March 27, 2013 by Vicki
Do we still believe that we, as woman, are somehow ‘less than’ without a man in our lives? We like to believe that our generation has grown beyond such ideas and ideals; which is a crock of shit. Last week, my fiancé told me about a conversation that he had heard between two women of approximately my age. The one woman was telling the other woman about her newest boyfriend and how he liked sports. She was pretending that she did as well so that he would stay interested in her. She told her friend that she couldn’t wait until she could trust in their relationship enough to be honest with him. My fiancé, hearing this conversation, couldn’t believe how false this woman was being to her boyfriend. When he told me this story, however, my heart broke for this woman. Does she truly believe that who and what defines her is worth so little that she can pretend for months on end to be something else? Does she really believe that having a man in your life is worth denying who you really are, for any amount of time? The worst part, of course, is that when she does stop pretending, then he will, quite rightfully, accuse her of being “a lying bitch” and the relationship will end.
Why do we do this to ourselves? Where does this idea come from that we are not complete without a man by our side? We can point to the media’s emphasis on “Love” and “Couple hood” as the only right way of living. The media, however, is influenced by our choices. We can also look at our families’ customs and traditions. These traditions enforce familial beliefs about what constitutes a woman’s worth. On a larger scale, we can look at our society’s assumption that a woman SHOULD want to be married and have children. If she doesn’t then she is selfish or sick. All of these can lead to women believing that they have no self-worth without a man.
If a woman shares this belief than the normal dating process becomes an experiment in self-denial. First date behaviour is a common enough occurrence. Like the male peacock showing off plumage, both parties are on their best behaviour. For a woman who believes she has no self-worth without a man, however, the “first date behaviour” never ends. As John Cusack points out in the movie “Must Love Dogs”, it’s not like you can turn to your partner of twenty years and say hey this is actually the real me. Everything that I said before was just me on good behaviour.
Good behaviour seems to translate into being dressed gorgeously, shaved, and perfumed and make-up to perfection. I once knew a woman who had been married for ten years, and her husband had never seen her without her make-up. She shared the belief that her worth was tied into the presence of a man in her life. If we believe that we have to look a certain way in order to attract a man than obviously, in order to keep said man, we must continue to look the same way. For her husband, this woman continued to look the same way from the moment he woke up to the moment he fell asleep. She would wake up before him to ensure that he never learnt her true appearance.
I find this tragic. A man should love us not for how we look but for who we are inside and out. The woman of whom I speak was a fantastic friend with a humongous heart. She would literally give you the shirt off her back. She loved her children and did her very best for them. Despite all of her fantastic qualities, she felt she had to hide her true self.
I don’t think this belief starts as a conscious belief but rather, a form of “common sense.” I know, in my family, that it was common sense that a girl did not graduate from the “children’s table” to the adult table at family functions until she married. What this “common sense” teaches young girls is that they are not finished until they marry. You could have a University education and you would still sit at the children’s table till you married or had children of your own. No matter what a woman accomplishes on her own, she is not finished until she has found a ‘man.’
I hope and pray that one day we will know longer have this belief in our Society. The only way out is to be aware of this idea and to try your best not to foist these harmful ideas onto the next generation. Young women will graduate from the kids’ table when they finish high school, not when they have a ‘man’ in their life.
- Self Fulfilling Prophecy, how we defend limiting and unhelpful beliefs! (gwizlearning.wordpress.com)
- That Thing Called Love (mylifeonblack.wordpress.com)
- Stuck (everydayfamily.com)