Studying gender roles without the burden of expectation has been a fascinating journey. I've learned countless lessons I would have otherwise ignored based on my previously-held beliefs about the role of, well, gender roles. One of those weird lessons has to do with the apparent connection between traditional gender roles and relationship stability. The hypothesis is pretty simple:
The stability of a relationship increases as a function of traditional, complimentary gender role expression.
Graphy graph, graph:
There are two gender roles - feminine and masculine. Each compliments the other. Like honey and mustard. Or yin and yang. Or Ren and Stimpy. The most stable relationships are those where one members expresses a strong masculine gender role and the other expresses a strong feminine gender role. Any deviation from that construct reduces the stability of the relationship ("stability" operationally defined as length of relationship + peacefulness.)
If one member has a weaker gender role that gravitates toward androgyny, the stability of the relationship decreases. If both are androgynous, stability decreases even more. If both are androgynous (or both exhibit the same gender role which isn't represented on the graph), stability bottoms out.
I hypothesize the sex of the person expressing the gender role isn't terribly important, at least to the individuals in the relationship (society may express other sentiments.) A genetic or biological female could probably fulfill the masculine role and a genetic or biological male could probably fulfill the feminine role and the idea would still apply. I have not had a large enough sample to confirm or refute that hypothesis, however.
Along the same lines, I hypothesize the same effect happens when both members of the couple are of the same genetic or biological sex. Again, I don't have an adequate sample size to conform or refute the hypothesis.
Who the Fuck Cares?!?
This topic, of course, is part of the rationale for the creation of the San Diego Man Camp. The realization that the masculine gender role plays as an important role in interpersonal relationships as it does to us as individuals contradicts what seems to be the prevailing social trend. Lots 'o people believe masculinity is maladaptive at best and toxic at worst. Those beliefs are then used to justify policies that violate the principle of gender equality (operationally defined as providing equal opportunity, equal possibility, and equal responsibility to anyone and everyone regardless of sex or gender.)
I disagree with the anti-masculine crowd. Sometimes, some PEOPLE can be toxic. Vilifying a gender role is silly. Believing all men are rapists or murderers or commit domestic violence assigns guilt to an awful lot of innocent people, and it diffuses personal responsibility of the women that rape, murder, or commit domestic violence.
Gender roles are an interesting topic. For the purposes of this particular group and the specific "type" of man that would find it useful, the most relevant question would be:
"Am I better off being a more feminine beta male, or would I be better off being a more masculine alpha male?"
In the realm of romantic interpersonal relationships, the empirical research isn't terribly helpful, so we have to fall back on anecdotal evidence. Based on the experiences of our early membership, the answer is unequivocally "MASCULINE IS BETTER!" The masculine personality type, for many men, leads to a more focused, productive, and most importantly, fulfilling life. Specific to relationships, the more masculine personality type appears to lead to more frequent and passionate sex, less conflict, less resentment, more consistent parenting, and more effective problem-solving.
That shouldn't be a surprise if we frame gender roles as complimentary instead of adversarial, or worse, oppressive. Masculinity and femininity are like two puzzle pieces with interlocking parts. <insert penis and vagina joke here>
Of course, your mileage may vary. Every claim I've made in this post is true... for some. I can't generalize these ideas to the wider population because my sample size is small and self-selective. As such, I'm not preaching this message to the world. I'm reaching to the choir. And the congregation. And those people that are curiously peeking through the keyhole of the church doors.
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