The Curse of the Society

Today’s post was inspired by this picture above from one of my favourite sketch artists, the amazing and talented Peniel Enchill. It is an illustration of a black Woman and the “Society Clock”. The clock in this instance symbolizes age and a race against time by which there are expectations from family and the society at large that by a certain age, she needs to have met certain “goals”  e.g. marriage, kids etc. And the unfortunate part about this so-called “society clock”, it is hardly about having and supporting a woman with e.g. academic success, thriving business or career because they still think “too much success” for a woman is bad. “Too much success” on the woman’s side means she will struggle to find a befitting man or she will automatically be classified as a woman who is going to challenge her man for the head of the home position (loosely translated – she will disrespect her man should she have a differing opinion to him “as she thinks she is on the same level or is above him”). By the way, I see nothing wrong with a woman being equal to a partner, or her being more successful or even not being as successful as her partner. I believe everyone has value they bring to the table and it is not always monetary or material based.

Funny enough or on the contrary, the same society will never worry about her competing with another woman because again, 2 women in a romantic, healthy and happy relationship do not have a place in the society clock (a conversation for another day). And failing to meet the society clock standards, means as the years go by, the pressure, nagging and judgement get worse if her life situation is not in line with what they deem as acceptable. I am hoping today’s post would be a conversation piece or starter in your home and community. How many women have been victims or experienced judgement and emotional abuse for lack of better words stemming from a version of the “black woman’s society clock” in their community? I can bet you have been or seen someone experience the wrath of the society clock.

Unfortunately, even I cannot just say “who are they to dictate and control my life?” The reality is that we co-exist with others and whether we fit into their reality is for us to deal with. For change to happen, we need to start having these uncomfortable conversations with our loved ones and believing that with time we will be able to influence the change we want to see. We need to ask questions like; Why do we need the society clock? What is the importance? What is its relevance? What are the implications of having a society clock in place? Should there be one? Does it still have a place in today’s times? As we know, it is not easy changing a person’s perspective on life but we can start having conversations around things that are not building a progressive society or those things that break us. We can change the narrative that for a woman to be celebrated, she can only be XYZ.
We need to celebrate women for just being the women that they are in our lives. I refuse to believe God made women to be inferior to other beings but to be equals and just as important as the next person. We are made to be, raise, encourage, celebrate and change the lives of women around us for the better. Let us be the change we want to see.

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