Siana Bangura: Week 4

This week SIANA reflects on being an independent woman who still loves chivalry.

destiny's child equality Feminism independent liberation mya rejection romance Sex Siana Bangura

So this week romance has been in the air and it’s got me thinking.

It is 2012 and we should all be very familiar with the rhetoric of the independent, powerful, headstrong, ‘liberated’ woman, who is not afraid to go out and get what she wants. She buys ‘her own diamonds and her own rings’. Throw your hands up at me.

I’m not about to launch into a feminist rant but I’ve noticed that in the dating world there is a gender dichotomy that frequently goes without being challenged. We females are fighting for equal pay, equal representation in the public sphere, equal rights, power in a man’s world, and so on… but why do so many of us still find it difficult to go and approach a guy we really like?  If we’ve been making eye contact all night, why do we nevertheless resign ourselves to going home without his number?

I am guilty as charged – I’ll fess up now.  I’m confident, thick-skinned, and unafraid of a challenge but even I turn to mush when I spot the fella of my dreams. If I like someone, I do everything in my power to make sure that they NEVER know (absolutely ridiculous, I know).

It must be the fear of rejection.

I had a long chat with a male friend about this very topic earlier on in the week and he said girls like me really annoy him. If a female is shy anyway then being afraid to approach a guy is fair enough, but for a girl as confident as myself, I have ‘no excuse’. Harsh words but very true.  He said that guys fear rejection, too, but they cover it up better and are ‘more able to go to the next fish in the sea’. I really hate gender stereotypes – ‘guys do this and feel this way…’ on the other hand ‘girls do this and feel this way…’ but it seems that a lot of females believe that the guy should approach the girl.

Besides the fear of rejection, another thing that might put women off making the first move is the possibility of being labelled a ‘loose chick’ or a hoe-bag. If a guy approaches and/ or sleeps with numerous different women he gets kudos. It can be overlooked because “that’s how guys are”.

Is it though? I’d like to think that such nonsensical and backwards thinking is something that is less common than it used to be but I’m not so sure. This same friend who complained about my reluctance then said he’d raise an eyebrow if a female approached him. He’d wonder about her moral code. Extraordinary.

As liberal as I am, I like the idea of a knight in shining armour (literally or figuratively) arriving on his horse (or a motorbike, in a nice car, or if they are quirky, rollerblades) and sweeping me off my feet.  I’m certainly not the type of girl that expects my man to pay for everything – I am more than happy to go halves on the bill sometimes – but I don’t want chivalry to die.

We often forget that sexism is a two-way thing. With all the power that men have, a lot of responsibility goes with it. There is a lot of pressure on men, just as there is on women, to live up to a certain stereotype, certain expectations. Too many women conclude that  ‘Women like to be pursued, made to feel special and attended to…simple as that.’ But it isn’t as simple as that. I don’t want to be pursued like an animal or attended to like a child, and I don’t need male opinion to validate my self-worth. I am, however, still torn.

My friend continued to enlighten me and concluded that women should not be afraid to approach the opposite sex because, actually they have a greater chance of getting a ‘yes’ than men, as guys are ‘less picky’ than women! I really don’t know how much truth is in that analysis, but anyway…

I am stuck in a contradiction. I am a bit of a hypocrite. I tell myself that I am free, single, sexy and sweet, and (sometimes) making my own money:

But just like Mya, I’m not the type to approach a guy, no matter how much I want to. For all the women that have been liberated and are able to do just that, I salute you. For all the ladies as hopeless as me, I urge you to remove those shackles sisters and level the playing field! Let’s not leave all the work (and choice) to the men.