You can't talk about relationships without talking about gender roles, and of course you can't talk about gender roles without talking about sexism. So, let me give you a super quick rundown of the different kinds of sexism, how they're defined, and how they affect women.
Sexism, like any other bias, is based on the idea that one gender is superior to the other gender. Research has shown that the stereotypes attached to social appropriate gender roles are the driving factor in the propagation of sexism. Now, sexism has two main categories: hostile and benevolent. Hostile sexism is characterized by an antagonistic attitude toward women and the suggestion that women are trying to use their "feminist ideal" and "sexual power" to overthrow the masculine rule. Benevolent sexism on the other hand includes these ideas of chivalry and care for women; on the surface this benevolence seems favorable, but it is undertone with ideas that women are weak and incapable without a men in their lives. A subcategory, ambivalent sexism, produces idea that women are capable, but should be cherished, or perhaps that a good woman would appreciate the things a man does for her. Still, this could be detrimental.
And then there's me...educated, understanding how these views can be detrimental to humanity, having brushed up on the waves of feminism, but nonetheless, still subscribing to gender roles. There, I said it, I love the idea of traditional gender roles.
Don't shame me for it. Slack jawed girls look at me in my Gender and Women's Studies courses, and a symphony of scoffs follow all my comments in Psychology of Gender, but hey, why?
I was raised in a traditonal family. No matter what occupation my father had, he worked day in and day out to make sure there was food on our table. My mother, she was a mama. My mother has the hardest job in the world, being a mom. I grew up with her as my role model; attentive, kind, collected, nurturing, faithful, caring. As I continued to grow, the girls around me were talking about how they want to be lawyers, congresswomen, doctors, judges; they made me feel like my dream of being a mother was worthless.
For me, being a mother and a wife is the epitome of womanhood. Taking the gifts I was given, and the love I share with a man, to create new life in the world...that's incredible. To be given the responsibility to raise, rear, and revere this child as the work of my hands is huge. Since the dawn of time women have served a purpose in the both the household and the community as caretakers, and I don't know why that has to change. The more shocking part for most of my peers is that I am comfortable "submitting" to my future husband.
"Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the Church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the Church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything." (Ephesians 5:22, NKJV)
I believe with everything in myself that the Lord created men and women with different affects, different emotions, different sensibilities. I choose to celebrate these differences in my everyday life. So, sure, I am going to submit to my husband, and yes, maybe I'd like him to put me on a pedestal, but worry not, it's not one sided, he will be on a pedestal too.
I will always be the biggest supporter of women doing what they want to do. I impatiently await the day I see a woman as the President, and I hope to see hospitals flooded with female doctors, courtrooms scattered with female attorneys. I will never diminish your dreams, please don't diminish mine.