Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Dare to Ask: "Which of you is the man?"

(Link) Why do they never ask "Which of you is the bitchy misanthrope? The golf widow?" And when do we get to start prodding straight couples over who's the top?


LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
By Philip Milano
Jacksonville (FL) Times-Union


In a heterosexual marriage, there is a "husband" and a "wife." Do married (or similarly committed) homosexual partners think of themselves this way? If so, how do they decide who's who?

Bill, 48, straight, Jacksonville


It has been my experience in meeting gay couples that one may feel more interest in "womanly" things such as cooking and cleaning, and the other in "manly" things like taking care of the yard and finances.

Gina, 34, straight, North Liberty, Ind.

Just because one mows the lawn, he or she is not "the man." It's typically heterosexuals who feel the need to label one the "husband" and one the "wife."

Michael, 19, gay, Norfolk, Va.

For my partner and me it's a matter of who's willing to assume responsibility for a task. I'm more feminine -- the house decorator, more into child rearing -- but I'm also more physically aggressive. We don't fit into either mold very well.

Julie, 33, gay, Niles, Ill.

According to modern Christian ideals, a husband will take out the garbage and bring home the beef. A wife will raise the children and keep the house. This antique definition describes few married people I know, of any sexual orientation.

Aysha, 27, female, Ammon, Idaho

Some want a partner who is more "feminine." Others want one more "masculine" -- just as some heterosexual men prefer very feminine women while others prefer strong, independent ones.

Tore, 26, gay male, N├Žstved, Denmark

Expert says

Looking closer at same-sex relationships can give anyone -- straight or gay -- a chance to see how people often go on automatic pilot when assuming roles in their relationships, says Janis S. Bohan, a retired psychology professor who's studied sexual orientation and gender roles for two decades.

"Maybe we all could learn something by rethinking how we sort roles so that rather than basing them on preconceived notions, we can be more reflective," said Bohan, coauthor of Conversations About Psychology and Sexual Orientation (New York University Press).

Many, but not all, same-sex partners assign tasks -- who'll wash the car, who'll cook -- according to their skills, interests and time constraints rather than society's gender expectations, she noted.

"Straight or gay, we all grew up with heterosexual parents, so for many people these tasks seem to come in bundles that we default to if we don't think about it."

Few gay men or lesbians use labels such as "wife" or "husband," mainly because there's less pressure to do so, she said.

"With my partner, our tasks have changed as our lives have changed. Now that I'm retired, I do more household tasks. But she still sends out the cards and makes the birthday calls. She's always been more in tune to those things than me."

LNewsEditor said...

Overheard at the construction site: "Say Charlie, I heard the little woman flipped you last night." "Yeah, after Monday Night Football and a six-pack of PBRs, I'm just a big ol' bottom."

Patti said...

I'm curious about our culture's (or humanity, in general's) obsession with labelling. The only label I've ever been even remotely comfortable with is my name - and that's just to prevent confusion!

Elaine said...

" after...six-pack of PBRs, I'm just a big ol' bottom"

{{{Screams & Falls down in fits of giggles}}}