Some time back, a friend spoke about a strange situation she sometimes gets into because she earns more than her husband. I’ve heard various views on this matter before, mostly while the elders of the family were looking for grooms for my cousins. I believe that most women would say that both sexes are equal and if a woman can be fine earning less than her spouse then why not men. We had a lengthy conversation on this topic and I told my friend that I did not believe that both sexes were equal and it is okay for a man to feel inadequate if he earns less than his wife. This last line would probably get me killed, but I’ll try to explain my stance through this post.
In the prehistoric times when humans started living in groups they followed a civil code (I do not claim I have unquestionable knowledge on this topic. I’ll talk about the general sense I got through various documentaries and articles). Men were the bread winners; or the meat winners since they went out for hunting and not for baking; and women would stay in the wild abodes and take care of the young ones. The human body and brain have evolved differently over thousands of years for men and women to aid in their respective functions in the human society.
Since the males went out for hunting their bodies developed more muscular mass. They needed more coordination. They needed to remember routes to places where they could find more prey, and back to their caves in case they faced danger. It was also important for men to obey orders of the leader of the hunting pack because if they did not, they could jeopardise the lives of the entire group. Hence, modern human males are better at remembering routes to places. They have a stronger logical side of the brain. It is easier to train men to obey orders without questioning. The level of attention evolution has paid to detail is quite surprising. For example, men’s eyes are more recessed into their sockets than those of women. This is to protect them from attack by predators.
Women stayed back in the caves taking care of young ones. Women formed the essential fabric of human society. They probably spent most of their time talking and socializing. That’s how languages developed. That is also why women are invariably better at learning new languages. And that is also why a modern woman speaks 5000 words in a day while a man limits himself to 3000. Learning languages enhances your memory capacity, and women have a better memory as compared to men.
A male in general is much more expendable than a female. This is because men have a very limited role in the society. From a daughter/sister to a mother and eventually a grandmother, a woman’s role keeps changing with time but her importance in the society never diminishes. A man on the other hand is practically of no use after he passes his young years. It should thus be of no surprise that evolution has granted a much longer average lifespan to women.
The situation is quite different nowadays, but the basics are pretty much the same. Women have taken up the role of bread winners and no one needs to prove that they are as good as men, if not better. But there is one issue. Can men take up the role of a home maker? I say no. I think men lack the strength to make sacrifices that women do as mothers. Men are more self-centred. With time it has become essential for both the husband and wife to earn and women have adapted to the dual responsibility with amazing dexterity. I don’t need to look too far for an example, I have my mom who’s a working woman. On the other hand, men have mostly stayed where they have always been. It is probably the patriarchal nature of the society that gives them the luxury of not doing much and still getting away with it.
All this should probably explain why I think it is okay for a man to feel inadequate if he earns less than his wife. Earning money is the only thing he is probably capable of, and it probably hurts his ego a lot that his wife can outclass him in everything, even in the role that was traditionally made for men. It should be pretty clear why I said that women can never be EQUAL to men, because they are far superior, much more important.
I did a quick survey among my friends and found that almost all agreed to the fact that it was to their mothers they spoke to regularly over the phone and at length, whereas it was limited to the pleasantries and ‘take-cares’ with fathers. The saying ‘behind every successful man there is a woman’ is incomplete. Because I think behind every successful person; man or woman; there is invariably a woman – the mother. She’s the one who makes the most sacrifices for us. A successful person might deserve all the accolades, but I believe it is time we start celebrating and acknowledging the women in our lives for all that they do for us. A woman can replace a man almost everywhere, but a man can never replace a woman at what she does best – being human.