Boxer Anthony Joshua faced massive backlash last weekend after comments he made in an interview back in March 2017 regarding how he disciplines his son compared to how he disciplines his niece resurfaced and went viral.
Many felt his comments were ‘sexist’ as he described how he was stricter with his niece who needed to ‘learn family morals’ and that she would one day ‘be someone’s wife’. He went on to say:
“My view is you have to be a good woman, respectful, one day you will be someone’s wife, you have to learn family morals … what it is to be a good woman.”
Compare that with how he was more relaxed with his son who he said is going to be ‘a man’s man’ who will want to ‘spread his wings, be a jack the lad, build his character.’
Whilst a lot of people were disappointed and angry by Joshua’s comments, not everyone thought they were that bad.
While I really don’t think Anthony Joshua meant to cause such offence with his comments and many people went OTT (both in the for and against camp) my view is this; we need to stop assuming and teaching girls that all they are worthy of is being someone’s wife. Even in 2018 it still feels like women are only ever judged by their relationship status. It’s crap and it needs to stop.
I know many women around my age (early thirties) that have achieved so much on their own through sheer hard work; such as saving for a mortgage, travelling the world or succeeding in their career and they still think they’re a failure because they haven’t found ‘the one.’ The number of conversations I have had with these amazing, interesting, funny, beautiful women and they think they’re worthless because they’re single. It is all they’re ever asked about too.
Whether or not you are in a relationship should not define you but if you’re a woman it does. Just look at Jennifer Aniston; since becoming single again those ‘poor Jen’ headlines have started resurfacing. ‘Why can’t she keep hold of a man?’ they sigh and yet again a sad, lonely and pathetic image of this woman is being portrayed when in reality do we actually know if she is unhappy? Maybe she is living her best life. Do we actually know she can’t ‘keep hold of a man’? Maybe she prefers being on her own or the men she picks are actually arseholes and she doesn’t take any shit. Do we know the real reason why she has never had a child? Maybe the thought of a snivelly little bugger waking her up at 2am has never appealed. No one questions her male Hollywood counterparts who are just as unsuccessful if not more unsuccessful at relationships - or childless.
There is nothing wrong with getting married. I’m married and very happy but it doesn’t define who I am as a person. I was a perfectly capable human being before finding the man I eventually married and wasn’t sitting on a shelf desperately waiting to be picked; in fact I’m at my happiest now that I have started to work on my career. I feel as though I am fulfilling a dream that has lay dormant in me and that is what has completed me. I feel lucky to be married to a wonderful man and for the daughter we have together but being ‘someone’s wife’ isn’t enough for me.
Why is it also only considered that a specific type of woman is worthy of being a wife too? Are feisty women who stick up for themselves not worthy of this honour then? Are independent or flirty, dare I say, promiscuous women not worthy of this title either?
What if Anthony Joshua’s niece wants to be a ‘jack the lad’ or explore her character too? What if being a wife doesn’t appeal to her and she never gets married or even settle down? Does that mean she hasn’t fulfilled her life’s potential? Through the hoards of tweets filled with anger I think most people felt the same; treat your niece the same as you treat your son. Have the same hopes for your niece as you do your son and encourage your niece the same way you do your son.
My ambitions for my daughter when she grows up are to simply be herself, achieve her dreams whatever they may be and be happy. I don’t desperately hope she gets married, in fact I actually hope she travels and sees the world. I hope she makes memories and surrounds herself with positive people and if one day she does want to get married then I hope she will be very happy.