Man and woman are in a hierarchy in relation to each other, they are not equals and they are not peers. The man is dominant and the woman is subordinate.
The relationship between man and woman is part of the overall universe of hierarchy relationships; the fact that men and women are in a hierarchy relationship rather than a peer relationship is actually not that strange or odd or anomalous. There are many different examples of hierarchy relationships, the man / woman relationship just being one of the variations of hierarchy relationship, and all the different hierarchy relationships share a common theme and a common structure; the man / woman relationship being consistent with the nature of hierarchy relationships in general rather than any kind of exception or special case.
Actually, looking at men and women being obviously different from each other and in relationship with each other it is entirely predictable that some kind of hierarchy relationship is going to be in place between them. You would only expect a peer relationship to be in order among those serving the same function and having the same characteristics consistent with their common shared status. This is obviously not the case as it relates to men and women since men and women are obviously differentiated from each other and biologically they serve very different roles; the woman directly bearing children and the man supporting the woman in her care of children.
An example of a peer relationship. An employer running a business hires 10 people to all work together performing a common task. The employer is dominant over his employees and the employees are subordinate to their employer. However the 10 employees of the same boss who are all working together on the group project the boss has assigned to them are peers of each other. The reason why the employees are peers to each other is because they are all interchangeable, they are all in the same role, they are all performing the same function. The employer is different from the employee, his role is very different, but the employees themselves are all the same in the nature of their function and their role in the group project that is being organized by the employer.
Different people performing different functions in cooperation with each other will form themselves into a hierarchy; a peer relationship is only going to be in operation among different people who all have the same role and the same function. Men and women as it relates to family life and reproduction and the continuation of the species do not have the same role and the same function; they have different roles in cooperation with each other. If men and women simply had different roles and different things that they did or that they specialized in but they did not work together towards a common purpose there would be no need for them to form themselves into a hierarchy set up because they wouldn’t be interacting with each other in the first place, they would simply be “doing their own thing.” However the combination of men and women having different roles and men and women needing to cooperate with each other towards a common goal (that common goal being the support and raising of children) necessitates a hierarchy relationship to come into being between them. Shared purpose combined with specialization of function equals inequality; equals hierarchy.
Feminists will try to say any man trying to assert authority in his relationships with women is arrogant, is “controlling,” is being abusive, is selfish, is simply trying to steal something from the woman he doesn’t have a right to. At the same time feminists are totally eager to get a job and obey their boss for money. Feminists seem to be comfortable with strict contract style quid pro quo relationships that they see as being “a good deal” or “benefiting them” even when such a relationship is obviously hierarchical with themselves playing the subordinate role as is the case when they are employees working for someone else. These same feminists eager to subordinate themselves to a boss strictly for money are filled with rage at the thought of being subordinate to a man in a romantic context. They understand why a boss “tells them what to do” and they can see the obvious benefit to themselves of “obeying” the boss; namely the boss continuing to pay them money. When it comes to family life however they suddenly see themselves as “equals” to their husbands and refuse to do anything their husbands “tell them to do” because that would be oh so humiliating and degrading and an insult to their free and independent spirit as women!
Why is the feminist comfortable with being subordinate in a strict contract style relationship but very uncomfortable with being subordinate to a man who actually loves her and wants what’s best for her not merely on the basis of “what he gets out of it” but even more so as part of his identity and his effort to be a good man? I think what the problem is is that the feminist knows if the man is generous to her the man will expect her to be generous in return. No particular trust is required to enter into employment with a boss. You apply for a job if you want the job, you get hired if the job wants you. If for some reason you don’t like the job anymore you quit, if the job doesn’t want you anymore you are fired. The relationship between employer and employee is mutually beneficial; as soon as it is not any longer the relationship ends. Very straightforward and simple.
For a woman to “obey” a man she has to have a generous spirit and she has to have trust. A feminist is not inclined to trust a man and a feminist is not inclined to be generous towards a man, to give to a man even when she might be able to get a “better deal” through some kind of manipulation tactic or power tactic. A feminist assumes the man will try to abuse her and in return has an abusive orientation towards the man. A woman in a state of obedience to a man is disarmed from her ability to engage in abusive power tactics against the man and she has a heightened level of vulnerability to the man’s possible abusive behavior towards her. Since the feminist’s orientation towards men is both fearful and selfish being obedient is the last place they want to go as it both disables their selfishness and also increases their vulnerability to danger.
In a strictly contractual type of relationship such as employee and employer selfishness is the assumed status quo on both sides; the employee wants to be paid as much as possible while the employer wants to pay as little as possible, this being totally routine and expected. At the same time a turn towards abusive behavior is easy to retaliate against; you just quit. This is why feminists see employment as “empowering,” it is a relationship form where selfishness and an ability to defend oneself against attack is accepted and available and furthermore a wife making her own money will be able to engage in power struggles more effectively against her husband with the idea being that with her own independent source of support she doesn’t “need him” and can therefore threaten him more effectively as she has “less to lose” from a potential relationship break up; her greater ability to threaten her husband due to her own earning power then being a power resource she can use both for purposes of abuse against her husband and for purposes of defending herself against possible attack from her husband.
This desire to abuse others while at the same time being protected from abuse oneself is the entire organizing principle and purpose of feminism; it is the central theme of all the different causes feminism campaigns for and promotes.
The feminist model of relationships however, gender equality where both the man and woman have an equal opportunity to abuse each other, is wrong. Instead of equality; which makes no sense due to men and women having different characteristics and therefore different roles; hierarchy is much better. Hierarchy is much better because it allows for cooperation instead of competition. Peers can only function as peers under the condition of the peers both being subordinate to the same authority figure. Coworkers can function well as coworkers but the coworkers must be both working on the same project handed down to them by the boss. In a “relationship” between man and woman towards a common goal (most likely the raising of children) both partners pretending to be peers just simply means they’ll be always fighting with each other jockeying for dominance by stealth. Another strategy they might adopt is carving out their own spheres of influence where they are “the boss” in their own sphere and “stay out of the way” (accept subordination) in the other person’s sphere. A peer relationship however will not lead to cooperative behavior overall towards a common purpose if everyone is a peer and there is no “boss” around to coordinate things.
The classic hierarchical relationship form is where the giver is dominant and the receiver is subordinate. In the example of employer / employee the employer is giving the employee money. In other words the employer is the giver while the employee is the receiver. This then determines who is the dominant party and who is the subordinate party; the one who gives is dominant while the one who receives is subordinate. Every healthy mutually beneficial hierarchy relationship is based on the dominate giver / submissive receiver model. The relationship between man and woman is no different; man is the dominant giver while woman is the submissive receiver. If you get rid of the hierarchy in relations between men and women the man won’t be the giver anymore as no man in his right mind will be the “giver” if he is not in control of how his contribution is being used. An employer will not pay the employee money if the employee has no duty to “obey” his employer in return. The employer is not giving his employee money just for kicks or because he is so generous, he is paying the employee money in exchange for the employee doing productive work the employer then benefits from. In any kind of relationship where one is the giver and the other is the receiver the giver is always going to want to defend themselves from being abused or exploited by the receiver and therefore will impose control upon the receiver in order to make sure the receiver uses the contribution given to them for the purpose the giver intended. This is why the giver asserts and insists upon dominance.
In the family relationship woman gives to child and man gives to woman to better enable woman to give to child. The man is dominant in relation to the woman because in the male / female relationship the man is giving while the woman is receiving. In the woman / child relationship the woman is dominant because the woman is giving while the child is receiving. A man does not exist merely to entertain himself; the man exists very explicitly for the purpose of giving to the woman and giving to the child by means of giving to the woman. This is why the man must be dominant, so he can fulfill his role and purpose as a man.
The fact that men’s contribution to women and the family has decreased radically since the beginning of women’s empowerment is no accident and no surprise. Of course a man will withdraw from support if he is no longer in control of how his support will be used or what purpose his support will serve. Also it must be remembered that the relationship between man and woman is not merely between man and woman; the relationship between man and woman is meant to serve children and society as a whole. The destruction of the hierarchy bond between men and women is therefore not just a matter of “choice” between “consenting adults,” it is instead an attack upon children and the society overall as the whole community suffers when men withdraw from their social role as men; a withdrawal that is both inevitable and necessary when men themselves are attacked first through the mechanism of women refusing to obey them.