Towards the end of last year I discovered, which is now one of my most viewed websites, The Punch. At that time during which I became one of their most faithful readers a battle of the sexes seemed to be ongoing as writers took shots at each other’s views of the roles men and women respectively play in society and whether it is meant to be that way or merely culture driven. Also, a while before that even I read an article in one of our local South African newspapers in which the writer discuss the affect better professionally qualified women has on society and then today another study suggests the propaganda promoting gender equality prevents women from honestly acknowledging what they look for in a man.
In the first article the writer, referring to herself as a ‘young anti-feminist’, suggests that the traditional strengths of men and women should be embraced and used in tandem rather than the two sexes competing to see which could be more like the other. Her ‘colleague’ at The Punch then returns with a swift upper-cut telling her to hold her horses and consider that, according to the researchers he follows, gender roles are ‘all in the mind’ and that there isn’t much biological grounds for it. You decide if that truly is the case. My sister would disagree with these researchers as she is convinced that women are putting themselves under unnecessary and unnatural stress trying to keep up with men as if they are supposed to.
Another writer realised how many good-looking, successful single women are around nowadays in his native South Africa. He believes that young women still look for their equal or higher in a man in terms of intelligence and success and that that makes their pool to choose from so much smaller seeing that they are way more educated and financially independent than the generation of women who went before them (and sometimes possibly at the cost of the men I might add).
I then read about a study done by the London School of Economics which confirmed my African brother’s theory stating that most women aspire to ‘marry up’, if they can, with a man better educated and higher earning. This is the case for most European countries.
The statistics which I found quite interesting from this study is the fact that in 1949 in Britain 20% of women ‘married up’ while this figure nearly doubled by the late 1990’s to 38%, and this trend is similar in Europe, America and Australia. It seems that many women keep their feelings regarding what they want in men a secret and for many it became impossible to say ‘I want to be a housewife’ due to the fact that it has become so politically incorrect to make such a statement or admit such a desire.
The big question is thus not whether women want men to be the ‘stronger’ partner in the household or not – the answer to that seems pretty straightforward (?) – but whether men or women were supposed to play a specific role or is it situation specific?
For similar gender related topics from The Punch read here.