Gender stereotypes and relationship etiquette have been a part of society for the longest time. Standards and rules put on us by a patriarchy and our peers. But there is a line between relationship etiquette that is forced and by choice. My own idea of relationship etiquette is taking on certain responsibilities by choice, and not because of the forceful stereotyping of gender roles.
I’ll use my marriage as an example. I never take the garbage out because my husband always takes care of it; He never does the laundry because I take care of it. We don’t take on these responsibilities because we believe it is the other persons job as a man or woman. We do them because we want to, and feel it is a civil gesture and a thoughtful thing to do for the other person.
In my teen novel, ‘My Colorblind Rainbow’ both main characters deal with gender stereotypes pushed on them by their families. One character even being told that she should be a homemaker just like her mother. Growing up and even now, the idea of a woman doing certain things, like cooking for her man was and still is considered a standard for heterosexual relationships. In my home, we both work, share most of the cleaning duties, and bills are taken care of with one joint account. But as a woman, I still value certain traditional things when it comes to caring for my spouse. I love cooking. I have home-cooked meals prepared at least 5 days out of the week. When I worked nights, I made sure it was prepared before I left for work. If my husband is working a night shift, I’ll have his plate in the microwave waiting for him when he gets home. I know how “June Cleaver” that sounds of me, but it is in no way out of obligation. I simply value the idea of taking care of my spouse, just as he does.
Gender roles tend to have their place in some gay relationships as well. Based on my own research, I found that some gay men and women feel the pressure to be dominant or submissive in their relationships. I conducted a study of my own, Where I surveyed males and females with different sexual orientations and relationship statuses. 30% of respondents said that they like the idea of gender roles in relationships while the other 70% said no. The 30% that said yes, were all female, who also considered their partner to be the dominant one in their current relationships. 10% of respondents who identified as bisexual or gay, believe in relationships having a dominant partner as well, which leads to certain expectations along the lines of gender roles despite both partners being the same sex.
Most would agree that nothing guarantees a long-lasting relationship. There is no certain right or wrong way. But I do believe that relationship etiquette is important, because it shows your significant other that you value and appreciate them. Society has progressed a lot over the years allowing women to escape submissive gender stereotypes, but I do think it can be beneficial for love, to retain some of those old-fashioned values.
Born and raised in Washington D.C., writing has been my passion since I was young. I started writing my first book, My Colorblind Rainbow at 22, not actually pursuing a career in writing at the time. At 26, I decided to continue writing, taking a leap of faith and following my dreams of self-publishing. Fantasy, sci-fi, and teen fiction are my preference. I want to write for LGBTQ, marginalized races and genders, but my main goal is to reach out to young black women and be that positive representation in literature that we love, but often don’t see.