Should Men be the Head of Their Household?

There's a common viewpoint that in a family, there needs to be a "head of household" and that it should be the man. My unpopular opinion is that there probably doesn't need to be a single "head of household" and even if there is, it shouldn't default to being the man.

To me, saying the man should be the head of the household implies that women are inferior, that we are below men, that we are somehow incapable of running a family and a household. I don't think this makes any sense because generally speaking, it is the women who actually run the household. Women are the ones who keep track of everything needed for the children, where they need to go and when, what their likes and dislikes are. Women are the ones who cook, clean and keep track of everything that is needed from the store. There are plenty of videos floating around with a bunch of men who don't know their kids' birthdays, don't know where they go to school, what grade they are in or who their teachers are. It doesn't make sense that these men should be considered the "head of household" when they don't even know what is going on in their household.

Personally, I think that a married couple should be a partnership. They may collectively agree that one person will take a leadership role (and it may be the man), but that person will not be a dictator. They will seek out, listen to and consider the opinion of the other person. Sometimes, the decision they make will be what they proposed, sometimes it will be what the other person proposed, and sometimes it will be somewhere in between. In other cases, there won't be a single "head" but there may be a division of responsibility such that different people take the lead in different settings depending on who has the most knowledge or skill in a given area.

In reality, I don't think there are many cases where a person needs to be make a decision in isolation. Most of the time, the leadership role will be to recognize that something needs to be done and either propose a solution or solicit one from your partner. The actual decision of what will be done can be made together if both parties have solid communication skills and are willing to compromise.

I think a lot of it comes down to how much you trust and value the opinion of your partner. If you respect them as a person and believe that their thoughts and opinions are valuable, you would want to know their opinion. I think a lot of people (men especially) are marrying people who they don't respect. They don't value their partner's opinion and that's how we end up having all of these back and forth arguments about how women aren't submissive and etc. Many women (myself included), have no issue with men taking the lead when it makes sense. However, we want to know that our thoughts and opinions will be heard and appreciated. 

CEOs of companies have staff that they consult when making decisions. They also have a Board of Directors that holds them accountable. The President of a country has a cabinet and also has other elected officials (Congress in the case of the USA) to keep them in check. We recognize that checks and balances are important in other aspects of life, so I'm not really sure why we think that they aren't needed in a family setting.

 

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