A Thin Line Between Submissive and Dominant: The Plight of the Independent Woman

“Men seem to be intimidated by me.”

 

“I feel you girl.”

 

“They see my car, where I live and they get in their mind that I’m some kind of way.”

 

“Yes, they say they want a woman who isn’t draining their pockets, but at the same time they don’t know how to vibe with a woman who’s got her own.”

 

The conversation fades to black and suddenly I hear Jamie Foxx, Ne-Yo and Fabulous in the background singing “She Got Her Own (Miss Independent Remix)” . . .

 

“I love her cause she got her own/She don’t need mine, she said leave mine alone/There ain’t nothing that’s more sexy/Than a girl that want, but don’t need me/Young independent, yes she work hard/ . . . She don’t expect nothin’ from no guy/She plays aggressive but she’s still shy/But you’ll never know her softer side, by lookin’ in her eyes . . .”

 

There is an obvious paradox to what these three men were expressing as they sang the song and what we, Independent Women, have experienced, are experiencing, and may continue to experience presently and in the future. Me personally, I will be the first to spout out that I don’t need a man, but I certainly want a reliable, honest, devoted, and caring man in my life (just a few of the stellar qualities I desire in a mate). I don’t mind paying for dinner; I don’t have a problem spending my own money in the presence of a man. For me it doesn’t negate his manhood or his being a “gentleman”; it just means that I recognize the shift in cultural norms and I’m not above being fiscally responsible in a dating scenario. Much like the lyrics note, I don’t expect nothing from a man, I got my own, I work hard, but . . . many a man has missed out on my softer side because I tend to be aggressive—or at least come across as aggressive.

 

And that’s a problematic paradox. It’s as if independence and docility cannot possibly inhabit a woman’s personality concurrently. If there is some measure of truth to the aforementioned lyrics, where are the men who agree with Ne-Yo and Jamie Foxx? Where are the men who desire an independent woman with a softer side that she reserves only for her man, girlfriends, and family?

 

The day of the above-paraphrased conversation, I was hanging out with a couple girlfriends, and as usual, the topic of men surfaced in our conversation. We talked about how we kept happening upon men who weren’t aggressive in their pursuits to “woo” us. With voices laden with frustration at many a failed effort in experiencing a bliss-filled future with a man whose interest and devotion to us matches that of our own, we soon dropped the topic and made a day of enjoying the sights and sounds of a local festival—just us girls. Nevertheless, what stayed with me after our conversation and the festivities was that our independence—while oftentimes is received as virtuous—has also been internalized (by the opposite sex) as a vice. I’m not sure who made the exact comment that followed me home and has been pestering me the past couple of weeks, but this I do know: this world is overflowing with absolutely beautiful, intelligent, captivating, and loving Independent (and single) Women.

 

A few years back a similar conversation surfaced amongst a different circle of friends and I remember penning the following words, “I will ‘submit’ for the right man.” I place the word submit in quotation marks because I mean to say that I will let the right man lead. Yes, the right man. I know how to take charge of a situation; yes, I know how to take care of myself; yes, I too can be aggressive, but there comes a time in an independent woman’s life when she wants to rest assured that she doesn’t have to be the one holding it down all the time. I recognize that I am a bit rough around the edges, but like a Caramel Hershey Kiss—I am gooey on the inside (don’t misconstrue that analogy). But don’t get it twisted; I’m no doormat.

 

Oftentimes it feels as if we (independent women) are misunderstood. We come across as brash, but in reality, we are powerfully loving creatures who have much to offer to a man who proves to be loyal, dependable, and loving—to name a few.

 

“Where are all the good men hiding?”

 

“That’s a great question. I can tell you that it ain’t in church.”

 

“They are the worst.”

 

“Girl, don’t I know.”

 

We scan the crowd. Suddenly, my mind drifts and I hear Katy Perry in my ear . . .

 

“I knew you were/You were gonna come to me/And here you are/But you better choose carefully/’Cause I, I’m capable of anything/Of anything and everything/Make me your Aphrodite/Make me your one and only/But don’t make me your enemy, your enemy, your enemy/So you wanna play with magic/Boy, you should know what you’re falling for/Baby do you dare to do this/Cause I’m coming at you like a dark horse/Are you ready for, ready for/A perfect storm, perfect storm/Cause once your mine, once you’re mine/There’s no going back . . .”

Much like Katy Perry has pointed out–we, Independent Women, are capable of anything and everything.

  • We are capable of loving a deserving man without condition—we all have limitations, but they don’t define us, or our man.
  • We are capable of holding down a job and still coming home to fulfill the domestic needs of the household.
  • We are capable of raising our children alone, but prefer to take on that responsibility with our man.
  • We are capable of speaking our mind when the situation calls for it, but we are also capable of being quiet when no words need be spoken.
  • We are capable of taking care of our man’s needs because we want to, not because we feel obligated.
  • We are capable of honoring our commitments regardless of life’s circumstances.
  • We are capable of this and so much more; we’re just waiting on the right man to recognize ALL the good that we are capable, and desirous, of extending.

Man—don’t sleep on the Dark Horse!

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4 thoughts on “A Thin Line Between Submissive and Dominant: The Plight of the Independent Woman

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