These stories were shared at a women’s conference a few years ago. This particular woman had a thriving textile business and was advised not to buy and drive a personal car because it may chase men from asking for her hand in marriage. She was also advised not to expand her business for the same reason.
Another lady was advised by her aunt not to pursue a higher degree because it might intimidate prospective suitors if they find out she possesses a masters’ degree from a western country.
There was yet another story of a woman who couldn’t leave an abusive marriage with her two kids because she was totally dependent, financially on her husband who had asked her to stop her entrepreneurial venture, a few years back, to solely focus on the kids when her venture was bringing in money consistently.
We have heard of many such stories and even worse, of women being told to suppress their potentials and sacrifice what they had worked for and who they have the chance to become, for the sake of getting married. Some erroneous teachings have taught women to ‘go slow’on pursuing success and achievement so as not to intimidate potential suitors from asking for their hand in marriage. The originators of this view believe that women who are financially stable are proud, obnoxious and insubordinate.
Reasonably, financial stability gives everybody, irrespective of gender, self-confidence and the means to pursue whatever they want to do but judging a part of the gender as proud because of financial achievement is equal to a fallacy: the fallacy of hasty generalization.
Individuals who say these base their assumptions on a few cases they have seen and then translate those cases in absolute judgment of all financially stable women and sadly, these mindset have been passed down so many thought lines that some opinion leaders and mentors are advising females around them not to pursue their paths of success so as to be appear humane to potential suitors.
This type of thought flow plants and germinates seeds of self-insufficiency in females: that their validation must come from sources outside of them: the man, the society, relative and friends which by extension eat deep into their confidence, self-esteem and self-acknowledgment. This is why some women would rather lose their lives in severely abusive marriage than be without male partners: we have even heard of cases where ladies are emotionally and physically battered in courtship relationships.
This limiting mindset has conditioned so many people that they are quick to judge women who are successful without a married partner, ridiculing them that their success is a stumbling block to their marital fulfillment.
Pride and money are not mutually inclusive to women and anyone in general. Money is a magnifier of anything it comes in contact with: character, physical appearance, personal status etc. When a person who became rich becomes proud, it is not the money that made him/her proud; the pride had been lying dormant before the money was made. The dormancy of the pride was just activated by its contact with money giving the pride an obvious magnified expression.
Haven’t you noticed some people would start looking very beautiful when they have an elevated financial buoyance? The good looks were there all along but there were no accompanying tools to bring it out.
Anybody can be proud: the rich, the poor, single, married,divorced, separated, man or woman: so thinking a financially buoyant yet unmarried lady is proud is a fallacious statement as much as it’s outrageous.
Anybody can become anything they choose to be irrespective of their marital status and some men being afraid of dating and marrying economically viable women have nothing to do with those women but with the self-confidence, exposure, mindset and maturity of the men in question.
Imagine if Fela Durotoye had said he won’t marry Tara Fela-Durotoye, his present wife when they met because she had her own business? They are an admirable couple who had been married for over fifteen years. Think of the number of girls and women who have found their financial wings through Tara Fela-Durotoye using her voice of purpose to pioneer the make-up industry in Nigeria. Think of the number of people she has influenced to achieve their best?What if she had been misguided when she was younger that she shouldn’t start her business in a bid not to intimidate suitors?
Imagine what would have happened if IbukunAwosika had been told by significant adults in her life not to start her furniture manufacturing business because men may be afraid be approach her? Would she have achieved her feat today?
When a woman is told to slow down on her potential, a lot of people lose eventually:
- The business empire she could have built.
- The many number of people that would have found their career/entrepreneurial fulfillment from her achievements.
- The place of pride and worthy representation she would have given the younger generation.
It is a wrong thinking that women who are successful would be proud in a committed relationship or as individuals because money does not equate pride and poverty does not mean humility either.
We should teach our girls about self-effacement and respect for all people irrespective of marital status and also encourage them to discover themselves and become all they want to be.
Likewise, let us groom our men on self-confidence and manliness. That they should never be intimidated by the success of anyone irrespective of the gender but strive legally to work towards theirs.
Culture and mindsets shouldn’t sacrifice our women’s potentials on the altar of marriage.
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