A friend's Facebook thread on love, friendship, romance and cultural expectations provoked a vivid memory: I told a trainee psychiatrist that I was supporting myself and my abusive boy friend. Did he tell me to get out of an abusive situation? No. The mental health provider told me I was castrating my boyfriend by working. If I stopped working, the boyfriend would have to "be a man" and get a job. In those days, the cusp of the 50's and 60's, psychiatrists were credited with enormous authority and arcane knowledge. I actually quit a job with a career path! No, the boyfriend did not suddenly become a responsible, reliable "man." He did not get a job. He blamed me, threatened and hit me. I got a part-time job to scrape the rent together, still trying to not castrate this poor victim of female role deviance. It took me two years to give up on the project and leave.
It was that vital to be in a relationship, any kind of relationship, with a man.
See Amatonormativity Harms Us All, on EverydayFeminism.com