What Does It Mean for the Man to Lead? (Part 2 of 2)

What Does It Mean for the Man to Lead? (Part 2 of 2)In my last post, I wrote about a very specific sexual dynamic: one in which the woman wears the pants in the relationship.

The opposite scenario, of course, is for the man to ‘wear the pants’—which is just a colloquial phrase for taking the lead.

But what does that mean exactly? And why does anyone have to take the lead? Can’t both partners drive the bus?

Both good questions, and I’d like to answer them.

To begin with, just because there’s a leader and a follower doesn’t mean there’s never any overlap, where the leader might occasionally follow. It just means that one person tends to drive the bus. And the reason why it’s necessary to have a driver in the first place is because no joint enterprise works well when two people are vying for the same spot.

There are never two captains on the same ship. And both pilots on the same plane never do the same thing at the same time. One is the co-pilot.

Unfortunately, the concept of a pilot and co-pilot in love was hijacked by those who insist that in order for a relationship to be “equal,” the partners must share the exact same tasks at all times.

This premise is flawed. A partnership requires trust and respect for the role each person plays. If that is in place, the relationship is equal. Ergo, there’s no need to vie for the same rank or position.

Men have always been the dominant partner, for obvious reasons: they are bigger and stronger than women. Moreover, they have a visceral need to provide and protect. Men can’t have babies or nurse babies as women can, so providing and protecting levels the playing field.

When a woman usurps his role as provider, in addition to being the nurturer of the young, the marriage or relationship falters. Because she has all the power, and he has none. That’s why the richer women get, the more likely she is to be divorced.

When the man takes the lead in a relationship, or when he’s the dominant partner, the marriage typically runs smoothly. That’s because the couple is swimming with the evolutionary tide and not against it.

What’s more, the research shows it’s what both sexes want. The only reason women fight it is because they’ve been told it isn’t what they should want. Women have been conditioned to believe they want to be in charge at all times. But that just isn’t true, which may surprise many men. Indeed, when it comes to love submission is sexy.

I can think of no greater example to illustrate this point than Gone with the Wind. In this story, Scarlett is the epitome of a strong-willed, dominant woman. She doesn’t mince words; she takes charge of everything and everyone; and she’s feisty and beautiful. She’s fun!

Well, at face value she’s fun. Living with her is a different matter. Because the flip side of Scarlett’s dominant nature is that she’s very, very difficult. And petulant to boot.

So there are two men in Scarlett’s life: Rhett and Ashley. Ashley is the kind, devoted, steady and soft husband to Melanie—and Scarlett is in love with him, or thinks she’s in love with him.

Rhett is the complete opposite of Ashley. He’s extremely masculine: confident, competent, take charge, in control. In other words, he’s just like Scarlett. (“We understand each other,” he tells her.)

When Rhett and Scarlett first meet, Rhett overhears a fight between Scarlett and Ashley—one in which Scarlett is begging Ashley to leave Melanie for her. (The two aren’t yet married.) Ashley is hopelessly “in love” with Scarlett (more like infatuated) but tells her he must marry Melanie out of duty and honor. Scarlett gets so mad she slaps him.

After Ashley leaves the room, Rhett appears; and he and Scarlett officially meet. Since Rhett’s temperament is as strong as Scarlett’s, which is apparent from the first moment, their subsequent relationship involves a great deal of conflict—including throughout their marriage. Rhett is a great husband to Scarlett; but despite this, Scarlett refuses to capitulate or to be conciliatory. In other words, she’s a crappy wife; and Rhett eventually gives up and leaves her.

At the end of the film, Scarlett realizes she has messed up, begs Rhett to stay and asks, “If you go, where shall I go? What should I do?”

And this next part you’ve no doubt heard: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.”

Now if you read my last post, you know my mother was the dominant partner in my parents’ marriage. She was, in fact, a lot like Scarlett. And here’s what’s really interesting: my mother was obsessed with this film. Totally and completely obsessed. Today I understand why in a way I didn’t as a child. Today it is crystal clear.

My mother longed for a Rhett. And she had an Ashley.

I distinctly recall her telling me about the men who came before my father. Unlike most of the women of her time, my mother had an M.B.A. and was a stockbroker for a good ten years before she married my father and had my sister and me.

During that time, my mother had many boyfriends, several of whom wanted to marry her. (My mother was striking like Scarlett, both in appearance and personality.) And several of those men were more dominant than my mother.

When I asked her about them, she would say she couldn’t deal with a man who “bossed her around.” Clearly, my mother associated strength with bossiness, no doubt because she herself was both (as were the women in her family).

But here’s the thing: being the dominant partner and being a bossy partner—or, to go a step further, being an abusive partner—are not the same thing at all.

Being the dominant partner does not mean being domineering. Those are two different things. The reason they’re conflated is that these two concepts were co-opted by feminists who successfully brainwashed an entire generation to believe dominance means to dominate another person.

It doesn’t mean that at all.

Yes, there are some men in the world, just as there are some women (such as Scarlett) who want to dominate the opposite sex. And both are equally bad. But most men simply aren’t like this.

To be the dominant partner in a relationship simply means to be any one (or all) of the following: older, stronger, richer, smarter.

When a man is the dominant partner, on average he uses his power well due to his instinct to provide and protect. Women don’t have this instinct, so when they’re the dominant partner, they often use this power against men. They do that not because they’re evil but because they’re instinctively resisting having to be the one in charge. They want their man to take care of things so they don’t have to.

Dominance in a man does not have to mean being a CEO or the Incredible Hulk—any man of any size and in any profession can be the dominant partner. A dominant male is someone who’s capable of taking the lead, defending his territory, and doing all he can to provide for his family. It means being assertive and commanding, rather than a yes man.

America used to have these men in spades! Where did they go? Simple: women became the dominant sex. And with that singular role reversal, everything changed.

What we’re left with are relationships that are orderless and conflict-laden, if they exist at all. Because the more dominant women become, the more their desire for dominant men—but men are taking a step back in response. They’re becoming softer, not stronger.

It’s a mess. As Aaron, a Facebook commenter, wrote, “We’re setting up a future where the average male will be an unattractive partner to the average female, while at the same time recreating the harems of old with the small percentage of men who have money or who are dominant in their personality since they will be in high demand.”

In other words, there will be fewer and fewer Rhetts and an avalanche of Ashleys. And if you read Part 1 of this post, you know how that turns out.

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne Venker is an author, columnist and relationship coach known as The Feminist "Fixer.” She helps free women from feminist lies so they can find lasting love with men. Suzanne's newest book, WOMEN WHO WIN at Love: How to Build a Relationship That Lasts, will be published October 2019.

Reader Interactions


  1. This was an interesting 2-part entry. It’s fascinating how “wearing the pants” and supposedly being stronger or more dominant in a relationship, as defined by a woman or women, is the equivalent of a nagging child; hen-pecking, sh!t testing, picking fights, yelling & screaming (perhaps with a side of physical violence), and, to put it bluntly, being a b!tch, c*nt, rag, nag, or other such term. These are common euphemisms used in such cases, for obvious reasons. None of this is new behavior as some sort of a byproduct of Feminism or some supposed waning & wilting of the masculine in the West, and most men who have been in and out of a couple relationships of some sort, who have taken the time to learn, or who have had a good mentor in the form of an older man in their life, are well aware of both the behavior in and of itself, as well as the reasons for it. This is all rather immature behavior that gets a convoluted & sophisticated package of “wanting a man to be stronger”, and of (unfortunately) being something very fundamental that a woman needs from a man. Our society continues to condone this as something women “deserve” or are entitled to from a man and a relationship, whether there be a child or children in the picture or not. In reality, it is about women abdicating responsibility for their own emotional state and unconscious patterns, and demanding men provide this for them on top of the litany of other things they feel entitled to from a man or relationship, shaming men when they “fall short” or don’t care to even fight a losing battle or get into the fight in the first place. (All of the current social milieu aside, including the state of the legal and legislative system stacked against men [e.g. the Duluth Model].) Instead of a woman being insanely humble when realizing that she’s heaping onto a man this responsibility to which there is no true outer remedy or solution (and then also grateful when finding a man to stay with her), the exact opposite is true, he’s shamed for not being strong or dominant, and not man enough. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SmVDhn4kIk ]

    What emotion are we talking about here? Fear. This fear manifests itself in doubt, worry, anxiety, etc about the man, the relationship, and about her future. The long-term security, guarantee that she’ll be taken care of, assurances, etc. that a woman is looking for in relationship and from a man are all based in what seems to be inborn fear when a woman casts her lot with any particular man, doubt that she’s found “the best one she could find”. Provided she’s aware of it in the first place to then be willing to do the work, a man can hold space for a woman and help her work through this fear, but if it stems from a deep resentment of the man himself due to her lack of respect for him (none of which ever has anything to do with that man, as it’s always her own internal issues), it is a lost cause. The have-it-now, disposable/throw-away, “me” society that is the Western world wants nothing to do with patience, investing, co-creating, building, supporting. The external and the “what” are far more important than the internal and the “why”, even though the latter drive the former.

    Here’s the rub: no one person owns, nor is responsible for, any other person’s emotional state, plain and simple, not even a parent to a child. We can attempt to help (or hurt), but no one owns anyone else’s emotional state. To sit and write a 2-part entry on this, surrounding (once again) what men are supposed to do, how men are supposed to act, and what men are supposed to give to women (the “World of Should”, shame tactics, the oldest card women try to play, and attempted appeals to a man’s emotions through honor, duty, chivalry, nobility, dignity, etc.), all without a single shred of anything remotely close to resembling what it is, exactly, that a woman is giving to a man in return, is wasted energy. If there is a growing consciousness in the world, and particularly in the West, hopefully the pendulum has swung far enough for the masses to finally look at the myriad of ways in which the feminine has been allowed to stay immature and childish (not child-like), all under the sense of entitlement to a man’s energy and attention, even when there aren’t any children involved in the picture between the two of them. It is ludicrous. It is a matter of duties & rights. If a man is responsible for this, then where are his rewards or entitlements? If a woman feels entitled to a man playing this role for her, where are her duties? [ https://youtu.be/5eqYEVYZgdo?t=957 ] If a man has to spend energy constantly dealing with a nagging, fear-riddled wife or one that’s trying to neuter him all the time, that’s energy he could spend working, or God forbid, spending on a hobby or having fun for himself.

    As was discussed with the story of the two mothers “wearing the pants” in part one, or through drawing upon the character of Scarlett from “Gone With the Wind”, what might have been less common or hit-and-miss in the past is almost certain in today’s world. Feminism has done its very best (and a grand job it has done) to convince women that men are not to be trusted or counted on, and that all men are either buffoons, violent criminals, or immature and have “failed to launch”. [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-WewMW1SBI ] There are plenty of sound men out in this world, sound men who are invisible to women due to many women’s screwed up value systems, or it’s the men themselves who want nothing to do with what passes for a woman these days.

    Indeed, the concepts of dominance and domineering having been conflated in this society. Again, hen-pecking, shit testing, picking fights for no reason other than to fight (possibly to try and get the man to see things her way and take her side, probably in an attempt to get him to do something[s] for her), and just being a nag or bitch in general is NOT strength or dominance. A strong man is one who can weather that storm, especially if it comes on a consistent basis (he should have gotten rid of this type of woman long before that), picking his battles and allowing for the immaturity to play itself out. A strong man is one who has standards for a partner and boundaries for himself. He can walk away from this nonsense and continue to date others, but will ultimately walk alone in life until finding a suitable partner, if that ever happens, should that be his goal.

    A blog like this might better serve women by telling women to either get in line, or don’t expect to be dating nor getting married until they are ready to do that, and then also providing concrete examples and lists of things that women are to do in order to earn a man and keep him around (withholding sex from him being a surefire way to end up alone). How much do women really deserve, and where and when does it ever (if ever) stop? [ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o8FJbf75r0 ]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: