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Ladies, why do we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of?


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I've never started a topic before, but my own life and recent posts by kcnae3, iwannabeontop, bikini_in_december, kap286, and missdaizie have made me wonder: Ladies, why do we allow ourselves to be taken advantage of?  I mean on many different levels, usually by the men in our lives.  Why do we do the majority of the housework (counterexamples welcome)?  Why do we continue to cook for them in the face of pickiness and unpleasantness?  I realize not everyone's relationships work this way, and I'd like to hear from you, as well as those who are feeling frustrated because their relationships do work this way.  I am nearly 30, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother's generation subliminally and unintentionally taught us that this is the way of the world.  Logically, I know it's not.  Logically, my SO knows it's not.  But the cookie just crumbles that way more often than not (in my experience).  Is this just the way relationships are until you come to an understanding after having been together for twenty years? 

Why do I feel pressured to be the one who compromises EVERY time!?

Edit: removed some names

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Well, you already have your answer.  Famlial conditioning, social conditioning etc.  It used to be that women were dependent and in no place to demand equality.  But of course that is no longer true.  But we compromise, in part we are raised to do so and in part because, I think, it is part of the feminine nature to nurture.  Nurture often means looking beyond the self to the greater good.  But we rail against it because we know that EVERYONE is capable of actions for the greater good but men have not always been raised to make compromises to that end.  We are no door mats but at times our actions may seem like we are.  We make decisions not to fight for things that may not be, at the time, important enough to lay our happiness on.  This is an important social skill - letting go that which is not important.  And in the face of family happiness and the greater good, there is not much that is really very important.  But over time we see that we alone are makeing these choices and decisions - that leaves us feeling used, put out and put upon. Our own happiness has come dead last "for the greater good" but we alone are makeing that sacrafice.

Well I am rambling - but you are asking an important question.  Knowing that motivation can mean the difference between finding yourself unhappily married or being in a strong marriage with equal respect for both of you.

 

I will suggest (and probably be flamed for suggesting) that perhaps it's because women are becoming more self-centered.  Feminism has taught women that they don't need a man around.  That's fine and good; but if you choose to have a man around anyway, and continue to act as though you don't need (or want) a man around, how is he supposed to feel about that?  Or are we buying into the myth that men don't have feelings?

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy.  Most men like to be treated as a protector, a provider, and the head of the house.  Yes, maybe those are "stereotypes" and traditional roles, maybe they date to your mother's generation (they're much older than that, IMHO), but pragmatically speaking, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works.  A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

 Original Post by corvuscorax:

I am nearly 30, and I have a sneaking suspicion that my mother's generation subliminally and unintentionally taught us that this is the way of the world.


Sneaking suspicion? Subliminally and unintentionally?

Nope, most of them did it in plain sight and on purpose because its what they were taught.

You arent crazy or paranoid, a lot of antiquated traditions and expectations about how women should act are still around.

Being frustrated about doing all of the housework has nothing to do with "not wanting to have a man." It has to do with not wanting to be the only one in a relationship who is willing to do chores. The man-hating feminist stereotypes are old and tired. Let them die.

For all of the "women are natural nurturers" talk, I have seen no scientific evidence that folding clothes, scrubbing toilets and vacuuming are sex-linked genes. The "women are better at cleaning" excuse is total crap.

Original Post by lysistrata:

I will suggest (and probably be flamed for suggesting) that perhaps it's because women are becoming more self-centered. Feminism has taught women that they don't need a man around. That's fine and good; but if you choose to have a man around anyway, and continue to act as though you don't need (or want) a man around, how is he supposed to feel about that? Or are we buying into the myth that men don't have feelings?

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy. Most men like to be treated as a protector, a provider, and the head of the house. Yes, maybe those are "stereotypes" and traditional roles, maybe they date to your mother's generation (they're much older than that, IMHO), but pragmatically speaking, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works. A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

What about a well cared for woman =happy woman = happy partner?  Frankly your stereotype leaves me cold.   If only 50% of the equation is working then its not working at all.  And that matters a great deal.

As I said about nurture - its not the cleaning, its in the compromising for "the greater good" that maybe part of a woman's psyche.  Obviously not all and not across the board, but you can see evidence of this in the way we communicate.   We are much more likely to explore feelings and talk, both of which are important in empathy and, thus, being able to compromise when needed.  But, I for one, take this compromise too far.

Lys, I do think feminism is making women more self-centered.  But I think that's a good thing.

I agree with most of your post, actually, but I want to change "what works." 

social conditioning?

Logic may tell us one thing, but social conditioning will bring about an entirely different thing. For example, logic says that women should be within a healthy weight range. But much of the media and society says  that women should be "perfect," which translates to, in many cases, being too thin. The same goes for the way women act around and treat men and the way men act around and treat women.

Original Post by lysistrata:

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy.  What matters is what works.  A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

i second this...i am past all my man angst years. wow! finally! 

i have never established any patterns with bf i was not comfortable with and if anything bothers me i bring it up immediately if not sooner. im not f-n around anymore! i mean business! he gets that. i wont let anything simmer. stuffing anger never worked for me as a long-term solution.

haha the ONLY thing i agree with dr laura on (omg i cant believe i actually agree with this woman on anything!) is her take on how to care for your man...respect him, feed him, and make love to him often. of course this assumes he deserves it and is not a self-centered jerkface. it also assumes you are capable of loving him without being a self-centered jerkface too.

my bf waits on me hand and foot. i am learning to do the same for him but he certainly doesnt expect it. he had never been loved like he truly deserves to be and now that he is, he gives it back tenfold. so i WANT to give back more in return.

i think it may seem somewhat skewed since most posts tend to be rants - omg i am sooo mad at my SO because ______, but not necessarily omg i love my SO so much because ______.

In my 20s, yes.  In my 30s, not anymore.  I'm much happier now.

Original Post by madamq:

Original Post by lysistrata:

I will suggest (and probably be flamed for suggesting) that perhaps it's because women are becoming more self-centered. Feminism has taught women that they don't need a man around. That's fine and good; but if you choose to have a man around anyway, and continue to act as though you don't need (or want) a man around, how is he supposed to feel about that? Or are we buying into the myth that men don't have feelings?

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy. Most men like to be treated as a protector, a provider, and the head of the house. Yes, maybe those are "stereotypes" and traditional roles, maybe they date to your mother's generation (they're much older than that, IMHO), but pragmatically speaking, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works. A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

What about a well cared for woman =happy woman = happy partner?  Frankly your stereotype leaves me cold.   If only 50% of the equation is working then its not working at all.  And that matters a great deal.

As I said about nurture - its not the cleaning, its in the compromising for "the greater good" that maybe part of a woman's psyche.  Obviously not all and not across the board, but you can see evidence of this in the way we communicate.   We are much more likely to explore feelings and talk, both of which are important in empathy and, thus, being able to compromise when needed.  But, I for one, take this compromise too far.

madamq - yes, it cuts both ways.  Meaning it is just as much about his happiness as hers.  People who are happy with each other take care of each other.  I assure you that a man who is well fed, showered with affection and happy in his home will go much further to please his woman than a man who's constantly being nagged by a resentful, selfish "me-centered" woman.  That's all I'm saying.

Original Post by corvuscorax:

Lys, I do think feminism is making women more self-centered.  But I think that's a good thing.

I agree with most of your post, actually, but I want to change "what works." 

What is good about it?

I'm sure the details are flexible, but I think there are fundamentals you have to accept if you're going to be happy with a man; mainly, show him respect, show him kindness, and let him know he's needed.  Those don't necessarily translate into "keep the kitchen spotless," but they might.  That's where partner selection becomes extremely important.  Reality is, if you choose a man who will not be happy if you don't keep the kitchen spotless, your choices are (1) choose another; (2) recognize that cleaning the kitchen is a small sacrifice compared to a strong and loving relationship; or (3) build up oodles of resentment about having to clean the kitchen and how "selfish" your man is for expecting you to do it and thereby create an unpleasant, hostile climate in your home.

See, too many women seem to expect everything.  He looks good, but he doesn't make enough money.  He looks good, makes enough money, but he doesn't have the same interests as you.  He looks good, makes enough money, has the same interests as you ... but wants the kitchen clean.  Seriously, where do the negatives stop and the compromising begin?  Is cleaning the kitchen such a horrible, demeaning task in the grand scheme of things?

Feminism isn't making women more self-centered. It has merely helped them realize that they have a self around which they can choose to be centered. "Feminism," despite its reputation as a radical cause, is actually just the simple belief that women are equal to men and have value beyond their reproductive capabilities and status as caregivers. 

My mother definitely taught me (unconsciously, I believe) that I can do whatever I want and be whatever I want -- but at the end of the day, I would still have to come home to cook and clean while my husband sits in "his chair" and watches TV. That's certainly not the life I want, and I'm going to be sure when I enter a relationship that this is clear.  A man can fold a towel or scrub a pan just as well as I can, and I believe that both partners should share household responsibilities, especially if both are working.

Well if a man loves a spotless kitchen, then by all means, he can keep it that way. Wink

Original Post by cptbunny:

Well if a man loves a spotless kitchen, then by all means, he can keep it that way. Wink

^^haha!

and what's wrong with both partners cleaning the kitchen? if you work just as much as the other, & mess as much as the other, sharing chores is only fair. i would say that to any hetero or gay couple, gender doesn't matter. i can see if one has a little more time, or if the other does something else that equals out the time & energy. even if its over a certain amount of time

and being well satisfied in bed (or where ever you do it) is a definite priority. and i mean both partners.

Original Post by lysistrata:

I will suggest (and probably be flamed for suggesting) that perhaps it's because women are becoming more self-centered.  Feminism has taught women that they don't need a man around.  That's fine and good; but if you choose to have a man around anyway, and continue to act as though you don't need (or want) a man around, how is he supposed to feel about that?  Or are we buying into the myth that men don't have feelings?

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy.  Most men like to be treated as a protector, a provider, and the head of the house.  Yes, maybe those are "stereotypes" and traditional roles, maybe they date to your mother's generation (they're much older than that, IMHO), but pragmatically speaking, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works.  A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

Spot on!

I have a man who gets up early every morning, while I snore on, goes to work and returns home to do the "manly" chores.  I consider it a privilege to have the job that I have; caring for the children, cooking, and cleaning the house.  He is certainly not "above" helping when I am bogged down- but in reality I have a pretty good life.  About an hour before he is due home, the kids and I start picking up the house and brushing hair, changing into nicer clothes, etc....  He deserves to come home to that.  Just as I deserve for him to come home in a good mood and willing to handle some of the heavier work around the yard and such.  One happy willing partner encourages another happy willing partner. 

If I worked outside of the home, I would expect an even division of household chores.  The problem, as I see it, with feminism is that now women feel that they MUST have a job outside of the home.  In many instances, nowadays, it is almost a financial necessity.  The job of housewife and full time stay at home mother is no longer honored and revered.  It IS a worthy, fullfilling career.  Women have just cheated themselves out of realizing it. 

I don't believe it's all social conditioning. I was raised by a doormat of a mother and as a result, I'm an extremely independant woman and men respect me. I have a deep firey hatred for unequal relationships. A lot of men allow themselves to be taken advantage of as well.. it goes both ways. I will always try my hardest to never take advantage of a man and ask the same in return Laughing

Original Post by cptbunny:

Well if a man loves a spotless kitchen, then by all means, he can keep it that way. Wink

Cptbunny, j'adore.

I am a feminist and it does not make me "Self-centred" - it makes me realise that my life does not revolve around my boyfriend's. Nothing wrong with that.

Lysistrata - you talk about me-centered women as being nagging, resentful and selfish. But you don't have any problem with a man who wants to be cared for and who wants to be head of the house. You think the solution to a happy relationship is simply to keep the man well-cared for and happy. Can't you see what a double standard you are setting? Why does a man who wants to be cared for get all the cleaning done for him, while the women who wants to be cared for get called nagging and selfish?

I don't see why a man can't feel cared for while still doing his share of household chores. After all, this is how you are saying women should feel, right?

I really think it just depends on the woman. Some women feel like they have to fill that role, regardless of what they want, and that's what makes them miserable. They wonder why they have to do all these things and why their man/boyfriend/husband/thing doesn't seem to understand, when they pretty much seeked out that type of person to fit that "I'm the man of the house" role. I only know this, because that's how my mother is, so I can only assume she's not the only one. She wants to be that stay at home mom, but can't stand what she had to do to fill that role.

Women now-a-days are picky. What's wrong with that? Haven't men been the picky ones? I always feel that, when I read older books, women are seen as an trinket. They clean the house, feed you, do whatever you need them to do, and still look pretty. Just trade them in when they get old. I think women now a days want to be treated as an equal part of the marriage and not a helpless underling.

I'm selfish. If I'm in a relationship and (for some ungodly reason), get married, the man I marry better be able to clean, cook, and pretty much help out as much as I help out. I wasn't raised to be a maid. If I wanted to be someone's day nurse, I would of made nursing my major and left it at that.

Original Post by madamq:

Original Post by lysistrata:

I will suggest (and probably be flamed for suggesting) that perhaps it's because women are becoming more self-centered. Feminism has taught women that they don't need a man around. That's fine and good; but if you choose to have a man around anyway, and continue to act as though you don't need (or want) a man around, how is he supposed to feel about that? Or are we buying into the myth that men don't have feelings?

There is nothing wrong with doing things for your man's sake, for the simple reason that it makes him happy. Most men like to be treated as a protector, a provider, and the head of the house. Yes, maybe those are "stereotypes" and traditional roles, maybe they date to your mother's generation (they're much older than that, IMHO), but pragmatically speaking, it doesn't matter. What matters is what works. A well-cared-for man = a happy man = a good partner.

What about a well cared for woman =happy woman = happy partner?  Frankly your stereotype leaves me cold.   If only 50% of the equation is working then its not working at all.  And that matters a great deal.

took the words out of my mouth, madamq :)

Original Post by cptbunny:

Well if a man loves a spotless kitchen, then by all means, he can keep it that way. Wink

indeed! :D

"If there were no men in this world there would be alot of fat happy women and no crime!"

~Queen Latifah

Amen

 

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