“So who wears the pants in the relationship?”
Bi, gay and straight alike, we’ve all heard this question.
But why does everyone assume that relationships, romantic or not, have to have power structures?
Sure, if you’re thinking of relationships in a patriarchal, heteronormative way, in which a man is controlling a woman and stripping her of any and all tangible autonomy, there are clear power structures that occur. But why is it assumed that, first, imbalance must occur in non-straight relationships and, second, it’s the only way for relationships to work?
Saying that there’s always a “man” and a “woman” in a relationship, no matter the sexes of the partners, is insulting and antiquated. If two lesbians are together, the whole point of that relationship — other than the mutual affection — is that there are no men involved.
In the same way, it’s utterly misogynistic to proport that the person who you deem to be “weaker” is always who you assign to be the “woman” — or the opposite of the person who “wears the pants.”
Because women always have to be on the bottom, right?
Going further than that, though, why must relationships work off of power structures?
Two people who love one another, whether it’s platonic or romantic, should only seek to see one another thrive and self-actualize. While there are many compromises in relationships of all kinds, believing that there is an inherent, constant imbalance of power is toxic.
Your dunkin’ Sawdust Editor,