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Since I was a little girl, I was conditioned to think every woman needed the presence of a man in her life. The patriarchal society dictated that a woman was close to nothing if she wasn’t married. I noticed this issue at a fairly young age and it bothered my young and naive mind.

When I was a 6-year-old, I was fascinated with Barbie dolls and this obsession followed me to the age of 11. But my Barbie doll was nothing without the Ken doll by her side. I never saw the need to add a Ken doll to my extensive Barbie doll collection and the girls in the neighbourhood made fun of me because of this.

When I was an 8-year-old, I used to play “house house” with my best friend from the neighbourhood. We would make tents in the backyard and pretend to be our mothers. The other girls included the boys in their “house house” games because they needed someone to take care of them. We didn’t need the boys to take care of us but we told them they could help us out. But we were made fun of because we didn’t use the boys as “security guards”.

When I was a 10-year-old, my parents and I lived in a housing society that was home to over 30 families. One of the houses was occupied by an old single woman. People called her the “crazy lady” whenever they saw her. Her vibrant coloured butterfly sunglasses, printed skirts, and single status were continuously associated with the word crazy. But when I saw her walk about, I saw an independent woman who worked hard to fulfill her dreams.

It’s not easy being a happy independent woman in our society. Your independence is seen as rebellion, not strength. Your independence is seen as a delusion, not a choice. A man with a high-powered job is successful and strong. But a woman with a high-powered job is lonely and depressed.

You shouldn’t let these views affect you and the way you navigate through life. You shouldn’t give into societal pressure of getting tied down because you need a man to be stronger. You shouldn’t call yourself a “crazy cat lady” just because you’re single and love the company of cars. You shouldn’t settle for being the housewife when you can be more. You shouldn’t wait for someone else to take you where you want to go.

You, as a woman, should focus on being independent, regardless of whether you’re single, in a committed relationship or married. You, as a woman, should bravely be Wonder Woman rather than wait around to be rescued by Superman.