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The Girl inside of Me (Part V)

by Marie Cadette Pierre-Louis 2 months ago in feminism
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The Imaginary Men

Photo by Jesus Con S Silbada on Pexels

I have come to realize that each woman has learnt to create an imaginary man at least once in their life. When we reach our twenties, it becomes even more difficult to live without constantly referring to male figures. Depending on the country and region it can even be impossible for a woman to live on her own.

What do I mean by imaginary man?

The imaginary man is an ideal male person to which you are more likely to refer to when you are in a difficult situation, when you need some special consideration or when you want to be treated without prejudice and discrimination. The imaginary man is the one who transforms a female person into more than just a woman, but a “complete” adult capable of making her decisions and going everywhere at any time without being judged, abused, and discriminated against.

My Imaginary Men

I grew up in a patriarchal society (Haiti) where the words, ideas and decisions of girls and women are not taken into account, unless they have been approved and supported by some male figures. Perhaps evolving in this environment was less dangerous to me than some other girls, because in my family we have enough boys and men to give voice for us (my mom and I).

I remember when I was younger my father used to tell me that whenever I felt harassed, I had to say that my father would come for my defense. I used to say it for real, and it acted like a magical sentence.

From my kindergarten education up to my final grade, I was always at the same school as my older brother. I heard about many girls who suffered from abuse because of their gender. I used to be discriminated against indirectly, but for what may concern my gender, hardly I would be harassed mentally or physically at school, because everyone knew my elder brother.

When I entered college, I became close friends of three boys, who were very conscious about women rights and freedom. I was generally with them. They prevented me from getting harassed from other boys because they generally had some words of defense.

Then I realized that women respect men, and men respect other men. That’s a general rule: men don’t intervene in men’s relationships (at any kind), only if they are allowed to.

I don’t mean that there would never be conflicts between two men, which can be extended to harassment and violence against wives, partners and so on.

However, if there aren’t any conflicts, it seems that the main pattern is that men have some types of mutual respects, as for whomever each one of them conceive as important (wife, family member, partner, friend, etc.).

What Is Wrong with Single Women?

Most well-known feminine figures have been known by their husband’s name. In most communities, a man’s power is transmitted to each female figure in his life, in a way that the president’s wife is automatically the first female. An entrepreneur’s wife is better known as wife than the person she is for herself. A baby mama is still considered as a woman of poor esteem and sometimes people even wonder what is wrong with them.

It seems that every woman, at least once in their life, has been known, treated, and respected through the lenses of a man in their lives. Therefore, most women have learnt how to choose a male person to protect them. When this person doesn’t exist, they just create him.

I remember several conversations I had with some people, who ended up wondering if I had a partner while living in Spain. The problem is not about having a partner, it is about the contexts I was questioned about this matter.

One of these conversations happened in a night party. I went alone there, but most people expected me to come along with a boy, even though it was not my boyfriend, just for the sake of being with a guy. That was not the last time people asked me this question, I took part in many activities during nighttime, where people would ask me if I was with a man.

Besides, it seems that when some boy asks me for my phone number, if I say no, they persist. But if I say I have a partner, they just give up. That is, they have more respect for the men who aren’t even there, than for me.

I imagine that most women are so obsessed about having a partner because they think that they would be protected by him and respected by other men. Sometimes, this transforms into a spiral where the man expected to be the protector is transformed into the aggressor.

“Anyway, it is better to have a strong man who ended up being an aggressor, then being discriminated against by the whole society,” say my fellow women.

Men Are not Superheroes

The idea of a strong man is just as erroneous as any other gender expectations. I would affirm that this imaginary man most of us have in our mind is generally non-existent. Even though we actually have men in our lives, they are just humans, not superheroes neither angels.

Some men have been able to conquer many positions of power in our societies, but that doesn’t mean that they are always powerful. They have just got the opportunity to be in such positions.

Men experience fears, insecurities, and rejections. They suffer violence and injustice, but still, they have to pretend to be strong and relentless. They need to protect themselves along with many other people. Even though most often the ideals of them are just façades and their strength is just a fantastic imaginary in our heads, we see them as saviors. As a matter of fact, like most saviors and protectors, our societies and communities decide that we owe them special respect and dignity (most of the time, at the heavy price of making invisible the works and contributions of women and gender non-conforming people).

I wonder why my words, choices and ideas cannot be respected like a man’s. Why should I bring some imaginary man on the table to make life smoother? When do male people could be just themselves?

I hope one day I might answer these questions. Maybe you have something better to tell. Anyway, just say a word for our women and girls if you feel like.

If you have enjoyed reading this text, maybe you’ll be interested in knowing about the whole series:

feminism

About the author

Marie Cadette Pierre-Louis

This is me, Marie. A writer in becoming!

For now, I am a translator and content creator.

See more about me on Instagram (@mariecadettepierre) and twitter (@cadettelouis).

Buy me a coffee by signing up to Vocal+ through this link.

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (1)

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  • Cathy holmes2 months ago

    A lot of truths here. Well done.

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