Hello members of Think Atheist.  I don't remember this topic being brought up before so here it is.

The reason I am asking this is because on the Ok Cupid dating website, after browsing quite a  number of female profiles - they were able to answer a question and the question is as follows: 

"Do you think the man should be the head of the household?"

Well, to my surprise, I have seen quite a few females answer 'Yes' to the question and haven't yet seen a female answer 'No'. 

In my opinion, I think it makes no sense to call a man the head of the household and that it is also sexist. 

But apparently the females who answered the question wish it were true. 

1.)  Why do you think this is so?  Because females have this innate desire to be submissive?  Or is it because females want to hold onto the traditional so called 'values' associated with marriage?  Does this somehow go along the lines of the females wanting what they call an 'alpha male'?  Or something else entirely? 

2.)  If you feel you want to answer the question as a 'Yes', then why?  If you say 'No' , then why? 

3.)  What is your definition of 'head of the household'?  Does this mean all decisions are made by the male?  Does this imply the party who is working full time and earning the money get's to make the decisions? 

I look forward to reading the replies! 

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the idea of women being submissive to men is entirely religious. The god that was invented by men wants  men to have control.

         I personally believe that if there was a creator god of the entire universe who wanted me to be submissive to a man..............he probably shouldn't have made me smarter than 90% of them!

     So, no, I do not think the man should be the head of the household.


RE: "the idea of women being submissive to men is entirely religious." - that's a rather broad statement, Joann. Granted, the Hebrew religion, from which Christianity and Islam evolved, was certainly a misogynistic religion, but in Greece, of the Classic Age, women were considered second class citizens, or even less, and that had nothing to do with the religion of the time - their gods adopted a relative hands off position toward their "subjects," as compared to the god of the Bible.

Misogyny may always be cultural, but not always religious.

Well, perhaps there's a little more to it than that. Men tend to be more aggressive which lends itself to dominance, does it not? Maybe we'd like to think we're past that, but maybe we're not.

1) In the modern world I think that women answer yes to wanting the man to be the head of the household is due to cultural and/or religion (which are rather intertwined). I think where the idea originated was with our hunter gatherer ancestors. Like it or not women on the whole are not as physically strong as men and in our hunter gatherer days women likely needed help with protection from predators and other groups of hostile humans. This protection likely over the generations morphed into attitudes of men being superior becoming ingrained in most cultures and religions.

2) I would answer no to the head of household question. Important decisions require input from both parties. There will always be some decisions that will be made unilaterally which is why I think it's important to be with someone you think makes good decisions, who is compatible with you.

3) Head of household is the person who makes or has the majority or end say in the majority of important decisions that will affect the entire household.

A lot of it simply cultural expectations. It really depends on far they take the idea. The man being called "head of household" doesn't even necessarily mean that they the woman is submissive the whole time. Maybe some of those women just want a husband who earns the money with them staying out home. I don't think any of them truly want a patriarch who makes ALL the decisions.

Does there have to a 'head of the household'? I can see an argument for this in a single parent family - someone's got to set some rules for the young ones - but what gives one adult more authority than the other?

I know that in the majority of households the man is more likely to be the main source of income, but I don't think many of this community would go along with that being sufficient reason for him to make all of the major decisions. There might be areas in which one partner is better placed to make a decision than the other, and I'm sure some people would be quick to attribute these to sexual differences, but on a broad front it works better when a couple work together. This might be why the term 'partner' has become so popular in recent years.

Must say that I've never considered this before, and believe that men and women have their particular strengths and weaknesses, but don't think it has to be the case in a healthy relationship.

Picking up on Helen's point, I never wanted to 'look after' a woman; always wanted someone who was a partner/companion in life, and who could provide the support if I'm going through a rough patch. Luckily I found her.

A (married female) friend of mine explained that in her household her husband had the majority vote, even if it was only 51% vs 49%. She said that the ideal situation for settling disputes, assuming multiple participants, is to have an odd number to forestall ties. Since that isn't possible in a traditional marriage, someone needs to have a tie-breaking vote. She wanted a basically traditional marriage but she recognized that two people with equal input would inevitably lead to aggravating stalemates.

That is just one solution to the problem. In another marriage, it might as easily be the female partner who was "head of household."

For over 30 years of marraige our economic unit has functioned quite well.  I have been a student, stay at home father, and a  part time wage earner.  There is no "head" of the family, nor is one needed.  All (well, almost all) of the decisions are jointly made by concensus.  I just shake my head when I see the turmoil that comes from "head" butting with others in families. 

I grew up in a standard North American nuclear family...2 parents, 2 kids...with the father as the "head" of the household, standard '50's and 60's fare.  Very few mothers worked when I was growing up, in my household now the mother/wife has been the economic engine that made property ownership, car ownership and all the doo-dads possible. 

Personal feelings?  Men who have to be "head of household" are harbouring some real insecurities.


I think it's been statistically established that women are in charge of the money more often than the men. So, ler's ask WHAT makes someone the head of the household?

Hi... welcome! I am always glad to hear a man with the balls to bring up feminist issues. Yes... this is an interesting development! What type of dating site is cupid? This seems unusual.... well maybe not.

I am a proud feminist who believes that women and men should have the ability to choose what role they want to be in life without being judged. Relationships between men and women, men and men, or women and women come in all flavors... and that's EXACTLY how it should be! ^_^ Afterall if we were all the same ... how boring this world would be! 

Some women want to be submissive... which is fine... some men also want to be so... also fine. Some women are dominant... fine... and some men are dominant... fine. A lot of people want an equal sharing of powers... a dual governance of the family. That's the boat I'm in. The choice of what role you want to play is yours and yours alone. 

Now to your questions...

1. I cannot be entirely sure why all the women would answer that way... although I have a speculation. 

Women in our society are socialized to believe that men are only interested in dating women who fit the mold of the submissive wife who who loves staying at home, having babies, and washing the husband's underwear. Many various sources feed us a message that if you are a strong-willed woman... no guy will come near you with a "39 and a half foot pole." I believe this is bullshit... but I do get bombarded with this ridiculous "ideal" of womanhood as well. These women on the dating site may believe that the only good answer to that question is yes... because if they answer no then no man will date them. They are wrong of course... 

Females do not have an "innate biological" desire to be submissive. Biologically the differences between the sexes are literally only skin deep. The belief that you have to be submissive comes from gender socializing that begins before you are out of diapers.  

2. I think the answer is "whatever you personally want it to be" It's an IMO thing. There is really no right or wrong answer to that question. The question is, however, phrased wrong... it should be "Do you want a man to be the head of your household." My personal answer would be no. If I decide that I want a life partner... male or female... then I would want one who would share power. I am a free spirited woman and cannot be tied down in a gender role that is opposite of who I am.

3. I don't like the phrase "head of the household" at all. I think it implies that one person has more value than another. And it should be noted... that a person who won't let you make decisions is controlling and (unless you are a masochist and get off on being dominated) then you are in a very unhealthy relationship.

No, and not just because I'm the one who pays the bills in my household.  No, because when in a relationship, things should be equal.  Decisions should be discussed and both individual's input should be fully considered.  Otherwise, what is the point?

Saying things should be equal is one thing, how to break a tie is another. This has to be worked out. Of course tossing a coin, inviting a third party to listen to arguments on both sides and make the decision, or simply agreeing to do nothing (not always possible) if the tie can't be broken, are approaches. As one of the women here has pointed out, females sometimes prefer to demure to their male partner, and some men prefer to do the same, though I suspect it's more often the female partly due to wanting to be traditional and partly due to a subconscious tendency to submissiveness. True, in the world of BDSM, most dominants are women (dominas, dominatrixes) by a ratio of perhaps at least 4 to 1 (and possibly as much as 10 to 1), but that means little because, for most of the male slaves, it is sex play and not everyday reality. Indeed, a large proportion of the men who avail themselves of such women are executives, professionals, judges, or other men of high responsibility. It's a way of letting go.


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