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.