Male Dominance


Some couples fight about money. Some couples fight about sex, how often their-in-laws should visit and other mundane things.

My wife and I fight about more important things. For example, the other night we were unloading the dishwasher and..

Wait. Slight correction there. I was unloading the dishwasher. My wife was standing nearby supervising. I picked some seldom used piece of crockery from the dishwasher and asked her where it belonged. It is some sort of thingy for cooking potatoes. I don't know what you call it. She made some caustic comment about my failing memory.

Yeah, right. We've been in this home for a little less than five years. I know EXACTLY where that thing belonged in our old kitchen, but we've never used it here until this week so I do not know where she put it when we first moved in. I stated as much.

"We have used it since we moved here", she retorted.



OK. Maybe so. But who says I put it away last time? She might have unloaded the dishwasher that time. I reminded her of that. She shrugged and said "So you decide where to put it."

Okey dokey. I opened a cabinet and put it on top of another dish. My wife looked at me with that special look reserved for unspeakable acts. "It doesn't go there", she stated.

Excuse me? I informed her of her mistake. "It goes where I say it goes. After all, I am the Chief Booperator".

That is a matter of record, by the way. I established my title many years ago. Yes, it is primarily a honorific which carries little real authority. But in this case, I felt that as she had directly told me I should make the decision, she had effectively ceded power in this matter to me. So I was really only reminding her of my status.

She looked at me, plainly choosing her words carefully.

"That is true", she allowed. "However, I am the Dali Booperator."

Now, I am not one who subscribes to the notion of Male Dominance. Nor do I insist upon equal power in a marriage. In many areas, I am quite willing to surrender power to my wife. But there are limits. She certainly cannot claim that title. I protested instantly.

"The hell you are!"

Admittedly, that was not a well reasoned argument. In retrospect, I could have provided evidence to refute her claim. For one, I am not certain that there is such a title. Even if provenance can be established, does it outrank Chief Booperator? Frankly, I was shocked at her boldness and - yes - at her insolence.

She turned her back on me. "The Dali Booperator has spoken. Deal with it."

I am usually quick witted. When it comes to a battle of words, I am well equipped. Yet, I found myself speechless. I think it was the sheer effrontery of it - how could she diminish me so?

I sulked for days and honestly I am not sure our marriage can survive this. As a symbolic rejection of her claim, I left the item (I still have no idea what it is) where I had placed it. However, when I checked yesterday, she had moved it. I searched, intending to move it back, but I could not find it.

She is NOT the Dali Booperator! This shall not be!


Silly?


Yes. But, believe it or not, this was real. My wife and I actually had this conversation. It was actually about something else that I cannot remember, but the rest is real. We were just in a silly mood and goofing around; we do that kind of thing sometimes. We have real fights too, but a mock fight can actually relieve some minor tensions and provide a little laughter.

As it happened, the very next morning I read a hub here about "How a man can gain the male dominance back in his marriage" (no longer available). Quite honestly, that article disturbed me. I do not feel "dominant". Nor do I feel "dominated". I feel that my wife is my partner and my friend.

The writer's argument that male dominance is necessary is based on biology. She says:

What exactly is male dominance in terms of a man and a woman? A man with male dominance would be the hunter in the marriage, the provider and the protector. This may seem like a far fetched cry from what our world looks like today in modern times, but the underling essence of our DNA is still there. A man when married to a woman still needs to feel his male dominance and woman needs to feel it as well.

I suppose that's a little better than asserting that men have dominance because the Bible says they should, but I don't like it any better. Apparently, I'm not alone.

Wikipedia's entry on Patriarchy states:

Most sociologists reject predominantly biological explanations of patriarchy and contend that social and cultural conditioning is primarily responsible for establishing male and female gender roles. According to standard sociological theory, patriarchy is the result of sociological constructions that are passed down from generation to generation. These constructions are most pronounced in societies with traditional cultures and less economic development. Even in modern developed societies, however, gender messages conveyed by family, mass media, and other institutions largely favor males having a dominant status.

Coincidentally, I had also recently read the Newsweek article on "Men's Lib - Why we need to re- imagine masculinity" and was fascinated by some of the comments there. Some defend male dominance and some do not, but it is plain that this is a subject under examination today.


Culture is still important, isn't it?


Historically, women seem to have less rights than men. They did not own property; in many ways they themselves were property, either in reality or effectively so. We know that the concepts of woman as property still exist today.

Men are physically stronger than women (in general, of course). In most of today's occupations, that's either unimportant or the importance is much diminished (power tools in construction work, for example), but the difference is still there and the equality has not been present long enough to drive it out of our collective psyche.

It's possible to argue that if someone is raised in a culture that expects male dominance, they will not be happy in a marriage that does not exhibit that dynamic. I guess I'm even willing to stipulate that this may be true: if you are unable to escape your conditioning, perhaps you will have prejudices of that kind. But is that absolute? Are we doomed to forever repeat the social norms of the past?

My wife experienced such a culture. Early on, she lived with her Italian grandparents, adult immigrants who arrived here with her father, then seven, in the early 1900's. In their home, the men were undisputed masters and reacted to any challenge of authority with physical violence or at least the threat of that.

My upbringing was different. All my male role models worked with their minds rather than their hands and not even a hint of physical dominance was ever present. Nor was their any clear demarcation as to who was in charge - my parents and grandparents seemed to be equals, at least to my young eyes. I'm not saying they never disagreed, but I never had a sense that either was dominant.

By that other writer's arguments, and by the arguments of other traditionalists, that should make for a bad marriage. My wife should expect dominance; not being shoved around physically - she hated seeing that with her grandparents - but some would insist that her "DNA" or her cultural conditioning predisposes her to expect a "take charge" man.


Yet, the dynamics of our marriage are not that at all. As I said before, we are partners and friends. When we disagree, we talk it out or fight it out or pout or laugh or ignore it or whatever circumstances and conditions cause us to do. Nobody "puts their foot down" because nobody has those symbolic feet.

I do not mean to describe some idyllic marriage.  We aren't perfect people.  We have stupid fights at times. But none of that has any roots in dominance.

My wife just woke up a few minutes ago and wandered in to where I am typing this. I stood up and greeted her with a long hug and a kiss as we have done almost every morning for decades. I whispered a question in her ear.

"Are you still the Dali Booperator?"

She laughed. "Yes, I am", she answered, "but you can be the Dali tomorrow".

Yeah. That's what I'm talking about!

Do you believe in male dominance?

  • Yes, it's genetic
  • Yes, it's cultural
  • Yes, it's Biblical
  • Yes, all of the above
  • No
  • No, and it angers me that other people do
See results without voting

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Comments 41 comments

Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

By the way, in case it is not crystal clear, my vote is "No, and it angers me that other people do"


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

I should add that I certainly agree that if both WANT male dominance, they should have it. But I would hope that is rare.


LaMamaLoli profile image

LaMamaLoli 6 years ago from London

I will go away and think about this. I don't think male dominance is a good thing but thats because I don't think dominance of any kind is good. I think we are all equal and should treat each other as such. The balance of power between couples is an interesting topic though, but different to the concept of "dominance" I think. Mmmn lots of food for thought. If you don't see me around in the next few weeks its because I've discussed it with my husband and he has clubbed me into submission...only kidding!! lol


American Tiger 6 years ago

PC Unix. I applaud that you and your wife have found a parity in your relationship, which seems to work for you both. It is, however, perfectly reasonable to argue that your co-Booperator statuses are the product of current cultural allowances, and not biologically supported.

Were we to transport both of you back in time ~before rules and laws and civilization~ the relationship you enjoy today would be so completely untenable, so utterly alien and counter-intuitive, as to render it unthinkable. No woman would accept a man who wanted to share roles and responsibilities, and no man she wanted would tolerate a woman seeking to emasculate him in any way.

Another point worth making; Those "cave" people ~who suffered no confusion about gender roles~ were every bit as intelligent and reasoned as you and I. Some anthropologists argue they were actually smarter. The "Hunter-Gatherer" lifestyle is easily the healthiest posible for humans. Fresh air, plenty of exercise, whole grains and no preservatives in the proteins we ate.

Moreover; The harder life is in any particular society, the more "physical beauty" is prized in a mate. Only when the first few rungs of the Hierarchy of Needs are easily met, do less attractive people tend to be selected for intellectual reasons.

Leaving all religious and societal/cultural concepts aside, masculine dominance is as natural and correct a part of humanity as having aposable thumbs. Getting angry about that fact seems rather silly, on the face of it.

Citing evidence from the Natural world (I know you find God an offensive subject, so I'll reserve my arguments to realms you're comfortable with), we can readily see that differences in physiology bespeak differences in mentality and psychology. Carnivores do NOT behave like Herbivores. Predators do not behave like Prey.

Take the Cat and the Rabbit. Two very similar looking animals (Cat and Rabbit are interchangeable in the Chinese Zodiac), neither is equipped to live the others life: Rabbits eat grass, cats eat rabbits. Were we to swap brains out between two, both organisms would soon die.

Nature does not supply tools (physiology like fangs and claws, or in the case of Primates: larger bodies, denser bones, thicker muscles) to creatures not intellectually equipped to use them.

If Nature had intended women to be equal in dominance to men, would women not be larger, stronger and more aggressive, as a rule?


Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 6 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

Equality is one of those words that can only be defined by those lacking the ability to think clearly. We are all created equal should'nt be that hard an idea to grasp. "You're equal, He's equal, I'm equal. We're all equal" to paraphrase from that intellectual giant, Magenta.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Nature intends nothing.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 6 years ago

So American Tiger, you are telling us that when your ancestors were colonising the prairies and were attacked by Indians, your great great however many times grandfather would tell your stunningly beautiful however many times grandmother to hide her pretty head under the bed whilst he fought off the Indians single handedly!

It is only after the basic needs have been met that humanity can choose a partner for physical beauty rather than their child-bearing hips and the ability to work like a draught animal.


American Tiger 6 years ago

PC? I respectfully request an answer that is not so bereft of intellectual integrity.

Stump? "Equality" is an abstract concept, with no real substance outside of mathematical equations. Beyond those borders, like any myth, it only exists inasmuch as a person gives it credibility. We are, all of us, particularly unique and special, with personal gifts and abilities to bring to the table.

Men and women are so utterly different from each other, it's a wonder we can mate, let alone communicate with any semblance of understanding. How can that paradigm engender "equality?"

John? My Great great however many grandfather was OBVIOUSLY smart enough to survive long enough to support his wife and their children, or I wouldn't be here to answer your question. Physical beauty ~even features and a racial body normative shape~ is little more than an indicator of genetic health. A HUGE priority for any organism answering the biological imperative to pass it's genes down through the best possible partner.

Your argument sounds reasonable, but it is unsupported empirically. When all the facts are entered into the equation, it absolutely breaks down. Rather like thinking the Earth is flat. By all means go prove me wrong.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 6 years ago

'Fraid I don't think the earth is flat, I'd have to be blind to think that and I would have to be blind to think that inequalities between men and women are any more than man made, sure there are differences but they don't make men superior. Men aren't innately stronger or cleverer than women, male's may tend to greater physical strength but this is as much a result of breeding and indoctrination as any other form of selection. It suits most men to have women believe that men are stronger and more dominant but if you'd had the pleasure of watching your five foot two inch seven stone friend hospitalise three much bigger lads who tried to snatch her bag I think you might revise your view of women as the weaker sex.

To suggest that women are so utterly different, it's a wonder we can mate is just missing the point, we can mate because of the very slight differences, if we were any more alike we could not mate.

This idea than men should have power over women is obscene, and if you don't think domination is power, check the dictionary.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

I'm sorry, American Tiger, but I find your attitudes disgusting. There is nothing "intellectual" to respond to. John is quite correct.


American Tiger 6 years ago

Gentlemen, I apologize if my point of view offends. Never once have I said one gender was better, more capable or more noble than the other. Dominance and submissiveness are no better or worse than left handed vs. right handed, or blond vs. brunette. You have made assumptions about me, based on your own prejudices where openly dominant men are concerned.

There is a vast difference between dominance, and being domineering. One is based in competence and confidence, the other is based in fear and weakness.

I am, among other things, a retired bodyguard. Here locally I teach a self-defense class for women and girls. I am well aware of what a trained woman can do to an untrained man. That does NOT imply that an average woman is at all capable of out wrestling an average man. Once again John, your argument is based on very limited datum, under far from normal circumstances.

I've posited intelligent, reasoned arguments to your perfectly workable belief systems, and shown evidence to back up my claims. You both have responded with the written equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and shouting "la la la la" so you won't have to listen.

Very well.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Well, perhaps you have not presented your case as rationally as you think you have.

I find your comments unintelligent and don't feel they deserve any response. I'm going to leave it there and I hope you do the same.


Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 6 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

AT, I think I understand what you're saying and I may agree with most of it.

Equality can only be granted by those who feel superior in the first place. This is the situation we face today. If no one assumes a superior position the act of granting equality is un-needed. The sex of, or the sexual orientation of, an individual is still a widely accepted avenue for descrimination in this country called, the land of the free.

To answer your second question I believe it simply requires aknowledgement that females are superior to males in their own ways. Both are capable of rational thought and it is about time more started proving it.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 6 years ago

Sorry Tiger your intelligent reasoned arguments strike me as anything but. Again you are incorrect there is no difference between dominance and being domineering, dominance is no more than the state of being domineering and both involve exercising power over others.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Because this came up in the forums, I need to make something very clear:

I stipulate that some women will be attracted to dominant behavior. That may even be a strong majority of women.

That doesn't make it right or healthy. This kind of attitude helps perpetuate the view of women as a form of property and has caused abuse and murders in its worst manifestations.

I think Dawn believes she is being helpful, so I do not condemn her, but I really, really find this dominance idea very disgusting.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 6 years ago

But Stump, you are muddled! Course you don't grant equality, but by the same token you don't ask to be dominated, unless it involves leather and handcuffs and is for a limited time and place only.


John Holden profile image

John Holden 6 years ago

PC, I really believe that Dawn used "Dominance" in a way not many others do. She might well have been better served with "masculine".


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Perhaps, but I'm not sure about that at all and it is plain that some are certainly taking it as what the word means on the face of it - control.


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 6 years ago

This was completely hilarious! Great article, I just loved it. In Dawn's defense if you give a man the impression that he's in charge, it's way easier and faster to get what you really want. It is also comedy for the woman--the Dali Booperator. But I much prefer the relationship you have with your wife--partners.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Again, some women may enjoy playing that role. I don't like that Dawn's hub says they SHOULD to have a good marriage. That gives fuel to some cave man's idea that he deserves to be in charge.


Stump Parrish profile image

Stump Parrish 6 years ago from Don't have a clue, I'm lost.

JH, if neither person or group feels inequality between them, there is no reason to worry about granting or asking for equality or dominence. Equality only becomes an issue when someone feels that they're superior based on irrelevent points. Equality among wage earners is directly related to the education and experience of the individuals in question. Equality among people wanting to get married is currently related to which church they attend and how they were born. Those born straight are equal to the all powerful christian. Those born gay are lower than scum and can marry as long as they don't have sex(in some states. Less than 100nyears ago it was the African Americans that were considered less than human and most with this attitude belonged to the same religion I assume you belong to. Why do most Christians seem to have the need to feel superior to some group, somewhere, just to feel good about themselves? In closing, has your religion ever made a mistake of any kind, been wrong about anything, and if so what was it? I know that this turn towards a religious discussion may seem to be off base but I feel that religion is where most feelings of superiority get their start.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

When religion as used an excuse for abuse, I really see red.

But I didn't see JH say anything like that??


SteveoMc profile image

SteveoMc 6 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

Lovely sentiment. I agree with you wholeheartedly, only would add that if my wife cannot think of enough insults for me, I supply several for her to choose from, this always ends in a hysterical conclusion and fun times.


mega1 profile image

mega1 6 years ago

PC - as usual I find myself agreeing with you! The thing is most intelligent "evolved" people recognize there is no need for one or the other to dominate in most social situations. And in fact, without the dominance issue society gets along really, really well. The real issue is compassion, how much of it we have, and how well we use it in day to day life, including in our marriages and other family relationships. I think many people give themselves permission to behave terribly in their "love" relationships because the unconditional love thing means they can get away with it. That is just unevolved and mean. People who believe in all the gender roles that are rigidly defined are usually living very unrealized lives - sad, but they were trained at an early age I suppose. Like religious zealots many of these people just can't see it any other way - their problem, not mine. You and your wife sound like great people I would enjoy hanging out with!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

It's funny. There has been positive reaction, but some of the negative reaction here and in the related forum post tends toward anger and ridicule - typical traits of bullies, of course, so it's no wonder they disagree.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

By the way, Dawn has published a new hub: http://hubpages.com/hub/what-is-healthy-male-domin...

I am glad she did that, but she's still very, very wrong. Moreover, she seems to have misinterpreted this hub and thinks that my wife and I had a real argument :)

In the comments there, she suggested that I think my wife was "disrespectful". That shows the problem with her thinking: she's locked into an ancient role of subservience. That's too bad, but it's unfortunately not uncommon.

Someday we will have a better world.


Karanda profile image

Karanda 6 years ago from Australia

It is hard to believe that women have come so far only to be pulled back in so many ways. When that comes from another woman then I am disturbed. I have yet to read Dawn's new hub so I'll add some comments there too. Sounds to me as if you and your partner have a well balanced relationship that has nothing to do with dominance or submissiveness. These words really are better left to the animal world. Good on you Pcunix.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

By the way, that American Tiger person has also published a hub on this subject.

I quote:

"A Hunter’s females are as much his property as his spears, his gear or his food & shelter."

More at http://hubpages.com/hub/Caveman-Love if you have the stomach for it.


Baileybear 6 years ago

Wowen got a raw deal for years. What women's rights have tried to acheive is more choice for women. Those that go with the "traditional way" ie "the bible says so" really don't appreciate how much more say women get these days. Unfortunately women still get paid much less. My husband and I both hate being controlled, and have no desire to control others - we are equals in our relationship. My religious sisters "submit" to their husbands, who are in control of everything including money (just like with my parents). Our son tries to be controlling, which causes some friction!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

We have 83% agreement here in the poll, but of course most people who read this may have come from reading other things of mine, so there may be a selective process at work. Never the less, it certainly indicates that those who insist this dominance is pervasive and necessary are very, very wrong.


Kidgas profile image

Kidgas 6 years ago from Indianapolis

I think you might be right on the selection bias.

You might have a better chance at becoming the Dali if you found a different headdress. Maybe something a little taller and more colorful?


Lisa HW profile image

Lisa HW 6 years ago from Massachusetts

The fact that you (and so many other happily married couples who are equal partners) exist, and can use your own marriage as an example, would seem to me proof that there is such a thing as a happy marriage that doesn't include dominance on anyone's part. That, in itself, is proof that there's a difference between saying, "Some couples run into problems if the guy spends too much time doing things he thinks are 'women's work', and saying, "There can be no such thing as happy marriage for anyone who doesn't make sure the guy isn't dominant."

I'd maintain that the couple who runs into intimacy problems because the guy has been cooking dinner for too long may or may not have broader or deeper problems than the guy feeling "like a woman". The fact that he "feels like a woman" because he cooks, in itself, is something I think (ideally) someone needs to address.

Besides, women who get "The Cinderella Treatment" (doing all the housework, cooking, etc. etc. and "never getting to go to the ball" start feeling pretty resentful and unloved as well. "The Cinderella Treatment" for one partner is enough to damage any relationship.

Keep speaking up, PC (whether or here on elsewhere). I know you have at least one daughter. I do too. This is all about the world and future they'll inherit.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

We have two daughters, both all grown up and married.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

American Tiger, excuse me, but there is no difference in being dominant and domineering. Webster anyone? Life, anyone? How does one gain dominance without being domineering?? It's like saying "well, it was red, but it didn't have any red in it."

Difference in the sexes is not less in any area, it is just different and thank nature for it. Equal does not have to mean alike, even Webster knew that. Just like "Smarts" is not necessarily the accompaniment to a degree.

Here's a hint: Equal rights can attach itself to two very different people.

Hmmm, now where does that leave many who have made the grades enough times to "get" the degree? Ask any smart person.

Pcunix, you are a delight. I've had that same conversation with my husband over mustard, underwear, socks, ketchup, and salt, etc. It's hilarious and gives our marriage lift into the high and DOMINANT clouds of life saving humor.

There is no constant dominance in healthy relationships, yet one can alternately be in charge during situations, such as crisis, health issues, or an issue where one has a talent to handle what's going on. As in any healthy partnership, each partner brings skills and abilities that the other may not have to that degree.

That's not even the first cousin to dominance, and frankly, I've never read, heard, or witnessed any counselor mention the word when describing or discussing a healthy marriage. It just doesn't come up, in fact, dominance is actually the cause of most marital discord and is the root of dare I say all domestic violence.

To take a word, and invent a new meaning is a risky thing. It's like Palin saying "reload" to people and then saying she wasn't talking about guns. She was talking about voting. Yeah? Well, that and ocean front property in Arkansas will get you to the same place.

So DawnM, and American Tiger, with all due respect, you might be trying to make your mark on the world, but know this: It takes years to change the meaning of known words, try changing the meaning of spaghetti. It's less risky.

And, just to clear up some muddy water about counseling, I've got all the respect in the world for degrees. But that doesn't put you on the highest shelf in the warehouse of knowledge. Common sense, experience, and reading the dictionary helps.

Now, no offense intended, but this is a subject dear to my heart and profession as well. Couldn't pass it up.

Pcunix, thanks for the joys and common sense here!


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Thank you. So you are a Dali Booperator also? That's wonderful.


Buck Steiner profile image

Buck Steiner 6 years ago from Steiner Ranch

I found this after reading the thread started where someone claims you are attacking them. I don't know if that's true but on that thread I noticed you used wikipedia as a source? Anything you write or say is completely irrelevant from this point forward.

Why didn't you just use the back of a box of Cap'n Crunch as your source? It would be more believable than wikipedia.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Are you joking? Seriously. Wikipedia has an excellent reputation for accuracy.


Buck Steiner profile image

Buck Steiner 6 years ago from Steiner Ranch

Look! A bright shiny object.


Pcunix profile image

Pcunix 6 years ago from SE MA Author

Okey-dokey. Have a nice day, Buck.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 6 years ago from USA

Now, Buck, common sense can be found in many places.

Wikipedia is one source among many. We can like or not like what is found there, but it is a source and not the final answer in some cases.

Similar to Grand Juries: They will indite a ham sandwich as the saying goes, but we don't do away with them.

You should read Pcunix's whole hub, and he didn't "attack" anyone, unless disagreeing is now the definition of attacking. I see that a few people are changing commonly understood words to mean strange and different things....and thereby tossing reason out the door.

I dare say dominance is going to find the "same" or nearly same meaning in most places, as will the meaning of attack. Why do some people who come to a community to write their opinions and "expertise" in an area, then act surprised and angry over those who believe differently and say so? We hubbers find someone to admire on the Hub, but it's not a guarantee that all of us will find agreement. This ain't church.

Wait a minute, seldom agree in church either. Sigh. Ok, there goes the neighborhood.

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