On Gender Warfare And Love

via Flickr - Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin
via Flickr – Isabelle Hurbain-Palatin

As he bent from the high-up spaces his brain inhabits to kiss me on his way out the door, he said, “I just want to say that I appreciate that gender warfare doesn’t enter into our relationship.”

I laugh – the hell is gender warfare? And how could warfare in any way ever be associated with our relationship, anyways? – And inform him, bluntly, that I’ve no idea what he’s talking about.

“I like that I can just sit on the couch and have a beer while you cook and it doesn’t have to have any deeper meaning than that. I guess I take it for granted that you don’t read anything more into that, like a lot of girls would.” 

I am briefly surprised, and then surprised at my surprise. It’s true – dinner last night saw me in, when viewed from the outside, a rather stereotypical oppressed-female role. But the back story that the photo doesn’t tell you is that five minutes earlier, I had banished him to the couch for his deplorable inability to lay zucchini in the lasagne pan in any sort of an organised manner, and that five minutes later, he asked me for the 3rd or 4th time if I was absolutely sure there was nothing else he could do to help. 

“I don’t take it for granted,” I tell him, realising that I am saying this because I do. “It’s because those roles could have easily been reversed.” My privilege comes crashing down on me in a whole new way. How privileged I am to be with a man who views me, truly, as an equal even as the world doesn’t, in a partnership where gender roles, when conformed to, are not conformed to because of gender but just by coincidence, in a relationship where expectations are human and not gendered or racial or programmed by any other form of privilege. 

Most women in the world will never have the privilege to experience an equal partnership in the way that I take for granted. This standard is one I often forget to look out for and then so easily write off as obvious when it is fulfilled. I rage, endlessly, at all of the inequalities I perceive in the world that I forget to check my privilege in even the most basic of ways, and here comes the potent part: that being respected and valued by my partner, a straight, cis, white man, as he respects and values himself, is even a privilege to be checked. TC mark

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