All Articles Tagged "Independent"
Women. Since the dawn of time we’ve been underestimated as only being able to do certain things. By virtue of the fact that we literally bring forth life, I’d say we can do just about anything. Period. However, society doesn’t really see us that way. Women are still considered second-class citizens in many countries around the world, and even today, we still have to be at the heels of patriarchy and know our place in a sense.
The reality is that there is a perception that there are certain things that women cannot do, or at least, should not do, because it’s a man’s job to do so. Between being capable of ruling a country to being able to fix a leaky faucet, we’ve been told that certain tasks are for men and not women. We’ve also been force-fed the notion that we should always “let a man be a man.” To diminish ourselves in a sense to assuage the part of the male ego that is all about protection and provision.
I’ve always been a tomboy of sorts. I remember carrying a purse for the first time at 15. I lived in cargo pants up until then, because who needs a purse when you’ve got pockets? Interestingly enough, I grew up around women, and my mother always imprinted on us the idea that as a woman, you could do anything a man could. Now, before you jump on me, her efforts weren’t to build a self-sustaining Amazonian tribe of daughters, but to empower us into self-sufficiency past the basics. I was brought up to never be a D.I.D., otherwise known as a damsel in distress. So by the time I was in college, I knew how to change locks, bulbs and install my air conditioner without asking for help. I’m the girl with a tool kit who knows a Phillips head from the others.
I had gone home one summer, and decided I wanted to learn how to drive. As part of my basic training, my instructor showed me the ins and outs of the car engine and the rest of the car parts. The most important thing, according to him, was to learn how to change a tire. There is no such thing as AAA in Lagos, Nigeria, and the fear of being stranded fueled my attention. So I learned, and it served me well.
That is until I went on a date with a guy in the States who had a flat tire.
I met this guy – very macho, yet still a sweetheart. We’d go on dates and he always insisted that he pay. The one time I tried to get the check, he actually got mad at me. When he would come over, he would take my trash out without me asking him to, and fix random things that could use mending. And while my roommates loved him, call it self-sufficiency, or maybe being single for too long beforehand, but I wasn’t overly impressed. Chuffed at times, but still, my mind wasn’t blown.
On one of our dates, his car ended up with a flat tire. We pulled off on the side of the road, and it was dark. He calls for AAA to come and they said they would come as soon as possible. I asked if we could change the tire ourselves since he did have a spare hanging in the back. He wasn’t too keen on the idea, and said he’d rather wait. I got impatient, and playfully joked with him. I said I could change it in the time we were waiting. He scoffed at me and dared me to. Not wanting to look like a punk, I went in the trunk and took out the tool kit, hiked up my dress and got to work on the tire. Fast forward a few minutes later, and the tire was changed while his mouth was left hanging. No need for the cavalry.
As we started on our way home, he was quiet. When he dropped me off at home, he excused himself and said he’d call me later. That was the last I ever heard from him.
In trying to figure out why he went ghost, I asked my male friends, all of whom shook their heads when I mentioned the tire change. I was told that I emasculated him and that I should have just let him be a man — and wait for AAA. The worst part of it all was being told that my ability to do for myself may be seen as threatening and that something as simple as changing a tire communicated that I did not need him (or at some point down the line would not). Since when does my self-sufficiency become challenging to a man’s ego? Of course, it’s not the first time I’ve had to be aware of this and sort of downplay my own efforts and strengths to make a man feel good, but to be honest, I resent it. My need to get things done if I can, by myself, does not take away from the fact that you are needed or wanted as a man. Protection and provision are not exclusive to masculinity. A woman who is handy is sexy – in a Rosie the Riveter way. And if a guy can’t get that, it’s his problem — not mine.
Is this idea of a self-sufficient woman still threatening? Should we downplay what we can do for ourselves in order to make men feel needed? To the men, is a handy woman threatening to your ego?
There will always be debates on how to show a man you’re worthy of him keeping you around by doing certain things. I’m not too sure what works and what doesn’t work in terms of making a man stick around and showing him you’re not just wifey material but should be his wife. What I do know is, you should’t knock it until you try it and do what you feel is appropriate because every man– and woman — is different. Check out some of the most notable “make him keep you” advice around. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t?
Every year, people like to make resolutions so that they can have a better year and be a better person, but it never fails that midway through the year, they realize they aren’t doing any of the things they said they would do. We make the same promises to ourselves and can’t keep most, if any, of them. Let’s have a look at the most popular resolutions people like to make — and fail to keep. Hopefully, you don’t fall into this category.
Q: Hello. I’m 22 years old and currently dating someone who is five years older than me. We have been dating for about a year and a half now and we love and care deeply for each other. My concern, however, is about our future together. He still lives at home with his mother, has no job and has changed his college major at least four times. He’s not very independent. His biggest dream is to run track and field.
Chasing after dreams is cool but I really don’t see that happening for him like he does because he’s been chasing this dream for a while now. I know I don’t have myself totally together and I find that all right for now. I’m 22 years old, and I’m not wasting time to get on my feet. I recently joined the military, and I’m sticking to the major I started off with. I fear that I will get ahead of him and I will pass him by. My mother stresses so much about getting with a guy who is more on my level, but he’s so sweet and caring. He has loved me like no other guy has loved me before; he has a big heart, he’s sensitive and a God-fearing guy.
He may not be able to take care of me financially, but when I’m feeling down, he’s there for me completely. I see myself benefiting from him through other ways. I know he’ll make a great husband, father and partner. I’m doing what I have to do for myself, so I don’t need to rely on a man. My question is: Does it matter most what someone’s current status is in life is, or ultimately, who they really are?
See what celebrity clinical psychologist Dr. Sherry Blake, who you’ve seen on the Braxton Family Values, has to say about this woman’s situation on Essence.com.
*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.
The battle of the sexes has been waged on many fronts but there’s still one frontier that is still in debate: Who should pay on the first date? Depending on who picks up the check at the end of the evening, it’s either going to be emasculating or empowering. At the risk of subscribing to sexist ideals, the man should flex into his wallet and write out that check (or pull out that card). Women are strong enough to bear children and do a wealth of other admirable things, but that strength is often intimidating and it’s not such a bad thing to hang back on the first date and save the Girl Power for another battle.
In this new age of dating, some men are asking women to cover them at the end of the evening or she’s already reaching into her purse without prompting. It’s not necessarily that chivalry is dead, but so many are determined to hold up the banner of equal footing since there’s been so much ado about sneakers and heels being on par; whatever he can do, she can too. It has almost become a competition and not only have the battle lines been drawn, but they’ve blurred. Some men expect a woman to come out of pocket in some way even if he initiated the first date. In fairness, some women make it clear that they are not beholden to how it used to be and will call the waiter over first to help sort out who ordered what and how much her share of the bill is.
Alas, there’s something to be said about tradition. Whoever asked for the first date should pay for the meal and that’s usually the man. A woman can offer to leave the tip, but she shouldn’t be flattening the crumpled bills in her purse to prove any point. She is not on a date with the rest of society, but an interested man who needs to show his intentions.
More and more women are independent and fully capable of paying their own way, but that mantra doesn’t mean a loss of femininity. Women still want to be courted and not treated like one of the guys who’s pooling their money at the end of a long night out on the town. A guy just might be so impressed that his date wants to throw her coins on the table at evening’s end that he’ll get too comfortable. He just might think his lady’s got it like that and can pay for everything going forward. He just might think she can pay for the concert he wants to go to next month. A guy just might get so comfortable with his woman’s finances that he lets her pay for everything. It’s a slippery slope that doesn’t even need to get that far.
Just because a woman can pay doesn’t mean she should. A woman can open her own door, but a gallant suitor will show her that he’s got her. It’s the little things that help deepen a connection. As much as the gender gap has closed, there are just some conventions which shouldn’t be done away with. Men can still be gentlemen and women can still let themselves be ladies. It has not gone out of style.
Stephanie Guerilus is a journalist and author. Follow her on Twitter at @qsteph.
Much in the way that married couples are expected to become the minority in America within the coming years, single parenthood has already become the official norm among women under 30, with more than half of these births occurring outside of marriage. The face of the single mother has also changed in some ways too. While stereotypes would have you think only minorities have babies out of wedlock, a New York Times report found that the fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree.
While overall, most women are married when they have babies—59 percent, according to 2009 data—the trend among women under 30 foreshadows a transformation that may come with future generations, and one that may not be beneficial. As The NYT points out, “researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school, or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.”
An educational divide may explain this growing issue, as college graduates as a whole don’t fit the trend. About 92 percent of college-educated women are married when they give birth, compared with 62 percent of women with post-secondary schooling, and 43 percent of women with a high school diploma or less, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data. Despite the growth among young white women, minority women still constitute a large portion of these births with 73 percent of black children being born outside marriage, compared with 53 percent of Latinos and 29 percent of whites.
Depending on your perspective, this data is either cause for alarm or a testament to changing attitude’s toward marriage and women’s independence. Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania, said “Marriage has become a luxury good,” and Teresa Fragoso, 25, a single mother in Lorain, OH, backed up that thinking by saying “Women used to rely on men, but we don’t need to anymore. We support ourselves. We support our kids.”
As the stigma around singlehood and single parenthood continues to lift, it can only be expected that this trend will continue—and the consequences will only be revealed as time goes on.
What do you think about this trend? Is it fine for women to embrace single motherhood or is this more evidence of the breakdown of American families?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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