Being submissive in a relationship means that one partner is the leader and takes on a dominant role, while the other takes a submissive role. Some couples find this empowering, but for others, it can evoke feelings of being weak, oppressed, or a form of slavery. Fifty Shades of Grey has turned it into an extreme kink play.
You also see this dynamic play out in other relationships, such as in the workplace or the family unit. An employee will submit to their boss's decision to benefit the team and the wider company. A child will submit to their parent because the parent is wiser. In both examples, submitting to a superior or someone who has more authority helps to steer the company or the family to its intended goals and destination. They're kind of like the captain of the ship.
What Celebrities Are Saying about Being Submissive
Jeannie Mai, Cara Delevingne, Candace Cameron Bure, and Lady Gaga acknowledge the power play between men and women in relationships and agree that the secret to a successful relationship is to be submissive and to let their man be the leader.
Jeannie Mai was seen saying on The Real daytime talk show: "Going into my marriage [with Jeezy], I want to submit to my man. When I come home, I like the idea that my man leads us."
Cara Delevingne dissected the power dynamic between men and women, so when it comes to dating, she says, "I'm always very submissive with men. Always.'"
Lady Gaga was also reported saying she was the submissive one in her relationship with ex-fiancé Taylor Kinney. When asked about it on Sirius XM's radio show, she responded, "Oh yeah, he's [Kinney], totally in charge. When I'm home I'm, like, shoes are off, I'm making him dinner, you know? He has a job, too, and he's really busy. I'm in charge all day long. The last thing I wanna do is tell him what to do."
Finally, Candace Cameron Bure, married to her husband for nearly 25 years, talks about being submissive in her book, Balancing it All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose. She writes, "I am not a passive person, but I chose to fall into a more submissive role in our relationship because I wanted to do everything in my power to make my marriage and family work."
The Origins of Being Submissive
The idea of women being submissive to their husbands is traditionally associated with religious teaching. Many religions, from Christianity to Judaism to Islam have similar teachings explaining how wives should submit or obey their husbands and how husbands must love and provide for their wives.
While the origins of being submissive derive from various holy books, does it align with general male/female psychology and modern society? Or is it nonsense and created by the patriarchy to exercise power over women?
What Does Society Tell Us?
It’s not politically correct to say wives might like submitting to their husbands, but it's also no secret that most women prefer being with a man who is high status. Sure there are some women who like being the dominant one, but many women would rather be with a man who is a provider and who is also taller, stronger, smarter, and so on.
Stories and films such as Cinderella, Snow White, The Notebook, Crazy Rich Asians, and Fifty Shades Of Grey all paint a picture of a woman falling in love with a higher-status man. The male protagonist saves her from her woes and provides the life she's always (secretly) desired.
Women around the world lap it up, and the titles go on to make millions in book sales and at the box office. It’s fascinating that in a culture obsessed with women’s empowerment and “strong women,” there’s a deep psychological pull toward dominant (and even domineering) male characters. It seems that many women have a natural inclination or at least like the idea of being with a powerful, dominant man.
Perhaps this is the natural result of a world that increasingly tells women to do it all, and many women are finding out that it’s just not possible. Like Lady Gaga, they spend all day at their job taking control and telling others what to do. Maybe taking a back seat in their relationship is a welcome respite for always needing to feel in control.
When Being Submissive Goes Wrong
Being submissive is all about trust and consent. A man should never use his power to manipulate, control, or lead you to do things that are bad for you and your relationship. Watch out for gaslighting and other forms of emotional abuse. Being submissive is not the equivalent of being weak or a victim.
Being submissive is not the equivalent of being weak or a victim.
In short: Don't be in a relationship with, let alone submit to, an unworthy or abusive man. Men who abuse their power over women are the whole reason why women have had to fight to gain so many rights and privileges over the last century.
Being submissive is definitely not for everyone, but it’s certainly interesting that even in the times of gender equality and women’s empowerment, there’s still a draw to such old-fashioned ideas as submission to men in a relationship.
Having to make all the decisions in all areas of your life is not only tiring, but it can cause you to burn out. Just listen to any woman who moans about having to do everything! Wouldn't you want your man to, you know, be a man by taking on the responsibility of leading the relationship from time-to-time?
Submission is like a dance between two lovers who respect, admire, and understand each other’s differences. It requires a huge level of trust and should always be a choice based on mutual consent.