There Are Many Hardworking Women…and They Are Not Runs Girls

Culled from Black Women Leaders I relate with many women from all walks of life. This is because I believe the humanity of each person is their most defining factor. As a result, I have acquaintances who are business women, stay-at-home-mums, independent single ladies, cheating wives and/or girlfriends, nymphomaniacs, frigid lovers, women activists, submissive women, educated women, uneducated women, women who support their families, women who are supported by their men, women who have drive, women who are just coasting through life, corporate workers, ‘runs girls’ etc. Knowing these women gives me fodder for most of my work, so in most cases (and I say most cases because sometimes I get really crazy), I don’t judge them based on their life choices. I won’t lie by saying I don’t wish they could be more like me but I have come to the realization that everyone has a path to follow; and that feminism is accepting the conscious choices that women (and men) make about the direction of their lives. Having said that, here is why I have to share this story with you. A while back, I was chatting with a ‘friend’ whom I know is, for lack of a better word, a ‘runs girl’. She is beautiful for days and would be the first to tell you that she likes being taken care of by men. She is open about loving sex and profiting from it, as is evidenced from her lavish lifestyle, state-of-the-art car and latest iPhones; among others. I have been asked many times why we are friends since we are so vastly different and my response has always been the same; I will not be discriminating on anybody who has made a choice to live their lives the way they are living it. And as long as their lifestyle doesn’t affect another person’s basic human rights, all is fair in love and life. Anyway, back to my story. We were talking about business women and one name came up clearly in the conversation; Linda Ikeji, the millionaire blogger. My ‘friend’ switched from the business stuff to seriously shading Linda for (allegedly) buying a set of fake Hermés Bags. She noticed I didn’t get into the conversation and after a while, asked why I was quiet. I told her I couldn’t waste my time talking about a woman who has made so much money when I have none. I mentioned the fact that Linda works hard to earn the life she lives and if she could buy a house in one of the choicest neighborhoods in the country, why were we talking about fake bags? That was where the gist got interesting. My ‘friend’ said and I quote. ‘She did not buy that house herself. Money launderers funneled the money for that house or she has some mega rich sugar daddy.’ Now, I don’t know Linda anywhere nor have I a relationship with her but I got absolutely mad! Why?! Why would you put down a hard working woman like that?!  I told her off, telling her that there are very few people/corporations who wouldn’t want to make just half the revenue she is making from ads on her blog. I asked her how much she thought Linda’s whole page cost to host an ad, how much even the small box ad cost and how many she had on her blog per day. She had no answer when I explained how advertisement was the backbone of many media companies’ survival. I kept going at it so much that my ‘friend’ asked if Linda was paying me. That was when I piped down. Here is the issue. My ire was not about Linda or directed at my ‘friend’. It was directed more at society than it was at this lady. This was not the first time I had seen a hardworking woman being put down by a society that keeps refusing to accept that a woman can be successful on her own. This is especially so when that woman is unmarried. It seems society cannot wrap its head around an independent single woman. Society seems more willing to accept a woman who is dependent on one man or the other; her father, her brother, and her husband (ultimately). When she gets old, she is supposed to depend on her son(s). In some ways, society also seems to be more accepting when a woman makes her money by being a prostitute. With this, a woman is still dependent on a man; or in 50 Cent’s voice, many men. With this equation, society is content, society is happy. When there is that small change where a woman proves she can be successful without depending on any of these men, people get mad; stark raving mad. This is the question that bugs me to eternity: what is so wrong with having a single, hardworking woman who isn’t dependent on any man for her success? Could it be that the thought of a woman making it on her own threatens the very fabric of power that society has woven? Or, being that it is a man’s world, does the presence of a hardworking woman emasculate the man? I really want answers to these questions. I grew up knowing that women should work. My mum is a single, hardworking and independent woman. She brought me up to be dependent on me. She started working when she was 16 and except when she is sick, she rarely takes a day off to just relax. She started off a kitchen cleaner in a hotel, and then rose to waiter, then room cleaner, then house keeper, then floor manager, then food and beverage manager; a position she held for many years. Now she runs her own guest house and she is still working! Every day, she leaves her house at 5:30am and starts work at 6:30am. She never leaves the office before 9:30pm. She takes care of us her children, is her family’s bread winner and she still takes

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