I.N.D.E.P.E.N.D.E.N.T: Do We Know What That Means?

by Shahida Muhammad

What do we mean when we call ourselves independent women? The term has been around for a while now, but does it have the same meaning for us all? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the word independent means: “not dependent; not subject to control by others; not requiring or relying on something else …” However, in regards to women it can be a term used to celebrate single mothers who are holding down their households. Describe a woman who is head-strong and/or free-spirited. Or, usually, it refers to a woman who is driven, career-oriented and self-sufficient financially; you know, “ She got her own house. She got her own car. Good job, work hard …”—a go-getter if you will.

As great as it sounds and while I hope to achieve these things, for some reason, I never found myself fully embracing the idea of being an independent woman. And after listening to a woman by the name of “SPARKWISDOM” in her YouTube video titled “The Deception of the Independent Woman,” I pondered further on why I’ve sometimes found this term problematic. In a three-minute response to the highly publicized statistic that 42% of Black women are not married, she broke down what she believes to some misconceptions regarding this term:

I really feel like we are deceived sometimes as women …there is a deception in independence. I am an independent woman … Do I get this big pat on the back because I’m independent? I am an adult. Adults are supposed to be independent. You’re suppose to have your own place to stay; your own vehicle … as a woman I’m supposed to be able to keep my own hair done, nails done–I’m supposed to be a able to do for myself … I don’t think you get extra kudos for being an adult or being responsible. That’s what adults are supposed to do.

While I’m well aware that at one time in this society a woman was expected to depend on her husband financially and/or opt to stay at home. And as time progressed many women broke out of this role in a desire to have their own careers and provide for themselves financially. Thus, in part, giving rise to the idea of the independent woman. And granted there is absolutely nothing wrong with being a career-oriented, professional or self-sufficient woman. Yet, as SPARKWISDOM stated, what exactly is the difference between being an independent woman and simply being a responsible adult? Not much, it seems. So what exactly are we saying we’re independent of?

I know many of us do not like to define ourselves in regards to men, but often times the discourse surrounding the term “independent woman,” is relating to how well said woman can do without the help of a man (i.e. Ms. Independent: “The kind of woman that want you but don’t need you”). Could we be doing our self a disservice by believing our economic or professional status means we don’t need the opposite sex for anything? Bringing her point home, “SPARKWISDOM” goes on to say:

I think there is this deception of “I’m independent. I’m a strong woman.” I think there’s a syndrome behind that, where women are like I’m so strong, I don’t need a man. And I think that frankly women in most regards do need a man and they want a man. Yet society has taught us to [say] we don’t.

Yes, she went there. And although some may not agree or admit to it, I believe she’s right. In many ways society and popular culture have created an attitude amongst many of our women that to be of a certain tax bracket makes being with a man somewhat trivial. Before you shake your head no, just think about it. For example, what did Destiny’s Child mean when they sang the following lyrics in “Independent Women”:

“Tell me what you think about me
I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Only ring your celly when I’m feeling lonely
When it’s all over please get up and leave”

Ouch. While we may pride ourselves on not being the stereotypical unhappy housewife, waiting everyday for our man to bring home the bacon and hopefully cut us an allowance on the side, is being independent based mainly on the ability to provide oneself with material possessions? And how would it feel to be in a relationship with a man who claims to simply want you, but not need you?

Of course, I’m not insinuating those who call themselves independent women are man haters, manhood killers, asexual or anything close to that. It’s no secret that the number of Black women on college campuses across the country out number Black men, causing an economic gap between the sexes. Or that many of us have had to take on extra responsibilities as women, due to the absence of a male figures or fathers in our households. Or that many Black women may never want to seem vulnerable or dependent upon a man for fear we may be hurt or taken advantage of, amongst other reasons. And so, due to these realities, some of us feel we constantly have to assert our independence of men. But is the reasoning behind that actually a good thing?

“On that independent sh-t? Trade it all for a husband and some kids?” – Kanye West

For those of us who insist the term is not all about wanting or needing a man, again, let’s ask ourselves exactly what we’re saying we’re independent of? In my opinion, there isn’t anyone who is without need; whether it’s spiritually, emotionally, financially, the need for companionship, etc. What you do or look for to fulfill these needs may vary, but we all have needs in one way or another; and it can hurt you more than help you to think you don’t.

And so, everyone has the right to define themselves on their own terms, but let’s not do so blindly. The next time we are blasting the latest independent women’s anthem, let’s think about what we mean when we call ourselves this. I think it’s great for a woman to be driven and have her own career. I have a great deal of respect for women who have taken on the challenge of raising and providing for children on their own. And overall I love seeing Black women succeed period; whether it’s academically, professionally or personally. It’s wonderful. And if these are the ways we define being independent women, there’s nothing wrong with that. These are all great accomplishments. If it means we have our own mind, ideas and identity, to me, that’s even better. But hopefully it’s not based on shallow terms or coming from a negative place. And as we pride ourselves on being independent women, hopefully we “got our own” understanding of what it means.

  • Ooh La La

    As with most things in life there should be balance. I don’t want to be a needy woman who can’t provide for myself or can’t be without a man. I also don’t want to be so career-driven that I miss out on life or so independent that I push away the man of my life.

    The woman in the video makes a great point. Why should you be given praise for doing what most adults just do. It’s like single fathers who say “I take care of my kids.” As you should, sir.

    In social media, I think it’s taken to absolute extremes. I’m annoyed by women online constantly feeling he need to brag about their independence. #independentwoman #dontneedaman #thegrindneverstops
    Um, many other people went to work today without the need to broadcast what should already be assumed about an average working adult.

  • MimiLuvs

    I always disliked ther term ‘independent women’ because I always thought that humans are always depending on something/someone.

  • Ask_Me

    I think the word “Independent” has been thrown around so much by folks who honestly seem to have their own definitions of the word.

    I also agree no one should be praised for doing things they are supposed to do (i.e., pay the bills, take care of kids, get a job etc).

    I don’t personally believe there is anything wrong with having one’s own. And no one has a right to put their beliefs on others about having their own. If a woman would rather have her own money, house etc I feel that’s her business. I don’t think it’s my place to tell another woman how she should live or feel about her place in this world.

  • spread love

    “Do I get this big pat on the back because I’m independent? I am an adult. Adults are supposed to be independent. You’re suppose to have your own place to stay; your own vehicle ”

    Thank you! I have many mixed feelings about this term. I think my reservations are mostly with someone people more so than the term itself.

    Some women adopt such brass, cold attitudes along with their independence. NOT ALL; but I have definitely met a few. As a young responsible woman, I pride myself on having myself together and having a lot going for myself; but I would never belittle a man or make him feel a certain type of way. I don’t know any man who want to be with a woman who has a greater than thou attitude. It’s not because he can’t handle a strong, independent woman; it’s because he doesn’t want to deal with the bad attitude. No one, man or woman, wants to be with someone with a bad attitude period.

    Then, independence is great while you’re single, but I also feel like a lot of people want to bring independence into their marriages. I think that is the quickest way to create division in certain areas of the marriage. You have yours and I have mine. When you marry someone, you become one with them and you two should grow together. Y’all should be able to rely on one another; support each other. Y’all are a team. And if you’re keeping that division because you don’t trust them, then why marry them in the first place?

    Just my personal thoughts.

  • http://gravatar.com/solfresh solfresh

    It’s good to learn this concept as you’re growing up, you know to become a self sufficient person but after a while having an “independent woman” mentality gets redundant. You can also lump “ambitious woman” right along with it. Some women want props for holding down two jobs, and going to school full time, or having three jobs and going to school full time and I’m like girl I don’t even have a cookie for you. It all seems like a one-up game to me. Who’s struggling the most? Who’s grinding the hardest? Like you’ll get a gold star for putting in more work than Sally. Granted most times that’s the case, and you should always work hard to get your own. However, when it turns into a badge of honor, that’s where I’m not impressed.

    Most people are doing their best it may not be “grinding until their knuckles bleed or until they fall out from exhaustion” but it’s their best. Unless you truly want to be a housewife, you’re supposed to work or go to school to get ahead. You’re supposed to care for yourself. I’d still have the same respect for woman who has to live with her parents to write the next greatest novel as the woman who’s out here working 3 jobs to maintain a lifestyle.

    I just really think there is WAY more women could aspire to be or get done than looking for praise or attention for being an “independent woman”. That’s basic to me. I’d rather be applauded for running my own business or making influential work in my field than owning a house, car, and keeping my nails did every week. Sad to say, it all boils back down to appearances in my opinion.

  • http://gravatar.com/solfresh solfresh

    I actually had a friend who would overuse those same hashtags lol It was the most annoying thing in life. I really do think it all goes back to appearances, attention seeking/recognition, and just ensuring people know that they’re independent.

  • Smilez_920

    If it means we have our own mind, ideas and identity, to me, that’s even better. But hopefully it’s not based on shallow terms or coming from a negative place. And as we pride ourselves on being independent women, hopefully we “got our own” understanding of what it means.<– This

    If you mean you’re independent like you’ve defined your own self, freedom, thoughts and life, I can get down with that. But most women yelling that their independent from the mountain tops are talking about material things. I’m glad as a 25+ yr old women you got up this morning and went to work to pay your bills, good job.

    There is nothing wrong with being independent, but don’t yell “I don’t need a man and I can do this all by myself “in one sentence and then in the next go “Men ain’t ish , where is a man to help me, we should be a team”. You can also depend on people without being needy.

  • MimiLuvs

    “… You’re supposed to care for yourself. I’d still have the same respect for woman who has to live with her parents to write the next greatest novel as the woman who’s out here working 3 jobs to maintain a lifestyle…”

    I want to say ‘thank you’ to you for just re-affirming a thought that I held.
    Long story short, a “friend” (I am really re-evaluating our friendship right now) had said something to me, on the other day, that was an insult that stung at my pride. The comment was in reference to my current living situation… I live with my mother. She made a comment to me (and it was directed towards me) in which she stated that I was “a loser” (she didn’t call me that word out right. it was dressed in a neatly-coiffed wrapping) because I live with my mother.
    She is aware of my reasons for living my mom. She knows that I will support my mom always. I also felt like she was trying to show off in front of her co-workers, when she made the comment.
    So, yeah, your statement did “rub out the sting” that I felt.

  • Smilez_920

    See that’s when ppl have to be kindly checked. Just becasue you live with your parents doesn’t mean you aren’t paying bills or working on your next move. Your friend could lose her job any day and end up on her parents or even your door step.

  • spread love

    She doesn’t sound like a good and caring friend. Trying to throw shade to make herself look or feel better about who she is; that is not ok.

  • Cali

    I sooooo agree w/ this article! Yes, I’m independent – the ONLY man on the planet that has ever given me money was my father during my formative years. & this independent woman can say I do want a man in my life – I need that emotionally & physically. & if we’re living in the same house & splitting the costs, it absolutely helps us both financially.

    Its funny b/c I feel like lots of men EXPECT women to be gold-diggers, which irritates me. Yet I hear my own friends talk at times & I hear gold-digger sh*t slipping out of their mouths & it takes me aback. There’s been a hardcore shift toward crass attitudes about relationships & what people give/take from them. I guess I’m naive, I still believe that love & companionship come first – that’s being healthy, hopeful & dependent on the person you love while knowing you can also handle life on your own.

  • http://gravatar.com/solfresh solfresh

    I’m glad I could help and I’d drop that friend asap off that incident alone. It’s not cool to try to “expose” or show off in front of other people at the expense of another. I hate that behavior. There are so many different circumstances that call for moving back in with your parents. I’ve had friends opt to live with their parents while they go to grad school, pay off debt, help family members who are sick etc. Your friend was way out of line. It’s already annoying enough when dealing with people who brag, I can’t believe people have the nerve to directly insult others.

    I wish you the best, and definitely don’t feel bad and don’t feel like you’re tripping either. Clearly your friend doesn’t get that we all move at different paces and have different priorities. I would have loved to be in a city working, getting my career started but instead I’m home helping my father recover from surgery while my mother works.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I think the term “independent” has taken on a personal mantra for many people, especially women. As noted, there is not much different in being “independent” and being a responsible adult. I think the term is still so popular because honestly there still are a lot of adults who lack responsibility running around and not doing things responsible adults should do. Besides, there are ONLY a handful of people who can claim true independence (in the classical definition) of not needing close/personal contact/dependence with others and their life still will run smoothly and unchanged. But most people regardless if you have your own house, car, buy this or that etc. is dependent or interdependent on something or another.

    As for independence and personal relationships I think that is NOT a one size fit all situations because women want different things. There are some women (regardless if they claim the independence mantra or not) want a guy when they are feeling lonely then want them to leave, there are others who want a relationship or some have the means to be “independent” but rather be a stay at home wife different strokes for different folks on that discussion.

  • MimiLuvs

    “…Its funny b/c I feel like lots of men EXPECT women to be gold-diggers, which irritates me. Yet I hear my own friends talk at times & I hear gold-digger sh*t slipping out of their mouths & it takes me aback…”

    I am experiencing something that is different. Based off of the men that are in my life (friends and family), all of the girl-children in my family are screwed if they make the mistake of taking every male’s piece of advice.
    I recently had gone to a family reunion type of function and I had several convos with the older male relatives. They all gave conflicting-arse advice! LOL!
    Some of them said that a woman should expect “greatness from their mate” and have high expectations (their words, not mine. Others say that a woman should lower their expectations. Some said that women should spend their late teens and early adult years dating around. Others say that a woman should get married at an early age because it will be difficult for them to find a mate at an older age. Some say that a woman should always look her best. Others say that a woman is most attractive when she is natural. And there is many more pearls of wisdom.
    I am glad that I had my dad, my uncle (my dad’s brother) and my grandfather (their father) to go to, whenever I needed advice.

  • http://twitter.com/rakillers the miller (@rakillers)

    For the most part, so many black women remain single because most parties involved either cannot or refuse to see the true nature of the issue: both black men and women bear responsibility as well as society as a whole.

    To a man, the independent woman doesn’t appear to have any needs or problems, and her self-assurance wouldn’t allow her to seek help even if it was required.
    Some men identify this as competition, or excessive eagerness. The male psyche often associates these conditions with the independent woman, who seemingly has a desire to take over traditional male roles by being her own provider, fixer, and problem solver. In essence, “If she can do it all herself, she must not need a man.”

    It is very important to understand and appreciate the natural instincts of men, (Men Need To Be Needed) this is Probably one of the most significant statements women can learn about men. This comment revisits the traditional socialization of males, where it is common for men to feel more comfortable when called upon to perform familiar tasks and play familiar roles. When a woman is able to do those tasks and play those roles herself, a man may feel like an outsider looking in. So, it is very important you don’t emasculate your man( intentionally or unintentionally) ! A man always feels emasculated when his wife or girlfriend believes he’s not good enough.

    For men, it is crucial to understand that a woman who is highly independent, seemingly needing nothing, actually desires and needs a lot. She doesn’t need money, a vehicle, or someone to mow the grass (although she probably wouldn’t mind if you volunteered every now and then) – but wishes to have those things she cannot provide for herself – love, respect, adoration, kindness, and companionship.
    In the grand scheme of things, the problems experienced by the independent Black woman lies within the sociological division of work and labor. Men want to be providers, but many women have already provided for themselves. Men seek to supply the answers, while some women have already solved the problems.

    The key here – is balance. Both Black men and women must learn to adapt to life’s changing roles for both genders. When women are shouting out the fact that they are “independent women”, they are essentially telling men, “I don’t need anyone in my life to be happy.” — which doesn’t translate to, “I wish to be alone.”

    Here are some good videos from black women who get it !

    You can’t handle a strong black woman!!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HLP0SsuI6_w

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CIoCoz6Xmh0

    the independent black woman fallacy
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3opNeiSTnY

    Independent is a Deceived Eve

  • sixfoota

    I think men have demonized the “independent woman” meme so terribly that now it’s become such a negative thing. I remember when being an independent woman was the thing (of course it still is but I’m discussing it’s initiation)! Remember T”wo Can Play That Game” with Vivica? She was doing her thing financially & career-wise & STILL had time for her man. She wasn’t on a “I hate men fest”. Somewhere along the time when being a woman taking care of her own, men got nervous & intimidated & started with this whole “black women don’t need no man!” meme. Now, this isn’t to say that some women aren’t bitter & resentful & shout “I don’t need no man!” but I feel like men demonized women being independent so much, which came about bc of their own lack of self-worth, that the aspirational & empowering “independent woman” became the “independent woman that don’t need no man”. To me it’s akin to how men have demonized & ridiculed feminism since it’s existence. It doesn’t benefit them so why support it?

  • http://www.geekmommarants.com GeekMommaRants

    The phrase “Independent Woman” to me means an adult who is responsible and accountable and a woman. This is what it means. The “I don’t need a man” meme came from pleas made by some who demanded submissive and needy women.

  • noirluv45

    Maybe I’m the only one here laughing – not laughing because it’s funny, but laughing out of pure frustration.

    Sistas, can we do ANYTHING right? I mean, we are “baby mamas;” we are supposedly the least married women; we supposedly lead in HIV/AIDS, we are too masculine; we are too fat; we aren’t natural enough, as far as our hair is concerned. I’ve even heard that we should dare wear make up; we don’t know how to treat either our men or children; we have bad attitudes. I mean, according to some, the WHOLE WORLD see it, and the list goes on and on. NOW, it’s a crime to say “I’m an independent woman.” Like someone else said on another thread, that the “strong black woman” meme is a negative one with the neck rolling and finger pointing. I understand that. That’s how many of us are perceived, and I must admit, that how some of us act (a lot of times, it’s warranted). JMO.

    I get it! We are doing what adults do by holding it down. I understand the arguments for/against the term, “independent,” but I swear before God that everything black women do is never right. Where are the positive lists? We become college graduates, get good jobs or open our businesses, become great wives and mothers. We are no different than anyone else. Our struggles may be different, but all of us are human and have flaws. White women sure do. Aren’t they the ones that started the feminist movement? Why are they criticize to the max like sistas are? If they are, please correct me.

    Why don’t we all just jump off the face of the earth since “WE” can’t get it right. I mean, if it’s not other persuasions (including some of our own male counterparts) that constantly complain, it’s our own that do it. It makes me wanna holler and throw up my hands.

    I’ve realized long ago that I’m gonna do me. We obviously aren’t going to please anybody, so I’m pleasing myself and those who matter the most to me because, DAMN!

  • noirluv45

    sixfoota, I remember that too. I remember when men wanted that “strong, independent woman” who could handle her own. Not anymore. Now it appears to be a negative.

    I really believe that’s because it’s a different generation. The men when I was growing up in the 70s had some strength about them. Many of them were MEN, not some weakling who can’t handle a woman being herself, all the while not demeaning him.

  • lhoskins

    hmmm… why is this even a discussion? why are you so worried about what other women are doing? one look at your name and picture and I have my answer… you’re a believer of islam which is as sexist a religion as Christianity. yeah,i said it. YOU be happy while living your life as a gender role. don’t worry about us women who don’t want to,ok?

  • Mademoiselle

    I’m so tire of seeing this 42% statistic. Marriage involves TWO adults. This constant repetition of 42% of black women not being married, while completely omitting the percent of black men not being married is a useless piece of information. And so is any dialogue trying to solve that equation from one side, especially when the reality is 25% of black people are still never married after age 35 (20% after 45), and the trend has been on a sharp rise for both genders since the 80s when we swapped stats with white people.

    I’m also tired of “you don’t get any kudos for doing what you’re supposed to do.” Let’s face facts: that line is just a big ugly excuse to keep throwing rocks at people who are doing well. It basically is a sly way of pushing the finish line forward so that everyone remains a loser, and complaints can keep falling from the sky about what we aren’t doing enough of.

    Finally, I’m tired of the phrase “love language.” In fact, I wish all copies of that daggone book would spontaneously combust right now and burn to a crisp. I cannot stand how we (human beings) latch on to one liners and make that our life’s motto as if anything about marriage and family is as simple and contrite as a catchphrase.

    As far as independence goes, yes, a lot of the connotation involves financial independence, and yes, the more you make the less reason you have for marriage, which was originally a financial exchange between families (“my daughter for your valuables”). Women aren’t the only ones becoming more self sufficient — there’s also been a growing trend in men being able to maintain nice lifestyles without the help of women. We can’t keep thinking of marriage as a means for filling in your own short comings when people are gaining more rights. There’s no reason to “need” a spouse for the things s/he can do or buy for you. Do for yourself, marry for commitment and lineage, and split your resources according to who’s best suited for fulfilling mutual needs.

  • dbsm

    “why is this even a discussion”

    word

    “one look at your name and picture and I have my answer”

    damn

    this article was a damn shame

    can’t get right

  • dbsm

    word.

    women NOT having their own is how many end up “trapped” in long-term emotionally/physically/financially/spiritually abusive “relationships”

    i’ll take anyone that has her own any day. that way, she can make her OWN decisions when it comes down to it

  • dbsm

    excellent analysis, sixfoota

  • LMO85

    @Red P-This entire post was a big fail. You JUST DON’T GET IT.

  • LMO85

    I’m gonna take it old school with this but….QUIET as it’s kept, I was lightweight thinking the same thing, not to mention how tired and played out the whole topic is and the trolls it brings.

  • LMO85

    PREACH.

  • lhoskins

    lol! thanks,sis!

  • Roger

    @LMO85

    So where is your rebuttal homie?

  • Roger

    @Red Pill

    @LMO85 didn’t like what you said, but have no real rebuttal

  • http://gravatar.com/designdiva40 paintgurl40

    @Red Pill:

    I know I’m going to catch hell but you’re right. Men just want a woman that they find attractive, smart enough to hold a conversation, and can manage a household. She doesn’t have to be a Martha Stewart, but at least know how to do SOMETHING or willing to try. If she got a promotion and a raise, he would be happy for her. Good! More money for the household.

    What men don’t like is for a woman to keep throwing in his face her job title, her accomplishments or his lack of and that she could do SO MUCH better on her own and she don’t need his ass everytime he turns around. I wouldn’t want to hear my man constantly barking at me about how great he is and how I ain’t shit because I’m not doing it like he is. A job is something that you do in exchange for money to pay for your basic needs and lifestyle. Jobs come and go, and if you ain’t running your own shit you are one or two checks from the soup line. A job doesn’t define who we are as individuals.

    I believe that we women should go after whatever goals and dreams we each have, and not judge other women for their own decisions. A woman shouldn’t be made to feel ashamed if she wants a man in her life. God created us to need each other for companionship, love and support.

  • EbonyLolita

    I NEVER call myself independent. I call myself self-sufficient! We ALL need ppl and now that I’m 34 and unmarried I really on my common sense to guide me but I accept help from others when in need. Men like to throw that “Oh I thought you were the independent type.” I tell them no woman is an island, now change this tire……. or carry these 30 pd bags of groceries. I’m noticing a shift in chivalry due to this “Ms. Independent” labeling. I work, pay my bills & feed myself. That’s not independent that’s doing what you’re SUPPOSED to do for yourself.

  • EbonyLolita

    *rely*

  • dbsm

    Dear Clutch Magazine,

    I THOUGHT this was a magazine for [Black] women. Please excuse me if I am wrong. I tend to believe indeed I am wrong because you continue to allow a person by the handle/name of “Roger” to comment on this site. I do not know any other women’s site that would allow someone who told another woman that SHE SHOULD/NEEDS TO GET RAPED, and I HOPE YOU GET RAPED<–and he said that recently, you posted it, and then deleted it. Any other women's site would have banned this fcuking coward arsehole long ago. He was what we call a fcuknicca.

    He doesn't come here for dialogue. He comes to assert his weak-arse, damaged-arse ego–clearly in the only space in which he can do so.

    We deserve better.

  • dbsm

    “ow tired and played out the whole topic is and the trolls it brings.”

    exactly. and every time, the same damn punks

  • Rochelle

    I RN aint nobody, so I don’t see where you are going with that point. Anyone can be an RN. So I stopped reading after that point.

  • Rochelle

    Read the rest of what Red Pill wrote. You are a lost man and must realize that all people do not think like you. MONEY=/= ACHIEVMENT. Saying someone has not achieved as much as another person because they are not making as much money is narrow and superficial. That is something a shallow person would think. So saying that your friend is not as accomplished as his wife because he is a teacher is very asinine. At least in my world and most of the people I surround myself with. Your school teacher friend had s b^t*ch of a wife. It is that simple. It has nothing to do with money, as I am sure he can pay bills and bring some intellect to any convo they have. He is either a hoarder of his money and/or he married a bi^t*ch of a woman. You mean to tll me he can’t or doesn’t pay one bill? Well then again this is message board and people tend to make up stories to prove their points. I am sure you are not different. Money does not make you a good person or desirable as a mate. What smart men do is seek someone on their level education wise and then take it from there. The rich or well off men that marry the local Walmart greeter are IDIOTS. I will say it until the day I die. A man should seek his equal on intellect and ambition. I will teach my sons this. The rest of the formalities will fall into place. Sure he must be attracted to her face and body, but that should not be the key in factor is making someone your life partner.

  • Rochelle

    You are very contradictory. So you should be praised for running a business but not being independent and owning a house? Sweetie sometimes a house is a business. You make no sense. Why not be praised for both. Hell, I run a business by providing housing for people (multiple investment properties), should I not be praised? I own property so I don’t have to get up and go to work. I think I am far from basic since most people in the USA can’t even dream of owning property. You sound like a hater.

  • http://gravatar.com/rastaman rastaman1967

    I don’t blame folks who get wrapped up in the “I am independent” meme because very often that was the goal of achievement that was verbalized to them growing up. For many black girls it was be independent and do not be dependent on any man. My own mother in teaching me domestic skills affirmed that to me often as a child the same way she affirmed it to my sisters. I don’t think my mother meant it as harmful advice, I think it was her way of making certain we could take care of ourselves and not be at the mercy of others for what we needed.

    But the education was incomplete as being independent is not the ultimate in human existence being interdependent is. Interdependence is a relationship in which each member is mutually dependent on the others. This concept differs from a dependence relationship, where some members are dependent and some are not.

    When you spend a lifetime training yourself to not be dependent on others for your daily bread there will be a divide transitioning to being interdependent as you will require in relationships. It is scary and the one conclusion I have always drawn from people who constantly trumpet their “independence” is that it is really scary for them to share. They are terribly afraid to share responsibility as they are unable to trust that someone else may be able to do for them. It threatens their view of themselves. They have spent a whole life telling themselves and everybody else how they got it all together so how will it look if I appear like I enjoy, look forward or want someone else to do for me. It feels like weakness. But it is in fact a strength to be able to be mutually dependent, not a lesson many of us learn enough of growing up and that is why we place so much value in being “independent”.

  • Right

    These women probably date less established men because 1) They outnumber professional men. 2) Some of these men know the numbers are in their favor and like to play and juggle women. 3) Many of the professional black men interested in marriage and monogamous relationships prefer and date and marry non-black women. Many just don’t date black women period. I know your position about that, but I think it’s about more than just attitude. And I think most people know that. 4) These women are probably just dating men that they are attracted to. Since women are no longer financially dependent on men, they are starting to overlook men’s ability to financially provide for them and choose men for the same reason that men choose women: good looks. 5) Looking at a man’s finances will get you labeled a materialistic gold digging black woman in the black community. Apparently we are such gold diggers. Maybe these women think they are being progressive and forward thinking.

    When it comes to feminism, I find that most MRAs are fussing about extreme stuff that you might find on a feminist website that most women don’t even agree with. There are a lot of women that want even call themselves feminist because they think feminism is man bashing, anger, and hairy legs. I don’t see women in real life bashing boys for being boys. I see them buying their boys male toys. The boys are watching cartoons where the male heroes fight and save the day. They’re taking martial arts classes. They’re watching wrestling. They’re signing up for peewee sports teams as soon as possible with mommy taking them to practice and supporting them at games too. They’re playing basketball at the neighborhood court for hours a week. They get pep-rallies every week of football season cheering them on to win. They get praise when they win and bring home championships. Their parents are buying them these video game consoles and games where they get to shoot people and do all kinds of aggressive and masculine things. They get praise for their military service. Hip hop is a hyper masculine genre of music that encourages men to be violent towards other men and women that encourages disrespecting women and these men are still treated like kings. They still have women dancing in the clubs to their disrespectful music.

    So what masculine things are men made to feel bad about? Porn? Playing video games for hours? Watching too much sports center? The complaints that women make about these types of things are pretty small and usually about men getting wrapped up in these things for hours, and most men ignore them and keep doing what they want. And aren’t there things that women do that men ridicule? Women are seem as materialistic for shopping. They are seen as spoiled for pampering themselves. They are seen as shallow, self-absorbed and even fake for doing their makeup and hair. They are called gossips and many men think girl’s night is women doing silly things.

    You all are complaining about extreme feminists that don’t really like men. Most women are at the sporting events cheering men on as mothers, wives, and girlfriends. Most women support troops. They’re not sitting around saying that male aggression starts wars. Most women fully understand that men and women are different and that there are things that men can do that women can’t. How does the average mother or wife tear down manhood and masculinity? I mean I know there are women that try to change men to do what they want, but most men I know that are married or in relationships watch all the sports center they want. They play video games when they feel like it, and they hang out with their male friends. Most mothers are not trying to socialize their sons to do feminine things.

    MRAs are a bit dramatic sometimes just like the extreme feminists you complain about. Men ARE seen as human beings and most times do whatever they want. These aren’t really the days of forcing men to serve in the military or forcing them to get married to women when they’d rather play the field. Women may have a gynocentric view of men. They may complain about men not doing things that they want such as marrying and settling down. They may complain about the video games, but if you all were honest, you would admit that men say the same types of things about women, and they are also complaining about women not doing what they want women to do. So I guess your complaint is simply that men’s male-centric view of women is seen as sexist. Well it depends on what types of things you all are saying. Maybe they are actually controlling a sexist. I have seen comments by men saying that their reward for doing the things society demands of them should be obedient women that cater to them. Yes. Many women find that sexist.

    Those black women choosing men that make less them aren’t choosing them for their utility. They are probably choosing them because they make them feel warm and fuzzy inside. Many women of all races are choosing men that make them feel warm and fuzzy rather than because they are good ATMs. Isn’t this what you were just complaining about? Also, this is a bit dishonest. You make it seem as if men are choosing women because they are human, and women are choosing men because they are useful ATMs. You are saying that women are objectifying men. This is funny. Men ARE choosing the women they find the most useful. It is funny how it is perfectly fine for men to be shallow, but if women look at a man’s finances, they’re gold diggers. If they overlook his finances and choose him based on looks, they’re shallow. If they date men that make less than them, it’s because they are controlling. Black women can’t win with you all. There is always something for you to complain about.

    Also, that view of women being spoiled pampered creatures that sit at home all day doing nothing while men toil away at work to be able to provide and build civilization doesn’t really pertain to black women especially not these days. And back in the day, most people were following traditional gender roles, so most women were doing household chores and making the meals, and tending to the kids without the help of modern appliances. This is not to say that housework of those days was the equivalent of working a construction job. It is to say that household work was much more than it is now. Pampered women were usually the elites, and they had men that weren’t really toiling away at strenuous jobs either. These men took pride in offering that lifestyle to the women in their lives. But women of those days were definitely seen as existing for men. Men built this civilization and made the rules. Men work because society (other men) tell them to work so that men can build the empires that they want. You see women as being carefree people who benefit from men’s work. I disagree. 1)Back then there was a clear place for women: the house where they did housework. 2) Women were seen as children incapable of doing these types of things.

    You complain that women had it easy but it was men’s view of women as perennial children that made it okay for these pampered women to lead a life of leisure. Even nowadays, the women who are pampered and not expected to do anything are that way because the men in their lives see them the same way.

  • noirluv45

    Roger, sometimes a rebuttal is fruitless. Oftentimes the hearer isn’t going to listen, so why bother. It’s like telling a baby not to cry. They aren’t going to listen because it’s what they do. It’s like trying to convince a racist why he/she should not be racist. They aren’t going to listen no matter how much logic you use. They are set in park and they aren’t moving.

    Don’t assume because someone doesn’t have a rebuttal that they don’t have one.

  • noirluv45

    *reply to a rebuttal* that they don’t have one. Sometimes things are waste of time and energy.

  • Rochelle

    Clutch: Don’t delete my comment.

    Read the rest of what Red Pill wrote. You are a lost man and must realize that all people do not think like you. MONEY=/= ACHIEVMENT. Saying someone has not achieved as much as another person because they are not making as much money is narrow and superficial. That is something a shallow person would think. So saying that your friend is not as accomplished as his wife because he is a teacher is very asinine. At least in my world and most of the people I surround myself with. Your school teacher friend had a bish of a wife. It is that simple. It has nothing to do with money, as I am sure he can pay bills and bring some intellect to any convo they have. He is either a hoarder of his money and/or he married a bish of a woman. You mean to tell me he can’t or doesn’t pay one bill? Well then again this is a message board and people tend to make up stories to prove their points. I am sure you are no different. Money does not make you a good person or desirable as a mate. What smart men do and should seek is someone on their level education wise and then take it from there. The rich or well off men that marry the local Walmart greeter are IDIOTS. I will say it until the day I die. A man should seek his equal on intellect and ambition. I will teach my sons this. The rest of the formalities will fall into place. Sure he must be attracted to her face and body, but that should not be the key in factor is making someone your life partner.

  • Right

    These women date men that make less than them probably because 1) Professional black women outnumber black men 2) Some of these men know the numbers are in their favor and like to play and juggle women 3) Many of the professional black men interested in marriage and monogamous relationships prefer, date, and marry non-black women. I have seen your thoughts on this. I think it’s about much more than “attitude.” 4) These women are probably dating the men that they are attracted to. Since women are no longer financially dependent on men, they choose certain men for the same reason men choose certain women: good looks. 5) Black women are labeled gold diggers if we even think about looking at a man’s finances. Maybe they think they are being progressive.

    You say that feminism hates manhood. You are talking about extreme feminism. Most women are buying their sons boy toys and dressing them up in boy clothes. The boys are watching cartoons and movies where the hero kicks the evil guy’s butt and saves the day. They are playing peewee sports from a very young age with their mothers taking them to practice. They do boyish things when they play outside. They get pep-rallies cheering them on for sports. Sports stars are treated like gods. When I was in school, the girls weren’t shouting about feminism when guys were playing sports or taking agriculture or woodwork. Boys get video game consoles and games bought by their parents where they play games that are geared towards men. They watch sports center and go to sports bars. Hip hop is probably one of the most popular genres of music that encourages hyper masculinity, violence towards other men and women, and most women aren’t shouting feminist slogans about this. There are plenty dancing right along.

    Most men that I know that are married or in relationships play video games. They watch sports, and they hang out with their friends. I don’t really see or hear this hatred of all things masculine coming from women. Does it happen? Yea, but most men and women know that men and women do different things. And let’s not pretend that things that women do are not ridiculed by men. Men make fun of women for shopping and pampering themselves or reading tabloids or watching rom coms.

    What are these things that men are doing that women hate and see as evil? Porn? Playing video games for hours and being poor company?

    And this whole men are poor work horses for society and women is outdated isn’t it? And it doesn’t really apply to black women. But back in the day women followed traditional gender roles. Society (men) said that a woman’s place was at home and her work was in the kitchen. Housework back then without modern appliances was more work. It was not hard as men’s work, but it was more strenuous than today. But if you all are upset about having to be work horses, you should be mad at society (other men) and things like manifest destinies and men’s desire to grow empires. It is men that label unproductive men lazy. It is men that determine what is acceptable behavior for women and other men. Pampered women living the leisure life were a small minority of elite women, and the idea that women should be in the house and not working or living the leisure life was created by society’s (other men) view of women as perennial children. Also before technology, there were many jobs that women couldn’t do. Men were work horses for other men not women. Let’s be honest. In those days, women’s sole purpose for existing was seen as being able to serve men as a mother to his children and a wife to fulfill his needs.

    In this day and age men aren’t forced into the military. Many times they do exactly what they want. They date the women that they want to date. They go after the careers they want to have. They marry if and when they want to marry. They participate in the activities that they want to participate in. Some men may catch some nagging along the way, but I’m hardly seeing this world you see where men are slaves of women who hate masculinity and want them to wear pink and dance ballet. In this day and age men have way more freedom to do what they want instead of what society tells them to do.

    You’ve done this women made men lose ambition speech before. I disagree. The first generation goes to work. The second goes to college, and the third goes to hell. There’s just less ambition period, and I don’t think women are the cause of that. I think it’s because Americans have become complacent. MRAs blame the way men are these days on women, but men get their needs met with little effort these days. Generations that went to work and college had to do more to get respect from other men and women. Nowadays many people see things like the movie ‘Knocked Up’ as funny and normal. But these men are no longer workhorses for women and society. They’ve checked out of the rat race. Just don’t blame it on women. If we demand more from men, we are nagging gold digging shrews. We expect less, and it’s still our fault.

  • C’mon Son

    I’m an educated woman with my Master’s and I NEED my husband. It’s a risk being vulnerable but I feel loved, protected, nurtured and balanced. The term “independence” has since been thrown down an elevator shaft a long time ago…

    I go to a huge black church in NYC. Many women in their late thirties…early 40′s…some educated, some independent, some live with roommates…. but bitter, resentful, unbalanced, lonely and often cannot muster up the strength to see other women who are in relationships happy.

    It burns, stings and bites…especially here in NYC where black couples are virtually nonexistent….

    I think independence is an overused word that hides the reality of what our communities are dealing with…

    Ladies…sometimes we have to admit how much men and women really need each other…Independence is HIGHLY overrated.

  • Serene

    Working three jobs and going to school full time is HARD. Being a single parent is HARD. A lot of people would crack under the pressure.

    I used to live with my parents, but I like my independence even better. You do learn a lot more finding your own path in life and respect.

    I’m so glad that I can provide for myself and I thank God that I have the means to do it. Yes, it is very hard, but worth it. I don’t ever want to have to depend on someone for my well-being.

  • Julie

    I don’t see anything wrong with being independent. Remember when that was a good thing? As far as blasting your independence to the world via social networks, I never quite understood that. Like many have said here, it seems like a bunch of adults wanting recognition for doing what they’re supposed to be doing, while simultaneously trying to make themselves feel superior to anyone who may not be in the position to do the same. I have a friend who does this, constantly reminds us how she pays her own bills, and buys her own things, which is great , but expected. You’re 20- something, provided you have a steady job and decent income, that’s what you’re supposed to do no? I don’t get why everyone needs to hear about it. But hey whatever. To each their own.

    Not gonna lie, my mom raised us to be independent. I was about 10 when she divorced my dad, and he started a new family in another country. We wouldn’t see him again until we were in our 20′s. The bills had to be paid so my mother worked a lot, both my sister and I quickly learned to do a lot of things on our own. It’s not some attitude that we chose, we were adapting to circumstances and it stuck. When you’re not used to depending on people, it’s not an easy thing to do. I imagine some of women who develop this attitude do it because they’ve had to, their experience led them to think that they shouldn’t rely on anyone to help them, they gotta go out and do it on their own.

    In college my sister was in an emotionally abusive relationship with a guy who despite his awfulness made her realize that she didn’t let people help her. Granted this guy was hella insecure and looking for a woman he could control, she did learn something about herself after the relationship (thankfully) ended. Ironically if she had allowed herself to be dependent on him, who knows what kind of awful crap he would have put her through. This was someone who openly expressed resent towards her for things that were outside of her control, he resented the fact that she went to a good university, the fact that academically she was getting it done, while due to financial restraints he had to attended a community college and he struggled academically , but he refused to take any help that she or anyone else offered him. Which was ironic because he accused her of doing the same (which was true), but he didn’t see anything wrong with him doing it. Basically he made it clear that he wanted all the power in the relationship, but instead he had none, so that made him a nightmare to deal with. She’s a better judge of character now. Since then I think both my sister and I learned to be a lot more open to the idea of letting others help us. While I still like my independence, I’m definitely okay with the idea of sharing responsibility with someone I can depend on.

  • http://gravatar.com/trueletterson trueletterson

    A Independent person male or female is a person who have not reached the highest level of maturity cause the highest level of maturity is interdependence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So a independent women is a immature female not quite ready for a serious relationship with a man.

  • lhoskins

    well said!

  • http://akamissi.com LadyI

    “I don’t need anyone, I can do it myself,” sound good for movies, books and lyrics; but I believe most women have their own definition of what Miss independent means and it is far from male bashing and having the most material possessions. Recently, I began a feature on my blog called “Miss Independent of the week!” The feature gives women an opportunity to defined what miss independent means to them in 50 words or less. I quickly learned that women see independence as developed character and drive for life. So far none of them have said anything about not needing or wanting a man. I am sure, most of us song along with songs by Ne-Yo and Destiny’s Child, but at the end of the day, an independent woman (all grown-up) knows that the definition goes deeper than what society sells us.

  • Pingback: A.K.A MISSI

  • http://gravatar.com/solfresh solfresh

    Naw, you’re reading too much into my statement and you sound confused. Firstly, I respect all women who do for their own. The line for me is when women brag about paying bills or working two jobs excessively as if they’re the only ones who have to work hard out here. Secondly, good looks to you for running your business because I guess that’s what you really wanted. Thirdly, it is MY preference that I’d rather be applauded for running my own business because in my opinion that’s much harder than paying bills and rent. I’ve done the latter before. It seems you skipped the sentence where I state it all seems like a one-up game to me. You also missed this sentence:

    I’d still have the same respect for woman who has to live with her parents to write the next greatest novel as the woman who’s out here working 3 jobs to maintain a lifestyle.

    All women have my respect who are doing their own thing, but let’s not make a game out of it or brag about it for recognition.

    The third paragraph is my opinion only because I personally believe us women can aspire to do way more. Excuse me for wanting excellence. I want black women to own property but I believe we can go beyond that. It’s all just my opinion/belief not fact.

    This line right here though sounds quite pessimistic:
    I think I am far from basic since most people in the USA can’t even dream of owning property.

    Everybody is dreaming of something better love, don’t ever doubt that. It’s not a matter of either/or it’s just preference.

  • http://trueletterson.wordpress.com trueletterson

    The author make a good point by definition a independent person have not reach the highest level of maturity, their are four levels of maturity independence is the third level which hardly lead to any success in career, family or relationship there is no balance in independence, the highest level of maturity is “interdependent” which describe the world we live in, we operate in and we work in could it be that us trying so hard to prove our independence is a reason our families, life and community is so dysfunctional thing about it! How can a independent person successfully communicate, and operate properly in a interdependent world?

  • http://clutchmagazineblog.wordpress.com ajaveen

    Does not seem like a ‘real’ friend to me to say something underhanded about you living with your parents. The shoes could have been on the other foot with your friend.

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