Why some people no longer want to hear that a man is the head of the family.
Sometime last week, Tiwa Savage talked about husbands being the heads of families and people freaked out.
After writing an initial article in support of what she’s said, I was wondering what it means to be the head of a family and what about the word polarized opinions that much.
The concept of the head of a family has both religious and historical backgrounds.
Drawing from both religion and tradition which our society is deeply-rooted in, men have long been considered the head of the families.
Men got tasked with the responsibility of providing for wife and kids and they were to get submitted to.
Even though some were considered ‘great’ enough to consult with their wives for opinions and joint consideration on matters, there was still the sense that if it came to it, the man’s words were final.
And how have men fared in this role? One can never be sure but apparent social realities reflect that many men leave a lot to be desired in fulfilling even this traditional role.
For every man who takes his responsibility serious and actually tries to be the head in that traditional sense, there seems an irresponsible two, maybe three who just revel in just having that title unjustifiably placed on him.
Religious influences remain strongly in place, ensuring that the man’s place as the head of the family remains intact in yet a lot of marriages.
However, the concept of the man as the head of the family is becoming gradually chipped at, as more marriages are embracing full partnership and less of an authoritarian stance.
More women are no longer as domestic and dependent on husbands as they once were, and even men, albeit a very small percentage, are not looking to be the ‘head’ of their family.
Education of the girl child, more female involvement in the corporate world and in world-wide politics played a huge part as well as feminism and the never-ending calls for equality of the sexes.
Gleaned from social media commentary and outrage at Tiwa’s recent comments, there’s obviously now a [social media-based] campaign for every marriage to be perfect partnerships – finances, authority and responsibilities over kids, decision-making, etc – such that one partner’s authority does not supercede the other’s in any way.
The idea that one of the partners [the man] is head of the family is somehow being violently kicked against in favour of all-inclusive, egalitarian stance in marriages.
As pleasant as this theoretically sounds, it’ll be a long time before this becomes the order of the day, if ever.
Majorly because tradition and religious doctrines remain strong in shaping marital values in these parts and their influences are already too tightly-woven around the marriage institution to become undone instantly.
Even societal norms, mores, expectations, beliefs are time-hardened on this.
Obviously that was Tiwa’s resigned view in that well-publicized interview with Toolz, where she basically said she does not necessarily agree with the system of men being overlords in homes, but that was, sadly, the social reality.
All she basically did 'wrong' was to just point out that de-facto arrangement.
The anger felt by the army of Twitter and social commentators towards Tiwa appears to be because she refused to align with the empowering view of the equality of the sexes in marriage.
They felt that if someone of her stature, being such a huge star with her previous history, had used the opportunity to speak on the need to scrap that patriarchy-furthering ‘head of family’ narrative, it would have helped a great deal in moving egalitarian marriages towards mainstream acceptance.
But Tiwa wasn’t wrong. Maybe she should have been politically-correct by dwelling on ‘what should be’ instead of ‘what is’; but then it was a matter of discretion and she exercised hers how she deemed fit.
On the issue of marriages who the head of the family is, and if a family should even have any at all, the best answer is for spouses to find what works best for them and ride their most comfortable wave.
Some women like to have their men as the head of the family, and there are men who never want to assume that role because marriages are full partnerships in every sense of the word.
And really, I think so far everyone is happy and getting what they bargained for in their marriage, that’s just fine.
Link: McShayn's Love Thread: Why the head of the family is under threat in modern marriages