Husbands grow tired of Women's Day

By Hai Hien   October 20, 2023 | 06:11 am PT
“How can I be excited for Women’s Day when my wife, both directly and subtly, keeps suggesting I should buy things for her as gifts,” said 36-year-old Hanoian Tuan Anh.

"And she will openly show her disappointment if I get her something she does not like."

Anh’s wife started sending him photos of bags, apparel, and kitchenware she likes a week before Oct. 20, Vietnamese Women’s Day. The closer the date approached, the more frequently she sent him the posts. She hoped to remind her husband to buy some gifts for the special occasion.

Anh said his wife started treating gift-giving as a responsibility he has to fulfill ever since they got married. Such an attitude has made him weary every time National Women’s Day rolls around. He has become even more annoyed with it this year as his income has dropped due to the country’s gloomy economy.

A man in Ho Chi Minh City buys a bouquet made from sweet treats to give to his wife on Oct. 20, 2021. Photo by Van Dat

A man in Ho Chi Minh City buys a bouquet made from sweet treats to give to his wife on Oct. 20, 2021. Photo by Van Dat

For Quang Vinh, 40, from the northern city of Hai Phong, the occasion is not his favorite either. He said he believed there was no reason for him to buy his wife gifts on Women’s Day, explaining that Oct. 20 has no other meaning than the date the Vietnam Women’s Union was formed.

He says women receiving gifts on this day is just a fabricated ritual made up by business owners and those who want to enhance their relationships with influential female figures in their own lives - whether they are their female supervisors, their children’s teachers, or their family doctors.

"I will buy my wife flowers on any day if I want to express my love for her," he said. "Giving her gifts on specific days like this makes it seem ungenuine."

Another thing that annoys Vinh is how his female friends brag about what they are given by their husbands on their social media accounts, turning a celebration into a rat race.

The sentiments expressed by Anh and Vinh resonated with 74% of 500 participants that took part in a recent VnExpress survey who said they would not give their beloved women gifts on Oct. 20 because they believed that "love can be expressed every day."

Psychologist Nguyen Thi Minh, professor at the National Academy of Public Administration, claims that this large proportion sends a message: a large part of Vietnamese men are against National Women’s Day.

There are several reasons, said Minh.

First, many husbands bear pressure to impress their wives with what and how to give on this day. This is not a simple task, since many women do not tell their husbands what they want to be given most of the time because they do not want to appear needy. On the other hand, they show their disappointment if they do not receive the gifts they wanted.

Second, buying gifts can be not only mentally but also financially challenging for many men. Most men have to buy presents for their mothers, sisters, and female coworkers, along with their wives. Spending a whopping amount of money on gifts for all of these women can pose a big obstacle for men.

Third, wives’ reactions can leave husbands feeling disrespected at times. Many women like to show off what they receive these days on social media, making their husbands think the gifts are merely for the sake of bragging instead of being a representation of love.

These reasons have prompted scores of Vietnamese men to dislike Women’s Day, according to Minh.

Psychologist Trinh Trung Hoa has suggested that both men and women should thus change their approach, in order to both value the other partner and stay stress-free during occasions like this.

For men, buying their wives gifts is not the only way to express their affection. Returning home after office hours, sharing household chores, and taking their wives around the city are just a few good examples of showing their appreciation for their wives, aside from buying expensive gifts.

Taking care of their wives every day of the year is another thing men should do, as no women want their husbands to show their love on only one or two specific days out of 365 in the year.

"Things should be done voluntarily on Women’s Day," Hoa said. "Only when men feel comfortable doing their deeds does the day have value."

On the other hand, women should not impose particular expectations on their husbands’ behavior during this day. By doing so, women themselves can avoid ending up disappointed with their husbands, and men also have a comfortable environment to freely express their appreciation.

"Remember that Women’s Day is just a date which serves as a reminder that men should express their love out loud to their beloved women," Minh said.

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