Social Question

Shippy's avatar

In relationships do you stick to gender asigned roles?

Asked by Shippy (9857 points ) December 8th, 2012

Or have you designed a working relationship based on each others needs? Most of my female friends are highly successful. Their husbands have taken on different roles. One is the child’s caregiver during the day. He cooks, does laundry and other things that she is too busy to do. I think personally he scores quite highly on the contribution list. Plus he sells websites albeit not many.

Another husband, helps his wife with her business, as an administrator and also drives their kid to school and back.

I know both would prefer that their husbands shared their ambition. But do acknowledge their contribution is invaluable in terms of lightening their load both in work and home.

Have you ever redesigned gender expectations in your marriage or relationship? If so how is this working out for you. Is it acceptable to you? Which ways do you contribute to the partnership.

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20 Answers

ucme's avatar

We’re both entirely flexible & i’m not just talking about in the bedroom here.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

My partner and I do not, whatsoever. We don’t believe in gender roles or in gender. Sometimes, people think we have ‘switched roles’ – that only makes sense if you think some roles apply to men and some to women. Therefore, that doesn’t make sense for us.

Shippy's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir To be honest I personally never liked the idea of a genderless society. But, as this question is close to my heart, for personal reasons. I am beginning to see that all contributions to a household count. Obviously if a person does little all day and expects a cooked meal, their washing done etc., that is another whole topic. Plus sounds far fetched and appalling but I do know some like that. In this instance a male.

I also find it interesting how assigning this tight criteria could make one assume there is a problem in the relationship. Then seek for example psychological help for their shortfall. Or even dissolve the relationship entirely. But if the gender part is taken out, there is no problem at all. Sounds simplistic I know, but when this applies to oneself or close to home, it’s almost as though you have to re assimilate the information.

bookish1's avatar

With women, I’ve tended to fall naturally into the submissive role ;) Big surprise there.
I have only had one real relationship with a guy but I am pretty sure I would end up being the dominant one.

@Simone_De_Beauvoir: What does it mean to not believe in gender? I think it’s fair to assume that you and I are both on board with the idea that gender roles should not be limited, enforced, or expected. But people have genders whether you choose to believe in them or not. I’ve had people tell me that gender “doesn’t really exist” as a way to try to convince me that I shouldn’t transition. And that is fucked up. (My transition wasn’t even about gender, but in a world where gender and anatomy are always-already conflated, of course it is perceived as such.)

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

For me I see it as working as part of a team and I see it more as a case of…ok you are busy doing laundry so I will wash those floors (just as an example) but I have no qualms about doing things perceived in ye olde times as being womans work around the home or whatever especially if my SO was busy doing something else. Both of us benefit from it.

geeky_mama's avatar

We’ve designed a relationship where we do whatever needs to be done to the greatest benefit of our family. Pretty much nothing (other than when I breastfed our babies) is something that only one of us does.. we just do whatever needs to be done and it’s not gender based.

I’m incredibly fortunate that I lucked into marrying this wonderful person who not only loves me, but also is a perfect help-mate in raising our children, cleaning our home and pooling our mutual resources/income.

Shippy's avatar

@bookish1 well put and indeed else you wouldn’t have the agony and ecstasy of making the change over. Which is important.

Interesting you would be submissive if with a female and vice verse with a male.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@bookish1 Oh, I meant for us. We don’t need them or the roles that come with them. Obviously, we are still perceived as whatever genders people think we are and the rest of the people can choose whatever they want and they can feel however they want about it. Like religion. The rest can have one, it’s not for me and I know the rest have it.

Shippy's avatar

@geeky_mama Thank you for a GA. I am just trying to make sense of a personal issue here. This all helps. Much appreciated.

Shippy's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Yes gender characteristics or prescribed roles.

Shippy's avatar

@TheProfoundPorcupine I agree actually, as long as everyone contributes. I would hate to have this image of a guy sitting on his butt, while the wife works and does housework and raises kids. Right? (Or in some cases the mother at home is given duties like cooking, cleaning washing simply because she is the mother. )

TheProfoundPorcupine's avatar

@Shippy Yeah if everybody contributes in some way then it all works, but even then it should never be a case of somebody has a set job (unless the other one cannot do it for some reason) as it should be fluid whereby different things need done so one person says they will do A B and C as the other does X Y and Z.

I would slap myself very hard if I ever even thought that ironing a t-shirt was just for the female in the relationship and I am sure that my SO would quickly follow up my own slap with her own on me as well.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Shippy I believe there is no difference.

hearkat's avatar

I consider personality traits to be on a sliding scale of how much an individual has or lacks any given trait, and I understand that statistically, certain traits are more common to those with the X gene and others are more common to those with the Y gene; but I personally have never have many of the traits that typically correspond with my X chromosome or my hetero-female sexual identity. As such, I’ve never expected anyone else to fall into stereotypical patterns, either.

Both my fiancĂ© and I dislike household chores, so we’ve divvied them up based on who hates any given task less than the other, or who is more finicky about how a particular job is done. We both work outside the home and have long commutes (we found a home almost halfway between our workplaces, which are 100 miles apart), so we’ve taken a team approach to housework.

burntbonez's avatar

I do not. Now, it does seem that my partners and I have had preferences about what we do, and I’m sure people could assign a gender to all of these preferences. But I prefer to live in a world where I can do what I want, without worrying about who traditionally does it. And if I do not need a certain level of cleanliness, should someone accuse me of being male? Or if I enjoy talking about emotions and I can cry, should someone accuse me of being effeminate? I don’t want to live in that world, and most of my partners have not felt it necessary to enforce anything on me. On the other hand, I live without a partner right now, and no prospects, and I’m not ever trying. So in my home, I do all the roles, whatever they are.

cookieman's avatar

@geeky_mama‘s answer mirrors mine exactly (well, except for the breast feeding part).

In my marriage, there are no “gender roles”, there is shit that needs to get done and two people to do it.

Paradox25's avatar

No, I don’t believe in gender roles whatsoever. I’m a better cook than any woman I’d ever met anyways. I don’t care if she does most of the driving, or can fix certain things better than me. The few brief relationships I did have we shared responsibilities. When it comes to initiating relationships I feel the same way, there needs to effort both ways there. I’m really not that anal about being the proud guy who is playing out his designated role, because I already know that I can do alot of impressive things and I’m proud of the type of person that I am.

augustlan's avatar

Not at all. We divvy things up based on who is better at it, enjoys it or cares more about it, and has more time and energy for it. My husband is the main cook, I’m the main handy-person, he tends to do the laundry while I tend to do the folding, we both hate to clean so whoever has more energy or cares more does whatever needs doing (he cleans more than I do). About the only task that is exclusively mine is cleaning the litter box (they’re my cats), though he takes over if I’m sick. No matter who washes the dishes, he has to wash the cast iron skillets (too heavy for me).

downtide's avatar

I’m like @augustlan – roles are divided up by preference rather than proscribed gender roles. My partner is the better cook so he does most of that, I do most of the washing-up, I always take the trash out otherwise it would never be done. Neither of us are any good at DIY, we call on a friend for anything of that nature.

OpryLeigh's avatar

In my current relationship I would say we stick to “gender assigned roles” for the most part? He fixes my car for example. However, as our relationship is often long distance, I can’t be a prissy female, I have to be able to complete at least the basics of jobs that are considered more male.

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