Donald A. Cadogan, Ph.D.





Modern life has brought with it radical changes in male and female sexual roles.  Many of the masculine and feminine behavioral styles that were once considered proper are no longer acceptable to an ever-growing number of people.  For example, in former days, opening a door at work for a woman by a man was seen as good etiquette.  But the modern view is that such behavior places the man in a superior, protective position and implies the woman is weaker and less adequate. Such gestures were originally intended to be chivalrous.   But in our modern, competitive business world, the notions these acts foster are distinctly disadvantageous to women.  Today most people seek social role patterns that provide greater freedom, fairness and equity to both sexes.


But old attitudes resist change and many people continue behaving with traditional patterns, sometimes without their full awareness.  The result, when intimate partners hold different styles, is couple conflict.  A marriage in which one spouse is modern and the other traditional can generate constant fighting about “proper” behavior and often ends in divorce.


 The important factor for us here is not so much whether marital partner’s beliefs are modern or traditional, but that they are in agreement.  It should be noted, however, studies do indicate marriages in which both partners have equal power and family status are usually happier.


Here is a quiz to help you determine whether you are traditional or modern in your thinking.  The results may help you better harmonize your intimate relationships.




Circle T (true) or F (false) on each question before looking at the answers.  Try to answer the questions with the first response that comes to your mind. This will enable the quiz to better present a picture of your natural tendencies.


Please note, surveys of this kind are not definitive and can only reflect trends in your personality.


1.  Muscles look good only on men.                                                                                           T     F


2.  In dual career marriages, the man’s career is more important

      because if they decide to have children he must support the family.                                        T     F                                             


3.  It is usually much safer for pilots to be men.                                                                           T     F


4.  During family meals, the father should sit at the head of the table.                                            T     F


5. When dividing up family chores, work inside the house should

     be for the woman and work outside for the man.                                                                    T     F


6. Women in pants and short hair are usually unattractive.                                                            T     F


7. Women are usually better cooks than men.                                                                              T     F


8. Women are usually not good at math.                                                                                      T     F


9. Women do not make good combat soldiers because they are

     not as strong or as aggressive as men.                                                                                     T     F


10. In divorce cases, custody should be awarded to the mother

      because women are naturally more loving and nurturing.                                                         T     F


11. A women’s most important task in life is producing children.                                                   T     F


12. Because of their small size, women do not make good truck drivers.                                       T     F




The T (true) answers represent the more traditional view.  The more T answers you made, the more traditional you are in your thinking.  Eight or more T answers would definitely place you in the traditional category.


Feminists and modern social thinkers have challenged all of the issues raised by these questions.  F (false) answers to these questions are more representative of their thinking.  The more F answers you made, the more your thinking is in line with current ideas about sexual and social role relationships.  Eight answers or more would clearly place you in the modern category.


Once again, it is not critical to the development of a happy marriage that the partners be modern or traditional in their thinking.  But it is important that they agree.  It is noteworthy, however, equality also plays a vital role.