From our earliest of days we are taught about a certain pattern to life in which we should subscribe to and that the urgency of achieving this gets more and more apparent as we age. For boys society tends to focus on exhibiting strength and perseverance through gritted teeth while building an empire in which the boundaries are non existent. The same however cannot be said for what we tend to indoctrinate girls with in a parallel line of messaging. While we may focus on education, the true point of success lies thereabouts in how well we can exude potential wife mode.
Growing up my immigrant parents toed the line between ‘make sure you educate yourself’ and ‘don’t become so educated that you alienate potential husbands’. When I was younger I held this close and thus in my teenage years veiled my intelligence and fell back on the “I’m just a girl” façade. Of course back then I didn’t really understand what the connotation of that statement and my behaviour meant. I didn’t even attempt to question why a teenage girl had to be conscious of demonstrating greater intelligence and wit than her potential suitor. Why, because it’s emasculating…? Go figure.
In considering this element further it makes no sense to me how a woman’s intellect or acumen could be a distancing force which repels the opposite sex. We have to ask ourselves why is it that society has engrained into us that smart women can be so in the workplace, but in the household they need to dumb themselves down and project servitude over intellect.
My Mum, bless her entirely, often says to me after a date… you didn’t lead with the feminist spiel did you?! She then follows that question up with a look of complete horror when I tell her that yes indeed I did. She tends to balk even more when I explain that first dates for me often are built upon the platform of discussions on activism, feminism and the development agenda. What’s crazy to me though isn’t that my first generation, conservative South Asian mother holds these views, I mean of course she does, that’s the world she grew up in. What terrifies me more than this is that little nagging voice in the back of my own head which quietly whispers… ‘don’t show him all your intellect up front.. make yourself vulnerable, twirl your hair a bit… laugh at his jokes’.
Where was it down the line that strength and wilfulness were disassociated with accepted forms of womanhood? And why is it that the notion of strength is only considered with elements in which we automatically link with masculinity? Is projecting my intellect, my knowledge and my wit really something that automatically emasculates a potential mate? I mean the same could not be said vice versa.. when was the last time you heard a woman walk away from a date and say ‘nah he was ultimately too much. Way too smart and funny for my liking. It made me feel insecure and question the very notion of myself as a result’… Yeah I’d say a confident: hardly ever!
In thinking about all of this I wonder where does someone fit within this whole set up who doesn’t conform to these ideals. Will I, in fact, be alone forever because I alienate every man I meet? I mean maybe that is the case (although I do not have that little faith in the opposite sex to believe that this is true in every prospective love interest); but if true, to be honest I couldn’t care less about. If I am indeed scaring away a man who is threatened by all the things that make me an empowered, educated, woke bae well then good riddance. Someone who could so easily bring into question their entire being as a result of someone else’s surety or success is not the type of man I would ever want in my life in the first place.
So for all of those who doubt it, and the haters who would rather I tone myself down to fit into a mould of so called accepted womanhood, I have two statements for you:
- Well behaved women seldom make history (&)
- I am and always will be a goddamn Boss, Bitch.
So never forget it.
*Haus of Dizzy shout out. The epitome of hustle! Order her stuff at: https://hausofdizzy.com/
*also noting that I have a serious problem with the notion of what we determine to be ‘well-behaved’ and that we don’t measure men against these standards ever… but that is a rant for another day. Peace!