#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]

16 thoughts on “#tbt Miss Independent, Get Your Ass Back in the Kitchen!

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  1. I don’t think it’s fair to assume Women should be the one to stay home.

    Also, You are ignoring the vast numbers of women who can successfully do both. I know many families and children who benefit from seeing their mother as an independent person who is successful in the workplace.

    The point is that people should have the choice to choose their preferred lifestyle. The challenge is achieving the material standards of modern thinking on one income, his or hers.

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    1. Anne Kelly, I love your comment!! Yes, very few CAN do it all and kudos to them for wanting the daunting task of achieving that balance. American life revolves around work while many other cultures, Africans, Spaniards, Italians center their lives around family. Isn’t love always more important? Here, we seek to meet a “material standard,” instead of spending our time with our loved ones. I closed with saying you can have a career as well as long as family is first. To balance them would mean that they are equals and that one will always suffer at the other’s gain.

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  2. Its funny how time really does change everything. I have always been a lover (secret lover) of being in love with “the one”, having a healthy,loving, wealthy penthouse living ( white picket fences don’t really do it for me) family ( which will happen) but coming from a long line of strong, independent, no bs taking women, I’d say its been rather interesting as far as the love life goes. For years I was single doing my ideal of dating and watching others in love and secretly wanting the same. Eventually I grew tough skin from watching and hearing all the stories of what love really did and does to people. While also being one of the girls that wasnt to found of hanging with too many females, I surrounded myself with men (homeboys),with endless stories of what they really did and thought of women and monogamy I must say that it kinda made me a tad bit of a handful when it came to dating. I’d be damn if I let some man think he “owned” me or for that matter if I was going to be played for some fool. Shit my thought; I can do bad all by myself and your tall sexy ass can just sit by the phone and wait for my; “when I’m ready” call. (I feel this being longer than necessary…the point:… ) I eventually let my guard down and got into a relationship. And from being in only one serious relationship (yup thats all I needed to learn my lesson) I realized that it isn’t always about you or him but learning each other and growing together, becoming a unit while being an amazing influential couple to others. While we broke up that thought went right out the window lol. Once the gash of a heartbroken scorned women healed, I really did take the time to think about my part in the relationship. while both parties were equally wrong, one part that I did notice that I contribute to immensely was my independent ego that kept reoccurring with the mind set of “this negro got the game all twisted if he thinks I’m going to be doing xyz” bite me in the ass. Don’t get me wrong I still kinda do think in certain independent women thoughts but I’m still learning and trying to be submissive for when Mr. Right comes but also staying true to me. And I think that’s what the society of women are forgetting, you can still be you but we all play a role. God knew what he was doing when he created us. Quit making life so hard, sit back, relax and let him do it. That’s his “role” :)… The end lol

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    1. I have to tell u how much I really admired your comment. Growth is beautiful, but difficult. I’m happy for you… Especially as you become even more self-aware. Feeding into the notion that you DONT need anyone for companionship is dangerous. Its brews bitterness, apathy and loneliness. Independence in moderation. If only we could listen more closely to the advice of our elders. I think it’d make our growth easier.

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  3. Wonderful, really. Thoughtful, convincing…but also wrong. I don’t think that women have any obligation whatsoever to submit to men and that ultimately that way of thinking is what has sabotaged the progress of the black people generally, but African Americans specifically. Men and women are separate but equal, and if there is an error in that adage it is in the former claim and not the latter.

    I loved where you wrote “To balance them would mean that they are equals and that one will always suffer at the other’s gain.” That sounded SO reasonable. And even though I liked the words, they were wrong. In fact I think I liked them because they were wrong. This balance that you speak of, in which one suffers at the other’s gain, reflects a subject called Game Theory, or specifically zero-sum games.

    An alternative to the game-based equality you both support and destroy is an equality in which both partners gain and lose together. In my mind, an ultimate relationship is one in which that which is good for the goose is good for the gander. In which one cannot benefit in any way without that benefit belonging to the union itself. Think about it.

    When you say that women have a responsibility to support men you acknowledge that mutual benefit (fulfillment of responsibility + care received) can be gained by linear support (from her to him) but you do so in an intellectually immature way. You do so in the common way. You affirm the necessity of the behavior but ignore underlying motivations.

    Submission is simplistic. If a kid asks why they shouldn’t play with fire and you say because I said so, you’re being simplistic. The real reason is that speed of the molecules that compose the flame would impact with the comparatively inert matter forming his hand and cause a very painful, deforming reaction.

    Saying that women should be submissive is simplistic. There are reasons for supporting others that have nothing to do with dominance and submission. But in order to see them you have to believe in an equality that stretches far beyond zero-sum games. I’m only telling you this because I think you’re capable of understanding it. Good luck.

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    1. Sheila!!! Thank you sooo much for reading! 🙂 However, I dont think opinions can be wrong, but I respect everything you had to say. I love your comment and the passion behind it! I think there was a misunderstanding somewhere and I’d love to clear it up.
      1- I actually agree that “men and women are separate but equal” and I dont think I ever mentioned believing that women were, in any way, inferior.
      2- When I commented that, “To balance them would mean that they are equals and that one will always suffer at the other’s gain,” it was in the context of comparing family and a career. I think you believed I was comparing men and women, which would make sense of why you brought up Game Theory and attempted to explain it to my “simplistic, immature” mind. I love the part where you said, “I’m only telling you this because I think you’re capable of understanding it. Good luck.” Meow, Sheila, meow. Lol, yes, thank you 🙂 I am more than capable.
      3- You mentioned that my opinions were not supported by reasoning and that they were more “because I said so.” Really? I came off authoritative? I thought, at least, the title wasn’t too agressive. Lol. Seriously, it should be clear that families and our children, are the reason behind the entire post. I said men and women “are opposing sides at war, with our hearts and children as the casualties instead the braided cord we were meant to be.” Neither side wants to give up the dominant role in our society. Both want careers. Well, in reality, someone has to choose or else our children fall to the gutter to fend for themselves. No parent is perfect and most give it their all, but I think many can agree that the more time spent with your children, the better. I, even, ended with saying, “be proud to have a career without excluding yourself from having a family that comes first.” Family, family, family… that was my whole point. Ambition and independence has eclipsed our families.
      4- Submission. I think you are thinking of the unhealthy perversion that “submission” has become as a result of evil. Slavery, concentration camps, dictatorships pervert the definition of submission. In Law, its an agreement between to parties to abide by a decision. By definition, it is yielding to another person’s wisdom. It also means to state or suggest a purpose. Both definitions are important in a healthy marriage. Assuming you are marrying your better half, who is capable of leading a household, submitting to him based on those positive definitions, should not be a heavy task, but rather an extension of your trust, respect and faith in your relationship. Submission takes humility, intelligence and patience. It is not a weakness, nor is it simplistic.
      5- “That which is good for the goose is good for the gander.” I love that saying! However, the goose’s intentions can distort what is good for the gander. If one is so focused on a career and independence, the family suffers. That, again, is my whole reasoning behind my opinions.
      Sorry my response was so long winded, but I was so excited by your response! Thanks again!

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      1. You have outlined a few clear beliefs: 1.) the dominant role in society is synonymous with the possession of a career. 2.) families should come first. 3.) the less time parents spend with children the more likely they are to end up in gutters. 4.) ambition and independence are threats to families 5.) submission is yielding to another’s wisdom + women’s responsibility to submit = men have greater wisdom. Let’s go…

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      1. Lady, that was not venom. I’ve criticized no one, only opinions. Ideas. Actually the only references I’ve made to an actual person (the author of this blog) were complimentary. “…capable of understanding.” That’s a compliment. But by accusing me of being venomous you are engaging in…

        “An ad hominem (Latin for “to the man”), is an attempt to negate the truth of a claim by pointing out a negative characteristic or unrelated belief of the person supporting it.” That’s a logical fallacy.

        Also, you’ve no idea what venom looks like from me. Wild and reckless destruction. I’ve destroyed very little here, and my words have built far more. You’d see that if you stopped staring at me long enough to look around.

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  4. “Assuming you are marrying your better half…”. You’re not. No woman marries her better half unless she’s gay. And lucky. A man is not under any circumstances any woman’s better half, unless he’s a masochistic misanthrope in search of a slow suicide.

    That assumption is exactly why I claimed in my original comment that this is the type of thinking that has sabotaged black Americans. You say it takes grace to submit, but once done the role is easy: you sit back and hope it works out. Black women have placed all of their hopes on the backs of these men, offered their independence even, and expect them to handle that AND all the bullshit the world throws at absolutely everybody.

    I am never one to bemoan the plight of the poor black man, cause I’m not sympathetic. But I’m also not blind. Brothers don’t have it easy. But as the wife of black man you expect him to think for you too? Give him a fucking break. And the weak minded “real niggas” out there who demand that their women do exactly what you claim women ought to do (submit) aspire to absolutely nothing, I repeat NOTHING more than the dominance of a creature better than him. Why should he work? And take shit from boss. Why should he strive? When you’ve given him all that could ever deserve (you) and even that which he could not (your independence). A man should earn you every day of his life. This is basis of all work. Love is the only law any human being is required to submit to, and it demands work.

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    1. I’m gonna keep this basic simply because I’m currently ill, very tired and I’ve had a rough day.

      If she feels as if she is marrying her better half that is entirely her opinion based on how she feels about me. It isn’t your place to tell her she isn’t because you don’t personally know either one of us. As far as my opinion is concerned she’s ridiculous to consider me her better half. I’m extremely blessed to be with such a beautiful, funny, and intelligent (much more than myself) woman. She’s a better woman than I’ve ever dreamed would fall in love with someone as nerdy and awkward as myself. She’s clearly the better half in this relationship. All I do is offer her protection and endless laughter anything else she says I do is an exaggeration because I am not that awesome (although I am a badass chef lol).

      She’s amazing and since I’ve been with her I’ve started eating healthier, I feel better, I’m less stressed, happy, more organized, etc. Whatever I am when she’s not around she takes all of my traits and makes me an all round better person. I’m in the military and currently overseas, miss her desperately. I miss everything, she makes this annoying “baby” voice whenever she talks to our cat, right now, I’d give anything to hear it. However the second I do hear I’m probably gonna attempt to puncture my ear drums…. but still I miss it lol. I’m just lost without her and I miss having her in my day to day life.

      Okay… I forgot what I was writing about. Oh yeah!

      She’s never expected me to think for her, although, I’m quite brillant when I need to be I’ve gotten most of decisions down to instincts and reflexes. I think that’s awesome, she hates it and chooses to think for HOURS about every little thing. I hate it. Basically, we make our decisions together. Also I NEVER want to dominate her that’s ridiculous and screams of insecurity. She’s my partner and best friend and the usually the only person who’s opinion I listen to.

      I’m very aware she’s all I could ever deserve and her happiness is my top priority. The time we were together while I was deployed was difficult because I was in the desert and internet sucks out there. This time I wasn’t sure how often I’d be able to contact her so I put post-it notes all over our apartment. I’m not sure if she’s found them all yet but when she finds one there’s always a compliment that I don’t tell her enough, a great memory, or just reminder of how much/ why I love her.

      It didn’t take long for us to fall in love but it will take me years, if not an eternity, to express to her much I love her. An eternity I’m willing to spend which is the reason I asked her to be my wife.

      This was longer than expected… sorry for the grammar, typos, and spelling. I’m going to sleep now. Take care and stay blessed!

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  5. Which brings me back to your point: families. Children are little people, birthed and reared to assume the role of tending God’s garden. Ambition and independence are not threats to families, they are the life-blood of them. If a parent lacks ambition and independence they should be spending less time with their children, not more, because that bad habit might rub off. I don’t believe in classifying roles into dominant and submissive. That is what I called simplistic. Because if you understand the real value of these roles we’re talking about who’s on top is not an issue because both are, or no one is. And men are not wiser than women. Men may lack a lot of the nasty bad habits women possess, but wisdom is a positive force, not negative, and just because women can be catty and petty and generally bitches doesn’t mean they don’t have a wealth of ancient knowledge knocking around in their small heads. Men are the less mature gender, women the more jaded.

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