Recently an Instagram post by author Robbie Tripp went viral. It was a post about his love for his wife, despite her larger figure.
People were immediately drawn to the post, and congratulated Tripp on being so outspoken about his acceptance and adoration of larger bodies. Comments such as “I wish I could find a man like you” and “You are so inspiring” flooded his Instagram. BuzzFeed and HuffPost ran stories depicting the so-called insane level of cuteness.
And yeah, it’s always nice to see someone profess their adoration for their partner. Who doesn’t love love? But the reality is, there are MANY things wrong with Tripp’s post including his narrow definition of feminism, his ironic tendency to praise one body type over another, and his seemingly #humblebrag that he deserves a trophy for loving his curvy wife.
But what strikes me most about his post is the overwhelmingly positive reaction to it. Many women loved it and couldn’t stop sharing it on social media. They asked why more men couldn’t be like Tripp. Which makes me wonder: why are we so obsessed with men who do the bare minimum? Why is the bar for our male partners so comically low?
Shouldn’t it be a given that a husband loves his wife regardless of her body type? Why is that worthy of praise? Why is that a viral post? Husbands shouldn’t get gold stars because they’re attracted to their own wives, even if their bodies are outside of the typical beauty standards. That’s not a groundbreaking ideology- that’s being a decent human being. (And just so we’re clear, Tripp is not the first guy in the world to love a fat person. He’s not exactly discovering a new frontier here.)
The example of the low standards we have for men extend far beyond Tripp’s post. I hear it in conversations all the time. Innocent comments between women like “Oh, you’re so lucky your husband vacuums” or “Look at your boyfriend remembering your anniversary! How sweet!” or “I can’t believe your husband goes to your doctor’s appointments with you.”
Ladies, it’s not especially noteworthy that your husband takes you to get your wisdom teeth pulled or goes out to dinner with you and your mother or buys you tampons at the grocery store. It’s nice, sure. But it should be expected. It’s the bare minimum. It’s square one.
No one thinks you’re the world’s best wife when you drive your husband to the ER or go to your in-laws for Christmas or pick up a six-pack on your weekly wine run. Why? Because you’re not doing anything special! You’re just being a decent human. It’s the same with him: it’s not a grand romantic gesture if it’s a gesture he should be doing anyway.
I’m not trying to be cruel, or downplay the importance of being kind. But having such low expectations for our male partners is dangerous. So often we get into a relationship that’s not working out, but we don’t want to pull the plug because they are such a “nice person” with a “good heart”. Those are great qualities, yes. But those are non-negotiables. You don’t get kudos for being a good human. That’s expected. Ask yourself what else they bring to the table.
We’re allowed to expect our partners to be good people. We’re allowed to require a basic foundational level of goodness in our relationships. And then we’re allowed to want more. To use niceness and decency as the starting point. Maybe if we demanded that of our relationships, if we didn’t think that decency was an extra and not a given, we would be in happier and more fulfilling partnerships.
It’s time to raise the bar. We deserve it.
Jillian is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.