I previously wrote an article on what it means to be a “real man.” The media defines “real men” differently than I do, and depending on the culture that we’re raised in, that definition will vary to some degree. Ultimately the gist was, men are faced with enormous pressure to embody traits of “masculinity” that are damaging to themselves and their relationships with others. The same is also true for women. It’s our job, whatever gender, to challenge those expectations, many of which are unhealthy and outdated.
A friend of mine actually read my article on what it means to be a “real man,” and he asked me what I think it means to be a “real woman.” I didn’t hesitate to answer, “A real woman doesn’t need a man.” There’s more to it than that, of course, but there is some truth to that statement. Society generally doesn’t entitle women to their independence, the same way it doesn’t entitle men to their emotions. Historically, women needed men to provide for them and to protect them. Things are different today. Women have jobs. We manage our own income. We may have a man (or two, maybe a few), but only because we want them, not because we need them. As soon as we make the mistake of needing men, we feel worthless without them.
Women have been plagued with this dependency on men for centuries. It runs so deep we may not even notice all the ways we’ve been raised to rely on men. So when I say, “A real woman doesn’t need a man,” here’s what I mean: A woman needs her independence. If she has a man in her life, he’d better respect her independence, and if he doesn’t, she better boot him. A real woman is someone who doesn’t need a man to take care of her, to make decisions for her, to do her heavy lifting or make her feel good about herself. A real woman doesn’t need a man to open doors for her, and I mean that both literally and figuratively.
It’s true that men still dominate positions of power in jobs and politics. This will take time to change, and it will be a struggle. If a woman wants to be financially successful, she has to fight the odds to make it to the top. A customer once asked me if I plan to work in a coffee shop for the rest of my life, and if so, how I planned to be financially secure when I was older. I shrugged. He told me I’d be okay, as long as I find someone rich to marry. Instead of throwing a hot cup of coffee in his face, I said, “No sir. If I have money when I’m older, it will be because I worked for it and earned it, not because I married into it.”
I stand by this statement. I’d rather be broke and homeless than married to a man who feels as though he owns me. Because what independence really comes down to is making your own opportunities. Some women may consider marrying a wealthy man an “opportunity” to be financially secure. I disagree, unless by “be financially secure” she means “become somebody else’s property.” Women who marry rich not only perpetuate our dependency on men, but also disempower us to overcome it. If we continue waiting around for men to “open doors for us,” we’ll never get anywhere. Real women open their own damn doors.
Real women make their own opportunities. And specifically, real women work their wits and class, not their tits and ass, to make these opportunities. If your plan is to profit off your body, nature has bad news for you… It isn’t gonna last. You may be bright and bouncy now, but don’t forget, you’re getting older every day. You’re better off investing in your intelligence and creativity because the value of those investments will only mature with age, unlike your looks. Work your way to the top, don’t twerk your way to the top.
Ultimately, real women see the value in themselves, not just their bodies. Real women strive to reach their creative and intellectual potential. They demand their independence. They open their own doors. And lastly, and probably most importantly, a real woman doesn’t try to be anyone except herself. She doesn’t try to be another Kim Kardashian or Katy Perry. Whether you’re a man or a woman, there’s only one way to be real, and that’s to be yourself. Embrace the things that make you different and do the things you love, despite what anybody else expects of you.