MindMusings

The Myth of the Independent Woman

Whenever women talk about being “independent”, I generally have no idea what the hell they’re talking about.

This is not because I think women have a particular ‘place in the world’, or because I think men are ‘natural leaders or providers’ … but just because I literally have no idea what the hell they’re talking about.

I don’t know of, can’t understand, and can’t relate to a situation in which women are dependent in the first place, so the label of the “independent woman” means nothing to me.

I don’t know of, can’t understand, and can’t relate to a situation in which women are weak in the first place, so the label of the “strong woman” strikes no chords with me.

I’m not saying these preconceptions don’t exist (I’ve been on the Internet long enough to know that they certainly do), or that they’re not useful. I support feminism, even though – personally – I can’t relate to the feminist struggle.

I’m pointing that out to say that on many issues, including this one, I am ignorant.

I’m not criticizing or minimizing anyone who uses the term “independent woman”. If it works for you, baby, own it!  😀

I’m just speaking from my perspective, and my experience.

***

The only experience I have with the stereotypical “independent woman” is through the media.

What makes this woman ‘independent’ is – apparently – the fact that she works her own money and don’t need no man.

But, I don’t know anyone who talks like this in real life. I don’t know anyone who would actually consistently refer to herself as an “independent woman”. Not in real life.

Whenever I see stories celebrating women’s so-called independence, I kind of feel the same way I feel whenever guys ask me if I know how to cook.

Like, yeah, of course I know how to cook.

What’s the alternative?

For most people in the world, having a job isn’t some kind of stepping stone to freedom and independence. It’s a necessity for survival.

If you’re lucky, you will probably be able to find a job that you love: something that fulfills you, makes you happy, and gives you purpose.

If you’re a little less lucky, you will be able to find a job (any job given the way the economy is acting right now) and simply find your purpose, fulfillment and happiness elsewhere.

Where are these women that are out there depending on men for their life and survival? Even in cases where a man is the one in the relationship actively earning money, the situation is most likely to be – at the very least – mutually beneficial.

I feel like the “independent woman” is a figment of the imagination of many. She may even be a downright villain: an angry, evil, conniving warmonger who thinks she doesn’t need men, believes she is better than men, and certainly doesn’t like them.

But before I go even further down into this rabbit hole of what is and isn’t real, I’m just going to stop myself right there with the admission that everyone sees life from their own perspective.

“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.”

So said Robertson Davies, and I’m sure we all agree with him.

***

The thing about “independence” … is that it is never free.

No matter how independent anyone claims to be, there was always someone who came before you and worked hard – possibly back-breakingly hard – so you could be able to experience whatever joys you have now.

To me, this doesn’t count as independence.

It counts as a privilege.

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For me, ‘independence’ and ‘freedom’ are possibly the most valued of ideals I pursue. I am willing to sacrifice almost anything for my own freedom: creative freedom, expressive freedom, and – yes – financial freedom.

But I’ve learnt that much of my happiness depends on what falls under the ‘almost’.

I’ve learnt that my independence means nothing without my dependence on my family: my support system, and the reason I am all that I am today.

I’ve learnt that my freedom has no value without my captivity to those that I love, and that love me.

And that, honestly, makes me happy to not be an independent woman.

 ***

Questions? Thoughts? Comments?

As usual, leave them below for kisses and endless virtual sunshine.

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2 comments

  1. Great Article! Who is truly independent right? Whether it relates to finance or simply love, we all depend on someone for something.

    Every time I think of being an independent woman these are exactly my thoughts Dan! It would appear you read my mind on this one:

    “For me, ‘independence’ and ‘freedom’ are possibly the most valued of ideals I pursue. I am willing to sacrifice almost anything for my own freedom: creative freedom, expressive freedom, and – yes – financial freedom.

    But I’ve learnt that much of my happiness depends on what falls under the ‘almost’.

    I’ve learnt that my independence means nothing without my dependence on my family: my support system, and the reason I am all that I am today.

    I’ve learnt that my freedom has no value without my captivity to those that I love, and that love me.

    And that, honestly, makes me happy to not be an independent woman.”

    1. Thanks Tiffy! Your comment made my morning ^^

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