It’s time to shake off the cliches. Why? For centuries women have been mocked for their obsession with finding love.
Think about those classic movies we all know and love, imparted by generations past. Cinderella’s only hope of escaping the drudgery of her home life was via a man.
This is but one example in a long line of Disney movies following this outdated formula, painting men as strong and capable and women as whimsical and weak.
Or consider the iconic musical rom-com Grease, we see female protagonist, Sandy, battle the verbal bullying of her peers throughout the whole movie until the final scene.
There she succumbs to the pressure, changing her image and personality completely to ensnare her love interest, Danny.
Today’s representations of women may have progressed – contemporary Disney princesses such as Moana and Mulan are more empowered – but the cumulative effect of a long history of gender stereotyping takes time to be undone.
It’s no wonder women have been portrayed, and hence labeled, as weak, desperate, and overemotional for our preoccupation with romantic endeavours. But there’s one pivotal point women need to do: stereotyping from men this is one thing, but when our fellow females turn against us we need to step up.
How about a show of solidarity sisters? To build support for each other, here are a few things you need to know when it comes to some of the love-related challenges.
Firstly, there’s the biological clock. We are informed from a very early age that the holy grail of womanhood is attaining a husband and popping out kids, preferably before the age of 30. All this to avoid the lurking grasps of “madame menopause”. Somehow a woman’s life is incomplete without marriage and motherhood, which is of course is nonsense even though this archaic attitude is unavoidably influential.
Secondly, women have to contend with family and societal pressures. The idea of being that eternally-single friend or sibling at weddings or events without a plus-one sets women up for having to endure wine-fueled interrogations by distant relatives and friends of friends.
It’s always some version of, “So you’re still single? Ever thought about freezing your eggs? What about Gary over there? He’s single too, I’ll introduce you (points towards the lone odorous drunk man you’ve been actively avoiding all afternoon).”
The betrothed brigade needs to stop viewing single women as an anomaly. They are not a problem that needs to be resolved. If you see a little of yourself in the aforementioned I recommend you do what you can to switch views; don’t define other women by their relationship status.
Equally, if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself on the receiving end of such cringe-worthy intrusion, choose honesty over civility.
It’s okay to tell someone who barely knows you to mind their own business, or simply explain that your priorities are different than theirs.
These incursions are generally manifest in ignorance rather than malice. It’s our duty as modern women to re-educate these traditional thinkers compassionately.
Furthermore, if we are feeling inadequate or rejected as single women, we also need to turn our attention inwards. Can we work on our self-esteem and confidence from a more individual perspective?
However, when we are confronted by hateful prejudice because of our choices as single women, this is another matter. I’m talking about slut shaming. It is not okay to berate fellow women over their sexual choices.
If someone enjoys an active sex life involving multiple partners, in a safe and responsible way, this not something women or men have any right to judge. Sexual expression and freedom is healthier than keeping one’s vagina under lock and key. Who knows if and when “the one” will ever make an appearance.
Sometimes this kind of mudslinging is manifest in disparaging comments about the way other women dress or the way they appeal to men. Envy or a host of other reasons may explain why women do this to each other but my point is, we are all different. Those differences should be celebrated, not criticized.
Don’t hate on other women for the decisions they make.
When our views are influenced by male-perpetrated, chauvinistic attitudes we are advocating sexism, something we don’t need to encourage. Come back to yourself by identifying personal insecurities to make sure this isn’t where the venom is brewing.
If we really want to shake off the cliches, we have to remember we are not just mothers or wives. We are certainly not sluts or spinsters, desperately looking for a relationship. We are not weak or overemotional. We are warriors living the best life possible. When we fearlessly take risks, with honesty as our weapon, our hearts open.
Many women I know are willing to traverse continents and seas in their quest for love, and they do this with passion and a devotion to self regardless of whether or not these passions are reciprocated. Does this make us desperate? I don’t think so. The world need more integrity, more love, and, more peace.
So let’s celebrate and empower other women in their quest for love, regardless of differences. May the sisterhood be strong!