Saturday, November 28, 2015

A Strong Woman...?

   I can tell you now that this post is going to raise a lot of eyebrows and stimulate a lot of conversation. It may even garner outrage with some, but regular readers here know that provoking discussion is what this blog is all about, so prepare to be provoked.

   I was recently in a conversation with a friend when he mentioned that he was thinking about going back to giving women he was considering as potential partners, a test. Now…not one to leave opened doors open without at least peeking inside, I inquired about this test, and what followed was a profound exploration into what is, what makes, and what is being presented as a strong woman.
   First, let me clarify exactly what the test is (as some of you might want to take it…just because). The test is a simple question about a film. Who was at fault for the breakdown of the relationship in the movie “Love Jones?” We’ll get back to the test later (or not), for now…let’s take a trip down the rabbit hole this conversation created.
   The expressed opinion was that a strong woman in today’s society is viewed as one that is independent and self-sufficient and is in no way in “need” of a man. Further, that woman shares equality with men as reflected in equal treatment in all aspects of life. Many have just fully agreed with the previous statement, but probably have not given any thought to the plethora of such women that while, have no need of a man, also have no man. I’m sure there are some women reading this with the position that they don’t want a man, but has the strong woman philosophy contributed in creating this position? Is it really all the fault of men (keep this question in the back of your mind for further reference)?
   Let’s clear the air quickly about the fact that maintaining a household and raising children is one of the hardest jobs on the planet and this traditional role of women, even being done today by women under none-traditional circumstances, has proven they have a strength and resiliency that is truly divine. Anyone observing a woman doing this as a wife or single mother and not understanding they are observing a strong woman doesn’t understand the struggle. That said is there really a difference of applied strength between a single mother and a wife? One might say so considering that while a single mother has to provide as if there were a husband already doing so, a wife…a good wife, has to submit to her husband (uh-oh…here we go). While neither position is easy, if the husband is not doing right by his wife, submitting to him might be a lot harder than not having him around to deal with.
   Let’s talk about “submitting” though, cause I know there was a reaction when that word popped up. Here is what is does not mean in the relational sense.…it does not mean a woman is a slave to her husband. The only reference is was used in my conversation was from the biblical use and it simply means recognizing and accepting the role God has placed the husband and wife in. It is a voluntary act by the wife and as such, requires a tremendous amount of strength to do. That said, a woman should be very judicious with who she decides to partner with because all men are not ready for what is required of them (oh yes, there are two sides to this marriage thing)…while steadily dwelling on what is required of their wife.

   It has been said that the feminist movement killed chivalry. One could counter that regardless of circumstances, a man can still act thusly toward a woman. The counter to that being why would he even bother? If men and women share equal status, what is there left for a man to do for a woman and why? If equality was the goal, then why a different look at a man that suffers abuse by a woman? Why the disparity in the legal system for the same circumstances? There are a lot of rabbit holes we can explore when we really get into it, but I digress.

   The woman of today has many challenges facing her and I wonder if one of them is the the upholding of an image and ideology that might ultimately be contributing to a breakdown in family and relationships. So many questions…

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