ONGAJI: The illusion of a 'strong' woman

Wednesday March 18 2020

Let’s teach our girls that it is possible to be a strong firm and principled woman, and at the same time be respectful, approachable and rational. PHOTO | FILE| NATION MEDIA GROUP


A few weeks ago, a friend of mine on Facebook posted a meme from a certain gentleman which read, “Men are not intimidated by strong women, but far too many women believe being aggressive, rude and generally unpleasant makes them strong. It makes you insufferable. It’s not that we can’t handle you but we’d prefer not to, in light of better options.”

It may sound harsh, but to some extent it is true. There is a crop of annoying, argumentative and loud women who are delusional into thinking such negative attributes make them strong.

There is a big difference between being a strong woman and an unpleasant, arrogant, argumentative fool.


These are the kind of women who equate being strong with using their financial stability as a platform to demean and belittle any other human being; and especially men who might be below them in the monetary ladder.

These are the women you’ll find in groups in clubs on the weekend; very loud and insulting every human being, just because they can afford to fill their table with drinks.

They confuse strength with rebellion against any man; opposing everything that comes from a man, whether it is right or wrong. They think strength of a woman is equal to being unapproachable and resenting any advances from a man.

Others think that being a strong woman is all about having a toxic attitude. These are the ladies who always think they are right and everything they say is the gospel truth. It is either their way or the highway.

They have problems with everything and everyone who oppose them, thus have this sense of self assurance that they are above everyone socially and intellectually, thus they are the sole custodians of knowledge and interpretation of facts.


Some base this strength on being snobbish and degrading other human beings and especially men who could be below them in the financial ladder. They equate poverty with being lazy, thus they wouldn’t want to be associated with a men who may seem to be struggling financially.

They think being humble is the same as settling for the bare minimum or lowering their “social standards”. If you think these are the attributes that define a strong woman, then you are dead wrong.

The point here is that strength of a woman has always been misinterpreted. What defines a strong woman is a matter for debate, but definitely there isn’t a drop of strength in the above mentioned attributes.

And I think these are the misconceptions that make other women prefer being called “weak”.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not implying in any way that there aren’t men who resent a firm woman, who seems to take control of her life and everything around her. Of course there are misogynistic men, especially in a patriarchal society like ours, but I have also interacted with men who respect intellectual, career oriented and financially stable women; ladies who take charge of their matters head on.

Being a strong woman in my opinion is having achieved all that in life, but staying calm about it. Let’s teach our girls that it is possible to be a strong firm and principled woman, and at the same time be respectful, approachable and rational, as opposed to causing friction every time you walk or open your mouth.

Being arrogant, argumentative, insulting, rude and generally unpleasant makes you intolerable, and by the way not just to men, but also to your fellow women.