Olivia J. Scott, Senior Writer Woman to Woman Blog Talk
“Now, woman is confronted with the necessity of emancipating herself from emancipation, if she really desires to be free.”—Emma Goldman
Female independence, a coveted prize many women seek to possess, is nothing more than a tragedy. It has entrapped and isolated them more than it frees them. It has left them far more dissatisfied.
No doubt female independence has given women equality in the political, social, economic and legal systems, and far more freedom with decisions that affect their personal well-being. However, it has driven a wedge between men and women. It has pitted women against men, causing unnecessary antagonism between the sexes. It blurred, if not destroyed, defined roles and responsibilities of the sexes accepted by society from the beginning of time. It created another element, an agent, that destroys the first institution—the family. Independent women are less inclined to work to keep a failing relationship together, because, in their eyes, they don’t need the man around to make the clock tick. And they will tell you frankly they are not afraid to raise their children on their own, fashionizing’ single parenthood.
Perhaps, female independence has unintentionally created a new creature, who, as she continuously asserts her freedom, has removed herself from the reality of her own world. She now sets her own rules and abide by them on her own terms. “Let the rest of society suffer,” she says, “As long as I am free.”
As much as she relishes her freedom, the “I-can-do-all-by-myself” woman, is far less happy than when she was encumbered by a repressive political, legal, social, and cultural system. Now, instead of being truly liberated, independent women are struggling to free themselves from the shackles created by the very freedom they fought so bitterly for. The very men that women wanted to be independent against and “equal” to are turned off by the effects of female freedom.
From the lack of respect to the espousal to the notion that she can do all by herself, more and more men find it easier to leave women in their own arrogance and self-extolment. Men are further irked, and greatly disappointed that independent women no longer want to be feminine. They want to be the ones who assert control and wield the power. Preservation of sexual integrity is probably a thing of the past, as sexual freedom leads to a proliferation of “hookups” and casual sex (what the older generation calls “promiscuity), and lots and lots of short term and uncommitted relationships. The ability to exert sexual freedom gives her “girl power” and she believes she shouldn’t have to stick to one guy, whom she throws in the trash at the mere sign of him threatening her freedom.
The newly independent women no longer swear by the institution of marriage. Instead, they see it as a restrictive entity; one which will throw them back into the jaws of dependence, and loss or subjection of the identity they secured through freedom. If they do get married, their clamor to maintain their freedom often leads to the destruction of their matrimony.
These women no longer want to be mothers, let alone housewives. They show little or no emotions, and no longer believe in working things out for the sustenance of their relationships. They frown on chivalry and misconstrue a man’s generosity as a crafty tactic to win them over and steal their freedom. Now men are reluctant to help women who genuinely need their assistance.
After they’ve aged well into her 40’s and 50’s, they realize that as much as they attained social and economic progress, their lives are lacking. Lacking love, children, family, and a man. Then they begin to complain and assert that “there is no good man out there.” This double standard has caused men to further lose trust in women who blamed them for dependence and blame them for the results of their independence. But men are leaving independent women to dig themselves out of the hole they dug for themselves, as they struggle to free themselves from freedom.
As Goldman sums it up, “The demand for equal rights in every vocation of life is just and fair; but, after all, the most vital right is the right to love and be loved. Indeed, if partial emancipation is to become a complete and true emancipation of woman, it will have to do away with the ridiculous notion that to be loved, to be sweetheart and mother, is synonymous with being slave or subordinate.”
- The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation, Emma Goldman’sAnarchism and Other Essays. Second Revised Edition. New York & London: Mother Earth Publishing Association, 1911. pp. 219-231. https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/goldman/works/1906/tragedy-women.htm
Copyright Woman to Woman Blog Talk 2015
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