The independent woman: Simultaneously too much and yet not enough


Business woman with a jetpack ready to start. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The independent woman has emerged as values and beliefs regarding gender norms continue to metamorphose worldwide. Like any new development in society, she is yet to be fully felt, understood, and be accepted as a wholly functional entity.

Skeptics, critics, naysayers, pessimists, and misogynists all have something to say about her. As a result, there are varying perceptions regarding the independent woman and the vibes and hypes she has managed to create.

The independent woman makes her own money and may not put much stock in traditional norms that emphasise the man, specifically the husband, being solely responsible for both her upkeep and shaping her mindset.

This financial independence portrays her as exceedingly strong-minded and thus unable to be under his control. In contrast, submissiveness would imply conformity to external expectations or sacrificing her own pursuits for the sake of her husband.

The independent woman knows her worth and will not settle for less. She appears to balance all aspects of her life effortlessly. She loves fun but equally pays serious attention to other important matters. She creates her own happiness, which, for as long as we can remember, was pegged on a man.

Her perceived defiance has elicited mixed reactions and emotions. It has left some in awe. Some men fear her, others loathe her. To the old-schoolers, she is often seen as odd and perplexing. However, if the universe is moving the way it should, then nature is simply offering a solution in the form of the independent woman to sort out yet another challenge brought about by modernity.

Submissiveness - The bone of contention

Google defines submissive as “ready to conform to authority or will of others; meekly obedient or passive – almost sheeplike people,” which to younger generations (both male and female) may sound outrageously archaic and oppressive and even moot in current times.

Sentiments from open-minded young male professionals regarding the independent woman:

In relationships, it is easier to share roles even when the woman is the breadwinner.

An independent woman is often a great partner in thought sharing.

An independent woman has a brilliant capacity to make decisions without overstepping her husband’s authority.

She can empathise well with women in the workplace and make policies that are female and/or family-friendly.

The independent woman finds it a great honour to help her husband find a job/work.

It requires tweaking of the mindset to see the wonders that this woman’s intelligence and capabilities can achieve. We can then marvel at her significance and worth in the contemporary life setting, especially in the overall life of young professionals.