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Wed Jan 11, 2012, 12:38 PM

Love Languages, Feminists in Romantic Relationships & Prostitution

So it's been brought up that in Illinois a woman can bill her husband for sex. . . And they snort snort chuckle chuckle.

Ahem - so has anyone here read the Five Love Languages? Or any books on Master Conflicts in romantic relationships?

In my case - a loving relationship - my fiance has two primary love languages. Acts of Service and Gifts. My primary love relationship is 'discussion/talking/listening'. He shows his love for EVERYONE via gifts and acts of service.

Example - I do the majority of the cooking for us - and dare I say - I'm excellent! I'm also kind of anal retentive about how things are cleaned (say the bathrooms) so I'd prefer to do that so it's at my standard.

He in return is known for going out and replacing my shasta daisies that died with petunias (read flowers). He also replanted them. He does things like this often. And it's his 'thing' to purchase me a bouquet of flowers once a week.

Earlier that morning (petunias) - we had Morning Sex.

Did I prostitute myself because the husband/fiance/so in question gives gifts and brings his gift (generousity) to the table?

In our personal relationships - since we are having our personal marriages/long term relationships used to compare us to prostitutes . . . are we supposed to demand that a man NEVER purchase us anything? Lest we be perceived as giving him sex in return for that Twix bar from the convenience store?

Should I as a feminist demand that my lover, confidante, friend, and partner in crime SUPPRESS who he is at the very core in order to prevent the perception that he's behaving like a common seedy john?

I'm trying to get to the heart of the matter.

Are men who are NOT generous (basically selfish and miserly) the RIGHT men for feminists? Is that what I'm supposed to learn from the Wives/Girlfriends/Significant Others are Prostitutes Too memo?

Is that the IDEAL man in general. One who would rather anally rend and torture himself than having to 'pay his wife for sex' by purchasing a pint of half and half for her to place in her coffee in the morning . . . when he never touches coffee himself?

Reverse it - if the woman is the bread winner? Is her husband the guy in hung? Or is it ONLY when a woman accepts a gift in a loving relationship (even if that gift is a basic need - food, shelter, clothing) can one be a prostitute?

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Reply Love Languages, Feminists in Romantic Relationships & Prostitution (Original post)
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 OP
seabeyond Jan 2012 #1
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #2
seabeyond Jan 2012 #5
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #6
seabeyond Jan 2012 #7
redqueen Jan 2012 #12
whathehell Jan 2012 #22
Gormy Cuss Jan 2012 #3
redqueen Jan 2012 #4
Gormy Cuss Jan 2012 #8
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #9
redqueen Jan 2012 #10
whathehell Jan 2012 #23
iverglas Jan 2012 #14
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #17
iverglas Jan 2012 #11
redqueen Jan 2012 #13
iverglas Jan 2012 #15
iverglas Jan 2012 #16
JustAnotherGen Jan 2012 #18
iverglas Jan 2012 #21
CrispyQ Jan 2012 #19
ismnotwasm Jan 2012 #20

Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 12:43 PM

1. it is interesting how all this is manifesting and the number of women allowing themselves to be


called a whore on a progressive site by more and more and more men.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 12:50 PM

2. I agree

I don't consider myself a whore - never have - but evidently there is a strong group think that married women/women in ltr with men who have so much as bought them a a ten cent piece of bubble gum from a machine is a prostitute.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry?

I also question . . . these men at DU who 'think this'. . . they must be a selfish nightmare to live with it.

These women that think it? They must have to tiptoe around their love interest. I.E. He might not pick up a cup of joe from Dunkin for me when he runs to get the paper this Sunday morning if I don't give him a blow job every night?

It's just sad. I feel sorry for these people. Or maybe they feel sorry for me since I'm so in the dark about the 'exchange' that is SUPPOSED to take place in a loving relationship?

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #2)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:00 PM

5. it is just another saying we have given to men to chuckle at, to feel superior, to be dominant


to put women in their place, all in the name of a joke. wink wink. but for a decade we have worked so hard at whorifying women that it is no longer a joke and a wink wink, it is becoming their reality.

i dont think many women "get" that.

they have not been paying attention to what is going on around them.... for many reasons.

women broke away from men being dominant in dependence. men are now trying to get that dominance back in this manner.

my husband and i value each other. when we first married i said to him.... i wont try to manipulate you and you dont with me. we are both clever people. we will both see it and we will both get pissed. so lets just not play that game. it has worked well for us. we also base our relationship on altruism. i see it as the most selfish act. i want the best for him. he wants the best for me. in our unselfishness we are selfishly both getting the best.

i dont really care how others perceive me. i can live with this, the relationship i have. but inevitably we will be listening to these men sadly talk about what is going on in their life with their woman, X woman or lack of woman.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:09 PM

6. Oooh I agree

I know The Gio (he doesn't post here or have an account - he just reads) is sickened by this. Since when is being 'kind' to someone you care about behaving like a prostitute or john? Since when did that become the 'belief system'.

Well -you hit the nail on the head. It's the 'whorifying' of women by insecure males. It's so common - that Victoria's Secret can get away with an ad about how if you 'buy your wife this - she'll be just like me' - as part of it's Christmas Advertising Campaign.

The Gio flounced around saying just that when he first saw the ad. Keep in mind - he's not had the full force U.S. Mass Media indoctrination so he can id this type of stuff VERY quickly. He flounced around and then said: Your wife can be a bimbo who flits around in a thong all day just like me.

He then proceeded to put his finger in his throat and roll his eyes.

He likes the woman that speaks whatever is on her mind - no filter involved much better than what he referred to as 'Stepford Thong'. I like the man - who can see how demeaning that is - much better than the man who would throw a bunch of lingerie at me because he feels inadequate in some way, shape, or form.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #6)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:14 PM

7. VS use to be a company about empowering women their sexuality. i use to buy from them. it was fun.


in the 90's they shifted from the woman to the man. putting up their models to turn the man on to then turn to their woman to sell VS. 'buy your wife this - she'll be just like me' . they didnt say it out loud, but that is what they did. i guess now they are saying it out loud.

i dont buy their product anymore.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #5)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:03 PM

12. We see relationships based on altruism.

And others see them as based on capitalism.

I don't think it gets any clearer than that. One group sees loved ones as... well, loved ones. One group sees them as customers.

There really shouldn't need to be a lot of debate about this, but... well... the world we live in. Fish in water, most of them denying the water even exists, let alone analyzing it.

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Response to seabeyond (Reply #1)

Sat Jan 14, 2012, 07:13 PM

22. You are correct, as usual, Seabie....I believe that language is powerful

and I never let a gender slur go by,

but I see a lot of (presumably) younger women

who do but still consider themselves "feminists"...I don't get it.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 12:53 PM

3. IMHO the heart of the matter is the power dynamic.

If it's a true partnership then neither is prostituting or "johning." However, in a true partnership the higher earner isn't "gifting" basic needs because the earnings are pooled by agreement. That works the same way whether one or both partners are contributing.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 12:57 PM

4. That's what I was going to say.

In a true partnership / relationship, these things aren't payment but just things you do for someone you love and care for.

It's only when people are using each other that these things come into play. (And I would emphasize the word 'use'. Like a tool. A thing.)

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Response to redqueen (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:19 PM

8. "A tool. A thing."

Exactly. Like property -- you know, the way we used to be.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #4)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:23 PM

9. So true

But perhaps this is what these men and women were raised with? It's the only thing they know? They didn't get the 'gift' of how people who like and purport to love each other - treat each other with common courtesy and kindness?

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:33 PM

10. Exactly.

And what the Scandinavian countries are finding out, is that once you stop sending the message that people are things, that *gasp* they start thinking that people are actually people, and that they deserve to be treated with actual respect!

One exception is a that in Sweden, they have opted not to join with Norway and Denmark in banning most sexual objectification from advertisements. I hope that changes soon.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #10)

Sat Jan 14, 2012, 07:36 PM

23. I didn't know that Norway and Denmark had taken that step...It's wonderful!..n/t

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #9)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:12 PM

14. and how to get women to stop playing their role?


It's the dating game. If he doesn't pick me up, hold my doors, pull out my chair, pay for my dinner ... he doesn't respect/value me enough for me to consider him as a candidate for giving sex to.

And women whine about men not doing those things, and men whine about being treated like bank machines. ATMs, you call them down there.

It looks like a double lose for the men, if there's no sex reward at the end, until we realize that all those things are cogs in the wheel of male control. And besides, why shouldn't they have to court a lot of frogettes? Dating isn't a bed of roses for women either.

I've mentioned before that I've never done it, ever. "Dating" is an alien culture to me. I never went out with a man I wasn't at least seriously considering going to bed with, and I never regarded the financial arrangements for the event as having anything to do with that. I paid and pay my way. What adult would not? I don't know whether I was born that way or figured it out for myself, but it was just there when the situation arose and I'm happy with it.

Hell, I'll put my alienation from hetero mating rituals at least as high as any lesbian's! (Are we allowed a little joke?)

I just can't ever figure out why something so simple and obvious to me is such a source of confusion and angst and strife for so many others. I am absolutely floored when I hear such talk. I want to shake both parties smart. Open your damned eyes. You're two human beings. Talk to each other, for the love of pete.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #14)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:03 PM

17. Here's where I bring a different perspective

I've been on over 300 first dates. I'm turning 39 next month - never married and no kids. I have kept journals since I was 9 years old. So I know - over 300.

I've been on over 25 2nd dates.
Same for 3rd dates.

By the 4th date - I've determined someone is not a good fit - and I've learned the answers to my 'key character' questions. I.E. How he responds to a homeless person, a person in distress - very easy to see if out in Manhattan.

It's but a handful of men in my life that we have gotten to relationship status. Consider I spent most of my 20' s in relationships with 2 different men.

I've never accepted a date with a man thinking - I'm going to sleep with him. It's - let's go have fun for a few hours. Nothing more, nothing less. I've never done the 'online' thing - I only meet men IRL or through acquaintances, friends, organizations, etc. etc. - so I can sum up pretty quickly - is there an initial attraction there? Do we have ANY commonality?

I've also never asked a man on a date. Never. Just never occurred to me to do so.

That's allllllllllllllllll the background info for you there!

Dating is just fun. It's supposed to be fun. You aren't supposed to go out with a man or a woman and think after the first date: OMG! We are getting married! Wheeeeeeeeee!

It's that mentality that makes it stressful. It's as I've written to female readers - If you put that much weight into whether you 'like him and want to have sex with and/or marry him' - you aren't REALLY seeing him. Who he is!

Amongst my friends, and me - I would never get mad at a man holding a door open for me. Or pulling out my chair. Or helping me on with my coat. Why? It means nothing other than common courtesy and being polite.

Now granted - the past 7 years or so most of my dating prior to meeting The Gio (including him) were with men not from the USA. They were Israeli, Italian, French, Spaniars, Irish (a breed of men unto themselves), Turks, Greeks, etc. etc. Specifically the Southern European men - they are culturally different from us in terms of 'wooing'. So if I'm going out with a Calabrese male - don't you dare take out your wallet for a glass of wine until you know him very well. It's actually very insulting to him. He's not trying to buy his way into your bedroom, or 'buy' you - i[t's hard coded per Myyyyy Calabrese - that you do that and expect NOTHING in return when you REALLY really REALLY are smitten with a woman.

In general - I think dating has ZERO angst and anxiety associated with it. Not even over who pays (unless there is a cultural difference) - it's just a cup of coffee. It's just a walk and a frozen yogurt. Really? A frozen yogurt or something from Rita's should cause an issue?

I think that you and I have VERY different approaches - but there is a common denominator.

I like men. I do. I just like them. I KNOW you do too. It's very apparent in what you write. I think MOST feminists really do LIKE men. I never saw (read mostly) at the old DU boards and doubt I will ever see these words written or spoken by a Feminist woman, "All men are scum." We don't believe that - because we give what we EXPECT - respect from one human being to another. Kindness. Just basic human decency.

Now, I don't like EVERY man - and I can tell a heartless one, a selfish one, a mean one, a rude one . . . within a few hours. And that's why prior to November 1, 2009 - I dated. I dated a lot. And my perception/gut/instinct about the 'type of man' I was dealing with - never came from who paid for the date. Again - walk down Broadway and see how he reacts to the wonderful vibrant characters that surround you. That would tell me a lot.

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Response to Gormy Cuss (Reply #3)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 01:45 PM

11. me too


I read all the way down and found you all saying it.

The model is based on he earns, she trades services for keep.

I am the breadwinner. Don't ask me why; I've never quite figured it out. It was not part of the original deal. But I earn a lot of bread so we can afford it. I am also the cook (which as redqueen has seen is similar to being a general in my house and occupies my hands and mind handily for hours on weekends: cooking for a diabetic - who is 6'4, eats like a horse and looks like Jack Sprat, and I complete the picture). I do not do dishes unless I've made a particular pigsty of the kitchen while cooking and feel slightly guilty, or am particularly bored. I don't know how to operate the washing machine. I hate vacuum cleaners with such a passion I can't bear to be around them. I am too lazy to take out the trash and recycle and clean the catboxes. I don't feel a tremendous need to weed gardens and shovel driveways. And I have a very high tolerance for dirt, although not quite as high as his. I do clean a bathroom occasionally. Is this trade for him getting supported? Sure. He has an obligation to do something with his time to contribute to the household and not just faff around with his music for the entire day while I work.

But sex? How on earth would that come into it??

Anyhow, this does get more complex though. Objectification.

Do we "love" someone wholly and entirely for themself? Or do we do it in part for ourself -- because of a need or needs of ours that are being met -- not material needs, but emotional/psychological or, yes, physical needs. Love does have an element of use. You use your partner to fill needs, and they use you to fill needs.

I have never got the whole love thing myself, so our trade goes along the line of trading intellectual stimulation for intellectual stimulation, companionship for companionship, laughs for laughs, and I suppose sex for sex. But sex for groceries, or flowers, or catbox cleaning? I can't believe I can even type something that dumb.

Except, as you others have said, it isn't dumb for some women, it's reality.

And it's called exploitation, just like what WalMart does. Find somebody who needs what you have more than you need what they have, and set up an exchange that gives you power over them.

The relationship doesn't have to be male-female for there to be exploitation based on an economic power imbalance. But that imbalance has been inherent in male-female relationships in our societies for millennia, and the exceptions don't "test" that rule, they just show that in some cases, other factors (like class) alter the equation. And the power imbalance can lead to all kinds of other serious problems and serious harms to the weaker party.

So, as what we might call a systemic problem, it's a problem that straight women have and lesbians don't.

And it isn't a choice, in the sense of there being an alternative that would provide equivalent benefits, because we just can't help our orientation!

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Response to iverglas (Reply #11)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:10 PM

13. Cooperating vs. using (the way I see it)

Would you kick your partner out if he was suddenly somehow disabled and couldn't do the dishes and vacuuming? I like to think not.

But some relationships do crumble after such incidents.

I think it comes down to an attitude. Are you capitalistic in your personal relationships, or communistic? If we do things for each other not based on some kind of trade off but because we consider each other to be our helpers and keepers, then it's not using, it's cooperating. If, however, we do things for each other because we think we're working some kind of a deal and there are payoffs and such, then that's using and the relationship will likely be jeopardized if the 'trade agreement' is altered.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #13)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 02:40 PM

15. heh heh


Would I kick him out if he were suddenly disabled? Well, I totally failed to kick the tires, so I'd have only myself to blame. Onset of diabetes in middle age (after the hookup) and that raises those odds. Between the two of us, in the last five years, we've both had too-youthful cataract surgery go awry (his a retinal detachment, just to keep up with me and my surgeries to repair all the botch, leaving me with glaucoma and now some nerve damage), and he's been hospitalized twice in rapid succession in near-death diabetic ketoacidosis. And we both smoke.

I'd kick him out for a lot of fairly minor reasons, but disability, no, that wouldn't be one.

What I was getting at though wasn't the uses in the outward sense, like for financial support or household duties. It was in the psychological/emotional sense.

It's part of our hardwiring, that we seek out a mate/partner (the polyamorous can read themselves in, there). To fulfil those intangible needs that are hardwired in (else there might be lots of babies but few living to breed themselves, without two protective parents - and I speak historically).

We use the other person to meet our need for emotional closeness, touch, laughs, and sex. Another person really is always an object to us; we are the only subjects in our own lives. The trick, I think, is to treat people like subjects of their own lives. That's what the concept of human rights is really all about.

But our own interests, as subjects of our own lives, are always going to factor into anything we do. Rare is the person who is going to sacrifice their own life to save someone else's, or give up the last piece of pizza to someone who needs it only a teensy bit more.

Sex does involve using the other party, I can't disagree with that. But the issue is whether the exchange is fair. Is food or shelter or money a fair exchange for sex?

Well, if you really really need them, who could say no? Except that this is definitely exploitation, and exploitation is precisely treating people like objects and is just something we reject ... beyond a certain level. Obviously our economic system is based on exploitation. But addressing exploitation is no different from anything else in life: we draw lines where it's possible to draw them.

To me, progress is precisely moving that line toward less exploitation, whatever realm you're looking at. You can't draw the line where it will mean someone is unable to get food and shelter, but you should not draw it in such a way that you tolerate exploitation where there is an alternative that would benefit the exploited party at least nearly equally. Sweden didn't just outlaw prostitution by outlawing the buying of sex services, it set up a whole system to provide alternatives for prostitutes.

Do the interests of the exploiter need to be considered? Not so much, in my own opinion.

Remedying the power imbalance in any relationship, whether economic or sexual, is the goal, so there is no opening for the exploitation.

And then just working on the politically personal: learning how to show people to relate to other people as subjects of their own lives, even if not of equal standing in one's own life as one's self and even if they are objects in one's own life.

Hey, I know what I'm saying.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:03 PM

16. you didn't give us a link :(



Learn Your Love Language
Take This Fun Quiz

I'm sure I've done an equivalent sometime in the hundreds of hours I've spent pissing time away on quizzies at OKCupid ... but here we go! I'm betting I have to give a credit card at the end.

Oh, good start. Different quizzes for wives and husbands.

Okay, go nowhere three times, turn javascript on ...

"I feel loved when my husband helps me with the laundry"??? This bodes well.

"When my husband helps clean up after me, I know that he loves me." Okay, this is going seriously downhill. Laundry and cleaning up after me are his jobs.

Wowsers, some women must get a lot of stuff from their husbands. ........ I finally hit one I can click with confidence! "I love that my husband listens to me and respects my ideas."

Your Scores
6 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
1 Receiving Gifts
5 Acts of Service
8 Physical Touch

The highest score indicates your primary love language (the highest score is 12). It’s not uncommon to have two high scores, although one language does have a slight edge for most people. That just means two languages are important to you.

The lower scores indicate those languages you seldom use to communicate love and which probably don’t affect you very much on an emotional level. Click Next to learn more about your primary love language and how to put it to use.

Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there–with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby–makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.

Right-O, now I'm a husband.

"I feel loved when my wife does my laundry." Right, Jack.
"Keeping the house clean is an important act of service." You betcha.

Snork. I think my wife-me loved my husband's kisses, while my husband-me loves having sex with my wife. My wife-me is such a prude. Or just holding out for more backrubs.

"I love hearing my wife tell me that she believes in me" vs. misses when we've been apart.

Not much difference, considering how negligent I was in doing it:

6 Words of Affirmation
10 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts
6 Acts of Service
8 Physical Touch

Okay, off you all go.

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Response to iverglas (Reply #16)

Wed Jan 11, 2012, 03:10 PM

18. That's a good start

But read the book if you can get a copy. It's not that hooey from Men are From Mars and Women are from Venus.

It even relates to our children in our lives, our parents, our friends. . . . I also love Marianne Williamsons book A Return To Love. . . I love my brother because he is another human being - I ask nothing from him/her and she/he asks nothing from me accept for the light of love.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Reply #18)

Fri Jan 13, 2012, 02:03 PM

21. but I don't want to have to pick my way carefully


around things like:


"When my husband helps clean up after me, I know that he loves me."


"I feel loved when my wife does my laundry."
"Keeping the house clean is an important act of service."

! They make me gag. It's like AA telling people to just ignore all the god-bothering.

Nothing that starts out from such a fundamentally false premise as the idea that men and women have different roles in a man-woman relationship, and that it's to be expected that each will judge their partner's love according to how well they play those roles, is gonna do it for me, I fear.

Keeping the house clean, when one partner is responsible for it by definition because she is female -- it being the premise of the questions that the wife does the laundry and cleaning and the husband has no responsibility for it, is an act of servitude.

I look at a household as a joint enterprise. It involves certain necessary tasks: breadwinning, cooking, cleaning, administrative duties. Neither partner performs the activities involved in those things for the other partner; they do them for the household.

I don't mind this, though:

I ask nothing from him/her and she/he asks nothing from me accept for the light of love.

It addresses what I was saying about subjects and objects. We "use" other people to get love from them, and we give love in return. That's not a bad bargain.

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Thu Jan 12, 2012, 12:59 PM

19. When I was in corporate, I worked with a really wonderful family man.

I'd met his wife & his three kids. They were all great. She was a SAHM. He made good bucks & they were doing well. He would always say, "None of this would be possible without her. My contribution is that I go to work & put in 40 hours & bring home some money. What she does is so much more important than that. She's raising our children & cares for our home."

It was refreshing. They are a genuine family.

Why do we always pit one against the other, in this society? Why can't we recognize differences & admire the good in both, instead of one always having to best the other? How much has sports played into attaching competion & winning to everything?

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Response to JustAnotherGen (Original post)

Fri Jan 13, 2012, 01:48 PM

20. Well, I am the breadwinner

My husband is disabled with MS. So we work out an equitable plan. For instance, H\he drives me around, shops and pays the bills, I work. I don't 'do' traffic, he does. I don't park. I get dropped off at work at the front door and picked up up the same way. He hates his physical weakness---mowing the lawn is something he's finally left behind a year or so ago. Sex is an act (sacred he calls it) out of mutual desire. We attend each others needs, likes and dislikes. A marriage is has a fluid, changing element to it, since we never know how much 'time' we have we pay attention. We buy each other things, although I suppose you could say "I" buy it given where the actual income comes from.

I always say it's hard to be a hetero-feminist, because of bullshit like this link. (Not that it's easy for the bi or gay or transgendered feminists!) We question everything related to hetero-sex, sexuality and sexual attractiveness. In fact we put a lot of work questioning this things it seems. Heterosexism is the word, the defining element IMO. I work around a lot of educated women who while they reap the benefits of feminism, don't understand where these 'rights' came from. The younger women seem to 'get' it better than my own peers of early middle age. Still, things like wedding rings, type, cost and size of the diamond are fairly common topics of conversation in the younger age group. I also hear a lot of angst from the single ones about 'men' and the behavior of men.

So, in my personal bottom line goes something like this; In a misogynist rape culture, women are ALWAYS measured by sex, sexuallity, availablity of it, the kind of it, the worth of it etc. It's one of the thing feminists fight against, or at least bring to light
and no, it's not the same for the entitled male, but a decent man doesn't see women as whores, or a organization of body orifices/sacred sperm receptacles there for his viewing/using pleaure in the first place. 'Society' still does.

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