Life / Can Do

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Who does the driving?

with 3 comments

I have concerns about the state of feminism today. As a man who was a child of the seventies I was witness to a drastic shift in how we think about a woman’s role in the work force and in the home. It is amazing how far we’ve come, both men and women.

Unfortunately there is evidence that we still have more to do. One thing I’ve noticed that makes me cringe is that men do most of the driving in the traditional male/female relationships, much more so than can be explained by random preferences. Why can’t men let their wives take the steering wheel when they are out together? Why don’t woman complain about having to concede control to their men all the time when it comes to driving?

I take the train in the morning. When I get to the station early I get to see other commuters arrive at the parking lot. Some are dropped off by their mates who, presumably, take the car home or to work. I’ve seen men drive in with their wives in the passenger seat. If it is the man taking the train, they would stop, share a quick kiss and then play musical chairs as the woman walks around the car to the driver seat. That doesn’t make any sense. Why wouldn’t the woman drive the car since she is going to be driving it anyway?

Not once in the 10+ years that I’ve taken the train have a seen a man in the passenger seat while his wife drives. In fact, unless the man is sick I don’t know of any situation (other than my wife and I) where the woman is “allowed” to drive when they are together. What gives?

I’m married to a wonderful woman and she does most of the driving. For us it makes sense because she is the better driver and knows the roads better than I do. If I asked to drive she would be more than willing to let me take the wheel. To us, driving has nothing to do with dominance – it is just a chore that any capable, willing person can do.

I believe that there are still a lot of men (maybe the majority) who still believe that they are the boss-king-ruler in their marriage. Sure there is definitely effort being made with genuine intent but I find most of it to just placating gestures to keep her happy (as in deluded). Since the feminist movement, men have probably figured out that in order to stay married that have to at least pretend to go along with the concept of equal rights for women.

If you are man in a committed relationship with a woman I challenge you to suggest that she drive the next time you are out together. Of course the decision over who gets to drive should never be based on gender but that’s for you to examine on your own.

If you are a woman in a committed relationship with a man I challenge you to grab the keys and head for the driver’s seat the next time you are out together. Don’t ask for permission as it would defeat the purpose but if there is any objection politely ask what difference it makes who does the driving.

In both challenges the goal is to examine the gender based presumptions that are being made. It isn’t meant to start a heated confrontation. Communication, not confrontation is key if the relationship is one based on love.

I need to clarify that I’m not faultless. I still question why my wife ends up doing most of the housework or is first on call when a child care situation occurs. I do work longer hours and I have many more external commitments but there is still evidence that she’s taking on more than her fair share of the domestic duties. I have a theory about why this still occurs in even the most progressive male/female relationships which I may discuss in a future post.

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Written by Tim ThinkAuthor

December 27, 2011 at 8:06 am

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Tagged with , ,

3 Responses

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  1. First time reading your blog and I want you to know that I love this post (as well as your others)! This is a very interesting subject one in which I have actually thought a lot about. As I think back to my childhood, my Dad ALWAYS did the driving and still does. I saw my grandparents/friends parents doing the same. Now, in my own marriage, I find myself feeling weird about driving when my husband is in the car. Or, I will automatically go to the passengers side without even thinking about it. My marriage is totally equal, I am a feminist and so is my husband, yet it is hard to get past this whole who drives thing! Anyway, interesting post!

    Brynn

    December 29, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    • It is likely that couples do this without thinking. It may seem innocent and harmless but it sends a message that men are in charge. It’s tempting to just let them drive since its nothing but a chore like anything else.

      Isn’t a shame that men don’t declare their dominance by being the only one who uses the washing machine and dryer?

      Tim Thinkauthor

      December 29, 2011 at 9:25 pm

      • I totally agree that it is sending a horrible message. It’s little things like, who drives, that perpetuate patriarchies and stereotypes. I do wish men would declare dominance by raising children and doing the laundry!

        Brynn

        December 29, 2011 at 9:40 pm


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