What is male chauvinism? It is the male prejudice against women; the belief that men are superior in terms of ability and intelligence. Naturally, the dictionary says nothing about how much women internalize male chauvinism and turn it into self-aggression after years of growing up in a society that still condones variations of this behavior. Most women know intuitively what male chauvinism stands for. What few of us are ready to admit is how much of a male chauvinist we have in us. Women have contributed to the education and socialization of generations and generations of men, inadvertently perpetuating male chauvinism in the messages, values, and attitudes they passed down to their children. Even today they contribute to the same male chauvinism that affects them so much and about which they constantly complain. And although it’s true that it’s often hard to break with the rigid and powerful social structures that support male chauvinism in the first place.
Here are some ways in which women perpetuate male chauvinism even when we don’t realize we are doing it. Women can inadvertently support male chauvinism.
Expecting your male partner to protect you -When you look for protection you assume that because you are a woman you are weak and because he is a man he is strong. You put both sexes in an unfair situation that is not really “natural” for either one. It’s just a male chauvinist stereotype you learned very early on.
Assuming your male partner is in charge of your home’s financial stability -Why does this responsibility fall on a man’s shoulders and not on the shoulders of both partners? Or even, when the family-stage so requires, on the woman?
Assuming that you are the person responsible for the home and for the children-Why not assume shared responsibility? When you continue to assume this role unquestioningly, you reinforce the male chauvinist stereotype that says that home chores are a woman’s job.
Being always the one who takes care of your partner-This includes serving him first, offering food and beverages, laying out his clothes in the morning. Nobody says you can’t be kind towards him. But in order to avoid a behavior that reinforces male chauvinism, make sure he practices the same kindness towards you.
We live at a time when women can choose the lifestyle that best suits them. For many, getting married and having children is not the path to happiness. Why force them to continue with a tradition that was imposed by male chauvinism centuries ago? Don’t judge them. Live your life and let others live theirs. We wouldn’t dream of judging successful men for working long hours, travelling, and having serious responsibilities that don’t allow them to spend as much time with their families as they wished. Why won’t we extend the same courtesy to successful women? Why do we make them pay such a high price for their success?