Archive | December, 2012

Women Who Love Too Much Are Their Own Enemies By Cheryl Roberts

21 Dec

I am not an expert on love, neither do I have all insight and answers when it comes to love and loving. But there’s this thing about women always wanting to be loved? Right? Is that a stereotype or reality or forced socialisation?

I do think that women are much too desperate for love, always believing that being loved and having a partner/married spouse is what ultimately completes them as women.

I’m not against relationships or marriage; neither am I against loving and being loved. When it comes to love – since I was a teenage girl – I’ve been there, done that, experienced love’s best moments, I’ve broken hearts and had mine shattered because of varying reasons.

What I have realized, since a long time ago and what I know works for me, is that I don’t always have to be in a relationship or have someone loving me, for the woman that I am to feel complete and be happy.

The time out from love that I take whenever I want to, is spent on myself and several other ways of loving. And when love does venture into my space, I embrace it, especially the attractive force of the beginning of the love unfolding.

How often do we know women who are only happy when they ‘are involved romantically, in a relationship, or marriage’. If these women are single or unattached then they either are miserable or feel lonely and focus relentlessly on how they must find someone. Yet, very few women talk about self-love. They don’t know the real worth of how not always being ‘involved’ and being unattached is good for their self-being and growth.

Very often when a woman’s relationship breaks down or ends, the woman feels her world has crashed altogether. Now I do know that heartache and heart break is not easy and is one of the hardest and most difficult emotions that almost all people encounter in their lifetime. But I also think that a good part of our heartbreak is linked to the thinking that we have lost ourselves, that we are not complete if we are not being loved.

I’m also of the opinion that women are socialized by society’s pressures to be loved at all times for them to be whole women and to have it all in life. For the majority of women, who also happen to be heterosexual, their whole life exists in relation to how men will see and love them, how men will be attracted to them and how they will be loved forever by a man. When this love doesn’t happen for women, she then feels that life has done her wrong and her happiness has been condemned. What women don’t want to know is that self-love is pivotal love, the love that all girls and women must start out with. Being loved by another is secondary to self love for one self. At least that’s my opinion.

Girls are socialized to believe in love, mostly from heterosexual relationships and marriage: they are taught that girls will grow up and be loved by a man who will marry them and give them love and, they in return, will give unconditional love.

But times are changing: its not just about heterosexual love but also same same-gender love. And marriage is not proving eternal and neither is love with the one and same person.

But are women too eager to give their love away in the hope they will receive the love they yearn for? Do women only feel complete when they are being loved by another?

Falling in love, sharing and giving love is one of life’s most blessed, and ofcourse exhilirating moments, that’s when you are giving your love to the one that is loving you.

But is this constant yearning for love not more of a negative than a positive? Many women only feel happy and satisfied when they are being loved romantically by another and in a relationship and marriage status with another.

Some of my most satisfying-in-love moments and journeys haven not been encountered and experienced with romantic love, but with being in love with myself and what I was doing, for instance, writing, traveling, conversation friendship, animal love.

I dislike being attached all of the time, it’s not because I’m selfish and don’t want to share me. It’s rather because I love me so much and because being attached and in a relationship, couples me with another individual, when being with me is so imperative to my happiness.

I don’t need to be in a relationship 24/7 or year round. And neither do I need everyone on social media to know I am being loved and sharing love. Who I’m sharing love with is between myself and the person, definitely not with most others I don’t event know like on social media sites.

There’s this line in a song by fairground attraction how ‘young hearts are foolish, they give their love away’ and there’s another by Candi Staton, ‘young hearts run free, don’t be hung up like my man and me’.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with love, loving, being loved and sharing love: but there is going to be much wrong when a woman finds she can’t be happy without romantic love from another. And then you get the woman who loves so deeply, without reservation and gets her love abused and misused in the name of love.

‘I love you with all my heart and soul’ means so much and its quite astounding to think how women are prepared to be doing this all the time, no matter what the costs, for instance, if they’ve just come out of a relationship, or ended a love affair then they must and want to be loving soonest again and saying the words.

This feeling of not feeling complete if you are not being loved by another is a perpetual feeling of depression for women who think that life is about going to school, maybe tertiary education, work/career and then marriage.

Life should not be and does not have to be like that because you are placing unnecessary pressure on yourself to want to be loved to feel complete. And it’s because of this feeling, which is mostly close to a desperate plea, that women get involved with romantic/love liasons, when love isn’t there and doesn’t have a choice of being grown or developed.

Girls must be socialized to believe and know that their self-love completes them and love from another will add to their love. Women must not be their own enemy by feeling that only if they have love from another, in most instances this means a man, that they are ‘real and complete women’. This dependence on being loved, seemingly paralyses women’s emotions who eventually believe that only men make them happy.

When women understand that their existence, happiness and worth as a woman is not dependent on a man, when they realise they have been forcefully socialised to believe that men are pivotal to a woman’s being and happiness in life, perhaps then they will understand the root of their existence and being does not have to be connected to a man for them to be complete, liberated and free.

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Heterosexual Marriage: Why Do Women ‘Take On’ Men’s Surnames When They Marry? By Cheryl Roberts

12 Dec

Heterosexual Marriage: Why Do Women ‘Take On’ Men’s Surnames When They Marry? By Cheryl Roberts.

Heterosexual Marriage: Why Do Women ‘Take On’ Men’s Surnames When They Marry? By Cheryl Roberts

12 Dec

Heterosexual Marriage: Why Do Women ‘Take On’ Men’s Surnames When They Marry? By Cheryl Roberts.

Heterosexual Marriage: Why Do Women ‘Take On’ Men’s Surnames When They Marry? By Cheryl Roberts

12 Dec

I haven’t done any research or checked a literature review of research or analysis about marriage and surnames. It astounds me, in this era of accumulation of women’s rights following much struggle and battles, how women so willingly trade in their surname, seemingly implying, in my opinion, the authority, power and superiority of the male person in this relationship.

As this is my blog, written in my personal style with my personal thoughts and opinions, it gives me a good space to put it out there how I feel and see marriage and the ‘taking on of the man’s surname’. And, to also throw out some ideas and maybe, just maybe, get more convo on this.

Fortunately, I have not as yet succumbed to marriage: I’m not saying I won’t ever get married. Should I want to enter into a married relationship, I already know that my surname will be retained and I won’t add another person’s surname. That’s because I am me and do not want to be an extension or add on of another person. And neither would I want the person I’m marrying, to take on, or add my surname.

This idea of retaining my name, if and when I got married, as my exclusive and personal domain dates back to when I was a teenage girl, about 19 years old, living in my family home in Durban and when I was beginning to develop a strong and positive self-identity of myself. Although I was a student at the then University of Natal, it had nothing to do with feminist and women’s studies, as I wasn’t reading these courses.

I had just, on my own self-identification and respect, developed a different view of surnames and name change when married.

It was because I was a teenage sports girl that I fell in love with my name. As I participated in and performed in sport, I loved reading my name in the newspapers, hearing it being celebrated and called out at championships and school awards and events. It was my name, owned by myself. It was my identity and ownership.

I couldn’t understand why I would have to change my surname when I married ‘one day’ as I was socialized to believe every girl would grow up and do in her lifetime.

Somehow I always said and knew that ‘when I married’. I would not change my surname: it would be retained by me for myself.

Back in the day, whoever and whenever someone around me – in the neighbourhood, sport, or family – got married, the bride immediately took on the husband’s surname and gave up hers.

Through my teenage eyes I felt like I would be giving up myself, becoming another person, and being attached to that person, if I had to do this in marriage. These thoughts weren’t arrived at thru a feminist lens: but via my mind and heart of already believing in the person and woman that was me, albeit I was a young adult woman.

It was this name change about marriage that made marriage unattractive to me. I began to dislike the idea that I would have to take on another person’s surname. However, I must say that name change isn’t the reason I haven’t succumbed to marriage.

It was when I attended University of Natal in the mid- 80’s and, thru my interaction with feminist and social justice activist, Shamim Meer, that I realized that women could be married and not ‘take on’ their husband’s surname. Shamim, the daughter of my mentor, Professor Fatima Meer, was married but had not changed her name.

Today, in heterosexual marriages, why do women still take on their husband’s surname as if they are forced to do so?

Over recent years, in some instances, women entering into marriage, retain their surname but add their husband’s surname. And of course, you do know that the men retain their surname.

Then the children arrive in heterosexual marriages and are given the father’s surname, but no part of the mother’s name. And I can’t understand how feminists and women who do not support patriarchy, allow their children to assume the father’s name and not the woman’s. And why do women, who have the foresight not to change their surname, allow the children to be named after the man? Why, in heterosexual marriages, are children not given the woman’s surname, instead of the father’s.

Then there is the case of the woman who has birthed outside of wedlock, and doesn’t care a damm about the father’s surname, but names the child with her surname.

Most teenage girls and women, who have little or no tertiary education and who have not heard about feminism and patriarchy, and have a child outside of marriage, don’t dare give the child their father’s surname. For these women, the child’s surname is about the right to the child. If the father wasn’t there and ain’t going to be around, he just ain’t going to get his surname carrying on through her child, say most unmarried mothers. And I say big up to them for giving thumbs down to patriarchy and male superiority!

There are several instances of feminists in South Africa who have not taken on their husband’s surname but have allowed their children to be given it. Is this not endorsing and succumbing to patriarchy because the feminist, anti-patriarchy woman goes along with patriarchy by giving the child the man’s surname. Yet the child, outside of marriage is socialized to know the power and authority of a woman’s lineage and name and not to assume that men only have this.

I know love makes us do some crazy things, but losing your surname and becoming a ‘Mrs’ is surely about giving away your own survival, your personal being, the woman that you are and want to be. Is giving up your surname being done to show the man how much you love him? Is love everything and enough to forsake your name for his? Or is it about continuing male domination and power in marriage? Should society not consider banning name change at marriage? Or should it be left with religious and cultural traditions to continue the lineage of patriarchal domination?

Increasingly women are also retaining their surname but adding the man’s surname but the man doesn’t do any adding on. Seemingly women are becoming aware of their power and not just signing onto another name. This awareness of whose name must change and why it should happen, is certainly out there amongst women.

But are women not conspiring and being complicit in the preservation of male authority within the family and society by willingly, and without consideration, taking on the man’s surname as the main domain?

 

16 Days of Activism: Women’s Bodies Are Not for Scarring! By Cheryl Roberts

3 Dec

photo image: Reneilwe Mathibe

16 Days of Activism: Women’s Bodies Are Not for Scarring! By Cheryl Roberts.

16 Days of Activism: Women’s Bodies Are Not for Scarring! By Cheryl Roberts

3 Dec
‘Love That Hurts Love Is Not Love’
. People want and search for love and happiness, how and when we find it, with whom and how long we sustain love and happiness is what differentiates our varying love experiences
. Love does not have to be a battleground; it doesn’t have to be violent or hurtful. Love has got nothing to do with anything that is abusive, violent or negatively applied and, because love is simply heart-to-heart love, anything else means that your heart is not in tune with love
. Don’t mistake loving and being loved by someone as permission for that person to define and sculpt you how, who and what they want you to be
. As painful as it is and as much as it breaks our hearts, love that hurts loving and throws our love against the wall, has got to be said goodbye to, even though we may be reminded, there were the good times in between the love that was bad and painful

 

. When women realise that their existence, happiness and worth as a woman is not dependent on a man, when they realise they have been forcefully socialised to believe that men are pivotal to a woman’s being and happiness in life, perhaps then they will understand the root of their existence and being does not have to be connected to a man for them to be complete, liberated and free
. Saying goodbye to a love that has not worked out does not mean you must be scared of love or think you are a failure at love, but it should at least, indicate your knowing what you don’t want, and what love you desire, when you love again
. Your loving another should not be prescribed by society’s heterosexual, male-dominating boundaries or rules, or any restrictions of gender or colour. Love is there to be consumed as love with whomever, wherever and whenever you want to feel, share and give love.
. Realising that you have the mental and emotional strength to take yourself out of a bad relationship, is a giant step towards satisfying and reclaiming yourself
. Sometimes we need to take ourselves out of a love so that we can set ourselves free
. When women can finally realise love for their own body, they would and should be on the journey to self-realisation and self-love from within themselves, and not the self-made, false opinions which are reflected, particularly in commercial media which are produced more for profit and not for women’s empowerment, about how women should look to fit in with society’s norms
‎ (extracts from my book: ‘Love. Pause. Life’)

Believing Always In The Woman That Is Me

By Cheryl Roberts

 

As the years roll on,
I am content with my self-belief
that the woman I am,
is defined by my footprints
in my sand on my life’s journey,
as embraced by the woman that is me
and I ask for nothing more from myself
than being the woman that loves me, for me,
thru my own eyes, heart and soul
discovering more and more
the depth of my woman’s strength and power,
embracing my woman’s being with purpose, love and respect,
allowing myself to be enchanted by this life that is mine
loving and accepting the hustle and challenge
of being the best woman I can and want to be,
knowing my own belief and power in myself,

and the woman that is ME

“You cannot love anyone and dominate them, hurt them, because once you’re doing that you’ve moved yourself out of love”…….Bell Hooks
(photo image: Reneilwe Mathibe)
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Against Abuse Of Sportsgirls: Sport Can No Longer Remain Silent By Cheryl Roberts

3 Dec

africanwomanwarriorcherylroberts

South African sport should not be silent when sportswomen’s bodies and identities, especially teenage sports girls, are being abused, attacked and murdered, by men who assume they have the right to control women’s spaces and bodies.

Girls and women play sport to enjoy the game, not to become another victim or survivor of abuse and hate. However, it’s another horrendous act of violence against a sports girl. One stab, one life gone. This time, it’s the life of a 19 year old teenage girl. She’s black, a teenage girl, lives in a working class hood and a footballer.

Her name is Sihle Skotshi and she was, at one time in her young life, a junior player for Winnies Ladies FC in Guguletu and a registered member of SAFA Cape Town and SAFA

And the act of violence which claimed her young life was carried out by a thug male who…

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