THE BRIDGE: Independent Women
call your celly when I'm feeling lonely/when it's all over please
get up and leave."--from Independent Woman by Destiny's Child
I was already confused over the phrase "Black Woman of The 90's,"
when the new century opened with the label "Independent Woman."
There are many problems with women referring to themselves as "Independent
women," but the most glaring difficulty is that out of any ten
women asked to define the phrase, as many answers will emerge.
Perhaps it once had meaning, or could potentially have meaning for
strong women who are truly independent, but the fact that there is
no singular meaning or movement, makes it an empty label.
Any conversation containing the phrase "Independent woman"
fails at the onset, particularly because there are no men defining
themselves as independent men.
Women who talk about being "independent" need to also talk
about how the label has gone way too far, to the point where it is
now inconsistent and in many ways cartoonish, mannish and just plain
unattractive. In fact, I often cringe when I hear women talk about
being "independent" because it usually means that they are
In the quest for so-called "independence," some women have
given up substantial portions of their womanhoodthe very things
that many men look for in a woman. Most of what remains in "
women" is aggressiveness and negativity.
It is not a problem for a woman to be assertive and ambitious, but
it is not very attractive when a woman is aggressive.
Women can say what they want about their liberation, but we have not
evolved to the point where an aggressive woman is desirable and we
The overwhelming response by some women to men's repulsion to aggressiveness
and negativity is that a "strong woman" is hard to handle.
It may make you feel good to declare that men can¹t handle a
strong woman, but you have to ask yourself what it is that is really
My mother was a strong woman, but she never spoke in a derisive manner
to my father or to her children and men were never repelled or repulsed
by her. When a woman speaks to me in an overly critical and negative
manner, I am neither impressed nor repulsed by her strength, I am
repulsed by her poor communication skills and distasteful attitude.
The "Independent Woman" phenomenon appears to be rooted
in a groupthink program, as opposed to each individual woman defining
herself. As a groupthink pursuit, so-called " women" are
more worried about looking weak to other so-called " women."
Many of them have completely abandoned the concept of building a team,
because they already have their relationship defined before the man
shows up, relegating his task to "rising to her level."
One of the most repulsive aspects of the groupthink program is the
frequent advice to quickly exit relationships that appear to be problematic.
A man can exhibit signs of negative behavior, but without taking a
closer look, " women" are advising each other to abandon
everything without trying to work it out"You don't need
a man," and now, "it's just me, myself and I. I'm my own
Ladies, other so-called " women" may respect you and support
you for your ability to give up and run away quickly, however, at
the end of the day, you may find yourself childless, without any prospects
of marriage and thirties with nothing but unresolved issues and loneliness.
After all, relationships with spouses and children are based on dependence.
Many women who refer to themselves as "independent," also
label themselves as feminists, but those politics are polluted, because
many of the things they say have little to do with feminism or an
intrinsic movement towards our true purposes together.
When you already have a plan together that has nothing to do with
the person you meet, it will more than likely fail.
What we create has to be based on a merger of what we both need and
what we both have dreamed of. On both sides, we have to begin to focus
on what will bring us together, and what will keep us together. Those
things have to be based on what we need in order to survive into the
There is too much confusion between the sexes for anyone to make assumptions
or hold expectations. What has to happen is two people coming together,
communicating wants and needs. When both parties are communicating,
intrinsic movement can be made towards building something solid.
I believe it starts with a real conversation.
We need to talk to each other.
Just as it makes no sense for women to sit around in all female groups
defining men, it also makes no sense for them to sit around and talk
about what we want.
If Black women want to know what Black men want, questions should
be directed to Black men.
It¹s really not that complicated. For the decent, grounded Black
men, raised by and around strong Black women, we want someone who
will support our daily struggle. We need most of what you need, which
is to have someone help to make us feel good by partnering with us
while we go through our daily stress.
Being our equal is not the same as being like us. God made us differently,
which means that you can be a strong woman without being a man. If
you never speak softly and never interact with us in a soft manner,
you are less valuable. Our male friends offer us manly interaction.
We want feminine interaction from you. Your "sister/girl/friends"
may give you accolades for being strong, but we will give you space
for being too much like us. Just think about the men who are too much
In closing, there is nothing wrong with being independent. There is
something very wrong with declaring independence without the responsibilities
that come along with it.
Be strong, be assertive ambitious and focused.
But if you want to be in a relationship, just don't claim to be independent.