I know a girl — let’s call her “Bianca” — who loves to make the most inane statements on Facebook.
When I met her she was single. She went to the bar or a club most weekends, danced, flirted, slept around. She used a sexy alias as her Facebook name and posted provocative pics of herself in all sorts of positions. Back then Bianca would’ve proudly claimed to be “I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T,” and she fiercely defended her ability to do all of the things acceptable for a single man of her age.
But since falling in love, getting engaged and getting pregnant (maybe not in that order), Bianca’s shown her true colors. Now all she talks about is how she was lost without her fiancé, how he’s her rock, her provider, her protector, her everything. She advises other women who might’ve gone ‘astray’ (as she seems to think she had before) to return to the true path of womanhood, on which a woman is merely a ship in stormy waters until she can be tugged safety to shore by a “good” man.
According to Bianca, being a woman requires that the man provide for much of his woman’s financial needs. If a man’s not able to take a woman under his wing, then he’s not a real man. He’s more woman than man, and women don’t need other women. They need men, according to Bianca.
Bianca condemns any woman who wants to go to the bar or club instead of being beside her man. She seems sure that, once God’s little blessing is torn from her body in the delivery room, she won’t want to do anything but be a constant mother and wife. What more can a woman desire? Bianca asks.
Unfortunately, my friend Bianca is not as special as she may feel.
I’m sure you know a few Biancas, maybe even more than a few. Despite three waves of feminism in the last 100 years, Biancas are still pretty common — especially in the Latino community. Many of our moms, aunts and grandmas are Biancas, always reminding us of what a man should be and what a woman shouldn’t do. Plenty of Biancas fill the ranks of women in our own generation, perpetuating machismo in all its relentless, patriarchal fetidness.
Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw once asked us to imagine a world where boys weren’t pressured to be the primary breadwinners of their future families and girls weren’t pressured to find financially stable men to marry and have babies with. Bianca doesn’t want to imagine such a world. She lives to desperately cling to a man. She’s defiant in her dependence; hopelessly and happily devoted to male dominance. She’ll make any woman feel ridiculous for being the primary breadwinner in a relationship or for staking out a life of her own separate from her husband and child.
Bianca doesn’t think you’re happy living your single life. ‘Til you can submit to her brand of love, you’ll always be partial; never complete.
That’s because she’s a preacher of pure monogamy, convinced that men only stray when they don’t have a good woman at home. You let him go out with his friends on Fridays? she asks with contempt. He doesn’t need any female friends not that he’s with you, she’s so sure. Her social media profiles are filled with more pics of him than of herself. Women were designed to be protected and provided for by men, Bianca drones.
This is the woman male chauvinism has created. It’s not Bianca’s fault she was trained to be this way, just as it’s not a man’s fault he was trained to be little more than a sophisticated neanderthal.
But it is their fault that they haven’t stopped to examine how they’re treating themselves and the people they supposedly love. As shocking as it may sound to some, we were taught a lot of garbage by our parents. Yet it’s our responsibility as human beings to think through what we’ve been taught to make sure we’re not making the same mistakes previous generations made.
It’s a woman’s responsibility to treat herself with respect and dignity, just as it’s a man’s job to do the same. Individuals should treat each other as individuals. No one should submit. No one should dominate. No one should obey. No one should give orders. No one should want to be owned by someone, just as no one should want to own someone.
Nonetheless, Bianca insists she’s a good woman, a true woman, looking down on her feminist friends with smug condemnation. She’s so pleased with herself. She’s happy — lucky even.
But Bianca doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about.