T Masinga suggest a back-to-basics approach to living for those whose lives have become complicated

With women’s month upon us, it seems fit to reflect on the modern women today, how the views of society on women have changed and the behaviours which have been deemed acceptable and the new norm from women in today’s society.

Most of us, especially in African homes can testify to being witnesses of some form of women abuse in the household, be it verbal, emotional or physical. We stood and watched our mothers being abused and enduring that pain and suffering simply because they had nowhere else to run to. Growing up in a household where the man is the only bread winner was tough on our parents. Therefore, we could excuse our mothers for staying in situations where their own lives were in danger simply because they had children and were forced by patriarchy and poverty to stay.

In today’s society, more and more women are seen graduating, opening businesses, entering the corporate world, and actually being successful. In fact, one might say there is no excuse to be staying in any kind of abusive relationship with the opportunities that are available in this day and age. There also should not be an excuse for women who still date for security, having blessers and settling for cheaters. Personally, I feel that all the above mentioned coming down to having no self-respect.

I believe if you’re a 90’s child, there is a generation in between our grandparents’ generation right up to our generation who vowed to change the cycle of depending on men for anything. But that spirit, as of late is none existent. Actually, it is seen as cool with no shame at all to have a blesser in some social circles. Young girls even “hook up” their friends with these old men just so that they can benefit expensive gifts and incentives tied to this social norm. What happened to young girls who just wanted to work and make a name for themselves? The girls who do not want to settle for less or second best because truth be told, if someone is paying you in return for sexual favours, they will never pay you enough to one day say today this ends I have enough money now, you will keep going back for more. Why? Trends don’t stop, fashion is forever changing, Apple will keep releasing new iPhones, and these young girls will keep wanting more because the money you receive will never be enough for you to stand on your own two feet, you will always be dependent on someone.

So when does this cycle of being women who are dependent on the person they are dating in order to look and feel good end? Today we have just reinvented it and gave it a new term which unfortunately has been socially accepted.

The way young men look at women has changed because of this phenomenon. A young man may respect and love his mother, but not his own girlfriend who is his age because most young women are now seen as gold-diggers because of this. But what we do not realise is that the cycle does not just end there, young men are now dating older women and are called “ben 10’s”. It is a never ending cycle, a social crisis in which I believe is in the hands of young women to break.

So let us go back to basics, let us instil values and principals in young women that will encourage self-respect, growth and independence in all spheres of a woman’s life. A salute to all women who are still standing strong and fighting. To the women who do not need someone else to validate them. Thank you for staying true to yourselves, for being you and not who or what society tells you to be.