The Independent Woman :: What I Want My Daughters to Know Before Marriage
As the Barbie movie stresses, little girls can be whatever they want to be when they grow up and also take on the entire world bare handed. Even though I have yet to see the movie, the debatable message brings up very real questions and a conversation we should be having. What truly defines being a “strong woman?” Why are women willing and wanting to take on so much? Why does being a strong woman automatically mean we have to prove we are stronger than a man? We are willing to push ourselves to breaking points just to prove we can do as much as a man … plus more?
Over the years of being proud independent women, we somehow lost sight of the acceptance of actually depending on a man. That sentence is cringeworthy, I know. But, why? As career building, over-achieving women, motherhood has somehow taken a backseat. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the world has stopped encouraging motherhood, but I do think it has overshadowed the role in motherhood. As the years go on and we push our daughters to be more and achieve more, we never sit down and explain how hard it is to actually do it all, especially while raising a family.
Who are our daughters supposed to be according to today’s society?
Somewhere between the 1950’s housewife and 2000’s Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” the financial dependency of a man has become very taboo. Which leads to the role of a wife/mother becoming very distorted for our growing young women. Why did we make it so frowned upon to depend on your partner’s income for financial stability of the household? We’re expected to encourage our daughters to be independent, but also unknowingly pushing them away from the role of a stay-at-home mom/housewife. When did being a mother stop being enough? Why aren’t we allowed to even consider co-dependency anymore? A wife takes care of the house; the man takes care of the money. When did we leap so far away from that simple concept? Music lyrics encourage the young female mind to be independent but forgets to mention that when you start to raise a family, you’re still supposed to take on the same full independent role while juggling a family. TV Shows and movies depict being a housewife as losing your identity. Yet reality shows about housewives are the top watched programs. That’s contradictory at its finest.
Now, I know income is something to be desired and plays a huge factor in household roles and necessities. Today’s society puts a financial clutch on women because most families survive on two incomes, forcing women to also work. However, I have read comments and overheard conversations nearly claiming women should be ashamed for not wanting to work.
I know many women who love their careers.
I understand women can be passionate about their job. We can still teach our daughters, that financially depending on a partner is okay too. Being a “strong woman” isn’t a title based on being independent. It’s knowing self-worth, having a voice, balancing, and being proud of who you are, and what you accomplish.
To be clear, I want my daughters educated first and foremost. I would love it they found careers they genuinely love and care about. I want my daughters to be PREPARED TO BE INDEPENDENT, without forcing the idea of sole independency as the only option and definition of strength. At the end of the day, there’s also independency in knowing and accepting when you need dependency. Life is hard when you’re a woman, and it’s OK to not necessarily want to do it all.
So, to my gorgeous, smart, talented daughters:
Be strong. Be independent. Be dependent. Be whoever you want to be. Just don’t be it all if you don’t have to be.