Are men afraid to tell women their true desires?
The answer to that question may hinge on what those desires are. If those desires are for women to break through the glass ceiling and do everything a man does, then it’s likely men are not afraid to spill their desires to the woman in their life.
But what if a man’s true desire runs contrary to what has become the cultural norm? What if, instead of wanting his girlfriend to charge ahead in the business world, become a corporate leader, and make a six-figure salary, he would rather she marry him and be the business executive of his house, in charge of raising his children and making home a haven of rest from the world? If the latter are a man’s true desires, dare he tell his girlfriend so?
Many would say no. In today’s world, men have largely been taught to cede their masculinity and get in touch with their sensitive side. Women, on the other hand, have been tasked with breaking the glass ceiling and striving to do everything a man does. If a man were to suggest that his true desires were for his future wife to take on traditional gender roles of staying at home, making meals, and raising children, he’d risk being tarred and feathered as a misogynist.
I bring this question up because I was recently asked a similar one. The questioner, a young man in his thirties, was convinced that there were still many men in the world who secretly held desires to marry a young woman willing to make the home her chief ambition in life. However, he felt fear held men back from expressing these desires to women.
To be honest, I don’t believe I ever realized that this might be a male fear. As a female, I regularly hear women express ambitions for work and career; but I also know that many, if given the opportunity, would jump at the chance to preside over a happy home.
Which leads me to wonder if lack of communication is a main component at the heart of this situation. True, there are other factors which have made men and women put off marriage, but could this be one of them?
Has our culture made it so impermissible for men and women to hold traditional gender roles that no one wants to admit their tendencies toward them and their desire to find a partner who shares those same ideals?
Image Credit: National Archives
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.