You know how it is when girl friends and guy friends get together and the battle of the genders begins; when they verbally spar and men inhabit Mars; women inhabit Venus, but its all good natured, only slightly barbed fun. Well I had one of those entertaining sessions recently. It was ignited by one of the guys making the bold statement that men embrace marriage because it places them in a position of dominance and supremacy. A man’s home is his castle, and man is King of the castle. Marriage, he said, is a means for men to live the “Absolute Monarch Complex’” that is the cornerstone of the ego of every one of them. My Martian friend reckons that women should refuse to marry because by doing so they reduce themselves to a position of eternal inferiority and servitude, in fact, serfhood.
This statement was, as you can imagine, met with exclamations of “Hau, intoni!” and “Haibo!”, “Nooit!” and “Jislaaik!”, “@*#*$!” and worse. He didn’t have the good grace to be intimidated by the protest. Unabashed, he nodded his head, sipped his whisky and said “You may not like it but it’s true”. The other guys silently nodded. We women were perplexed. Are they living in the same country as we? Are they living on the same planet? So bewildered were we women by this statement and acquiescence that we were willing to consider, and even suggested, the possibility that they are living in a Second Life virtual universe of their own collaborative creating.
When we had recovered from our shocked outrage we Venusians summarily dismissed the Absolute Monarchy Complex. Is a woman’s home not her castle? Is she not Queen of the castle? She is certainly is the one who makes the castle a home. And those women who are ’home executives’, are their men, far from being kings, not the equivalent of the worker bee?
As for inferiority, we sputtered with indignation. Perhaps, we surmised, out there on the planet Mars, they missed out on the news that there have been developments since the sixteenth century. Perhaps they don’t know suffragettes, and the feminists. Perhaps these inhabitants of Mars were deafened by Lethal Weapon on surround sound the day the news hit that our last Deputy President is was woman; the President of Liberia is a woman and the President of the USA could, possibly, have been a woman went out across international mass media. If this is the case then we cannot blame the Martians for being unaware that our foremothers slaughtered the female eunuch?
Almost every Venusian who was present manages a demanding career; endured pregnancy and the giving of birth; returned to her career shortly after the trauma of giving birth, maintains the household, nurtures the thing to which she gave birth, and suckles a man from Mars. The Martian, as Monarch, renders himself somewhat superfluous, and we have seen throughout history what happens to the superfluous Monarch.
What could we Venusians say to these men from Mars who make imprudent assumptions interpreting the sacred institution of marriage in ways that they deem convenient for themselves? Should we have been heavy and accused them of using the metaphor of monarchy to defend the fact that they turn their backs on their responsibility to be present and accountable in their marriages? No, not fun! Should we have held up for scrutiny the circumstances surrounding their divorces? Ouch, too cruel! Could we have suggested that their ‘returned soldier’ status might be attributable to the fact that their thinking is so infinitely out kilter with the reality on Venus, and indeed, on Earth?
We ended by proposing that our Martian friends seriously consider the possibility that the position of dominance and supremacy in marriage is, in fact, held by the woman. After the traditions of the Great Queens of Africa; Nefertiti and Cleopatra, Queens of Kemet; or Yaa Asantewa of the Ashanti; Nandi, Queen of Zululand; and Makeda, Queen of Sheba. Perhaps marriage, we advised, is in truth a means for women to live the “Warrior Queen Complex” that is the cornerstone of the ego of every one of them. Perhaps men should refuse to marry because by doing so they reduce themselves to a position of eternal inferiority as foot soldier, sperm donor, worker bee, and serf.
The level headed among us concluded that instead of seeking after absolutes of monarchy Martians and Venusians might both consider the idea of marriage as a democracy. Somewhere I read; “Democracies have ever been spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been as short in their lives, as they have been violent in their deaths.” The cynical may agree that democracy is a better metaphor for marriage.