I recently read a post on Instagram that got me a bit worried about the current view of romantic relationships from females perspective. The young woman who had posted this offending quote was alluding to the fact that, she was doing more than enough in her relationship and the man for whom she was doing all this was giving attention to some basic woman – I have paraphrased as the language used to describe her fellow female was insulting. I was concerned that this woman who up until that point had been a voice for all women had chosen to validate the bad behaviour of a man by putting down other females. I guess seeing this post and the affirmation of this insulting post by other women in the comment section became an eye opener for me when it came to things women do, put up with and affirm in order to be chosen and kept by a man.
The comments in the said post was painting a certain picture that finally made some things I had been seeing on social media very clear. I had seen a few posts on social media where women had been posting things to prove that they were good enough to be picked as a partner – however, this was worrying because if one had to prove to someone that they are worth loving by what they do, then one needs to rethink what love is to them. There are several narratives of women blaming other women when their relationships end because they probably seduced their man or they did not do enough to keep said man. Has being in a relationship become so important to us as women that we will put ourselves and each other down to justify why we should be chosen and kept by our partners?
I am from Ghana, West Africa and there is a trend where wealthy men like to go out with lighter skinned women with bigger busts, buttocks and a small waist. This has sparked a new trend of young women bleaching their skin and undergoing plastic surgery to fit this model of femininity these wealthy men like. The most worrying of these trends is one where these women are now purchasing and using sex enhancing serums to ensure that their sexual partners have the most satisfying experience so they do not leave them for other women! Absolute madness! If I should go into a relationship with the sole aim of ensuring that I please my partner with no thought for my own sexual gratification – is that not a form of me not having any self respect? I was also worried about the long term health implication of these serums – were these girls simply being exploited because there was a need in the market? Another subject to explore another day.
I truly wanted to understand why this need to ensure that we are good enough for the affection of men and why we had to be so much more to be chosen – you can find some of the answers in my post about the challenges of being a single woman. I wrote about how from a young age we are programmed to think and act in a certain way to attract and keep a man. Whiles I delved deeper into this issue, I came across a few relationship coaches online and I was appalled at what some of these coaches, mostly women, were imposing on their fellow women. One went as far to say that if a lady had a loud laugh, ensure that you don’t show that side when you are dating as a man could leave you for laughing too loud in public! Ridiculous, right? When did being in a relationship become so superficial that our bright young women are taught to be less of themselves and take on the persona of someone else’e expectations to be accepted? I have always had a loud laugh and I sometimes snort when I laugh – for years, my friends have always find how I laugh amusing, so why should I change this unique characteristic of mine?
I recently had another heated argument with my friend Kwadwo – he had posted something he had found amusing on twitter and I gave him hell for it as I did not find it amusing and felt it objectified women and affirmed the pick me culture. A young man had posted that a certain religious book states that a dowry is only to be paid for a virgin and therefore, he would not pay a dowry for a woman who was not a virgin – my question was, who breaks the virginity of all these girls in the first place? Is it not men? I argued about how most young women from our part of the world are raped by their boyfriends for their first sexual experience and therefore not right to laugh at what this man had tweeted.
Also, if women are expected to be so pure, what about men? Are men incapable of keeping themselves pure for their marriages? A woman must be a good cook, mother, cleaner, great at keeping the home, do the laundry, contribute financially and then be so freaking good in bed all the while keeping a smile on her face and turning a blind eye when their partners cheat because they may have failed in one of the many expectations to keep and please her man. So I argued passionately with Kwadwo why we must not retweet what this man so boldly put out there and most importantly it was time men started standing up to their fellow men with these patriarchal views and protect the future of their daughters and sisters. In the end, Kwadwo saw things from my view and deleted his post. We may have laughed at some of these things in the past, but now, we know better and we need to change the narratives for our younger generation.
I learned a long time ago that I am okay with not thinking like a man and acting like a woman – I am okay with thinking like a woman and behaving however I see fit for me. If I meet someone I like, I would like to think that they must be able to fit into the ideals I have for my life and I hope with all my heart that they would see me also fitting into their ideals. Because if they should want to be with me because I tick all these boxes society had outlined, then they would be very disappointed because I have days when I am too tired to cook, clean, put on all my make-up and have my hair done. I have had seasons where hormones have contributed to weight gain or my love for cake has helped me put on a few pounds – these should not make me less than. Because believe it or not, men also go through these changes and if society do not hold them to this strict rule of them staying in shape for their women, I am not going to kill myself to do the same for a man. If I lose weight or change my hairstyle or choose to have plastic surgery – it should be for me. I love myself first so I can love someone else.
It is hard being a woman as it is already – with all the expectations from society and the many road blocks in several aspects of life, I don’t want the added pressure of taking on a different persona projected onto me by other people to attract and keep a man. I also think there are a few myths out there that we need to start removing from our lives;
- It is okay to think like a woman(whatever that is) and act however you want. Leave the men to think like men, because I have no idea what that is.
- You don’t have to be a lady in the streets and a freak in bed – its okay if you are prudish, it is absolutely fine. There is someone out there who has the same views as you when it comes to sex.
- You don’t have to prove to a man that you are worth choosing – don’t lose yourself trying to meet the fantasies of someone who may not even care about you.
- Don’t just sit there waiting to be chosen – you must also choose who you would like to be with. Have a say – it is a relationship with two people in it so voice out what you also want and expect – have some self respect.
Be yourself and enjoy your life, you do not need to look or act a certain way to be loved. If they truly care and respect you, then you will be enough however you are. For the women calling other women basic and apportioning blame to them when their partners step out on them or their relationships end – stop it! Show some empathy and stop your pretence, because if most of you would be honest, after doing all these things for your men, they stepped out anyway. You are enough whoever you are – if you wish to make any changes to your life – do it for you and not for anyone else. I would love to hear from you – reach out and let’s effect the change we all deserve.
It is okay to think like a woman(whatever that is) and act however you want. Leave the men to think like men, because I have no idea what that is.Tweet