But appearances of gender equality can be deceiving. In my most recent study, I asked 114 young adults about their heterosexual relationship experiences. Unsurprisingly, power was skewed in favor of one partner (versus being equally balanced or shared) in most of their relationships. What’s more, male and female participants were equally likely to see themselves as the ones wearing the proverbial “pants” in a relationship.

What's the meaning of "proverbial pants” here or in general?

Update: I was confused because I thought the meaning of "wear a pant" means dress a pant. But it actually means (female) dominating a relationship.

"Proverbial" means "referring to in a proverb or idiom". Therefore the whole phrase just means "a dominating relationship"?

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    See the Cambridge Dictionary: wear the pants. For proverbial, see the Cambridge Dictionary: proverbial, or What does “the proverbial middle finger” mean? If you are still confused, please edit your post and include this research.
    – Em.
    Aug 22, 2020 at 23:52
  • 1
    "Wear the trousers" in British English, and of course dating from the time when only men commonly wore trousers - the woman was seen as usurping the masculine role. Aug 23, 2020 at 7:51
  • @Em. Done. Very helpful comment!
    – High GPA
    Aug 24, 2020 at 0:36


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