The Pinnacle of Womanhood: Women Divided by Societal Programming

In a world where many people abandon their true selves in order to be seen as worthy of admiration, most choose to abide by societal rules at all costs. There is excessive focus placed on romantic fulfillment, marriage and children. There is too much energy wasted on attempting to show the world how much love and recognition we attain, how nice of a family we have, and on an even more negative level, how much success we have as opposed to the next person instead of just striving for success for the sake of oneself. To prove how much our circumstances beat the next individual. I’d like to speak on the battle that has been going on for quite a while now between certain groups of women: Some of those who are already partnered and/or have children and some of those who are not yet married and/or are child-free. The problem many women don’t realize is that they are centering romantic relationships with men and the bearing of children and subconsciously or in some cases consciously labeling this package the pinnacle of womanhood. They don’t realize that this is societal brainwashing and that the real battle is actually a war that has been waged on all of us women by a misogynistic society. Society as a whole is male-centered and this is perpetuated not only by misogyny and male narcissism but also by mass media promotion of unrealistic scenarios that cause a rift between women from different walks of life. Part of this division is also inherited from the internalized misogyny and sacrificial attitudes passed down from the antiquated grannies and aunties who may not have had the choice to be comfortably single back in their day. Who like to enforce their “need” for a man on the younger generations. Who were forced by their mothers to vie and compete over men. For some of these older women, being partnered was their way to find a sense of self-worth, although false. In many cases it was the only way they could maintain their monetary status. Partnership for some of them could have been a means for survival, especially since in past time periods, women were either not allowed to work or it wasn’t socially acceptable for a lady to work. This imposed mentality by the older generations is an anti-woman form of indoctrination that has brainwashed women across the globe, teaching them to base their worth on being picked for romantic partnership and to tie their value to how much they can do for men or for others in general, and how much they can sacrifice for men and children.

 Female servitude and male-centering has been so deeply ingrained in this society, and it has brought on certain systems that ensure that women have the lowest level of self-worth possible. So that we hopefully feel a sense of desperate need for a counterpart to validate our worth and end up in abusive situations or trauma bonds instead of building relationships based on balance, respect, and enjoyment. So that we seek validation from society and hope to be deemed acceptable by it’s standards. So many women are led to compromise their wants and sometimes their needs for an attachment. These systems serve the purpose of keeping women divided through competition as mentioned. From ads and tv shows that highlight women’s perceived imperfections and how to “fix” them, to doctored images promoting almost impossible or unrealistic body standards, to the media and their constant displaying of dynamics that promote the illusion that we are worth more if we’re picked by or liked by men over other women. These ideas then become internalized in girls from a very young age. There is so much in the media and all around us that promote self-hatred. 

Many of us need to understand that our worth is spiritual, internal and intangible and should never be tied to anything outside of us. Especially to any type of compromising that raises others above ourselves. Every so often when I scroll through twitter or other social media sites and forums, I witness this battle. Single women v.s. married women and sometimes said groups v.s. single mothers. A battle that stems from these social conditions that cunningly teach us that one must have a partner in order to “win” or be viewed as more worthy than those who do not have them. This is teaching young women that men are  the ultimate prize. Only giving fuel to misogynistic men and their narcissistic attitudes, their entitlement to milking unbalanced relationships for all they can gain and their entitlement to servitude. 

When I come across these arguments there are only ever a few balanced and unbiased responses from people who see the bigger picture and recognize the true culprit, while everyone else is caught up in their ego, striving to prove which group’s situation makes a woman more of a woman and behaving as if their own situation must be imposed on the rest. As if it’s the end all be all *cue eye roll*. I believe the best situations are those in which women live in their truth. Where women live their individual lives in a way in which their spirits will be fulfilled without needing others outside of them to follow the exact same path. Without trying to convince anyone that her position is the best. I call that peace! When a woman whether single, married, a mother or anything else is able to connect with herself, gets to know herself and her soul’s desires, growing to accept in themselves what this imperfect world perceives as flaws and remembers that the world’s opinion is not reliable because society is broken anyway. An optimal position for a woman is one in which she is enjoying time for herself, nurturing her inner child as much as possible. Making the decisions that would benefit her internal growth and joy, not those decisions more favored and dictated by other individuals. Not decisions dictated by the hopes, fears and judgements of others but by her own internal guidance. Women regardless of marital status should engage in all the things that enrich their spirits. Things that they truly aspire to do that do not take away from who they are and those that have nothing to do with romantic relationships and approval from men. In other words preserve your individuality outside of relationships, children and/or the desire for those things, whether you are a wife and/or mother or not. Your independent decisions are fit for the course of your life and your life only.

Remember that platonic relationships are an important form of companionship as well that should not be ignored in favor of romantic relationships. Many times it is the platonic friendships that can bring growth and new opportunities, as long as we don’t also use those to replace internal work and self-love. 

Many women with insecurities engage in these battles where they status shame other women or shame them for having/not having children. Some married women attach themselves so much to their marital status or their title as a mother that they may use having those things as weapons when attacking women who are single. Some of them dangerously lose their individuality and sense of self in these titles and when hearing about women who are living their single lives happily, they may come to feel a bit resentful about not being able to have the same freedoms as single women. On the opposite end, because of the programs mentioned before, some single ladies will allow the world to impose on them the belief that they need a partner so they either feel like they are not enough therefore engaging in ridicule towards married women for even having a union with a man in the first place. Shouting at the top of their lungs their hatred for children or their freedom from being controlled in a union. Many assumptions are thrown around, speaking on married women being “dependent” or that they must be stuck in miserable marriages. If she is a mother, she is automatically unhappy with motherhood as well. 

It is clear that there is a deep insecurity within a percentage of women in both groups, who at some level want or once hoped to be in the opposite position. Others are resentful to see women in situations they’ve been convinced by society, family or friends, to see as “more favorable” than their own. Others simply ridicule because they do feel “superior” in some way to women who have to “deal” with children. Some people do not see an identity outside of their current physical circumstances or what they can “hold over” another person and use those present circumstances to attack those in the opposite situation. All because they’ve built resentment towards the judgements and expectations that have been put on them, or because they are insecure in general and need to convince themselves the other person is less-than. Anyway, women should work to deprogram from these outdated beliefs systems. We have to stop listening to others’ expectations of us. I know it is not easy when this world bombards women with them. Stop engaging in these battles and realize some people simply feel the need to get temporarily high on dopamine. They don’t know how else to tap into their true value, which has nothing to do with what the world wants from any of us. Engaging in these battles all go back to centering men and romantic partnership at the end of the day and only reveal a lack in self-worth for many.

As a married woman myself, I believe you should not have to abandon yourself when you are married and/or have children. See, the problem is again, those older generations that see ultimate honor in constantly putting others first and abandoning yourself. Another culprit being the misogynistic people who hold beliefs that women should only serve or be mules. Constantly putting your needs to the side and giving to a partner without filling your own cup, comes from a mentality rooted in fear of abandonment or it was what some women were raised to do by their mothers who probably had these issues. In my own experience there are elders in my family who have had issues or questionable things to say when it came to me pampering myself, dressing up, wearing makeup and going out ‘without the kids’. Expressing concern and fear, as that a mother taking care of herself means that the children will be neglected. I think it’s hilarious and at the same time a very sad thing that self-care is seen as shameful. Heck, I even got scolded for not helping my own husband season and barbeque some food at a small get together in my home. It was an oddity to them that he didn’t mind or care to do it by himself and that I sat down to chill. This is what I mean when I say the older generations expect you to sacrifice themselves as they did in their day.

 As a mother one must take time for oneself from time to time in order to mother in a balanced way; In a way that will benefit both the children and yourself. Do not let the guilt tripping from the old-fashioned people influence you. To remain in the best state possible while mothering, you must renew yourself. Take the opportunities that are presented to you, for that time to yourself, time with friends and time away in general if you are not in a dire situation. I understand if the circumstances may be difficult in the case where a mother happens to be single and lacks a support system, it may be harder to be away. That’s obviously the exception. Overall, women benefit from any opportunity  for renewal and self focus. It is essential when cultivating self-love and honoring your individuality.

There are upsides and downsides in all scenarios in life, whether married or single. Whether parent or child-free. It is natural to not feel a need or desire to have children. It’s wise to choose not having them if we feel we aren’t mentally, emotionally or financially stable enough for them or if we simply want to enjoy a child-free life. Some don’t want that kind of responsibility and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Just like choosing being a parent or unexpectedly becoming one shouldn’t be shamed either. This is life, and it happens. There is no such thing as the pinnacle of womanhood. Especially if it is rooted is misogynistic standards of servitude or child-bearing. As a woman you have the divine right to live in a way that places you as a priority in your own life. That’s how you flourish. This is one reason why single-shaming makes no sense. It’s designed to keep women focused on needing something outside of themselves so they can rush and pick someone, anyone to be with instead of enjoying themselves. Instead of focusing on healing and building oneself from within. Instead of pampering herself and having fun. It leads some women to rush into partnerships and become easier for misogynistic, narcissistic men to control or take advantage of. The optimal position is for women to nurture themselves, cultivating self-love and becoming empowered. When this happens, and healthy partnership is desired, one is more likely to attract more balanced people whether the partnership happens to be romantic or not. I love seeing women waking up and ignoring societal standards of what women are “supposed” to be doing. It’s great to see them at peace in who they are, so much so, that they don’t go out of their way to try and oppress other women with the same standards that oppress them. They allow other women to freely be who they are.