In the past couple of years, I’ve heard many women comment their political views are 180 degrees different from their spouses, one being far right, one being far left. This leads to the battle of who operates the TV remote control, and who gets to dictate what is watched and when.
Often my women friends acquiesce control in order to maintain peace.
“It’s just easier not to argue,” they tell me, so they settle to listen to the rantings of on-air commentators with whom they disagree.
The contest between the sexes about ‘ownership’ of the remote has been going on since television hit mainstream audiences, and it has been my experience that the men in the household usually win out. And this conflict seems to have become more pronounced in today’s political environment.
So, I have to ask myself, why is that?
First of all, why do men think they are King of the Channel Changing Kingdom?
And secondly, why do women give up that power?
I remember, when Jack was alive, I got very tired of watching the Discovery Channel where one species of animals stalked, killed and ate a member of another species. It was a mild irritation, so I would retreat to another room in the house in order to avoid viewing the unsightly natural instincts at work.
But the political arena has brought out more hostility on my part. The mere sound of certain talking heads sets my teeth on edge, and makes me immediately resort to near violence as I lunge to change the channel. I find it is a blessing to live alone so I have the freedom to pick and choose without justifying, promising or fearing.
Society assumes men have the power, are the authority, and have the unspoken right to dictate what is watched. If that assumption is challenged fear erupts for both men and women. Men are fearful of losing their power which often is their definition of manhood. For centuries men have ruled, and to have that authority questioned results in anger, hostility, and often aggressiveness.
Women are also fearful of challenging men and their authority. We’ve been taught and trained to surrender, to quietly accept, to not create waves and to keep peace. Once again, why are we women afraid to confront?
My reading indicates we are fearful of the anger, the hostility the aggressiveness, and possible abandonment that may result.
(I recommend watching the highly acclaimed movie ‘Roma’. It was awarded the Golden Globe for Best Foreign Film, and it a remarkable story of the vulnerability and resiliency of women).
What would happen if women suddenly changed channels on the radios and TVs to what they want to watch? We can expect equal viewing time, each getting an hour a day for one, and an equal amount of time for the other. This week one gets early morning viewing, next week the other gets early morning.
As I think about my life, I wonder why I have been so hesitant to ask for equality in my own home? Men are afraid of losing their power, and women are afraid of demanding and/or expecting it.
I see that dynamic changing. For women it is a slow and painful evolution, but also exhilarating and scary. For men it may appear fast, frustrating, unnecessary and unfair.
Oh, the perils of owning the remote control.