Wednesday, June 30, 2010

gender and the never-ending struggle

In my 24 years of being a female, I've learned that in certain situations, I'm going to get less respect than my male counterparts. For example, if I pay at dinner, the check gets returned to Steve to sign (almost always). I can deal with that. I may tip less than normal, but I can laugh it off. But, something happened yesterday that got my blood boiling.

As many of you know, I recently bought a new car. I saved for the car, I made the down payment, and my name is the only name on the paperwork. Yet, when the thank you note came from our salesman, it was addressed to Steve, thanking him for his business. Yes, he was there asking questions and did a lot of the corresponding with the dealership, but it shouldn't be assumed that when we went back to talk to finance that he was the one paying. Afterall, I was there too, and I wasn't playing the dumb fiancée role.

I imagine this will only get worse with the marriage, as I've seen many organizations call my parents' house, ask for my dad, only have him tell them that his wife handles the finances and hand the phone back to her. Even when we bought our wedding rings, the jeweler smirked when I said we were splitting the cost.

Steve and I are a couple who try to divide all obligations evenly. Housework, finances, etc. are both of our responsibilities. We're a team, a couple, and equals. Of course, sometimes he can afford to put more time or money toward things than I can and sometimes it's the other way around. I believe that's what the partnership of marriage is all about.

I know this is probably a fight I won't win, especially since I've decided to enter into a marriage - an institution that is built on traditional gender roles (unfortunately). But, I'll continue to fight it and am thrilled that I've found a man who respects my independence and pride.

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