WHAT IS A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN?
A woman without a man is…
The interesting thing about this opening statement for me is not how you choose to end it, but that this line of thought or speech is never directed towards a man. As far as society is concerned, a man without a woman is still a man, nothing taken, nothing added. But when it becomes a woman without a man? The reverse is the case, she is suddenly insignificant, and undervalued.
Recently a Nigerian lady was ridiculed and shamed on social media for being 29 years old and unmarried. Her phenomenal education and financial achievements were disregarded all because she did not have a man in her life or a Mrs. attached to her name.
For years, women have been groomed from a young age for male validation. As women we are taught to cook because of a man, we are told to lose weight or add weight to be attractive for a man, wearing make-up, getting our hair done was all in an effort to attain the male gaze. In essence, we are taught that our individuality is not important on its own but only in reference to a man. This manner of doctrine and teaching means that we are without value until a man is attached to us. On the flip side, when a boy is told ‘to be a man’ it is for his own good, for his wellbeing and respect and not necessarily because he would need a woman to certify his value.
Even now, in a country like Nigeria, the relevance and worth of women are still built on the presence or absence of a man in her life. No wonder women end up subjecting themselves to emotional, physical, and other types of mistreatment in order not to lose the significance and value they have spent years preparing for. This narrative needs to change, and it will change when we as women begin to balk at the narrative of insignificance and irrelevance that has been handed down to us due to our gender, or marital status.
We have been taught to need male validation to feel beautiful, successful, worthy but we must understand and embrace this truth, that our value and worth comes from within us.