Can a woman make or break a man?
I can’t tell you how old I was when I first heard the common phrase ‘Behind every great man is a great woman’ but I can tell you how I felt about it. I was proud.
I mean here was a universally accepted female accomplishment and I, by virtue of being female, could share in the glory of it. However, now that I am older, I’m not so sure anymore.
I mean, I get that it’s supposed to be a compliment, but to who exactly? To the man who needs to be propped up on the shoulders of another to achieve anything or to the woman who only receives recognition to her contributions to another’s achievements but none of her own?Maybe I’m reading too much into this, right? It’s a phrase coined sometime in a later century, maybe I shouldn’t take it too seriously, some would say.
Ever heard the term ‘Ride-or-die chick’? I have. Numerously in fact, among millennials, or as I like to call them, my age mates. In the lingo of popular culture, a ride or die chick is a woman who is with her significant other through the good, the bad and the downright insane. Especially the downright insane. Notable example, Eva Braun, who committed suicide with her significant other, Adolf Hitler. And there’s your dose of world history for the week, you’re welcome.
Let me make it clear why the concept doesn’t augur well with me. It’s not that I don’t think women shouldn’t make a contribution, it’s that I think that a woman who does so is probably capable of doing a lot of things for herself that she should be recognized for. And some may argue that recognizing her as being the secret behind his success is not mutually exclusive with recognizing her for her own achievements, but the truth of the matter is that in our society, that happens most of the time.
Women are raised to believe that they are only well off if they marry well. University degrees and successful careers be damned, they spend a large chunk of their lives polishing up on their support skills. Support him, by all means, nurture his dreams, to be nurturing is just part of who women are, but is there a chance that the support could go both ways? Or could impart our boys with the skills necessary for them to get there without an express ticket called woman? Is there a way to somehow to raise each other up? To not measure female worth solely by contribution to male success or by her willingness to weather his broke days with him until he eventually gets there? What about her vision? Aren’t a woman’s dreams just as valid as a man’s?
Call it feminism, call it disillusionment with the status quo. Whatever it is, I think it’s time we changed the narrative to something along the lines of ‘Beside every great man is a great woman/ beside every great woman is a great man’. Equality, anyone?I’m Yvonne Tamba. Stay frosty! To get a male perspective on this, please CLICK HERE to read my colleague Mitchell’s views