Down through history men have always been measured by how hard they work and cultivated, how well the protected their wife and children. In the old days, woman saw their man as conquerors, providers, heroes. But somewhere along the lines that changed. Women started to became their own heroes, maybe it was because their man forgot to be relic or because woman don’t want to be protected anymore or maybe woman had to be their own hero because of the pain they had to endure in life. But whatever the cause, the world took away a man’s reason for being a man. It told him he wasn’t important anymore and when that happened, it turned the whole world upside down (Not Easily Broken)
A bit of a random thought as our family gathered to celebrate my parents’ 28th year union… thinking back to, say, the 1900’s or earlier, men and women had their roles defined. Men were taught to stand up for women, go to work to support a family, women were taught on how to do household chores.
Fast forward to 2012, women have said “we want to do that too” and “stop limiting what we can do”. And women have proved they are a force to be reckoned with! We work (and survive 12 hours in heels and we make it look easy), we are not only beautiful; we are smart, ambitious and motivated. We pay bills, we can change the light bulb and we drive cars with German engines. As if that weren’t enough- our responsibilities don’t end there: we are mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, individuals.
However, as admirable as all that maybe, we seem to be struggling when it comes to relationships. What has gone wrong? A friend pointed out, “We behave as if we don’t need men anymore.” What a horrid idea…maybe true considering the fact that we can even have babies nowadays without having sex with a man (Sperm banks, In Vitro).
All this forced me to do some research and ask women around me some tough questions, and I discovered that it’s not that we don’t need men anymore, in fact, we (most of us anyway) WANT to be married…
So, what is it about us (as independent, beautiful and as smart as we are) that ‘happily ever after’ seems elusive? Is it our zero tolerance for “nonsense” that has made our men feel less than men? Has our success clouded our judgment? Or have our men just dropped the standard and women need men with more than just a paycheck?
Could it be that we have thrown men a curveball by letting them know that we will not be impressed with what they have but with who they are? After all, most women aren’t necessarily looking to marry a millionaire; she wants to know that he has a good work ethic and he at least has some ambition to improve himself…
Still on a quest to find the answer, I turned to my friends (whose opinions I value) to answer my questions…
In your opinion, do women like being taken care of?
Yolokazi (Fabulous 20-something female): Yes and no. Firstly, I can take care of myself financially, so it feels weird sometimes when a guy wants to buy me stuff. Taking me out to a fancy restaurant – Yay! Offering to take me shopping for clothes/groceries – weird!
Thandeka (Amazing, strong woman, 20-something): I honestly believe men were created as “heads”, leaders, as providers, so I don’t mind at all a man to take care of me. I have an issue though with men trying to control women because they are the providers (taking advantage of the situation, then that’s why you find women want to be independent… Not because they don’t want to be provided for, but because they don’t want to be pressured/ controlled/ the man making decisions for them.
Women want to be equals with men, which just won’t happen regardless how much we earn…
Sim (Smart, Ambitious Man): Emotionally women still want to be looked after, loved, supported, listened to and be cared for in that way but they are not so much financially dependent anymore.
Kholi (Big sis, caring and has heart of gold): Biggest problem I think with women these days is lack of identity. True identity or knowledge and acceptance of SELF WORTH, at least. Low self-esteem, confidence, shame.
I think these days women are generally hurt, and as a result they can sometimes project this hurt and fear on their partners.
This hurt manifests in the following ways: Insecurity, Control issues, Dependence and Aggressiveness
Travelling Man (Successful man who puts family first): Things have changed. Back in the day woman were survivors. Now they are providers. They provide themselves and their family. Personally I don’t have a problem with such, the independent woman will always get admiration for me.
For me it works out that she is independent, that way she won’t be reliant on the man to provide everything. However, at the same time a woman is a woman and men like myself enjoy providing for her.
Looking at some of our relationships, what have we learnt about ourselves and relationships in general?
Yolokazi: I have recently just made this discovery/realisation. In ALL my past relationship – I have always relied on the guy for emotional support only. Maybe a little bit spiritually, but not that much. Mostly emotionally. What do I mean by this? I mean I’ve always seen the guy’s role as someone to talk to about everything in my life – my school (when I was studying), my work, my frustrations, my thots/fears – just a whole lot of talk and intangible things. I’ve just relied on men to be a good listener and comforter. If I’ve had a bad day – he must say sweet things. If I am nervous for an exam/interview – he must say encouraging positive stuff. Then rest of the stuff – I got it. And after years of this I can safely say – IT DOESN’T WORK!!! Men don’t have an emotional insight bone to save their lives!! It doesn’t come naturally! And their attention span is that of a goldfish! Seriously, all that info flying at them from my mouth – half the time they’re not even listening. And of course this causes a lot of frustration. Like, why does he not get that I am mad about this thing that happened at work? In the meantime he’s tryna be my hero and carry my shopping bags, but I say “nah, it’s cool, I got it.”
So in effect all the practical opportunities that he sees he could help me, I shut him off “Nah, it’s cool, I can handle it” And all the times I am waiting for him to help me (emotional stuff), he has absolutely no clue. He’s just not wired that way. After all, how can I expect someone who’s weak at handling emotions to be strong for mine? It’s his weak points!
Travelling Man: Relationships need working at, that is pretty simple. When you meet someone, the man initially is the chaser, always running after the woman. When he finally “gets her” he stops all the activities, while she now wants the attention.
Initially what is supposed to happen is that both parties engage each other and build from there.
S’thabile (A complete darling, not scared to speak her mind): The things I’ve noticed that happens with us, independent ladies is that, we have a no nonsense attitude. If we ask for something once and they don’t get it for us then, we are quick to say “oh screw him I can get it myself,” kind of thing. That’s what causes the tension. And also doing something without filling them in, not meaning you have to get permission but just letting them know that “oh there’s a nice pair of shoes I saw and I would like to buy them”. Even though you will buy them regardless of what he says but it gives the impression that you care about what he thinks and you don’t just feel, oh it’s my money I can do whatever with it.
Sim: Women are more head strong, career focused and more independent, more often than not they want to take the lead and be involved in key decisions. The impact of this on relationships is that they now want to viewed as equals then simply playing a supporting advisory role.
Yolokazi: A woman is the helper, the nurturer, the aroma, the sweetener. Her touch & presence must be soft & soothing. Physically & metaphorically. And this by no means says she should be a doormat walked over. So in a relationship she should be there to make things brighter. Beautiful. The man should be the leader, the one who sets the pace – and she must trust him enough to let him lead. It doesn’t mean she can’t earn more, it doesn’t mean she can’t be independent of mind – it just means she must respect the authority and role of a man in a relationship. And this only works if she truly trusts the man to lead. Which is where the biggest problem lies.
Travelling Man: There should be no roles or whatever you call it. A relationship is all about nurturing each other, emotionally and physically.
You cannot continue where the man does everything while the woman just accept. You both need to come up with initiatives that you both will enjoy.|
There is nothing wrong with the woman organizing a massage session for both of you while at the same time the man draws you a bath to be enjoyed together.
Thandeka: I personally “act” like a man sometimes as a defense mechanism. I can provide for myself, buy my own size 8 shoe… I’m my own head even in a marriage situation mindset.
A woman’s role in a relationship is found in the Bible, that’s what I aspire to be, that woman like Proverbs 31 woman. To be submissive, and being submissive is not being inferior/ a door mat/an idiot. If that’s the mentallity we have, then when we submit to God, we inferior to this superior/ horrible/mean God, which is not true.
S’thabile: The role of a woman in a relationship is to be a man’s right hand “man” so to speak. You are his help, his friend and his personal care taker. One must be the sort of woman that comes first in her man’s mind whenever he has something to share, good or bad. Men like being given that place to make them feel they are the man. In my previous relationship, I was the one who earned more, but I would still ask him for petrol money, money to buy lunch just so he felt he was needed, and he really enjoyed doing things for me. Okay I am a sucker for being taken care of, no matter how much I may have I still want my man to take me out and pay for diner, take me shopping or buy me some nice perfume even if I can afford to do it myself.
Sim: I think the roles are still the same but the duties and responsibilities have grown. A woman is still regarded as the the peace-maker, the giver, the emotional adviser, the natural healer and the actual foundation of a family while a man is still regarded as the protector, the builder, the developer, the financial the provider. But in the 21 century because of societal changes and systems, these roles have become more complex and the lines have been blurred to such a point that they have become inter-changeable. A man needs not just to be a protector but also an emotional advisor in addition while a woman not just a peace-maker but also a builder in addition etc.
Feel free to add your own views.