How Much Influence Does a Woman Have?

He Said

Many divorced/married men have used the saying; many divorced/married women have stated it; and the fact remains that women are held in high esteem in our society when it comes to family, domestic, educational, and business matters – A happy wife equals a happy life (marriage). But really what kind of control or influence do women really have in our society? On the one hand, we give women the power to control happiness, yet on the other, we see domestic abuse, lower pay, divorce, etc., that contradict this statement. We can’t have it both ways – so which is it?

In light of the recent craziness our society has seen I challenge the belief that women don’t control more than they do. Women seem to have the authority in past years to dictate family life, a man’s professional path, and more influence over the growth and personality of their kids. Yet, with all of this influence in these matters it would appear a woman’s voice is barely heard; especially when we read the news or look around us.

But I contest that women DO have more control than men with a variety of life decisions even though they may sometimes feel like second class citizens. Women are in more control of specific situations regardless of their own interpretations of societal influence.

I look around at the lives of my friends in relationships and I would guess 90 percent of the men would defer so very many decisions to their wives or significant others that you have no doubt which sex is in the driver’s seat. You may hear the man exclaim, “I gotta check with my better half,” or “My wife handles those decisions,” or even “I try not to make her mad because you don’t want to feel her wrath.” It is puzzling to me that women still believe they don’t have as much influence in a variety of situations. I say, hogwash – look around and tell me otherwise. When was the last time you walked on eggshells as to not bother her?

I don’t discount any of the various abuses women continue to suffer at the hands of men, but I am looking at influence and control from a macro level. And from this level I do see women with more control.

A woman will control with whom she has sex because a man can’t just take it. A woman will influence major decisions, such as which neighborhood to live when a family relocates. A woman will continue to be an influential voice in the community. How can a man think otherwise when signs of a female’s control is all around us? And the most camouflaging tactic used to date is when a man honestly believes he is in control. Right my brother, who are you trying to kid? She already has your number and is silently manipulating you as we speak. Good luck.

She Said

While it is true that women tend to have control over what goes on in the household, the true power is in who controls the money, economy and politics.  Who controls the money is typically the person who earns the money or who earns the most money.  While more and more women are working outside of the home, women still earn 19% less than men.   For divorced women, it’s even worse.  60% of the people under the poverty guidelines are divorced women and children.  This country was formed in 1776.  Women didn’t get the right to vote until 1920.  It took 144 years for women to get the right to actually have a say in the political process!  And for years thereafter women simply voted the way their fathers or husbands told them to vote. (Some still do.)

He Said’s argument that women actually have more control than men, reminds me of the argument that black people are no longer suffering the effects of slavery.  Really?  Just look at any Fortune 500 board room and what will you see?  White MEN.  What group makes up the majority of Congress?  White MEN.

The examples that He Said gives of the “control” that women supposedly wield, are basically those areas of life where historically men have had very little interest.  That is not to say that raising children and taking care of the home are not important, but women have control in these areas because before they were allowed to work outside the home, women were told that raising children and taking care of the home was ALL they could do.

The other examples that He Said gives that relate to men deferring to their wives or significant others is merely antidotal evidence that I’m not sure accurately reflects the majority view.  Even still, it reflects more of what men allow women to control and does not accurately reflect who controls the important matters.  For example, since women make less money, they typically are required to move when their husbands’ jobs require it, which determines what schools the children attend and whether the children can and do attend college.

Probably the most troubling statement that Mr. Neanderthal . . .er . . . He Said made was:  “A woman will control with whom she has sex.”  That statement is troubling for two reasons.  First, rape is the best example of a situation where women do not have control over with whom she has sex.  Second, that statement assumes that men just run around wanting to have sex with every woman they meet and it is only the woman who has any say.  If that’s true, then we have far bigger problems in our society.

Finally, let’s talk about domestic violence, which has been in the news lately.  Domestic violence demonstrates rather graphically that those with the most power, in this case physical power, typically control the outcome.

Let me leave you with this. . . In 1776, Abigail Adams wrote to her husband John, “In the new code of laws, remember the ladies and do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the husbands.”  John Adams replied, “I cannot but laugh. Depend upon it, we know better than to repeal our masculine systems.” Not much has changed since then.  It’s just hidden better.

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