Female Breadwinners Needn’t Feel Resentful and Stressed
With changing gender dynamics, female breadwinners who earn more than their male partners is not unheard of. A 2015 data suggests that 38 percent of American wives earn more than their husbands. But how does this reversal in pay checks influence women and their male partners and eventually the power dynamics in their relationship?
In an article for Refinery29, Ashley C. Ford says that millennial women who earn more than their male partners harbour uncomfortable and complex feelings about that reality themselves. Women used words like “tired”, “exhausted”, “resentful” and even “stressful” to describe their current relationships, where they were earning more than the men in their lives. They want their partners to feel happy rather than take up a job they dislike, just for the sake of more money. But the society around them often ends up making them believe that they are being duped by a man who won’t live up to his ‘duty to provide’. Similarly this change in financial dynamics at home makes the guys feel emasculated and shameful of their subservient status.
How traditional definition of being a breadwinner is affecting marriages
Traditionally, men are touted to be primary breadwinners. They are brought up believing that it is their duty to be the primary earner in a household.
Similarly most women are taught to concentrate more on managing the house, than on their professional lives. Thus, men end up feeling emasculated when their wives earn more. Similarly most women feel overwhelmed or exhausted by having to bear responsibilities for which they were not trained in the first place. Clearly, men and women are yet to learn to adapt to this changing equation.
Patriarchy has made us incapable of accepting things in our lives which cannot be termed “normal”. It has made men insecure about their masculinity. They judge themselves on standards set for them by a misogynist society. Hence earning less than their wives makes them feel less manly.
Another reason why women feel resentful and exhausted is the change in economical dynamics seldom leads to redistribution of the workload at home.
While men may be able to swallow smaller pay checks, they are mostly unwilling to compensate for that by helping out with household duties. After all, volunteering to help with household work is like accepting female domination. And those around them shall not let such an arrangement go unnoticed. They call men who step into help their wives at home as feminine. They ridicule them for letting a woman call the shots in their relationship. These people also go ahead to label women of such households as controlling, manly and aggressive.
The blame lies with the set of gender-specific values that we have been passing down generations.
No woman should have to feel resentful or stressed about earning more than her husband. Similarly, no man should have to take up a job he hates, just because it pays more.
When it comes to a relationship, the question should never be who earns more. It should be how each partner is willing to counter social expectations and help each other lead a happy life. Let us not make the reversal in pay checks become so disputable, that it ends up costing us a beautiful relationship.
Source: DejaVu Blog
Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own