Rigid gender roles hurt relationships

There's an epidemic spreading among couples. It's not something they catch on the light rail or by forgetting to wash hands before dinner.

If you're easily influenced by TV or those "bros" shouting obscenities outside your apartment window, precautionary measures are necessary. Suddenly, it's become acceptable and even encouraged to despise the person you're with and to treat them with disrespect. If this sounds ridiculous, that's because it is.

There's a case of "I hate my significant other, but that's OK because I'm supposed to and satisfying love doesn't exist." There's a disconnect between the genders, and it's affecting relationships immensely. It's downright limiting.

Nine times out of 10, in any reality show, romantic comedy or other source of mindless entertainment, couples fill these predictable gender roles.

Women are portrayed as needy, pestering, paranoid and superficial annoyances. Men are portrayed as unloving, domineering, distant and lazy.

The way couples degrade each other is relentless and sickening.

As soon as there's a romantic relationship, these gender stereotypes inflate. How unromantic.

Sadly, these roles don't end in the movie theater. They're taken to the car, to the apartment and until death do us part.

I fully understand there's no "perfect relationship." The word in itself is a bizarre and unattainable notion no couple should have to strive for. Maybe it's just college, but the relationships I see in public and personally almost border on abuse.

At parties, boyfriends yell at their girlfriends and call them bitches while commenting to their friends how attractive a woman nearby is. Their girlfriends remain equally guilty for putting up with it, with only a rousing refrain of my personal favorite phrase, "I don't even know why I'm with him."

Settling for unhappiness is all the rage.

In order to address a problem, you have to understand it. It would be single-minded to solely blame the media for our issues.

Decades of sexism has been infused into these tainted ideas. Historically, women did play the submissive role in households whereas men were in control. But things are changing.

More women graduate college than men, earn higher salaries and are increasingly the primary breadwinners. In contrast, I know plenty of affectionate, loving gentlemen who put their all into relationships. These outdated and irrational parts only exist if we continue to play them.

Maybe it's idealistic of me to imagine two people can still live in harmony. Maybe what sits below the belt does form a psychological void between couples that can't be filled. Personally, I refuse to accept that bleak fate. To subscribe to the ball-and-chain mentality in your 20s is ridiculous.

Please, if you truly find your significant other intolerable, break up with them.

If you're legitimately too lazy to sort through differences and compromise civilly, break up with your broken moral compass.


Reach the columnist at inovak@asu.edu or follow her at @IsabelleNovak


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