At a young age, parents, whether intentionally or not, talk and interact with their sons and daughters differently. Mothers talk to and pamper their little girls more and therefore they generally are the more verbal gender. Fathers take their sons to sporting events and don’t coddle them as much when they fall down playing soccer. Chores that children of different sexes have also vary. Fathers are more likely to makes sure the son knows how to do things like changing a tire or mowing the lawn. Girls are encouraged to learn to cook, clean and be nurturing to those around them. These reinforcements of stereotypes translate into the dating world as the child gets older.
I truly believe that how a man treats a woman while dating reflects the gender expectations he was raised with as well as the role he expects to play in marriage. Although dating roles are becoming slightly less traditional, oftentimes the man plays the dominant role. Perhaps the modern woman will take some initiative and ask the man out herself or make the first phone call. Usually, however, once at the date, the man will be the one driving, holding the door open, paying for the meal, etc. Early on in a relationship, men tend to want to feel masculine, in charge, and generally more powerful than their female partner. It is also more normal for the woman to be the most expressive and loquacious in a conversation while the man sits and admires her beauty; the sex object in front of him.
Once a couple is married, the man carries this attitude into their social life where still today; women usually take over the responsibility of inviting friends over and setting the social calendar. When married couples have disputes, again the man more often than the woman will shut the topic out and bottle things up inside instead of communicating.
This is why it is so difficult to carry through an equal marriage. In order to do so, men and women have to question taught values and gender characteristics that seem to be a given piece of them. The truth is, men and women usually have a mixture of both feminine and masculine traits but repress certain ones because they feel it is inappropriate in our society. An example of this may be a woman holds in a belch and dirty joke at the dinner table or a man who pretends to have an object in his eye when he cries during a sad movie. This repression can truly be a sad way to live, because we are all actors in this big game of life.