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Why are Women Still Dependent on Men?

By HERWriter
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Women need men. Society and culture has been telling us for the longest time. A fairly new concept is that women can be independent, but there seems to be conflicting views. The idea of dependence versus independence can cause internal conflict, according to Colette Dowling's book, ''The Cinderella Complex: Women's Hidden Fear of Independence."

Dowling suggests in her novel that women who worked are especially affected by this dependency especially during the 80s and in previous years.

Psychological effects of this dependency and conflict are lack of self esteem, lack of confidence, anxiety and inability to function in the work place according to Dowling. She talks about how girls are not weaned as soon as boys are from dependent behaviors and are treated differently (seen as more fragile).

Although some aspects of Dowling’s discussion may have changed in this new era, there are many remnants today. For example, society tells us still that women should want to be in relationships because healthy relationships are essential for happiness and women will regret being alone. Not all of this is a conscious message, but in many cases it is implied.

There is also the push to be feminine, to work in feminine jobs, to have children and start a family and to be a housewife. There is the idea that both the husband and wife should share roles, but the man should still be more in charge of earning money and the woman’s main role is with the house and family.

Look at magazines, books, movies and TV. What do they say? “Learn to please your man” or “how to get a man” are popular articles in magazines. There are also books, like “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough,” by Lori Gottlieb. Look at movies and books like the Twilight series, where the relationship depends solely on what the man wants and the woman is left as an empty shell and always fearful of abandonment.

There are even blogs and articles devoted to how women’s dependence on men still exists today. Not surprisingly, the two I found are written by men. This isn’t to say that all women are afraid of admitting dependence or talking about it, as Dowling certainly wasn’t but some don’t even see it as an issue.

Regardless, one article by Nick Neave, an evolutionary psychologist, brings up relevant points. He explains that women are biologically made to be dependent on men which explains why women want a socially dominant man and are so afraid of being abandoned and will do almost anything to retain even a cheating significant other. Even more interesting, he points out that women don’t really need this mindset anymore.

This is not relevant to all women, but I think most women have at least dealt with these issues at some point in their lives. The main point of concern now is changing our way of thinking if you want to be fully independent. There is some evidence of women’s change in a study from Australia, which says that age, education, feminist attitudes and the level of focus on a career can decrease the amount of emotional dependence women have on men.

There also needs to be a focus on increasing women’s wages and opportunities for higher-paying and full-time jobs. Women with children seem to be more dependent. For example, if they have to take time off work or work a part-time job instead of a full-time job in order to take care of their children, there is always the issue of dependency on men if they are in a relationship. Many women will rely on the man for help instead of keeping the full-time job and using daycare or other options.


Add a Comment23 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

Women (not unlike men) can easily fall into economic dependency due to lack of economic opportunities. Unless we talk about how we have created a society with increasingly few opportunities for everyone who isn't rich, most other talk is futile.

July 30, 2018 - 7:17am
EmpowHER Guest

Female dependency automatically relegates women to second-class citizenship. Their "need" to have a man do every little thing for them - whether it is driving them out shopping, voting for the both of them (it was not that long ago when American women were forbidden to vote, own a credit card in their own name, drive a car, or even have their own bank account), supporting her, rendering her back into childhood when only little girls needed to be taken care of (Betty Friedan). Do women in the 21st century need to be dependent upon men like that? No. Do they need to do their own thinking and openly challenge the whole concept of female second-class citizenship? Yes, they do.

July 25, 2015 - 10:10am
EmpowHER Guest

Because most men (American men at least) seem to prefer marrying financially dependent women. So if a woman wants to get married, she better act dependent, like "oh I need you so".
Of course I may see things this way because I'm one of those cynical financially dependent women who are in great shape and great job but can't seem to find a fitting dude. Seriously, many (not all, of course) dudes complain about women taking their money but they go for the ones who do take their money and leave the financially proud ones in the dust. Does that make sense?
Oh and, please stop bitching about feminists taking your money. Real feminists are for equality, you are bitching about gold diggers. know the damn difference!

December 14, 2014 - 10:39am
EmpowHER Guest

I think it's interesting to see it from a bible standpoint. Even an atheist can appreciate the point made at Genesis 2:18 when god said that it is not good for a man to be alone, and so he made the woman as a 'compliment' for him! To add to that verse 24 says "That is why a man will leave his father and his mother and he will stick to his wife, and they will become one flesh;" thus in a way placing the man and the woman on an equal level.
Not to say being independent isn't a bad idea but if like in the passage you find yourself juggling work, possibly with school, while being a single parent, it'd be nice to have a companion to help out. However, if you're worried about becoming single again just work at your relationship with Colossians 3:18,19 in mind when it says "wives... be in subjection to your husbands, as it is becoming in the lord. (19) You husbands, keep loving your wives and do not be bitterly angry with them."
There is a mutual respect that must be had, and so if a woman doesn't want to a house wife the bible is perfectly ok with it! Women back then had more rights than women today even, as long as they followed God's counsel to love and honor their husbands.

For more information on the bible's viewpoint on marriage and having a happy family life go to jw.org. perhaps even go to 'contact us' on the bottom and request a free home bible study. Again it's free and harmless, just as long as you don't mind inviting well dressed people into your home.

October 30, 2014 - 10:35am
EmpowHER Guest

Historically, women have been socialized into being thoroughly dependent upon a man for everything: money, a house, rides everywhere (women were not allowed to drive at one time) and to wipe them after bathroom duty. Women were not even allowed to go out in public here in America without a male relative, either. Women were not even allowed to keep their own last names when they married, either. Instead, they became a man's personal property for the husband to treat them any way they wish, which included beating. Women still need to get out of male dependency and expecting a man to do every little thing for them. No wonder men despise the female gender.

July 6, 2013 - 12:32pm
EmpowHER Guest

I dunno about any of the men here but I don't wanna woman who depends on me for everything. That just makes me feel as if I have to carry the whole world on my shoulders and creates intense pressure. It'd help for women to adopt a sense of agency along with the man so the two can work as a better team and grow in their relationships.

October 2, 2012 - 2:02pm

Women are only dependent on men when they allow themselves to be. We don't have to be. Right now, my lifestyle (household expenses, etc.) are shared with husband and are dependent on his income. However, I was single for close to twenty years before we met and married and merged households. Personally, I prefer to be financially independent and am working toward that goal. We are both in our 60s and I feel it is important to our long range security to be able to maintain our lifestyle without the other's income. On an emotional level, it is important to have close relationships that offer companionship, respect and trust and that could be male or female. On a physical level, I question whether it is dependency as much as a matter of choice that determines our level of need for sensual/sexual gratification. In child-bearing years, there is a higher need/dependency.
There are times when I appreciate the "muscle mass" of men and putting that to good use but I have known quite a few women who are capable of performing equal tasks. My Mom was only 4'11" and 110 lbs. and a woman of true grit as far as performing labor-intensive tasks around the house.

September 23, 2010 - 6:16pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Honeybug)

Why wait to be financially independent at 60? Why not just divorce him and take his money and the house like most of your feminist sisters?

November 10, 2014 - 7:37pm
EmpowHER Guest

I'm not sure what to make of this. Are you secretly Stephenie Meyer? That's the only thing that makes sense to me. Writing useless articles about empowerment that have no real direction aimed at the misguided to promote your awful books that degrade their grasp of self esteem and self image of the female gender even more? I know the internet is full of fallacy's but seriously think before you spew garbage on the naive. Women aren't dependent on men. Women are dependent on RELATIONSHIPS. The media markets only focus on men because the majority of females are straight. If the market shifts Cosmo will have articles on the best lubes to scissor with your partner and best positions with certain sex toys. Sexism is like racism. You keep making a point of nothing future generations will lack on to you ignorance. Although, thanks to people like you "Go make me a sandwich" and women/kitchen jokes will never die.

July 3, 2010 - 8:02am
EmpowHER Guest

The trouble with stereotypes is that sometimes there is a kernel of truth in them. People often have a lot of ideas about how the world should work only to have reality bring them up short with, figuratively speaking, a sharp slap to the head. What works works so that's what people do however much it violates some idealistic concept. Most women at one time or another want to have children and for a woman to have a baby means she is, at least for a time, physically, economically, and perhaps emotionally, vulnerable. In addition, to be a good mother is usually considered a vitally important occupation and requires a degree of focus and dedication at least equal to what is needed in a regular job and often more. In my experience it's possible to do several jobs simultaneously in an acceptable manner but if you want excellence you have to focus on just one thing at a time. Raising a child is hard, tiring, draining, and wonderful, and having children will change you in ways you can't anticipate, but unquestionably the effort required can make the option of also holding a job outside the home unattractive. My wife and I both worked when our kids were little but it was very often a strain and 'we' would have preferred it if she could have stayed at home (her choice). This is blatantly unfair to her, severely impacting her earning ability without any compensating rewards of any kind (sarcasm), but a little baby is a fragile and precious thing and we would both have given our lives to keep them safe and well. There are men who don't do what a man is supposed to do, who don't take care of their families the way they should. Men who even enjoy being mean to their wives, cheating them of the money, fidelity, and devotion that should be shared equally between them. I don't know how often this happens and certainly a woman needs to take care that she isn't left destitute for any reason. I can only say that that isn't how I was raised, and while some may see it as belittling, I was taught to have a special regard for a woman and that behaving badly towards a lady would was a shameful thing. In general I've found life to be very hard and often cruel. For what it's worth I believe that if you can find someone to love and who loves you back you need to grab hold of them and hold them tight for as long as you can. You should do what works for the two of you whatever anyone else might say. A woman needs to take care of herself, as should anyone, but don't say all women should do this, all men should do that, all people are this way or that way. Don't say all of society does this or causes that or makes girls do the other, etc. People are more complex than that, and life is more flexible and fluid than that. People do what works and if you really want to know why someone does something then ask why that worked for them. If you can do that you will have something worth knowing.

June 30, 2010 - 3:06pm
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