This paper deals with the cultural myth that “Love is women’s whole existence.” Over the years, the society has been made to believe and accept that women live only for love. However, this is not the case; it is a cultural myth whose time to go has come. Love is crucial to women; nevertheless, love is not the only goal or purpose that women live for.
Apart from being lovers, women are responsible mothers, sisters, daughters, and workers as well. With changing times, women can now access decent education and jobs; which make them, lead independent lives without men. Nowadays women are living without that ‘love’ and this may explain the up surge in single mothers and single women.
This myth of love being the woman’s whole existence usually accompanies the notion that a woman’s place is in the kitchen. Far from it, women are found in every profession be it military, healthcare, judiciary or even in presidency.
Nothing can explain a freed woman from this cultural myth than Charlotte Bronte’s works: The Life and Loves of a She-Devil, The Mill on the Floss, and Jane Eyre. Female characters in these works struggle to shake off love and through this; they are in a position to pursue their dreams and gain the much-needed energy to overcome life challenges. For instance, in Jane Eyre, Jane portrays her autonomy and will power to overcome Rochester after realizing he has a wife.
Drowned into the myth of ‘love is woman’s whole existence’, Rochester thinks Jane would become his lover and a missus. However, Jane is not set for these illusions; she walks away with only ten pounds, a piece of bread, and the clothes she was wearing. She leaves behind the jewelry and all luxuries that Rochester had brought into her life in name of love (Cadena para. 5).
This may be in literature, but it translates and links strongly to what is happening in the contemporary world. Women are no longer tied to this myth and they are rising to claim their autonomy. Single mothers are on the increase and this is a clear indication that this cultural myth is obsolete. If love was the only thing that women lived for, there could not be single mothers in the society today.
The word ‘single mother’ here does not refer to single mothers because of spouse’s death; it refers to single motherhood by choice. Interestingly, the current demographics are shocking to those who think that love is the only thing that women live for.
For instance, in 2006 alone, 80% of the 12.9 million families headed by single parents were women (Mackay 36). Moreover, in Australia, 31% of babies born since 2001 are from unmarried women (Rickard 29). In the United Kingdom, of the 5.9 million single parents, 64% were single mothers (Bergman 8). This does not leave out South Korea, a rather conservative society. 1.6 million Children were born by single mothers in 2007 (Sang-Hun 9). These statistics shows how misplaced the cultural myth that love is the only thing women live for is.
In the wake of these revelations, it is evident that there are other components in a woman’s life, which are of more importance or at least equal importance to love. If love were the only thing women had to live for, then these births by single mothers would never be.
These women would have stuck with their spouses in the pursuit of that ‘love’, which matters so much in their lives. Therefore, love is not the only thing that women live; there are other elements like career and autonomy to mention but a few, that matter most or equal love in a woman’s life.
Bergman, Mike. “Single-Parent Households Showed Little Variation since 1994”. U.S.
Census Bureau. 2007. 3 Dec. 2009.
Cadena, Christine. “Challenging the Cultural Myth that Love is Women’s Whole Existence.” 2006. 3 Dec. 2009.
This is a well-written article on how women have moved with speed to disqualify the notion that they only live for love. The author quotes extensively British writers like Bronte, Eliot, and Welden. It brings into light how these novel writers used their writing skills to portray woman’s potential not governed by love alone.
Mackay, Ross. “The Impact of Family Structure and Family Change on Child Outcomes: A Personal Reading of the Research Literature Social Policy. Journal Of New Zealand 2008, 34(3); 36
Ross Mackay in this journal explores family structures and how they have changed over the time. The article gives insights on how single motherhood is rising with time and how these mothers are independent and successful.
Sang-Hun, Choe. “Group Resists Korean Stigma for Unwed Mothers.” The New York Times. 2007. 3 Dec. 2009. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/world/asia/08mothers.html?_r=1
This article explains the stigma that unmarried women go through
In the hands of the conservative Korean society. The statistics given is a clear indication that, single motherhood is not acceptable in Korean society.