I’ve always been the kind of girl who was interested in a relationship.
When I went off to college, I wasn’t interested in making out with random guys in the basement of frat houses at parties (no, that didn’t stop me from going to these parties) because I was interested in something more. Some would say this makes me weak, but I disagree.
I remember being in middle school and singing songs like “I Don’t Need A Man” by the Pussycat Dolls and “Single Ladies” by Beyonce into my hairbrush (you did it too, don’t judge) and feeling so empowered. I’d argue that songs like these are important because we need to learn to love ourselves before loving someone else, but we rarely hear super-empowering songs about being in a relationship. While I don’t need a man (or boy when I was in middle school) to breathe and to meet my basic needs, it would sure be nice to have someone by my side through the ups and downs of this crazy journey we call life.
Men and Women Complement Each Other
I’ve never understood the saying “a woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle.” Whether it was my grandfather, father, uncles, cousins, or guy friends, I’ve always had strong and wonderful men figures in my life. I honestly wouldn’t be who I am without them. They offered me advice that my girlfriends never could. They helped toughen me up when I needed it, and I helped soften them when they needed it. This is because men and women (as well as their masculine and feminine energies) complement each other. They’re not total opposites that can’t coexist like oil and water; they’re more like yin and yang.
The men in my life offered me advice that my girlfriends never could.
We literally can’t survive as a species without each other because humans reproduce sexually, so it only makes sense that a heterosexual woman would want a relationship with, and eventually to marry, a man.
Our Culture Tells Us Women Who Want Relationships Are Weak
We often believe that women who want to be in relationships are weak because we constantly see this message in popular media. In her country music days in 2010, Taylor Swift was called a "feminist's worst nightmare" by Jezebel for always writing music about her relationships or her desire for one.
Sex and the City character Charlotte York is often considered to be "the worst" character on the show before of her desire for a relationship (yet fans seem to forget that Carrie had an affair with Mr. Big when he was married, which I’d argue makes her the worst, but I digress).
We’re sold the archetype of a strong and independent woman. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with being happy with being single, but this makes it seem like women who want relationships are weak. In truth, there’s strength in vulnerability, and it takes a strong and vulnerable woman to admit that she wants a relationship in a world telling her she’s perfectly fine on her own.
It’s important to empower other women to make their own decisions to do what’s best for them, whether that’s wanting a relationship or wanting to be single. If feminism were truly about equality and choice, then it wouldn’t praise women who are single and shame women who are in or want to be in a relationship.
Wanting marriage doesn’t make you inherently weak; staying single doesn’t make you inherently strong.
In short, wanting to get married or be in a relationship doesn’t make you inherently weak in the same way wanting to be single doesn’t make you inherently strong.
Our culture likes to push the narrative to young women that wanting to be in a relationship and wanting to get married makes us weak. If we truly want to empower women to make decisions for what’s best for them, we need to stop pushing this narrative and remind women that doing what’s best for them makes them strong.