The Politics of Gender in Relationships
I always thought that Jerry Maguire had it wrong when he said “You complete me...” If I were Renee Zellweger's role (I forget the name) in the movie I'd be quite suspicious. I'd think to myself “... does he mean he is incomplete now? Is he half a man then?...” Many took to this particular line in the movie. I myself am dubious. In real life I wouldn't want someone to look into the windows of my soul and say I complete them. Probably run the other way. I bet we'd all much rather hear that we “complement” them, that something in us strikes a resonant chord in them that would make them better persons. I've seen the sad outcome of some doomed relationships when one partner's life is subjugated to the other. In any relationship, more especially in romantic entanglements, it is best when the partners come together as equals, with open minds. I think it was Oprah who said that marriage is a partnership of equals for the purpose of spiritual growth. (Makes me wonder why she never married, does she not consider her partner now as an equal or maybe she does not aspire for spiritual growth?)
Women have oftentimes been at the raw end of this deal, I guess its because we love the drama of it all. I also think that society expects so much from us being mothers and homemakers. We've all heard about that men being from Mars and women from Venus bit and we're all sold to the whole idea. My favorite analogy is that women are like the flat-iron, slow to heat and slow to cool off, while men are like lit matchsticks, quick to burn and quicker to burn out. I do not profess to knowing the way men's minds work but the women's minds is so not rocket science. Just think of the problems at play here unique only to the fairer sex. When we fool around we're whores but when men fool around they're simply being themselves. When we get pregnant without the benefit of marriage or a partner, we are a sorry sight. Never mind that we make tons of money and are quite capable of feeding the whole clan, if we don't have a man to show for our protruding tummies people automatically pity us. When we join the workforce while having kids at the same time, we're ruthless witches. A single woman over thirty used to be a sorry sight, then came Sex and the City to change all that, thank the Lord for small mercies!
It's this weaker sex concept that is now becoming more of a myth I think, hell we had a female President in the Philippines and almost in the U.S. Then there's the damsel in distress and her knight in shining armor concept, which is all worn out. It's really not a liability to be able to talk about feelings and the mushy stuff, we're designed that way but somehow we're put on the defensive and are called naggers or worse shrews. I'd much prefer to be viewed as shrewd than a shrew, the “d” at the end makes a world of difference. But we do love our dramas, I know I do. My and my female friend would get a kick out of Meanings 101, a class we created for ourselves where we love to assume that every little thing our objects of desire do is a put on for our benefit (of course its not, we just prefer to see it that way). But then again we've wisened up a lot and become more in control of our emotions. Yes, I believed we have leveled the playing field, more and more we've drank from the cup of power and loved it. We've traded the apron for a briefcase (men cook better anyway). And if the object of our desire does not reciprocate we shrug our shoulders and conclude: “...maybe he's just not into me..”, then we move on. I feel good living in a society where I am seen as an equal, an integral part. Now we don't just rule households, we rule the boardroom. It is so comforting to know that we do not anymore bank on our wiles, nor are we accused anymore of sleeping our way to the top. We should shun the expression “...you complete me...” because we're already complete, we need someone to complement us. We want not just love and romance, we want companionship, which is the real true ingredient of a lasting partnership.