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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Gender Roles in Relationships

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Author Topic: Gender Roles in Relationships
pantokrator
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So I was having a chat with my dad the other day and he was telling me that because I want to be a doctor that my choices in long-term partners will inevitably be limited to other doctors, lawyers, or corporate executives. He said that this is because men can't handle being with a woman who is more successful/more educated/financially better-off than them for very long. I personally think that this is totally stupid. Why would I choose to be with someone who is threatened by my success? And furthermore, if I were married and successful in my career and my husband wanted to be a stay-at-home dad what would be so wrong with that?

Basically, I just don't think that these outdated gender roles have any place in my life or really in society at all any more. What do you all think?

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eryn_smiles
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Interesting topic [Smile] . When you start working in medicine you'll realise that this is something women professionals discuss ALOT...especially single ones. While some men may feel threatened in that way, I definitely don't think you can generalize. I have dated a man where I had the greater level of income and higher education. It didn't present much problem except I think he was a little intimidated by my friends. But yeah, one of my (female) doctor friends is married to a builder and they are really sensitive to each other's needs and get on awesomely.

One reason that you may end up with another health-care professional is just that you end up spending 12-15 hours a day with that bunch of people, every day, for years..and of course, you form some close relationships there.

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Atonement
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Well, I've had that conversation before with my mom. (I'm a hopeful future doctor too! We should start a premed chat!)

The thing is, you might find that you WANT to be with another doctor/ect.

Right now, I'm only a Freshman/Sophomore (major change, so I'm behind), and my recent ex had quit college because he said he hated school.

Now, I'm not saying there's anything wrong with not going to college. But a lot of times, I wanted to have conversations about things like literature, or talk about the cool stuff I learned in anatomy class. And he would just change the subject and start talking about family guy or something.

We ended it a couple months after I made my decision to change to premed. There were a WHOLE lot of other factors in the breakup (If you're curious, I've got tons of threads on it in my history) but I think my decision kind of set off the breakup.

I think he knew that there was just no way he was going to sit through the next 10 years (or forever, really) listening me talk about resistant bacteria and cadaver dissections. And there was no way I wanted to go through this experience with someone who didn't appreciate it.

Right now, medicine is my top interest, so I really don't see myself pursuing a relationship with someone who doesn't appreciate it as well.

Also, eryn, are you med student/doctor? If so, I'd LOVE to talk to you about the process! I've gotten some awesome info from schools/the internet, but I haven't been able to actually talk to anyone in the same boat.

[ 04-26-2010, 08:25 AM: Message edited by: atonement9 ]

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Heather
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pantokrator : I think it's great you're challenging this, and I agree with what you've said. I also think that tends to be pretty outdated, or when someone is saying that they're usually projecting their own feelings.

I run an international organization. I have dated people of all genders.

People I have dated who are generally insecure, of all genders, have been insecure around that. People I have dated who have not been generally insecure have not been. And it earnestly has been that simple, and in no way about gender.

Suffice it to say, I'm a pretty confident person, so job-stuff aside, dating very insecure people doesn't tend to work well for me, anyway, and the impression I have usually gotten is that it doesn't have to be my job that triggers that in those folks: it can be pretty much anything. I want to be inspired by who I'm with, and I also want to be with people who feel good about themselves and are pursuing their own dreams, so if someone is profoundly insecure, *I* don't really want to date them, rather than them not wanting to date me.

By the way, I'm sorry your father said this to you: ideally, our parents should be rooting us on to achieve what we want to, not trying to scare us out of it. If you have a good relationship otherwise, maybe you can point that out?

[ 04-26-2010, 11:54 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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pantokrator
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I do definently see how I would want to end up with another doctor because we'd have a lot of common ground and could discuss our profession and our interests at a level appropriate to our education. But I've been discovering lately that a potential partner does not have to be a pre-med or a hard-core science nerd to appreciate what I love and what I want to do with my life.

For example, my ex (the abusive one) was very well-educated and wanted to go to law school but could not relate to my interests at all and had no desire to. We also had almost no intellectual conversations.

My current potential partner is a professional athlete, not in college, and has really no desire to college right now. But he takes a very active interest in my interests because he knows that it's important to me. He asks me a lot of questions and looks up information on the side because he wants to better understand my life and have intellectual conversations with me. And we actually have very satisfying intellectual conversations. Likewise, I ask him a lot of questions about what he does so I can better understand his life. My ex never mentioned much about my interests to his friends or family whereas this guys is always raving on "She wants to be a doctor! Isn't that SO cool?!". It makes me happy [Smile]

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Atonement
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See, i think that's just the sign of a good partner, [Smile]

I'm not saying there's not exceptions. I think it's just one of those "common interests" things. If you have enough of them outside work, and at least have a healthy level of respect/appreciation for what the other does, than that's great.

Also, I certainly wouldn't say a doctor and a lawyer should be a good match because they're both professionals. Other than requiring a lot of work and having fairly good pay, I really don't think they have anything in common at all, unless we're talking malpractice suits/ect. (And I doubt that's any doctor's favorite part of the business!)

[ 04-27-2010, 07:43 AM: Message edited by: atonement9 ]

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pandora_paradoxx
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I definitely agree with you - the ideal of the guy as the breadwinner is outdated, and it's going fast.

If you want to be a doctor, I'm sure you'll be able to find at least one guy (and it sounds that you already have!), if not more, that are totally fine with any educational or income discrepancies. My last boss made maybe 1/4 or less of what his wife, a doctor, made, and he eventually quit so he could stay at home and take care of his son. It surprised me to hear that - and I'll admit I was a bit sad since he was an AWESOME boss - but I really admired him for doing that. I dunno, in some cases it's almost more admirable that someone is that willing to support someone they love, rather than trying to work or "make a name", so to speak, for themselves...

My boyfriend and I, too, tend to defy gender norms. I probably make at least twice as much as he does (though I don't know how much that's saying, since we're in college... but if we were to continue our relationship outside, I would probably still make more... he wants to go into prosecution and I'm looking towards a career in finance or consulting) and I pay for pretty much all our dates. As far as I can tell, we're both happy with this - I love, love, LOVE spending money on other people (I can't explain why, but I do...), and he's certainly happy to accept. There are ways in which we fill more traditional gender roles - e.g. he always drives (but that's because he has his license and I don't yet...) - but we're still a pretty balanced, in terms of gender equality, pair.

So I guess the long story short is that there are a lot of people who don't conform to traditional ideas about masculinity and femininity in relationships. I feel like younger people (like us) are more willing to break traditional gender definitions, so hopefully we'll see significant changes in the stats in coming decades. I certainly hope so...

At the same time, though - what about the reverse of this: women who want to stay at home and raise kids often feel pressured to work or pursue a strong career. Do you all think that feminism and female liberation might have inadvertently created stigmas for stay-at-home moms and homemakers, and is this a bad thing? Or some people say that women feel pressured to do everything - have the job, the man, the kids, the house... and I'd definitely agree with that assessment. Is this hurting us too, or is this a good thing? I know I have major career goals, so having kids probably won't happen, but when I tell people that, they get upset - and when I (often jokingly) suggest instead staying home and having kids, they get upset too. But I don't think I'd have the energy for both, and I doubt my partner would either. I dunno... I apologize if this is going too far in another direction but this is something I've been thinking about for a while. Hope you'll forgive me [Smile]

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Heather
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quote:
Do you all think that feminism and female liberation might have inadvertently created stigmas for stay-at-home moms and homemakers, and is this a bad thing?
The core of most feminism has always been about providing women the right to CHOOSE what we do with our lives. The idea that feminist theory has suggested it's not okay for women to choose to stay at home and raise children as their life's work usually comes from people who haven't read any feminist theory.

Rather, what some feminist theory on the matter has critiqued is that NOT being a choice, but that being something women were obligated to do, or which was considered the "duty" of women as women, including many women who did not WANT to do that or only do that.

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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Cian
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Quite honestly, although I absolutely support my girlfriend's aspire to become a doctor, I am thoroughly mortified knowing she'll work long hours, we'll hardly get to see each other and when we do chances are she'll be dead tired and stressed out so she'll probably want a shower and a good rest, and I doubt I'll be socially satisfied by simply sleeping next to her. Of course, I don't mention this to her. It wouldn't be extremely supportive of me, besides I know she wants to aim for this career, and I have a lot of respect for healthcare providers.
She also seems to have this silly idea in her head that she needs to be the "provider" so she can "give" me the quality of life I aspire for. I try to keep reminding her that I too want to make a career, don't plan on living on her money and most definitely want to be financially independent overall. She seems to respect traditional gender roles, and I don't have much of a problem with that since I'm fairly comfortable being the homemaker. (And I'm ready to do all the house chores, I figure she'll be too tired to help.)
I'd prefer she dropped the whole "provider" idea. I am not a leech.

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