On radio this morning, a presenter introduced Cher by saying that, “She has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, and is best known for having been married to Bono.”
Let me say that again, slowly:
- Has sold 100 million albums worldwide…
- Best known for having been married to Bono.
Does anybody else see a problem here?
No, this is not about the radio station or the radio presenter; who I am pretty sure did not set out to get my goat. This is about perceptions. Specifically, the perception that regardless of who a woman is; anything that she does or is, is measured against whether or not she is partnered.
I will admit that maybe this remark would not have gotten my goat so much, if this article had not already nudged my sensibilities regarding this. I will even admit that maybe the goat would have remained un’got, if people would just stop!! asking me when I am going to get married! Maybe the goat would have even stayed put, if yet other people would resist from providing me with their hypotheses on why I am not married yet. I smile when a hypothesis is offered. I chuckle, and sometimes, I even make jokes about it; but seriously, stop!
Perceptions. Wrong perceptions. The perception that a woman has done nothing until there is a man by her side. A flawed perception that drives girls into relationships that they should not be in. A perception that leads women to believe that they really should stay in abusive relationships because, ‘at least they’re not alone’. (And what is it with this ‘alone’ business anyway? Nobody is alone because, support systems.) Anyway, perceptions. The perception that girls have to be in a relationship; because they need to affirm to themselves and others, that somebody wants them.
What if we raised our daughters, nieces, cousins, girls, women… What if we raised them to believe that they are enough? Marriage is not designed to complete us; we are already complete. Marriage has many benefits, but its purpose is not to make us enough or whole. You are already whole and enough, all by yourself. If we propagate this rumour that a woman is not complete until she is married, is it any wonder that even when she is in a relationship, she struggles to feel like she is enough. Pinning her self-worth on her partner, and feeling shattered when she realizes that her husband cannot make her whole because that is something that only she can do.
What if we started to see women as individuals, and not as extensions of the men who “want them”? Is it possible that maybe, girls would experience a new freedom? Freedom to be themselves? Freedom to live a life that is theirs? Freedom to make choices that are good for them? Is it possible then, that freeing the girl to make choices that are good for her, would be good for the boy too; and for society as a whole?