Have you ever thought that male protagonists bear a burden of which they are aware and responsible ever since they were little children? Not because they would want this at all costs... because who, nowadays, would yearn for countless responsibilities, given that the trend reveals much quieter living choices, with a comforting “low profile” or even “hanging” in many ways on a female partner? The truth is that, besides the genetic inheritance (you know, the story with chromosomes, specific hormones, etc.), there is also a deeply rooted conception that the male “must” be the head of the family, the engine of society and, last but not least, the symbol of struggle, regardless of purpose.
In the traditional family, boys are treated a bit differently than girls: they can experience truly dangerous games, they are allowed to have a slightly bolder behavior and they are not so protected when faced with potential dangers. Why? Because, instinctively, every mother prepares her son for the role he will have when “he grows up”, that of a leader, supporter of those around him and guarantor of their stability, thus perpetuating an educational and behavioral style inherited from generation to generation...
Not the same thing happens in the case of young girls. They are much more protected from an early age, their parents show much more affection, being “guided” towards “peaceful” games, with a fairy tale or marriage note, while the care for their physical appearance and clothing is encouraged sometimes up to obsessive levels.
If the differences in genes and chromosomes are clear and imprint the gender characteristics, society has its contribution in strengthening these traits, forcing males to a perpetual “have to”, which most of them assume voluntarily, while women are allowed a more generous range of emotions, choices and decisions. A slightly greater responsibility only happens in the case of maternity, where the woman usually takes control.
It is interesting how the two sexes relate to each other in terms of “have to” and “it depends”. It is a complex, sometimes ambiguous relationship, with prejudices of all kinds, depending on the level of education, status and financial power or even temperament or other minor interests.
At the couple level, cases are rare when the two partners exchange roles, even though men still resort to obsolete tricks, such as: the woman “has to” cook, to provide domestic comfort, to be docile, understanding, kind, welcoming and affectionate... But deep down, they know that this “has to” is so euphemistic that it often seems like a joke. And she, the woman, will continuously exploit that ineffable, tender, miraculous chromosome of femininity in order to strengthen her reserve of “it depends”, of relativity, ambiguity, mood changes, of sensitizing her partner through fragility, even if her actions are generally frivolous and dramatic.
Paradoxically, women are stronger, precisely because they know that they can always resort to that reserve of “it depends” and they are not overwhelmed by the burden of responsibility, while men, always struggling to prove themselves worthy of their expectations, are frequently exposed to failures and, last but not least, to erosion.
The existential miracle happens when the two “have to” and “it depends” merge into the harmony of the feeling of love, when borders coalesce, fade away and generate without conflicts what might be called... the meaning of life.