One of the biggest lies I was sold under patriarchy was that men provide for and take care of women and women can just take the back seat, letting men make decisions for them.
The reality is that once a woman leans back, there’s no guarantee that the man will actually take care of her, but it’s sure as hell that her earning potential and career prospects are only going downhill from there and she will lose control over her own life. It sounds like an absolute shit deal for women.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
As the woman gives up everything to give birth and raise children, the man ends up cheating on them, and the woman can’t leave because they’re financially dependent and worry about their children’s future. It’s not always the case, but there’s a possibility.
I’m wise enough to operate as the rule, not the exception.
My parents followed such a patriarchal family model and guess what — They’re practically separated now. My sister and I are financially providing for my mother, and my father has never taken care of me. I don’t even feel like I have a father.
For a long time, I idolised him, as taught by patriarchy, even though he was nowhere to be found in my life. He never even picked up the phone to call me. I was alone in London, trying to navigate my early 20s while being slapped by the reality that the men I met did not have my best interest in mind. Yet, at the back of my mind was still that lie trying to convince me that I should give up my control and stand behind a man — the alpha man, whatever the hell that means.
It’s SO CRINGEWORTHY for me now, but this message is still rampant on the internet (and I’m sure offline too.) The people who tell women to be feminine and elegant to bag a rich man. The people who insist that “traditionally masculine” men a.k.a “real men” and relationships of the 50s come back (Yes, I rolled my eyes when I wrote that.) Why don’t they talk about what actually happens to these women? A lifetime of wealth and happiness? Seriously.
Women might benefit from traditional relationships, but traditional relationships are not designed to serve women in the long run.
They’re designed to uphold (capitalist) patriarchy.
Yes, a happy relationship with a capable, loving man will bring you security. A lot of it. But it does not replace the security you give yourself.
The security you give yourself — emotional, mental, financial, and spiritual — is what will keep your relationship and your life together. And it will have your back when anything goes sideways. It will allow you to prioritise your dignity and well-being and give you the option to leave when it comes to it. It might save your life someday.
Patriarchy aside, it makes no sense to rely on someone entirely for security and fulfillment. It’s a recipe for disaster. Who the hell says that women are supposed to just stay in the house and raise children? There are at least five pillars that make up a healthy, happy human being, and one of them is meaningful work, which goes beyond child-rearing. And men should not be expected to be working all the time either — they need time for themselves and in the house just as much.
Before being a man or a woman, we’re all human beings.
We’re whole and full and are not confined by any gender roles.
As you might already know, I quit my corporate job two months ago to open my company. I’m trying to make a living writing and helping women live and date on their terms. I’m launching a course that I hope will get me somewhere. But, honestly, I’m feeling stressed and anxious. My income has reduced significantly. I’m happily engaged to a wonderful partner who earns more than me and supports me in every way, but it also means that it’s easy to lean back and get comfortable.
It’s a reminder for myself and women out there to keep it up.
To take care of themselves. To build themselves up. To be their own person. To be the leader of their own life. To continually make decisions that serve them. To be a whole and bold human being before being a woman.
Your life does not begin and end with a man.
Your identity should not disappear behind a relationship.
Actually, a man is your (life) partner. To have a true, thriving partnership, you need to be your full self.