By Reia Mohammed
August 6, 2019
I will begin this article with the disclaimer that I’m no expert on this subject but I will write from the only way I know: experience.
I’ve always been confident and secure of myself and out of life wanted someone to spend my days with, growing together, working and building together to raise a family and fulfill our family’s needs.
I think, this is, by most, almost a universal standard for marriage.
However, what I’ve observed in my home country is that boys are raised with a patriarchal ideology that women, in order to be wives must be able to cook, clean and take care of the children. On the other hand, ‘boys will be boys’ and their lives with marriage only requires that they be able to financially support the home.
With the changes in educational achievements, where there is a rise in the number of females being more academically successful than their male counterparts, the gap is widening intellectually and by extension financially. Females no longer ‘need’ men to be breadwinners, they are fully capable of being financially independent. This is by no means a feminist rant: women, in general terms, still need men but in the sense that they need an equal partner.
This changes the game because we socialize our boys to think that all they need to do in a relationship and by extension marriage is to be the breadwinners. There is no real emphasis on being a partner or a friend or a support and worse for being a father and role model.
Contrary to this and supporting the patriarch mentality is the value system used for the girls. A stark difference is seen when the girl is taught from a young age to be a care giver, to be nurturing and to be all loving, to be delicate and dainty. We do this simply by giving dolls and tea sets. Training girls on how to ‘play house’ so in future they are able to have the ‘perfect house’.
This is why we have so many failed marriages today. Men go out and are groomed into thinking they are only financially responsible for their households. There is no socializing of the role they need to fill as a partner who can emotionally be there for support. They are not even taught how to communicate and behave as an equal partner in the home.
In the end, the woman cannot complain about her needs being unmet, she is guilted into feeling like a failure if she does, worse yet, if she walks out of the marriage. She’s left with a stigma that she’s unfit for any male thereafter as she has ‘failed’. And let us not fool ourselves, this stigmatized image of the divorced woman and mother is brutally given by women themselves. Often by mothers who have sons who want the ‘perfect’ wife for him. Even if he wants to, he is fearful of his mother’s scorn of his love interest who happens to be a single mother or divorcée.
The sad thing is, the trend continues because there are so few male and female role models for the younger generation.
Women need to stop encouraging the patriarch mentality by encouraging their daughters to focus on having a career and a partner who shares the responsibilities of a home. Women need to end the shunning of divorced and single mothers. Men need to be socialized into accepting their feelings, communicating ideas, being fathers to their children and be emotionally available for their women.