My lovely readers, welcome back.
With every passing relationship of my own and of those around me, I always find myself wondering if I walked into my own downfall or if it was out of my control. Women are often made to look like helpless creatures in experiences, storytelling and the media, which begs the question: Do women really live in a male-dominated world or do we deserve what’s coming our way? Are we really victims or are we bitchier than Cruella de Ville?
The Badboy Obsession
Typically “nice” guys will always say that women deserve what happens to them because they intentionally chase after jerks. They say that we find ourselves attracted to them and often shun out nice guys because they are too “boring.” Many women will admit to being obsessed with bad boys and I have personally caught myself saying many times: “Listen, just because he’s nice, it’s not a reason to be with him.” But despite my history of jerks and a-holes, I have never felt myself “seeking” out these guys. And I can’t imagine that any rational-minded woman would do so. It just happened to be my ill fortune. What I do think is our flaw here is that women tend to believe they can “change” these guys. And everyone knows that has as much a chance of happening as pigs flying. Yes, once in a while, a bad boy turns into prince charming for the woman he loves. But that is the exception and never the rule.
Women are infamous for chasing after wallet size more than anything else. So much so that Kanye West felt the need to dedicate an entire track to gold-diggers. But in a culture where it is difficult for a woman to provide for herself, especially post-marriage and childbirth, can we really blame women for striving to establish financial security? And worse yet, what should a woman do should her marriage fall apart and she ends up divorced? If she’s never worked a day in her life because she was a dedicated housewife, is she at fault for trying to secure her future? While there are some women who can manage both a family and a career, it is a rare occurrence, especially considering that culturally, a woman’s obligation is to her children and a man’s obligation is to providing for them. The result is women who are left to raise kids on their own and men left to struggle with exhausting careers, with both worlds never overlapping or sharing responsibilities. And yes, while our generation does not suffer as heavily with these traditional clichés as our parents did, it is still very much prominent amongst many.
As for women like myself who are fiercely independent and immensely career-driven, who believe that familial and financial responsibilities should be shared equally, we are often labeled as “too Westernized,” and are told we will “never find an Arab man accepting of our nature.” And both these dynamics make me feel at times that whichever side of the spectrum you fall on, you’re losing.
The Hard to Get Card/ Classy Bitch
Women are taught to believe that in order to be desirable, they must play hard to get. If they do not play taunting, cunning games riddled with facades and dishonesty, then they are instantly considered easy and therefore, slutty. “Everyone knows that guys love a chase and you gotta give it to them.” As a result, women like myself, who don’t believe in games and believe in innocent honesty, are always made to feel like we are unworthy of male attention because we have not worked hard to earn it.
And on the flip side, women who play games are often called “bitchy, arrogant and self-centered.” People will often say: “Who does she think she is? Queen of the universe?” And even when those women play hard to get, they often find themselves wondering if a guy will eventually lose interest once she gives in with a phone number or a date after such a long time of his relentless chasing.
Other games that women infamously play are the good girl act or damsel in distress fiasco. I have heard many men complain about women that put on an innocent face on when they’ve got a past that would put even the man himself to shame. Or that they act like the victims in all their past relationships when in fact, it was all her fault for being with such a jerk and not knowing better. But on the flip side, many men will still expect their future wife to be an angel descended from the skies upon them.
Regardless, I have always stood true to my beliefs. No games, no pretending to be uninterested when I am. No letting the phone ring for days before I pick up and hang up abruptly with some lame excuse. I wear my heart on my sleeve and when I like someone, I have no shame in showing them. I have no secrets about my past and tend to be quite open with any dating prospect about it (I mean come on; I’ve got an entire blog on my dating past). While I often question and blame myself for being “too nice” and “too honest,” I continue believing that if I met a guy who wanted childish games, he wouldn’t be the one for me.
Women are often blamed for ridiculous demands and fairytale expectations rooted in fantasy as opposed to reality. But from the moment we are born, we are taught to believe that happy marriages are our only refuge, our only purpose, our ultimate goal. Everything we see on our T.V. screens and hear in the chatter around us reaffirms that prince charming does exist and that it is our ultimate struggle to find him and lock him down. Further, we are constantly reminded of the characteristics of this mirage, which include handsome, successful, smart, loving, caring, generous, respectful and loyal. When we are with a guy who does not fit these criteria, we are automatically reminded that he is “unfit” for marriage by our fellow girlfriends who blabber for an eternity about their perfect lovers and our social circles who dictate: “What kind of man would your father approve of?” Further, when we find aspirations in our lives outside of love and marriage, we are deemed unworthy by our society. Our accomplishments are entirely unacknowledged and we are shoved into a dark hole of women “who will never be married.” By default, a career woman who strives for and never fears success is blindly called a spinster.
The Bombshell Bimbo Barbie: Botox and Brains Not Included
Thanks to countless media images of blonde, airheaded women with big breasts running around with men fainting at every street corner at them, we now live in a world where stupidity and plastic is considered appealing. As a result, women are conforming to a ridiculous media standard of beauty filled with anorexic figures, plastered make-up, tattooed, implanted, botoxed, and liposuctioned everything. Such obsession with absurd standards of beauty pushed down our throats on the streets, in magazines and on T.V. makes me wonder at times if all the chemicals and toxins have sucked the brain capacity out of women. And should a woman not fit into these skinny photoshopped standards, she is considered disgustingly unworthy and unattractive in the eyes of everyone. Never mind if she has found the cure for cancer. If she is not “hot,” she is irrelevant in the workplace, in society and at home. Is it a surprise then that women pay so much attention to their looks? And how can the same men who desire these types of women turn around and criticize women for being made of too much plastic? For looking too fake?
Then there’s the nauseating level of stupidity in women. Giggles included, many women, who are exceptionally bright in their nature, will choose to play the bimbo card in the face of a man because “no man wants a woman who will outsmart him.” I will never forget the day that one of the women who I considered a role model looked at me and told me: “The smart wife is the one who makes her husband feel that she is stupid.” I was shocked. Here was this woman who had everything; a successful career, a youthful glow and an incredible family, conforming to the stereotypical stupidity expected of women. And if a woman were to vocalize her opinions and showoff her strength, she would be shunned for not comforting to the stereotypical Stepford wife. I have lost count of the number of times I was told I would never find a husband because I was “too smart” or “too career-driven.” Because of course, “no man wants a woman who is more successful than him.”
I know this makes me sounds a little crazy, a little bitter and a little too feministic, but here goes my rant. Men will say that they want a smart woman by their side who is full of confidence in her “natural beauty,” but will instantly reject a woman who doesn’t look like she stepped out of a magazine cover and holds only the words “Yes, dear” in her dictionary. And they say we don’t know what we want.
Now this is not to say that there aren’t some women out there who are the devil in disguise and deserve every bit of ill-fate headed their way. Nor is it to advocate that women are victims. This column piece only intends to put forth some of the everyday considerations, questions and struggles that women face. And I myself don’t even have half the answers yet.
Kisses and hugs,