I am attempting to imagine the female version of that ad. Something like:
I will make your favorite meal every night, regardless of whether meat loaf makes me want to vomit.
I will raise your children, nurse them through countless illnesses, teach them their multiplication tables, get them into college, and all the while listen without complaint as you are praised for knowing how to zip the child’s coat and hold him/her without disaster.
I will pick up your filthy underwear from the bathroom floor.
I will take the garbage out after you forget for the fiftieth time.
I will walk your dog.
I will clean your fish tank.
I will laugh when you belch and fart. Every time. That will never stop being funny.
I will load the dishwasher for you because you are a man, and cannot be expected to learn how, because your penis gets in the way.
I will be nice to your friends, even the one who hits on the waitress in front of his wife every time we go out to the goddamn Chili’s.
I will pretend it’s cute that you hate my TV shows, and say nothing about the 45 hours of cartoons on the DVR.
I will lie to my friends about the size of your penis.
I will talk to my friends about the size of your penis.
I will only do so when you give me permission to see my friends. And then I will only talk about your penis.
Though I suppose in any female version of the ad, the car would have to be pink. Sparkly pink with little kitties and bows on it. And RUFFLES.
And you know, let’s get this out of the way: If you are with someone who pressures you to say things you don’t mean, whose behavior tells you you are less than an equal partner in the relationship, who treats you more like a pet or a houseplant than a person, get the fuck out of that relationship right now. I know women who treat their husbands like children, or employees, who think it’s cute to belittle their spouses in front of others and who pass off cutting remarks as little jokes about how dumb boys are.
Guess what? Those women are assholes. There is nothing inherently male about being put upon. There is nothing honorable about being with someone who treats you like crap. It isn’t funny. It isn’t cute. If you don’t feel valued you need to have a talk with your spouse, your therapist, your family, and yourself about what you need and what you want and what everybody is willing to do to stop the fail. But once and for all, let’s quit pretending that it’s the natural order of things for women to be contemptuous and men to just take it because it’s estrogen or something.
Pardon the horrible pun, but what a dodge. Stick up for yourself, for chrissakes. You’re in a relationship with an asshole, don’t shove that off onto traditional gender roles and whatever like that’s how it’s supposed to be. Quit giving yourself, and more importantly the asshole who is emotionally abusing you, the out that you’re from Mars and Venus and can’t possibly be expected to do any better. Learn to load the goddamn dishwasher and quit being such a screaming idiot about it. And you know what? If after the 50th time he doesn’t put the seat down, maybe decide how much fun it actually is having that fight, because if he’s not doing it by now, it’s clearly important that it not be done.
This whole thing drives me wild, not because I really think most men & women are like this. This stereotype of the domineering domestic female is far more a creation of the advertising industry than it is reality. But it drives me wild because people seeing that stereotype then reinforce the bullshit in order to feel like they’re fitting in. Which leads to things like a meatspace conversation last week, in which a friend’s husband bought a car and a mutual acquaintance asked his wife why she “allowed” this. Or when relatives jokingly call me Mr. A’s boss. We start talking in this horseshit shorthand because it’s easier, because everyone knows the cues and knows where to laugh so as not to make anyone uncomfortable, and pretty soon you’ve got lots of unhappy people who think their unhappiness just happened to them and that it’s okay.
It’s not fair to women, it’s not fair to men, it’s not fair to anybody.