There is a common misbelief that all women aim in life is to find a man better than themselves. They always intend on marrying upwards in terms of both physical appearance and financial security.
A recent Twitter thread provoked men to stop building up women, as they would end up resenting the man in their life for being inferior. Hence men should build themselves up, instead of letting women do better in life. Because women have a tendency to link their self-worth to that of their partners. To an extent this is true, but does this mean men should retrain women from outgrowing them? Is a relationship even successful if it comes at the cost of one partner being cornered into subservience?
This thread is wrong on so many levels. First, it reduces men and women to being relevant only as their sexual market value. Further, it tells men that motivating women to do better in life only results in hurtful consequences for them. Plus, it tells women that by striving for higher self-worth, they hurt men and jeopardise relationships.
Isn’t partnership about helping each other do better in life?
The only thing that this thread gets right is the underlying insecurity among many men, regarding wives/girlfriends who outperform them.
Men and women often pin their self-worth on their partners, but it is the latter who gets called instinctively hypergamous. Is it women who make men feel unworthy of themselves, or is it a deep-seated insecurity which sees animosity in the wife’s every comment or action, once she begins to shine? How many men can actually stand behind a partner who outshines them, without any resentment on their part or sense of insecurity?
- A Twitter thread provoked men to stop building up women, as they would end up resenting the man in their life for being inferior.
- Does this mean men should retrain women from outgrowing them, for the sake of a successful relationship?
- How can we expect men to cope with this shift in power dynamics, when they haven’t been taught that such a situation could ever arrive in the first place?
- No one should have to manoeuvre their personal growth as per their other half’s preference. What is marriage? If not, mutual support, appreciation and understanding?
Haven’t we all come across men whose attitude changes the minute their wife begins to earn more than them? It is not their fault exactly, since they are conditioned to believe that they are the primary earners or the face of a family in the society. His surname, his salary, his social standing is what society talks about. How can we expect men to cope with this shift in power dynamics in their relationships, when they haven’t been taught that such a situation could ever arrive in the first place?
It is this social conditioning which also prompts women to pin their self-worth to that of their partners. Many women do end up assessing their self worth by the way their partners perceive them. Despite having a high-flying career, or financial independence or an enigmatic personality, a woman can end up feeling like a garbage bin, if her partner tells her so. Many women give men this psychological advantage to control how they feel about themselves.
But our relationships need not be grounds for ego contests or wrestling matches to pin one another’s self worth to the floor.
A partnership is all about helping each other to perform better in every aspect of life. It is about knowing when to back down and letting your partner take the driving wheel. And this holds true for both men and women. Because no one should have to manoeuvre their personal growth as per their other half’s preference. What is marriage, if not mutual support, appreciation and understanding?
It is possible for men and women to co-exist and flourish socially and professionally. All that is needed is to find that equilibrium. It is frankly still a struggle for both the genders to adjust into that kind of harmonic positive existence. One or the other partner always ends up feeling inferior. But pulling each other back to increase your own self-worth is definitely not the solution here.
Photo Credit : MyAdvo.in
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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.