the narrative and start saying, “No life partner of mine will:
- Treat me as a lesser person
- Talk down to me
- Force or coerce me into sexual activity
- Objectify women
- Behave as if household chores and cooking are women’s work
- Act as if I am incapable of home and car maintenance
- Teach our sons that girls are weaker or not to be trusted
- Force me to abandon longstanding friendships with the opposite sex
- Criticize my body, be it overweight or fit and muscular
- Teach our daughters that they are responsible for the bad behavior of boys
- Gaslight me when we have a conflict that needs to be talked through
- Criticize or mock the appearance of other people that we see in public
- Deter me from getting an education or advancing my career
- Dictate how I dress, wear my hair or makeup
- Act as if he is doing me a favor by parenting our children
- Make me feel I need permission to go out with a girlfriend or take a trip without him
- Call me “Just a woman” “
And we add to that, “My life partner will:
- Treat me as an equal in decision making, finances, and life
- Listen to my thoughts without criticizing
- Encourage my aspirations
- Show our children what an egalitarian relationship looks like
- Be quick to apologize
- Encourage me to have healthy, supportive friendships with others of both sexes, as they have as well
- Bring up and discuss conflicts in a healthy manner”
If we do this, ladies, we are choosing how we will permit ourselves to be treated.
Boundaries are healthy, and if you cannot set them in your current relationship you may need to consider whether that is a safe place for you to remain. Your body, education, career aspirations, hobbies, the decision to parent– or not, spiritual practices or lack thereof, sexual drive, the way you dress and wear your hair are all your choices. No one owns you. I will say it again: Love shouldn’t hurt.