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Whose anniversary is it?

(10 Posts)
AMumInScotland Thu 11-Aug-11 13:00:24

Sorry it's a bit of a thread about a thread, but I don't want to hijack the other one with vaguely feminist musings beyond the small comment I've already made...

The OP there was unhappy that her DH hadn't done anything yet about their anniversary, and she had been making vague suggestions about going out, but not getting much response.

But it didn't seem to occur to her that she might have an equal right/responsibility to organise something "nice" for their anniversary.

What do you reckon? Is this part of the whole attitude that weddings/marriage are something that men "give" to women, and that they ought to therefore show their continued regard by "giving" women a treat on their anniversary? Or just an example of a more general thing where women are unhappy with a situation but don't feel they have the power/right to take action about it?

piprabbit Thu 11-Aug-11 13:09:20

I've not read the other thread - but suspect it's more a problem if vague and muddled communication rather than anything more patriachal.

Woman mentions going out for anniversary.
Man gives non-commital reply.
Woman could plan her own celebration, but will man have taken the hint and arranged a clashing celebration?
Woman drops another hint in the hope of finding out if man has arranged meal out. Perhaps he is planning to surprise her?
Man dodges answer.
Woman still no wiser if man has already made plans.
Woman could make own arrangements but would ruin surprise.
Woman gives up on the whole thing as a bad do.
Man remains ignorant of emotional turmoil his non-replies have caused.

I also think that women are much more concerned with marking and remembering significant events - which is why women send birthday gifts and cards to their ILs, and end up writing all the Xmas cards. Men just don't see it as a priority task. Women are very aware of the social consequences of reinforcing connections and relationships, men less so perhaps.

So not just a marriage thing.

jennyvstheworld Thu 11-Aug-11 13:23:36

Post 1 - either it's about marriage being a gift or it's about women having no power in relationships. Are those the only two possible interpretations?

Post 2 - Man = ignorant, grunting and non-commital, unaware of need to reinforce relationships????? (quite apart from the stereotyping...!)

How about the proposition that some men are a bit forgetful when it comes to dates and don't pay enough regard to the little things that say 'I love and value you'? Probably not as many as the stereotype though, I'd bet. I'd also suggest that where this does happen it is linked to society's expectations of men to be strong and independent; traditionally neither being linked to sending birthday cards I'd imagine.

AMumInScotland Thu 11-Aug-11 13:32:47

jenny - I wasn't so much interested in the husband's behaviour, as in the wife's - there seemed to be an attitude that it was up to the husband to mark the anniversary, and not the wife equally.

My DH is way better at remembering dates than I am! And more thoughtful about anniversaries...

jennyvstheworld Thu 11-Aug-11 13:36:58

Hi AMIS, yeah, I did catch that and I think it's a good point. I also take pip's point that she might be waiting to see if it's a surprise. I was just having my two-penn'orth on the bits I thought were funny from a 'feminist gaze' (as I sometimes see written on these posts...) smile

wicketkeeper Thu 11-Aug-11 15:36:42

Maybe, if you don't feel particularly loved and valued in your relationship, you might feel that at least if DH remembers the anniversary, it kind of makes up for a year of being undervalued. I suspect that it is in the more equal relationships (where everyone feels valued) that it doesn't really matter who actually books the meal.

snowmama Thu 11-Aug-11 16:44:33

I have not seen the thread, but it always strikes me (as we have discussed on many threads)..that many women do 'wifework' for very little thanks or gratitude. So when partners choose to not to take up the socially expected dates (anniversaries/ mothers ray) to say thanks and that their wives are loved and appreciated for doing this role...then that creates distress..

...I also think it is tightly linked with the grand romantic narrative that is sold to us all the time...

So yes in this scenario the wife could have booked the anniversary meal but the meal is not what she is fundamentally looking for..

skrumle Thu 11-Aug-11 17:44:08

went and found the other thread. think wicketkeeper might be right "I suspect that it is in the more equal relationships (where everyone feels valued) that it doesn't really matter who actually books the meal."

i think i have what are normally viewed as quite "male" attitudes to stuff like this - my H made a fuss/bought me stuff for our 6 month anniversary of going out and i looked at him like he was mad, he's never bought me flowers since... to me, what matters is the day to day stuff and if i want something to happen i either make it happen or tell him he needs to make it happen.

i actually find it odd that my brother buys an (expensive) anniversary present for his wife, while to the best of my knowledge she doesn't get him anything. i guess that ties in with the idea that men give women marriage and commitment and have to continue marking the event as a sign that they are choosing to keep to giving to the woman?

skrumle Thu 11-Aug-11 18:42:35

thought about it some more (while being bored witless watching DS watch charlie and lola...) and i think it's about the idea that relationships are something that women work on and achieve and our success should be measured by them.

so a woman "achieves" getting married while a man gives in and gets married. a woman can boast that she has a husband who loves her so much that he remembers their wedding anniversary or sends her flowers to her work on her birthday hmm, whereas men would look at another man who boasted that his wife bought him flowers as though he were mad. it's as though women are encouraged to compete on this level with each other instead of on a level which is more meaningful such as educational achievements, job success, wealth.

fluffles Thu 11-Aug-11 18:49:15

i think it is about the way that some women are conditioned to believe that they have to 'be taken out' rather than 'going out as an equal couple'.

i have never understood it.. i always say what i'd like to do for my birthday or our anniversary, it would never occur to me to keep schtum and wait to see what DH wanted to organise... i am not bossy or damanding, but we decide stuff like that together, in fact, the planning is part of the fun. isn't it confused

but for some women that's 'not romantic'.

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