I have not always been so strongly affirming of women's rights. In fact, I grew up in a very conservative home where, even though my mother was a single parent, the expectation to conform to the ideals of the church was very evident on a daily basis. I did rebel, though not in the way most would think. I didn't go out to drink and party. I rebelled by my rejection of 1) the ideals and notions of the church concerning women (and many other points as well), and 2) the notion that everything the church had to say was truth. In fact, if I didn't reject the infallibility of the church I would have never been able to reject its dogma.
So from a young age I rejected the social values set for me concerning traditional feminine roles. I wouldn't accept that I was any less intelligent or capable than the males around me. It just simply was not part of my make up. I didn't even entertain those ideas long enough to let them flourish. Instead, I would get upset each time an outward manifestation of these expectations was displayed. It would infuriate me when I was put down so that a male could be honored – simply because he was a male and I was not. Natural EvolutionDuring these times though, I never really made a big stink about my feelings. I had other things to deal with in life – as do most urban dwelling children. However, as I matured and began thinking for myself, it was obvious to me that I could never be the type of woman who would follow these traditional feminine roles. It would be dishonest of me to not mention my many attempts to comply with conservative thought and practice. Nevertheless, each attempt left me more miserable than the one before.Even years of marriage and motherhood didn't extract my independent spirit. The evolution of my independence was uncomfortable in this conservative environment, so it felt bulky and awkward at times, but it has become one of the most stunning traits of my individuality. Therefore, this so-called “feminist” attitude was not something forced upon me by some Amazon women, as most conservatives would like to believe, rather it was the natural evolution of my own spirit and potential.This is not the type of independence that forgoes the love of a man or shuns social interactions with others. In fact, I love my man and adore socializing. The definition of this type of independence would be the exact opposite of dependence. In other words, I am complete without a man. I do not need to have a man in my life to take care of me, to protect me or to think for me. I can do all of that on my own - contrary to what the church has taught women. Having a man who loves me and whom I love just makes life even sweeter. SunflowersThis state of independence is a great place to be for any woman to be. There is no desperation or neediness, so I am able to enjoy my relationship based on intimacy and friendship. This also frees my man up from feeling like he has to be my world. I can't imagine how much pressure men must feel when they have to be a woman's world. And the poor women! They are so lonely most of the time (since their man has a job and a life outside the house). These women spend most of their days feeling isolated and empty. Oh, that women would allow their independence to bloom. There is so much beauty that comes from a woman whose completion comes from a well-rounded life. It's time to reject the traditional roles we watched our mothers perform so obediently. It's time to be our own woman with our own dreams and pursuits in life. It’s time to relax and enjoy our time with our partners without all the pressure and despair of a relationship built on dependence. Independence and solid relationships are not mutually exclusive terms. In fact, they have proven to make quite a dynamic combination.My favorite flower is the sunflower because when you see one all by itself, it’s beauty is staggering. It stands tall and reaches for the sun. It is strong and gorgeous at the same time. It doesn’t need anything else to make it more beautiful. Still, if you see that same sunflower in a field in Kansas with acres and acres of these brilliant yellow flowers all around it, the beauty is multiplied and overwhelming. I believe every woman is a sunflower. We are beautiful in our independence and that beauty is multiplied when we share our independence with those around us.
Stella Ramsaroop is a western world traveler, a life-long student, a wanna-be stargazer, and an Aquarius in all its forms (if you know what that means). Her articles emphasize the importance of the continued development and protection of gender equality in all aspects of a woman's life.Stella is also the proud mother of four almost-grown children with her significant other Paul, whom she married almost 20 years ago.Visit Stella’s Website at http://www.newsparade.com/index.htm