#tbt Miss Independent, Get Your Ass Back in the Kitchen!

I remember sitting, during the last days of high school, in the senior section, with a large group of chatting girls. The only thing every senior student could think about, at that point, was the future. The imminent possibilities that laid ahead of us. The opportunities that would surely be handed to us in the coming years. Most importantly, the money and the happiness to be gained from the dreams we were about to fulfill. (PSHH! LOL… How adorably naive.) 

We sat there at the senior section lunch tables, sharing our five-year plans, where we were attending college and what we wanted to do once we acquired higher education. Future doctors, lawyers, sex therapists, teachers, artists and engineers sat in my midst, all of them women. As we came around the table, we came to a girl, particularly known more for her beauty than her brains. She told the group of us, simply and confidently that she wanted to be a mother. There was a significant pause that rippled throughout the girls. Everyone stared at her with mild confusion, mingled with severe distaste. With all the potential in the room and all the grandios schemes brewing within each of us, this girl, aspired to be at home, bare-feet and pregnant, cooking and cleaning, and chasing half naked toddlers before her husband returned from work. How proud her parents must be. Inexplicably, I glanced to the left of her, to the tall black girl who had been good at everything she sought out to do in high school and had full ride scholarships to look forward to. I couldn't help but dwell on just how different the pair of them were.

Flashback 60 years at the same high school scenario, girls would sit at lunch giggling about who they would marry and how many children they would have. Many of them saw nothing more noble and honorable than becoming a doting wife and responsible mother of 2.5 children and a dog. Unless you had a brief stint as a nurse or a volunteer in the war efforts, having a career, as a woman, was frowned upon back then. It was a distraction from what you were born to do, which was procreate and care for those creations. Its funny how having children reminds you why you didn't want children. Still, women went to college to refine their manners, exercise their knowledge in art, literature and culture, all to meet and impress the man they'd marry. Many girls never graduated college because in their minds, they'd met Mr. Right in their sophomore year, so to hell with glorified charm school! Obviously, not every last woman was this way, but the housewife role is the one we've been spoonfed. These two generations of a woman's role could not be MORE different and both despise the other's ambitions. Now, no one wants to adhere to the traditional definition of a woman's role in society. Its demeaning and weak for a woman to aspire to be that perfect Stepford wife that reigned for most of the 20th century. Its unimpressive to be known as a soccer mom, the chairman of the PTA or a volunteer at the umpteenth school bake sale.

More recently, Beyonce and her back up singers spawned the independent women craze of the 21st century. The notion that it is better to be alone, to take care of yourself, to go on dates with your fellow independent girlfriends and to return to your vibrator after a night of buying your own drinks. Other versions of this notion include guilt-free one night stands, graduating with a doctorate degree because paying student loans is fun, participating in an open relationship or acquiring a sex buddy, and having a gay guy as your best friend to fill the testosterone void in your life. After years of being disappointed by the poor relationship choices women make in their male counterparts, women heard the Destiny's Child song as a beacon of strength, pride and hope. Strength, because women can do anything a man can do, sometimes, better than he could have done it. They could now find pride in their embellished job titles rather than true loving marriages. Hope, because, perhaps there will be a man strong enough to see her new lease on life and step up as her equal. Neither of these beliefs came true for many hopelessly lonely women. Strong women are beautiful, but being completely independent of a man is intimidating in a sense that "well, if she doesn't need me, then I will date someone who has less issues with being vulnerable." Of course, that paycheck sure does keep a girl warm at night…. because she paid her heating bill herself! And so evolves a new trend of men taking advantage off of a woman's new-found strength, pride and success.

Its not uncommon to hear women who buy into the independence ideal, saying, "I can do badly on my own" rather than doing badly with a partner. Well of course! Seriously, success has not reached its peak until it is shared with a worthy companion. Love is not at its purest until it is spent loving a child. Humans were made to be with other humans. We desire companionship, to mate for life. If it is a good relationship, bad times are bound to spring up, but they will not be as difficult to fight as they would be fought on their own. Despite what young people want to believe, some things should remain traditional. The roles of men and women have become blurred beyond recognition and it is doubtful they can ever become clear again. There is a reason divorce rates are so high. There is a reason there are so many single-parent families. It could very well be that our quest for equal-footing with men has back fired. We are opposing sides at war, with our hearts and children as the casualties instead of the braided cord we were meant to be. Women had to gain their freedom from being suppressed and quieted and unappreciated, yes! Yet, we are still fighting for our equality and independence as if we have not had it for nearly a century already. It goes without saying that a man can not be everything God intended him to be without the care, love and support of a woman. The role of a housewife and mother takes some humility, patience and weed, but also it needs to be recognized as a worthy position to be filled. It is tiresome to see women posting half naked photos online for attention, boasting of their pointless day job duties, giving words of daily empty encouragement to other singles, gloating about the casual sex from the previous night and spending every penny on their appearance, just to cover up the fact that they are lonely. Stop hiding behind the veil of independence and be proud to have a career without excluding yourself from having a family that comes first.

 

[Originally posted on January 31, 2012]