Weekly report of a young feminist #21: Men and women usually must obey to different rules in relationships. Female part of union is the one which is expected to have morally rigid and clean background but demands put on male peers are way more limited. Why do we have different requirements for each gender when it comes to cheating?
Few days ago, David sent me an article about cheating in relationships, which impressed him. Firstly, I wasn’t sure what he’s trying to suggest, but after I’ve read it, I realized he doesn’t want to break up with me yet. The text consists of an interview with Slovak film maker Diana Fabiánová, who is currently focused on the phenomenon of cheating and is already conducting comprehensive research with Slovak people about dishonesty. Apart from the fact that my inspiration stems again from events in Slovakia, I consider it very relevant in a broader sense. The idea, which I found most interesting, was concerning women and sexuality, more specifically the relation between women’s private life and the public perception of their sole roles as faithful mothers.
Indeed, no one is encouraged to be unfaithful. However, I would rather say that relationships are more complex nowadays. Many people already discovered the toxic nature of monogamy and freely agreed with their partners on “different” forms of it with certain rules and requisites. However, women are considered to be persons who don’t occur in polygamous partnerships or are never in need of another sexual partner besides their current one. And when the relationship ends because of cheating, it’s mostly men who find a new lover or a partner. It’s very visible within generation of our parents. Men don’t feel obliged to their families and therefore leaving their wives and children for a younger woman doesn’t appear as such a big deal. But in our current model of parental duties, the scenario where the woman cheats and leaves, is unthinkable. One guy once told me that it’s women’s fault when they’re left behind as single mothers since it’s their natural duty to predict the behaviour of their child’s father. I was truly impressed by this theory.
The problem again lies in the societal stereotypes. Diana states, that during her anonymous questionnaire, many women lied about their experiences with adultery. Women decided to conceal their experiences in order to remain morally “clean”. She continues that, she’s not surprised about women’s decision to hide cheating since some countries (9 states) still apply the death penalty on women when being unfaithful. However, the same nations encourage men to live in polygamous marriages with multiple women in one union. The reason why society has different criteria on gender behaviour in functioning relationships is rooted in the past. But nature created other rules than the ones we follow nowadays.
Most of the approved and appropriate norms were established later and by people. Diana says that originally, the notion of fatherhood didn’t exist in a form which we profess nowadays. Women weren’t tied to their male peers and children were born in “open” relationships. This setting of the community has its purpose: when a man didn’t know if the child is his or not, he raised them all without any segregation. Only afterwards, when the society discovered the notion of property, people acquired the necessity to transfer the estates. Additionally, we established the idea of virginity, so a woman enters the marriage untouched, which ensures that all babies conceived in this union have the right to inherit property of their fathers. These events, although, have cultural nature rather then evolutionary.
In my opinion, our modern model of faithful relationships might be one of the worst ever created. Indeed, we live longer, our children are happier, and we all have access to education. But on the other hand, it mostly serves patriarchy. Let’s just pay attention to a private life of Slovak Speaker of parliament. Boris Kollár has many children with 11 women. Imagine that this situation would be other way around, and a woman is the one with very colourful history of relationships. She would never get any public function, perhaps not even a proper job or social status. It was already hard for Slovak citizens to respect the fact that our president didn’t have a husband when she took office.
I hope that I don’t have to mention the absurdity of the different perception of men’s and women’s approach to their personal life. Firstly, why do you care (?) and secondly, women have the same physical needs as men. Even though cheating is bad and a functioning relationship shouldn’t encounter such a thing, let’s remain an open mind when talking about our own model of partnerships. I think that modern world should never think of women in a different manner than of men, especially in such intimate sphere as sexuality. Ownership of women’s bodies and minds should finally go to hell. Eventually, we might all be more satisfied.