Have you ever heard of an FLR?
I hadn't until recently, and if I have to know about this, so do you.
FLR stands for Female-Led Relationship. But it's not what you think. (Or it's exactly what you think. It depends on what you think.)
According to a dude on Hinge (that's a dating app, for those of you who are lucky enough to be ignorant about these things), and then confirmed by my google searches, FLRs can be a lot of things.
Some FLRs are exactly what they sound like: a heterosexual relationship where the woman is in charge. She makes the decisions, earns the money, and tells the man what to do. (Or is "exactly what it sounds like" a lesbian relationship, because that's led by two females? Except I feel like only straight culture comes up with this kind of nonsense.)
However, FLRs can also be relationships that are egalitarian.
That's right. A relationship where both parties have a say in decisions, have jobs, and participate in the housework and generally do life together is considered female-led. Even if it was actually perfectly equal, it would be an FLR.
That's because FLRs are defined, actually, by what they're not: male-led relationships. Apparently, these are standard. Normal. And while I'll be the first to agree that the patriarchy still exists and that almost all hetero relationships include a man who doesn't do his share of housework or childcare or emotional labour, these folks think that the strictest "traditional" gender roles in a relationship have always been that way (nope) and are still the norm (nooooo) and that doing anything slightly different from that suddenly means the woman is in charge, even when she's not (?????).
Can we sit with the wrongness of this for a second?
Sit with it some more.
Keep sitting with it.
Okay, now let's make some observations and ask some questions.
First of all, how dare you?
Second, why the heck does a relationship have to have a leader? And if it is equal whyyyyyyyyy would you label that as being led by one person???? This is false advertising.
The insistence on gender roles so strict they are almost a parody of the real thing and unnecessary labelling of relationships makes me think that this whole thing is mostly populated by the men who, if they weren't getting relationships, would become incels.
To be fair, a lot of the stuff I read about FLRs online is actually really positive about women's empowerment and even recognized the truth that patriarchal relationships also kind of suck for men because being in charge and emotionally cut-off is not great for, you know, feeling loved.
BUT it's all set up in this way that is so backwards and so obsessed with "innate differences" between men and women! The guy I spoke with on Hinge actually told me he was SURPRISED to find that he enjoyed doing things for his partners when he tried an FLR.
Surprised. That doing things, for his partner, was enjoyable.
I don't know. I guess if this is a part of a dude's journey away from rampant sexism that's great. But I don't want anything to do with it.
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