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BEING FEMALE IN A CHANGING WORLD

Women’s History Month is an appropriate time to address issues that relate to women. Interestingly, this year, there have been a lot of woman-related issues so far that have commanded attention. Certainly, we will come to understand that we are in a changing world, and the roles that women and men play will change.

However, some things are not changing as fast as they should. One case in point is the dissolution of “KimYe,” i.e., the marriage between Kanye West and Kim Kardashian. After six years of marriage, the couple is embroiled in a very public divorce. People are taking sides, and many are doing so based on gender.

As reports of Kanye West’s alleged stalking of his ex-wife and threats to her current beau Pete Davidson circulate, Kim Kardashian, who is seemingly at odds with most women on the planet except those in her family, began gaining the sympathy of women.

On the other hand, others criticize Kim for dating Saturday Night Live comedian Pete Davidson, because they feel she shouldn’t be dating; she should just focus on her children and her home.

Conversely, Kanye has been seen dating at least four different women, yet, for the most part, no one is criticizing Kanye for this. The only thing they seem to take issue with is that his dates tend to resemble Kim! So, there is an apparent double standard happening in the expectations and behavior of Kim and Kanye.

On the other end of the spectrum, there is a subtle change occurring regarding women. Women are now being called on to provide “spousal support” to men when their divorces are finalized.

Mary J. Blige, often referred to as the Queen of Hip Hop Soul, had her divorce from Kendu Isaacs finalized in June, 2018. According to reports, she had to pay $235K to Isaacs for attorney fees and spousal support. Isaacs had asked for spousal support worth $110K per month. She was ordered to pay temporary spousal support worth $30K per month instead.

In a similar vein, Jennifer Hudson was engaged to the father of her son, David Otunga, for nine years. They split before they made it to the altar. After the custody arrangement for their shared child was hashed out, Hudson agreed to pay an unspecified amount of child support to Otunga.

Kelly Clarkson, the renowned singer who was recently divorced from Brandon Blackstock, was directed to pay a hefty sum to Blackstock. She will pay a one-time payment of just over $1.3 million, as well as a monthly child support payment of $45,601 for their two children. The children will live with Clarkson.

According to Market Watch, an online article entitled “More women are now paying alimony and child support” by Meera Jagannathan, “A recent American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers survey found that 45 percent of lawyers had seen an increase in recent years of women responsible for alimony. Moreover, 54 percent said they’d seen a rise in mothers paying child support.”

The foregoing portends interesting changes in the role that women are playing in society and in the family. Most men are looking at the idea of women paying spousal support with glee, saying that the shoe is now on the other foot. They believe that women want equality, and since they do, paying spousal support is one rung of that ladder.

Actually, women’s tradition of receiving alimony and child support was based on the fact that women were traditionally kept from getting high-paying jobs and usually stayed home to care for children. In this new environment, many women are forced to work outside the home, but they also have a lion’s share of the responsibility for children.

The previous scenarios, that of viewing women with prejudice in terms of how they are judged, as in the case of the Kim Kardashian divorce, vs. the trend for women to provide spousal support to men who may, or may not, have custody of the children, signify a need for far-reaching change in women’s societal roles.

If women are to take on more of the family’s financial responsibilities as well as caring for children, they deserve better status and autonomy; they should be treated as equals. A Luta Continua.

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