Miranda Kerr, former Victoria Secret model and wife of actor, Orlando Bloom, recently spoke out about her marriage. She stated in the video Miranda Kerr’s Secret for a Happy, Lasting Marriage that although she is quite dominant in her career, while at home with her husband, it works best for her to “relax more into her feminine side” (OMG). “Gender roles” are really important in her marriage. She likes to make Orlando feel like her “knight in shining armor” (OMG). Miranda comments that “if you’re really an alpha female, you don’t allow your partner to have the space to feel like the man in the relationship. Maybe I am too traditional but I believe men feel important when you ask for help instead of thinking you can do it all on your own” (OMG). Miranda’s advice to women about marriage says a lot about the relationship advice that women are often given about their place in society, even in this day and age.
Women are traditionally thought to stay home and raise the kids, cook the meals and clean the house while men go to work and provide for the family. The woman may have a job but that job is often treated as a hobby and does little to provide to the family’s income. She may not work until after the children have grown up – and often, not even then. This is the quintessential 1960s-based role of the woman in the family and I think these roles have seeped into our modern world. If we go back even further to the 1800s, not only was the wife supposed to fulfill these gender roles but she was also supposed to be the archetypal ‘angel in the house’ – the moral centre of the family.
I do not believe Miranda Kerr is advocating these outdated gender roles in marriage. She supports them to a degree, but you will notice that she is still dictating her own career and believes that not being an “alpha female” is making Orlando feel like he is a man, supporting his needs as well as her own. Some people may think her views on marriage are very traditional or even that it is anti-feminist to take on traditional roles in the modern world after the fight for universal suffrage and women’s rights. However, I think couples take on roles in a marriage according to what works best for them, even if that means Miranda treats Orlando as if he is her “knight in shining armour” and she asks him for help on things she could probably do on her own.
I also do not believe taking on typical gender roles is always a bad thing. Women are typically just more nurturing than males. This doesn’t mean that men aren’t nurturing and should never stay home and raise the kids but I think genetically we are predisposed to certain behaviors. Men like to feel important and be problem-solvers, to be asked for help. Maybe not all men, but many are like this just because that is how they are genetically predisposed to be. Another thing men often do is compartmentalize their lives into different boxes that will represent different things in their life such as work, their wife, and their relaxation time. These boxes do not tend to intersect. Women, on the other hand, see all the boxes in their lives as being interconnected. Being stressed out at work means being stressed out at home and added onto that stress is the stress related to their partner acting a certain way. Not all women are like this but it is interesting to note that a great number of us are already playing with dolls or hot wheels according to our gender when we are little children.
I think Miranda very much supports female empowerment. What she is saying is that in relationships, one partner cannot do everything and fulfill their needs alone. They both need each other and this often means adapting to gender roles. I agree that women are still often told to be that quintessential “angel in the house” or the 1960’s “Mad Men housewife” but I also think that in some marriages, this model works whether it is modern or not. Miranda finds great success as a modern woman in her career and is empowered by that, but she is also empowered by her typical gender role in her marriage. She likes making Orlando feel important and asking him for help. Far from this taking that empowerment away and turning her into a meek female, this actually enhances those feelings for her. Miranda’s view of marriage is simply a connection between old and new gender roles in relationships.