Lifestyle

Are You Really an Independent Woman?

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Are you really an independent woman? I posed this question after I had a blunt conversation with one of my guy friends. He said that he had been dating a woman but he didn’t plan on seeing her again. When I asked why he wouldn’t see her again his answer shocked me. He said, “she invited me to lunch and she didn’t pay.”

He elaborated and said,  “I heard Neyo’s song, She Got Her Own and it has me wondering where is that woman at?” I attempted to give him a chance to redeem himself and asked,” how many dates have y’all been on?” He said, “it was our second time going out, but she invited me so she should have paid.” (side eye) I was upset at the thought that one lunch could disqualify a woman from being independent.

Then I realized the concept of being an”independent woman” is irrelevant. Buying your own clothes and paying your own bills is a prerequisite of being an adult not a sacred right of passage. The notion of the “independent woman” started out fun and playful and it somehow morphed into a way of segregating the upper echelon “independents” from the “basics”.

This separation cuts both ways creating a war between men and women. Independence is turning into a check list of qualifications to be seen as worthy. Furthermore, why are finances evidence of independence? All this independent woman propaganda is bordering unhealthy and sabotaging relationships between both men and women.

These are my thoughts on why you shouldn’t be an “Independent Woman”

Because 1999 was 16 years ago!

Destiny’s Child released Independent Women pt.1 16 years ago on the Charlie’s Angels Soundtrack. It was a song written for a movie about three women, fictional women (in addition, that Ne-Yo song is 8 years old). Granted the lyrics are empowering, but isn’t that the point of a girl anthem? If we are still holding on to the ideal of  “independent women” then why aren’t we still shouting the Spice Girl’s “Girl Power”?

The reality is life is a journey you’ll be at different points at different times. Life can’t constantly be picturesque. If the outside world can’t see you climbing to the top it doesn’t mean that you’re not reaching for the peak.

Did Plymouth Rock Land on Independent Women?

Independent women have always existed. Why are we waving our ability to  self sustain like a victory flag? As far as men proclaiming their excitement to encounter a woman who has her own, the jury is still out.

Men can often see money as control, and women who have money can be seen as being potentially controlling. Sometimes men’s keen interest in independent women can be a ploy. It’s a great way to say, “I’m glad you have your own because I didn’t want to offer you any of mine.”

I don’t think all men feel like this; I think it is important to know the difference between a man who is comfortable, and one who is cheap. Some men date for sport. If I was a man, and I wanted to date a different woman every night of the week  I would hope that one of them paid for lunch too. Be sure that when a man is impressed with your independence it’s not just superficial. Sure, he can handle your money, but can he handle your mind too? Your independence is not a dowry.

Independence without a bankroll 

Finances are not the only stipulation to independence. I see financially stable, codependent women all the time.  A life without balance is unstable. Turning your life into a check list is self destructive. What happens when you can’t cross something off your list? What happens if you don’t get married or don’t have kids?  Who will you be if you don’t build a firm foundation in who you are as an individual? (All of those questions need answers)

I’ll tell you who you will be, a person who is constantly in search for the things they want. If you are on a frantic quest to obtain a want, your aggressions may cause you to cut a corners.  You need enough internal reserve to be still and find out what you want. Is being a slave to the things you think you want independence?

You also shouldn’t count yourself out if you are not financially where you want to be. If you are working on yourself you’re headed in the right direction. Being unafraid to walk in your truth is independence.The real question is what are you independent of?  We all need someone and not just in the romantic sense. You need community, a mentor, you may even need a partner.  You don’t need independence you need freedom and there is a difference.

Don’t be afraid to be basic!

Basic is defined as an essential foundation or starting point; fundamental. Meaning you can’t get to the advanced stage of anything without first being basic. The dilemma of the “independents” versus the “basics” is frivolous. Unless you are attempting to advance another woman in the spirit of sisterhood, why call her out on her basic-ness?

Isn’t basic a direct side-effect of ignorance or never having the proper tools to advance. Why are we as women dangling success over each others heads? I believe that it’s because of the “independent woman complex”. If the appearance of having it together makes you desirable and you crave to be desired then success is merely validation. Who better to validate your parking than Prince Charming.

So is success independence or is it another avenue to seek attention? The attention seeking mean girl attitude is not fundamental to any part of womanhood and in-turn not “basic” at all. If you are not offering the next woman a hand up, shut up!

Women are not factory made. You need the opportunity to fall down and get back up again. You need freedom to be who you are and along the way find a tribe of people who support the true you. Being the glamour shot of the perfect woman is feeding into the same propaganda that said a “woman’s place is in the home”.

The notion of the “independent woman” is dated and played out. Your financial status doesn’t make you worthy. Worth is something you determine. Your real goal should be to be a woman so richly diverse that it’s almost impossible to label you. 

“Freed people, free people” – Lena Tome

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