“I Remained a Caterpillar so that my Partner Could Shine as a Butterfly”
How many women today have dulled themselves to become something ‘less’ than their partners / husbands in order to ‘save’ the relationship? Quite a few. Though many would never admit it.
In the great quest for female independence and equality, a lot of women were encouraged to educate themselves, to seek a career and a path in life along with looking for a ‘suitable’ partner. Sadly in this quest, I feel, a lot of the men were left behind. And thus, they grew up with their mothers pushing the daughters while still treating the sons like little boys. Many men were encouraged to just be that – men in the patriarchal sense. Get a job, earn money and provide for a woman. Precious few men understand what it is to be emotionally available – even those who are married or in relationships. Hence they are on the surface – well accomplished and earning a good salary – but deep down they are still insecure about who they are. Add to this a woman who is smarter or as smart as them, who can earn more and who is more capable, and you have those insecurities flashing like red lights on an ambulance. And in this quest to keep the ‘relationship’ or ‘make it work’ many women have assigned themselves to the role of motherhood alone or just being a ‘homemaker’ so that they don’t outshine their husbands.
You see this everyday and it’s really sad. Some women even go so far as to claim that they are happy being just a mother or just a homemaker. They do everything to support the insecure husband who is just learning to crawl whereas the woman was already running. It honestly has to stop.
Ruth Baden Ginsburg – a woman who rose to the top level of the legal profession in the US, married a man who was a lawyer and who supported her in her quest for success. It is only with his support that she got to where she was and he was comfortable enough to let her shine, even over his own success. That takes confidence and courage. Sadly many men of Sri Lanka, do not have that. One just needs to ask how many Sri Lankan men would agree to be a stay home dad? Hardly any. Most men find meaning in their job titles, the cars they drive, the watches they wear etc. Men are still insecure if their wives earn more than them or are more prominent in their work.
This is due to patriarchy. The system that assigns gender roles to people and for men – their role is determined as provider, protector and overall master of the house. Without these roles, men feel naked, stripped and emasculated. Men are never encouraged to be in touch with their emotions or to be sensitive and empathetic. They are instead expected to perform like monkeys in a circus displaying toxic traits of masculinity like aggression and indifference.
In today’s world where women have a better shot at equality than their mothers, the role of the man needs to evolve to match this; So that the two become true partners vs. one being the sacrificial lamb and the other, the benefactor.