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THE INDEPENDENT WOMAN TROPE – AND WHY IT DOES NOT EMPOWER THE AFRICAN WOMAN

Updated: Jul 18, 2019


The last queen of Rwanda, Rosalie Gicanda (who married King Mutara Rudahigwa 1942)


The idea of the independent woman. The image of self sufficiency.


Beyoncé with the power fist.

The all-powerful woman who does it all.


It is a nice picture but here is why it is not a picture that empowers the African woman.


Power in the realm of the human sexes is bimodal.

The male — the all powerful, the dominant.

The female — the bottom power who schemes and plots to bend the man to her will.


We all, however, know which one of the two bears real power. 


Using the man as the template of dominance, we can visualize the disparity between the lifestyle of the dominant and that of the submissive, and connect to how much influence independence has in accessing power.


The man has never been independent, and yet…between the wife who also works, and the housewife who lives so the man does not work within the home, it is clear that the “man” is helped to become.


There is value in being helped and pushed.

There is power in having access to help.


Men are able to present themselves as providers because women have helped create that image.


Doing it all is NOT the empowerment women deserve after centuries of, you know, doing it all.


“Independence” is a scam.


Men are walking around, some unable to feed themselves or even button their shirts and yet, they manage to maintain dominance.


Now, here comes the part where it gets real.


Women, need to get help too.

More importantly, get financial help FROM MEN.

Marry up. Date well.

Demand help.

Demand value for the effort and time you put in.

Attach worth to every single thing you do (for men) and make sure you are getting yours.


Men demand help shamelessly; learn from them.

“Build me.”

“Swallow me and birth me.”

“Invest in me.”


Men never stop demanding help.


Men get help without even having to acknowledge the help they’re getting.


That… that is power.


Women deserve that kind of power too.

The amount of time and energy freed up for men to go there-forth and prosper, by the women who knot their ties, and take off their shoes and raise the children whose birthdays they do not know, is immeasurable.


When you listen to the man and empathize with him and see his struggles as your own, you are lifting a load off his shoulders that no one bothers to lift from yours. 


When you work a full day and come back home to clean up after and cook for a man, you are taking his half on top of your full; and there he is, walking around lighter, the man with only half his responsibilities. 


Women too need to learn how to delegate.


Be independent in the mind but gather as much help as you can get from men. For yourself.

To build yourself.

Shamelessly.


Words by Chioma Nnanna

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