You may have noticed I don’t have a blogroll. You probably didn’t, though, because who cares? A blogroll lists the blogs a person recommends. I read blogs… obsessively… because I am a truly obsessive person. When I was a kid, I used to get really into a show or a book and I would talk about it for weeks. I’m still that person. I may control it a little better, but… wait. No. I don’t control it better. That was someone else.
I don’t list the blogs I read, because they aren’t blogs that my readers would necessarily enjoy. While there are some touching divorce blogs, funny dating blogs, and entertaining satire blogs that I follow, the majority of what I read covers my latest obscure obsession. I went through a phase a few weeks ago where I followed the blogs of several people taking on group sexual relationships. Then it was blogs criticizing Fifty Shades of Grey. Then it was erotic blogs. Then book blogs. Now it’s blogs discussing the Red Pill and anti-feminism. For those of you who didn’t drink seven cups of black coffee so strong you could chew it, because you were up procrastinating on graduate school work last night, allow me to enlighten you. The Red Pill is a movement of sorts that pushes back against extreme feminism. It’s spearheaded by men who are tired of being treated like shit by women who have taken the women’s rights movement too far and think it means they don’t have to have respect or consideration for the opposite sex. That’s the most unbiased description I can give and I think it’s pretty good, because I’m pretty unbiased about this. The people “swallowing the Red Pill” are consenting adults who have chosen to go with the traditional idea that a man is the head of the household and it’s working for them. It’s none of my business. But it’s fascinating.
Yes, I’ve gone on a few Rosie the Riveter rants in support of women’s opportunities and choices, but that’s exactly what they are: opportunities and choices. Telling a woman that she has to hold a corporate position, when she just wants to be milked by snuggling infants is just as harmful as confining her to the kitchen when she wants to go get an MBA. We live in a society where we can make our own decisions and I’m all for that. End disclaimer and back to my point.
My dad’s family is highly matriarchal and Catholic. The couples are mostly wealthy, with each individual bringing in a large sum. We women are all loud and I’ve heard my grandma K shout “That’s fucking bullshit” in her nicest Christmas outfit with a drink in each hand. There are as many opinions as there are hugs. The love and liquor is plentiful. All the gals wear the pants on the little stuff (how to decorate), but will usually defer to the men on the big stuff (that move to Texas). My dad, however, was the obvious head of the household in all ways growing up. Because of my parents’ drawn out and explosive divorce, I was largely raised by my Gramma, who worked as a corporate supervisor in tailored pants suits and heels and was one of the first moms on her block to get divorced in the 60s. This woman never swears, unless it’s in defense of one of her baby chick grandchildren and where her heart should beat, she has the sneezing baby panda instead. She’s that pure. She’s traditional in the sense that she thinks it’s a travesty that my brother does the dishes while his wife lounges on the couch, but doesn’t understand why a woman has to take a man’s last name. She’s an adorable little contradiction. So where does all this leave me in regards to gender and relationship roles?
When I was a teenager, I desperately (and perhaps unhealthily) wanted a man to take care of me. My mom had made certain that I had no relationship with my dad at the time and I was often abused at home when she couldn’t handle the stress of raising the teenager with whom she’d isolated herself. That being said… what the fuck happened?!! I married my ex-husband, who didn’t work, clean, bathe, feed the pets, or contribute in any way. Quite the contrary, he stole from me, trashed the apartment, abused my animals, burned down our house for monetary incentives, lay around all day, cheated on me, and even lied to fabricate jobs that weren’t paying him. He was the worst sort of person and no man at all. On the one hand, he was nothing close to a traditional man eager and willing to practice traditional gender and relationship roles. The very opposite of him should still appeal, yes? Well, yes, in theory, it does. I love my alpha male romances. On the other hand, I’ve had two years to take charge of my life and care for myself and I’m not sure I could ever hand over those reins again. You can only retain so much trust in people after looking at your dead pets all over the front lawn.
Gail is divorced also and had a similar situation to mine. Her ex didn’t contribute in any way, but he constantly quoted biblical ideals about being the “man of the house.” This has sent her running for the hills from anyone who might use that phrase. Today, as we discussed the Red Pill blogs we were both reading, I brought up my concerns. My Gramma has always told me that someone must lead in a marriage. She thinks it should be the man, but her main point is that someone always has more power. Maybe she’s right. Perhaps someone always is more dominant. The Red Pill school of thought titles this “Captain” and “First Officer” with the man taking up the hull. It’s a somewhat extreme take on gender roles that has Gail insisting that there can be two heads of household with no superior dominance. Gail has a kind and gentle, laid back boyfriend, whom she has seen infuriated once or twice, just not at her. They’re neck in neck for who is the most passive. It’s like watching kittens lick each other and trying to decide who’s angrier.
Partly just to piss her off, I told Gail that she was the Captain and just couldn’t tell, because she didn’t like the idea of wielding such power. She refuted my claim and I asked whose name was on the lease since Terry moved in with her. She said that was immaterial and I sent her an “Aye, aye” and the following picture.
Frustrated, she ended the discussion, so I sent her another:
I’m funny as shit. Gail’s lucky to have such an amusing friend.
Regardless of where Gail’s relationship lies, it’s still up for debate for me. Can there be a mutual partnership running the household? Should there be someone in charge, regardless of whether their sexy bits are concave or convex? The Blue Pill is assigned to men who passively let their wives run the show (like Terry, Gail) and the Red Pill designates men who’ve woken up and decided to lead. It’s a Matrix reference and it’s all a little extreme for my tastes, but intriguing. It’s working for these people. It’s giving the men a sense of control and making the women feel protected and they’re enjoying the initiative he takes. We all complain that he won’t just pick a restaurant… so he picks a restaurant. It may not be for me, but it’s made me wonder. Is there a middle ground? Must someone come out on top? Who should it be? Does it even matter?
I must say, I am girly as fuck. I love pretty dresses and the color pink and makeup and nail polish. I own pink guns. I think men should open doors and pay and that if a parent stays home with the baby, it should be the concave one. FOR ME. This doesn’t apply to other people, because I don’t give a single fuck about what other people decide makes them happy. Maybe I have a hot pink master bath and a dozen pretty dresses, but that doesn’t invalidate anyone for not following suit. This isn’t 1943 where women have to stay home and cook and breed. It’s also not 1983 where women have to fight for Vagina Rights and work 60 hours a week or they get their girl power ring taken away. It’s 2013 and we don’t have to do anything.
The key factor in all of this, of course, is respect. The feminists are demanding respect for women and the Red Pill enthusiasts are demanding respect for men. Most women still make .80 on the dollar to men for the exact same job. We’re teaching little boys that girls are cherished and protected, but wrapping those little ladies in shirts that say “Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them.” In society and in a relationship, each group needs to respect the other, genitalia aside. It drives me crazy to see a woman on Facebook complaining that her husband is away on business. REALLY!? How about you have him plant his ass on the couch for four years? That’ll put hard work into perspective. Similarly, my brother regularly tells his wife that her salary means nothing, because she doesn’t bring home as much. It’s broken all around and we need to concentrate on respect and gratitude and praise in general. Example: “Hey, honey. Thanks for not killing all the pets and pawning my Gramma’s jewelry while I was at work.” Was that so hard? But that still doesn’t answer whether or not someone must hold more weight.
I suppose my “girly as fuck” declaration makes it clear that were someone to be in power in my future relationships, it would likely not be me. Despite my oh-so-witty banter with my Gail, I’m not an aggressive person. I’m sometimes too passive, because I tried everything with my ex-husband. I was his cheerleader. I left him alone. I nagged him. I cried. I begged. I screamed. I threw things. I ignored the problem. None of those brands of conflict worked, so I just naturally avoid conflict now. I work in a public service position, which exacerbates the issue, because this is an asset. It truly is. I love my job, but it is paved with eggshells and I know it. I’m good at it. Therefore, I don’t want to be in charge of other people at home. Were dual leadership an option, I could do that. I could be a teammate in leadership. My profession is all about group work. But is it possible? Or is my Gramma right and someone will inevitably tip the scales? Is it better to acknowledge this upfront and be aware of the dynamic or to be surprised when one person takes over, despite who it might be? Is it best to expend the effort to co-captain the relationship and family as Gail has insisted Terry do?* Or will this inevitably become a battle for power, causing more trouble than it’s worth? Is there a purple pill? I have no answers. But it’s fascinating stuff… and it renews my relief that I don’t have time for dating right now.
* You just recently came to me for help pissing someone off, Gail. Just keeping sharp.