My southern mother had several rules for me. And by several, I mean several dozens. Among my favorites, which I will never pass over to my daughter: eat before you go on a dinner date, always curl your hair, wash your hair twice so it shines more, wear high heels and pantyhose as often as possible, and never talk about sex, religion, or politics.
Mother thought they were unbecoming or rough topics. She knew they would lead to arguments, fights, hard feelings, and ultimately, my lessened popularity.
Liberal undergraduate nights kept me up discussing the Big Three. I haven't stopped talking about them since, and now only restrain myself at work events, small dinner parties, and when my husband begs me beforehand to not to do so. (Keeping quiet sometimes helps the first of the Three stay part of our discussions).
Mothers and spouses hush The Big Three because they are all connected. Americans try to untangle them; in fact, we built an entire nation on the hope that we could. Our court system partially exists to separate them. They all influence each other and may have been born of each other.
Gender involvement scares conversationalists. Everyone's expectations for the sexes differ in all three categories. The Big Three arouse such emotions and question our engraved beliefs. Even when I try to change my opinions of them as I often do after logically studying the history, problems, failed solutions, and ridiculous dutiful parental teachings. Our Big Three ideas are the ridges in a wooden table, which if you eliminate by sanding will weaken the wood, which if you fill in with putty will dry and blow away, and which if you ignore will deepen and widen with age and experience. We must alter our Big Three ideas and expectations, but our early environments and rules with their terrible connections will always prevail.