A lot of women and young women feel pressure to respond to the needs of men, primarily because they are usually in the role of caretakers. Women have a natural inclination to nurture and take care of others as they are the ones typically responsible for raising children.
In the U.S., women are primarily viewed as sex objects for the purpose of pleasing men. There exists a double standard – if you enjoy sex you are a slut. If you don’t enjoy sex, you are a prude. There is no in-between. A man who sleeps with hundreds of different women is seen as some sort of stallion, while a woman who sleeps with hundreds of different men is seen as a slut.
Young women often feel they need a male partner to feel whole or complete. Women feel the pressure to wear make-up or dress a certain way in order to attract men. Men are seen as the authority, while women are more frequently told what to do and given directions. Women and especially young women feel as if they “need” a boyfriend or husband if they happen to be single, or will put a boyfriend or marriage before an education or career. This is disempowering for women.
In terms of relationships with a male partner, a good list to follow is 50 Liberating Relationship ‘Rules’ for Feminists to Live By. The only problem I had with this article is that instead of feminists, it should read women. These are basic rules of respect and human dignity that apply to all people.
The only thing I noticed about this article is that the author felt as if she needed to apologize for sharing this list of advice, and was worried that she might impose her beliefs on others.
I’m offering them regardless because I wish I had them years ago. I wish I knew it was okay to ignore what my friends said and honor my needs. I wish I knew that expecting people to respect my boundaries was reasonable.
You’re free to follow or disregard these rules as you wish. As I said, telling others how to have relationships is actually anti-feminist, even if you’re advocating feminist values.
This is not something she needs to apologize for, explain, or worry about – it’s just a personal list of suggestions she posted on the internet. Women who feel the need to apologize, or explain themselves constantly may suffer from low self-esteem, especially when it comes to dealing with men.
The author also pointed out, “I’ve noticed a drastic difference in my mental health when I’m following these rules and when I’m not. I spent a year de-prioritizing dating and focusing on my career. I worked through the fear that being single made me inadequate and got comfortable with it.”
The author also noticed that when she didn’t follow these rules, and compromised her own beliefs, she felt very angry and upset with herself. When I started practicing Buddhism in my late teen’s and early 20’s I was taught not to compromise or settle when looking for a partner. Meaning that I should not settle for a partner who did not fit with my own personal beliefs about how I as a woman should be treated.
What this means, is that it is better to take a step back, put a relationship on the back burner or end it entirely if there is any doubt, rather than to go ahead and commit to someone who might not necessarily the best person for us just because we don’t want to be single.