Submission is a two way street.
For as long as I can remember, every time submission has been brought up it was in the context of interpersonal and hetereosexual relationships – as a means to define the validity of the relationship and the roles of each person in said relationship. The general consensus is that the woman is to submit to her man, regardless of what her man says and does.
Now, if you’ve followed me for long enough you would have seen the manner in which my growth and change has happened. For a really long time I felt that submission was a completely volatile and dangerous thing because in the context of modern day relationships, it didn’t make sense. I was wrong. I’ve had to review my stance on a few things this year, not because I’m bored but because I’ve become overly critical of myself and the things I’ve said. I’ve said a whole lot of cringe worthy things before, some were really toxic and impacted a lot of people, will I hold myself to that person at this point in my life? No. Why? As time goes by and as I get older, there’s just certain things that start making more sense.
There is a danger in expressing that submission should only be done by the woman, and placing that solely in the context of she must cook and clean for you because that’s the only way you see submission. For a long time this mentality made me HATE doing things that I enjoyed doing because it meant that too many men started making me feel as though I had to do those things for them based solely on their entitlement, but of late – having conversations with my guy friends and even my relatives has made me realize that in the context of marriage – submission is a two way street – and that is how submission should be in our modern age. A mutually beneficial aspect of relationships. Submission doesn’t mean you do what I want, when I want it – it means that I view you as my equal and that your thoughts and feelings are as valid to me as mine are to you, and that I will treat you as a human being with respect because that matters as much as you matter.
In this context, a lot has been brought to my attention. I am very liberal – in how I view many things, it is probably one of the qualities that a lot of people have brought to my attention. I used to hate it but now I actually love it – because it allows me to analyze things from multiple perspectives before forming my own opinion on certain subjects.
I’m turning 29 this year and one of the things I’ve began noticing is that I submit to my guy friends because there is mutual respect, what that has made me see is that submission comes in many different forms dependent on the type of relationship between two people and that respect is a key element of how your roles in the relationship will play out. I have come to the realization that I don’t hate cooking, cleaning up or even dishing up for my guy friends, because I know that they respect me first and foremost as a human being and secondly they respect me as their friend. That goes a long way in any relationship, and it carries almost as much weight as the manner in which we communicate.
We had a conversation about feminism and about gender roles – the perception of how men view women who are liberal and how that impacts how they treat them. We also had a conversation on how the perception about feminists is that they hate subscribing to gender roles – and I realized, it’s not the gender roles that are the problem but the expectation that one should subscribe to those gender roles against their free will. Someone once asked how can a feminist be about submission, cooking, cleaning and all that when it opposes the very thing they are fighting against – but that isn’t what it’s about. It’s about free will and not being expected to fulfill those gender roles unless they WANT to. You’ll find that even your favourite feminists actually love aspects of the traditional gender roles, and they’re proud of fulfilling those roles because it makes them feel good.
That’s what’s important. It’s not about me bowing down to your every command because you are born a man and have a certain level of privilege that you were born with. It’s me choosing to respect what you ask of me because I know that no matter what, if I ask something of you, you will in essence still treat me like I’m valuable, and that is what MY view on submission is about.
Change is a key element in understanding and will force you to analyze your own situations. It wasn’t easy hearing that he wanted to be friends, in fact it was slightly confusing and caught me off-guard because I wasn’t even at that point. But now I am aware of one thing: he scares me. Not because he’s a scary person but because he commands the kind of respect that would require someone as liberal as I am to submit, many have tried to make me submit … but there are plenty who have gotten it wrong because they felt entitled to it, and never gave me the necessary respect to earn it.
A woman who is as aware of what happens in the world as I am is often said to be difficult, uncontrollable and just down right not someone to settle down with… the irony of this is that it doesn’t take a man moving a mountain to get this kind of submission from me, there’s no secret formula – treat me with respect and like a human being; that’s what matters – even if you don’t necessarily agree with my views – and you’ll soon see how you have my loyalty and submissiveness.
I heard something over the long weekend and it’s honestly been on my mind. A man leads the household, but the woman nurtures and balances it. Just like the small toe to your body – the right balance of each person knowing what role they’re playing, the right balance of both can turn the worst situation into an unexpectedly great situation, or maybe… that’s just me with my head in the clouds again.
One of my amazing guy friends said this to me: “I believe that if your power isn’t taken away then you can be a feminist and submit. Submission isn’t a lack of power, yes it has those connotations, but to what ends will you go to prove your views (that’s a misconception) wrong. It’s strength to be directed by your inner power. That’s a characteristic of a feminist for me.”–
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