The Reluctant Independent Woman
Fisani’s article on “Girls Run The World” got me thinking and agreeing with his deduction that although women are indeed starting to run the world, men definitely still own it. I found myself being prompted to address another misconception, “The Independent Woman.” I have felt compelled to write about my views on the “The independent Woman” for a while and this feels like an opportune time to do so.
For generations now women have evolved, whilst varying the degrees of dependency on their male counterparts. Our grandparents’ generation was confined to the parameters set by society. There was an expectation that a woman should settle and pre-occupy herself with her family. And settle they did!
The next generation of women was secretly told by their mothers and aunts to wait before settling and to get an education first. The previous generation began living somewhat vicariously through their daughters, in some cases explicitly displaying regrets which they had previously become privy to disguising, hiding and suppressing, whilst initially nurturing and raising those same daughters.
The daughters heeded their mother’s advice for the most part, whilst their mothers willingly acted as a safety net by raising any grandchildren born before their daughters had obtained that sought-after education.
Fast forward to our generation ( I was born in the 80’s) – having the honour of having mothers setting the way for us, obtaining the highest academic qualifications, and taking over the workplace. We have born witness to the original independent woman. These women married at an older age than the generation before them, had their own businesses and wrote the blueprint for “I Am Woman: When I Think I Must Speak.”
We grew up seeing that it was possible to have the smarts and do as well our mothers. They told us we could do anything whilst secretly whispering in our ears as their mothers did. However, this time the message was different… reminding us of the importance of settling, explicitly displaying their regrets that they had hidden so well whilst raising and nurturing us.
The debate about women has been the epitome of the song that doesn’t end. At times, it’s exhaustive in its nature and rather patronizing. You would be forgiven for believing that there is a new alpha female who can do bad all by herself!
I am yet to meet that woman. I have met women who have had no choice but to do bad all by themselves. I call them the reluctant independent woman.
Women have had to straighten their backs and brush their hair and ‘make bank’ on their own because ‘What am I supposed to do before Mr. Right comes?’
Who will pay my bills? Who will take out the trash? Or fix my computer? I have no choice but to be independent.
We are excitedly anticipating playing happy families but before then I will pre- occupy myself with what I can control – my drive – I’ll make sure I run my world!