By Faith Haushona-Kavamba
LOOKING back at my childhood, I find it unusual that I was never really exposed to gender roles until I was a teenager interacting with people who were not members of my immediate family.
I grew up in a house where my grandmother raised her children not to subscribe to gender roles. What a woman can do, a man can also do (and vice versa). That included cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, fixing broken appliances or just cleaning the yard.
The same applied in our house, where both my parents would pull their weight to make sure that everything got done. Seeing a male figure, be it my step-father or uncles, preparing a delicious meal was expected, so I found it unusual that there were households where men would not even venture into the kitchen.
Interacting with other people, it started to seem like my household was unusual. People tried to force their stereotypical gender roles onto me and that altered the way I thought about relationships.
At the time, it seemed that we were a special case and I would be forced to subscribe to certain roles mainly based on my sex, if not I would have to live the life of a spinster. I think that in part (coupled with the love of my freedom and not have a member of the opposite sex telling what to do) contributed to my decision to indeed desperately want the life of a spinster.
If it meant that I could do what I want, when I wanted to do it and not be forced into being a follower when I know I was born to be a leader, I would embrace the life of being a single woman.
It also meant that I would not have to put my career on hold while I cater to the needs of another person who saw me as a lesser than I am because of my sex. In hindsight, this is a skewed view of marital relationships but it aided in justifying my decision.
While I now know that our household was not unique, I still have not been able to reconcile myself with the notion of getting married. For me, it still feels like being tied down to the old ball and chain.
There is still that chain you are dragging along that keeps you from moving as fast as you would like in life. Until recently, I thought single people (mainly women) are free while married people are slaves to each other.
However, I recently had a chat with a like-minded individual who made me see things from a different perspective.
She too, put getting married and having children on hold while she lived life to the fullest and pursued her career, and while she does not necessarily regret her decisions, in hindsight she has come to learn that singletons (mainly women) are not as free as they think they are.
Unlike their male counterparts, it is inherent in (most, if not all) women to be nurturers and providers. They will always want to provide regardless of the nature of the relationship and their beliefs.
So this means that even as a singleton you will want to provide for your partner, however without the reciprocal agreement. Whereas married people try to contribute 50/50 to the relationship (or so I am told).
Miss Independent will buy groceries and cook (because she also has to eat), clean and pay rent (because it’s her house and only her name is on the lease), occasionally get an outfit for her partner for events she invites him to (because she has to make a good impression), all the while not expecting anything from him because she is independent, she can do bad all by herself. Perhaps some men feel the same too, especially the ones who like to splurge out on their partners.
Now, I am not going to rush down the aisle anytime soon (if ever at all), but it’s a perspective that shows that being single is really not all it’s cracked up to be. It’s definitely something I will think about the next time I’m about to dog-out a married person.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015