Social media is filled with posts of #relationshipgoals. Endless pictures of couples on the beach, holding hands and walking towards the sunset. There are pictures of couples getting their degrees, getting married, and having kids. Every photoset like this is captioned with the #relationshipgoals slogan. However more and more, I have been seeing posts like “my husband doesn’t know how to cook, but he stands in the kitchen with me to keep me company #relationshipgoals” or “get you a man that opens the car door for you #relationshipgoals.” I have even seen a post that said, “when your man calls you babe, sweetie, etc. #relationshipgoals.”
Every time I see these sorts of posts, I cringe. How has it come to the point that men are being praised for being decent people? Of course, your significant other should call you affectionate names if that’s something that you want him to do. There’s nothing spectacular or noteworthy about that. Seeing posts of women praising men for cleaning, cooking, putting the kids to bed, etc. should not be something men should be praised for, because it’s something men should already be doing.
Ali Wong addressed this issue in her stand up, “Baby Cobra.” In one of her skits, she claims, “it takes so little to be considered a great dad. But it also takes so little to be considered a shitty mom.” Although funny, she is speaking the sad truth. Men are praised for being present for the doctor appointments for the mother of their child, praised for taking their kids to the doctors, and praised for practically spending any time with their kids at all. This was evident when Kylie Jenner announced the birth of her baby, and everyone was praising Travis Scott for being such an attentive and present father. Now I’m not saying that parenting isn’t a difficult job that deserves all the respect in the world. It’s terrifyingly difficult to have another human being dependent on you for the next 18+ years of your life. However, what amount of praise do women get for being mothers? What praise do women get for taking their kids to doctor appointments, to the park, to school, to soccer practice, to their friends’ houses, and taxiing them around wherever else they need to go? What praise do women get for cooking, cleaning, disciplining, monitoring, consoling, and comforting their children every single day? Yet, if a man is just present for their child, then he is praised for being a good dad. Men should not be praised for putting forth the work for a baby that took two to make.
The double standard is most evident in parenting, but we see this double standard in so many other aspects of life. The most disturbing and disgusting thing about this dichotomy is the way women are beginning to fall into the pit of praising men for any ounce of effort they show. A man should not be praised for standing with you in the kitchen while the woman does all the work. How hard is it to cut onions? How difficult is it to wash the dishes? Maybe he doesn’t know how to cook (which he should because he is a grown ass man), but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t know how to peel a carrot. Men should not be praised for being respectful to women. Respect for one another is a quality all of us should have and is not something that should be given a gold star for.
#Relationshipgoals is a couple that loves and respects each other. It is a couple that shares responsibilities that has fun together, and works hard together. It is a relationship that involves a comfortable equilibrium between give and take in which all are satisfied. It is going above and beyond for your significant other, because seeing them happy is the root of your happiness. Let’s praise men on the basis of respect, teamwork, and sacrifice in a relationship. Stop praising men for doing the bare minimum.