“Aren’t My Dreams Just As Important As Yours?”

Eric and Tami Taylor of Friday Night Lights are one of my favorite onscreen couples of all time. It amazes me how their love remains so strong (and real!) despite all the conflict they endure. However, there is one aspect of Eric and Tami’s relationship that irks me, and that is that Eric’s career always takes precedence over Tami’s. Though Tami is able to gradually build a great career in the educational sphere, she has to do so within the geographic and social constraints of her husband’s career. Only in the very last episode of the very last season does Tami’s career finally take the spotlight. The finale’s last scene shows viewers that Eric has left his coaching job in Texas to follow Tami to Philadelphia, where Tami is the Dean of Admissions of a prestigious university.

That last scene was an extremely empowering moment for Tami, and it makes me wonder how often similar occurrences happen in real life. I wonder how the number of men moving for their wives’ careers compares to the number of women moving for their husbands’ careers today. It seems to me that the man moving for his wife’s career is still a very taboo idea in our society. It falls in line with the idea of the husband becoming the stay-at-home father so his wife can work full-time. In both cases, the woman’s career is made superior to the man’s. In both cases, the longstanding idea of the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the homemaker is threatened. In both cases, the man’s masculinity is threatened.

Our society’s discomfort with the woman’s career taking precedence shows the leaps we have to make to reach gender equality both in the workplace and at home.  It’s a work in progress, but hopefully someday, the last scene of Friday Night Lights will be representative of a common occurrence.

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