The picture of Meghan holding an umbrella for Prince Harry, while he delivers a speech is winning many hearts on the internet. Many people are hailing it as a subtle yet powerful display of changing gender dynamics among modern couples. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are currently on a royal tour of Australia. At Dubbo, New South Wales, the prince delivered a speech for drought-stricken farmers while it poured, it was then that his wife stood by his side holding an umbrella over his head.

Harry and Meghan’s relationship exemplify a modern marriage, which stands on the grounds of equality.

This simple act, especially from British royals, reflects the changing dynamics between partners in a heterosexual marriage. The British royalty is well known to uphold traditional beliefs when it comes to the institution of marriage. Even the fact that Meghan Markle was a television actor and a divorcee created headlines earlier. So, to see this young royal couple squash gender dynamics in a marriage so openly is refreshing. What we have today is a Prince who doesn’t feel emasculated if his wife shows a protective gesture towards him. And a woman who is quite capable of shielding herself and her prince from the rain, despite being pregnant. It is the symbolism in this photograph which seems to have caught everyone’s eye.

For ages men and women have stuck to certain gendered protocols when it came to being in a relationship.

Men over the centuries have been conditioned into being the leaders among the two genders, believing it is their duty to protect and provide for women. They feel duty-bound to shield their partners from rain and storms. To pull chairs and open doors, to be certified as gentlemen. Women, on the other hand, have grown to expect chivalry from men. Women expect their partners to take the lead and practically usher them through hardships of life, be it as trivial as opening a door.

SOME TAKEAWAYS

  • The picture of Meghan holding an umbrella for Prince Harry, while he delivers a speech is winning many hearts on the Internet.
  • For ages men and women have stuck to certain gendered protocols when it came to being in a relationship.
  • Men over the centuries have been conditioned into being the leaders among the two genders, believing it is their duty to protect and provide for women.
  • A modern woman can open doors and pull a chair for herself. Today, they seek partners who are not of the gallantry variety.

But how mindsets among men and women are gradually updating to modern sensibilities reflects in this photograph. A modern woman can open doors and pull a chair for herself. Today, they seek partners who are not of the gallantry variety because after a point of time chivalry in a relationship tends to transform into a superiority complex and sense of authority.

Thus, if a woman starts resisting protective instincts of her male partner, he begins to feel unwanted. He begins to detest his partner’s need for independence and autonomy.

Men now know that we do not want them to consider us as weak and dependent. Instead, we want them to treat us as equals. It is the little gestures like letting your wife hold an umbrella over your head, despite your royal status, which sends across the messages of a man’s acceptance of women’s new-found spirit of authority. They know that today women want partners who endorse equality.

With the institution of marriage losing its appeal among youngsters, perhaps our appreciation for this picture is a cue for the society to let go of the outdated beliefs on which a marriage traditionally rests.

Picture Credit : Kensington Palace/ Twitter

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Yamini Pustake Bhalerao is a writer with the SheThePeople team, in the Opinions section. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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