The Mechanics of Relational Submission

I wish to discuss the topic of common acts of submission that can be found in many relationships between men and women. Last month, I became engaged in an interesting experience and conversation. During lunch time a couple was sitting down to lunch in my apartment. The young man forgot his sandwich and made the statement, “Woman, get my sandwich for me”. At this point I had two decisions as I saw her begin to get up and proceed to get his sandwich, one to either ignore the situation or to speak up in behalf of this young lady. In my normal manner, I chose the latter of the options. I stated that she did not need to get his sandwich for him and that he was perfectly capable of retrieving what he himself forgot. I then proceeded to give them this explanation:

The use of the term, “woman” was the point of the contention, to my mind. In biological terms, the young man had correctly stated the sex of the young lady. However, the problem resided with the usage of the terminology. By stating “woman” to the young lady, the young man wanted to parade his dominance in the relationship to all those present and especially to the young lady. He wanted to let her know that he is dominant character in the relationship, thus his needs and wants came before hers. To many this should be a clear warning sign of a relationship with future problems. It should never be necessary to show dominance in this type of relationship due to the simple fact that both needs and wants of both the man and woman are equal in importance and must be satisfied through cooperation and sacrifice. The use of dominating labels and titles between a man and woman in a relationship do nothing but to degrade trust and cooperation.

The clear effects of such labeling and domination behavior are clearly shown by the young woman’s reactions. First, she began to complete the task order by the young man, showing submission to his will. Secondly, and the more shocking of reactions to my mind, is the lack of support or voice from her when I corrected the young man. She sat there quietly, almost embarrassed that another had to step in an act of prevention. During my explanation she laughed and giggled with him so as to show that she did not want to upset him by agreeing with me. The young woman showed clear signs of submission and lack of will. Sadly, many of the people who will read this know other women who are suffering in a submissive relationship. The question I pose is why women submit to this or choose to be in these types of relationships. As a young man, other men tell me to go to the gym and gain muscle because women love to feel safe and protected by a strong man, but yet many of these men feel the need to use this power not to protect but instead to dominate the woman in the relationship. I feel strongly that this is wrong and unhealthy, and I support the understanding that a relationship is a partnership of understand and love towards one another’s needs and wants to create harmony and trust, not domination. But the question remains, why do women submit?

—by MGH

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