A few years ago I watched a popular American stand-up comedian’s South African show on my laptop. One of the jokes that stood out for me was about what happens when a woman spends money on a man. The storyline of the joke was that with each withdrawal of cash, the woman’s purse/pocket automatically signalled her lady parts to dry up. The joke was a backhanded statement that men should be the ones with money to spend. More subtly, the comedian meant that the burden of being a monied woman extended to limited sexual intimacy.
Traditionally we know the man to be the provider, protector and head of the family. As fluid as gender roles are becoming in the modern world, a majority of people stubbornly abide by certain age-old principles. One of the most persistent beliefs is that the man brings home the bacon while the woman maintains the home. Practically speaking, however, it makes economic sense that both able-bodied and healthy-minded adults earn a living. We seem to be succeeding at making this the norm, yet both men and women still struggle with the idea of a woman making more money than her male partner.
As fluid as gender roles are becoming in the modern world, a majority of people stubbornly abide by certain age-old principles.
More money, more attitude
Who is the smarter, men or women? This debate has us in rivalry with each other from adolescence. It is what subconsciously drives most women to be career oriented and to prove their intelligence any chance they get. The problem is that a slaying career tends to come with a lonely life. Aside from her counterparts being intimidated by her, sometimes she herself is the repellent because she constantly feels the need to reinforce her mental and financial superiority. Such a woman emasculates her man by emphasising how worthless and dependent on her he is. She takes every opportunity presented to oppress her lover because she feels she has defied nature, seeing that she is with him merely out of desire and not necessity.
It is not entirely her fault. From childhood, men and women are equally indoctrinated about their specific roles. Sexist messages that have been implanted in our psyches defy reality and basic understanding, resulting in a battle of egos. A man, feeling weak and a failure, exerts his physical superiority through his fists or stabbing words. He also consoles himself with how well he can lay the pipe, if not on his woman then on others willing to have him. A woman, feeling entitled and justified, nags and whines about her man not meeting society’s standards of manliness. She abandons her respect for him and sees nothing wrong with patronising him in front of friends and family, passing it off as a joke in case anyone takes offence. She might also cheat.
A financially fit woman is therefore seen as a menace to tame because control and power are maintained through financial muscle.