Being independent as a woman, to me is not the same as being cocky, arrogant and thoughtless in speech and approach to things. For me it is about taking charge of your life diplomatically and exclusive of the intervention of anyone especially men. But then again some men see anything from a woman, which does not look like utter surrender to them, as arrogance. That, I can say, is a false stereotype and and unfair view of the woman who believes she can give something back to or influence society in a unique personal and woman-defined way.
Where, I think, it all goes awry is when the woman develops porcupine spikes - first against other women and then against men, and sometimes acts as if everyone is out to get her. Yes some of their paranoia may have a basis, after all, like they say, 'it's a man's world.'
I still believe a woman can be independent without making enemies for herself, fighting and screaming for others to recognise it. Surreptitiously and naturally, she can assert her independence and make people around her still love her; it is all in the delivery methodology.
I will not go into it all and I cannot taking it from all the angles this broad topic may have; I will take it from the perspective of asserting your independence while dating as a woman.
As you mature and put yourself out there as a material worth marrying, you must learn to put a few things in order about yourself. Being dependent on a man you are not married to, is one thing you must avoid at all cost. Unless you are totally helpless [with no family or work or any source of income to support you] do not allow a man you are not married to to take care of you. This I emphasise the more, when you are a working woman and you can take care of yourself.
Some ladies ask, 'how would you know if he can take care of you if he can't do it now?' I answer, 'How would he prove you can take care of him if you don't wash his clothes, cook for him, clean his house and get pregnant for him now?' Yes, I like the expression on your face. You will certainly not do that. A man you are not married to, need not take care of you to prove he can take care of you when he marries you.
Let me touch on something; giving of gifts. When it is done willingly, is not the same as taking care of you. So if you want to know what he can do when you are married, look at the things he does for you WITHOUT YOU ASKING OR BLACKMAILING HIM INTO. Asking for clothes and shoes[because he asked you out for a dinner], telling him about your damaged phone, the new shoes you want, the trip you want to go and all that? Now that is cheap and selling yourself to him and for the value of the things you demand from him. Why do you think he thinks you are his property? Why do you think he thinks he can control who you talk to and where you go to and all that? Why do you think he is attempting to influence which job to take for whatever self serving reason? Seriously if you were that independent of him, would he even gather the guts to get across some of the things he does?
Now cast your mind back and look at your Mom or Aunt or a friend who was a house-wife and depended on her husband to provide her every need and see how she was treated by the man. What happened to her voice? What happened to her opinion? What happened to her dreams? What happened to her face when she wanted to prove 'stubborn'.... What is/was her emotional state of being if she ever opened up to you?
Why must he get it for you if you can afford it? Some ladies complain their boyfriends are cheap because the boyfriends don't give them anything. Oh yea, some guys can be cheap. They give nothing for birthdays and special occasions, an entire year could pass and they would not give you a gift, pay for a salon treat... not even a card. But then how do you define 'being Cheap?' I guess it is all a function of the person's financial standing. Someone might give you a gift that may saddened you, but is the person cheap or that is the most they could afford? In the end, whether it is cheap or expensive depends and how much it costs the person; let us always remember that. Not everyone can give you a Flat Screen LED TV for your birthday. If you got a card try and see if that was all the person could afford...In any case didn't you know he did not have that much disposable income when you started dating him? Or you want your gift to be bought out of a loan from friends? If your boyfriend can afford it and wants to shower you with gifts, fine; only do not hold a knife to his throat and demand it.
Coming back to the mainstream discourse, If you earn your own money, buy your own stuff. I agree some men are threaten by a woman who has it all and can equally pay for it all. And some women get worried about it. But isn't it the whole point? The whole point of going to school, working hard, climbing the social ladder and all? Why must you worry that your independence puts a man off? So what, you must hide your wealth or ability to create it, so you can depend on a man and be good enough for him? So he gets to control you? In the end, he just does not provide for you, but he buys your freedom as well. A lady worth marrying is the one who is WILLING and ABLE to bring something to the table, otherwise you are just a glorified animated property.
It is not your wealth - financial, emotional, educational, spiritual, or social- that scares off a man, indeed it is not your independence that scares him off; it is how you manage that wealth and independence.
A key to gaining a man's respect is when he knows that you are able to do everything he is capable of doing.... even though I need not tell you it is not everything a man can do that a woman can. Yes I say it because I don't see the possibility of a woman, without any medical help, impregnating another woman. Bam! I said it. On a serious note, every man is cautious when dealing with a woman who is his co-equal. You do not need to remind him. You do not need to show it off and rub it into his flesh or hang it around your neck; just live your life and let it make the statement for you.
You are a young woman, who earns your own cash, be bold and show off what you can do. Order and kill it with that Christian Louboutin Shoe and the Fendi Bag you saw online, nail it on with the Samsung S4 and the Brazilian Hair and the top notch lace dress. Tell him you are getting a weekend at the spa and he can join if he wants to [You don't mind paying for him]. Pimp your apartment and make him wonder. Drive your own car if you can afford it. Let the cowardly man run away from you if they can't stand it. That is the only time a man will think twice when he feels like opening his mouth. That is when your opinion will starts counting, and when you clear your throat, he starts asking if you said something.
At what point in time does your parents start taking your views serious? When you leave home and start earning your own cash. That is when you are seen as independent enough. Your independence is naturally intertwined with your ability to be self sufficient and self sustaining. How do you expect a man to see you as a co-equal when he buys you panties and feels haunted whenever he is visiting every 28 days, because Rita Red is in and he has to pass by the drugstore to get you sanitary pad. Seriously! You have a car, you can drive that three minutes for that. You are having no cramps... You want to call it love? Well it is when it is one off not when you make it his responsibility. Sanitary Pad!
Ladies need to sit up. Take care of yourself. Earn that respect, build a solid and respectable image in the eyes of the man who is going to marry you and those around him. Let it be difficult for him to treat you like trash and let others do same. Let it be a natural consequence for him to listen when you talk without having to fight for it.
How much does it cost to fuel a 1.8Ltr engine that you always collect his vehicle for your errands and return it empty tanked? How much is a day out at a Chinese Restaurant that you always forget your purse at home? How cheap is it that you pick a taxi to his house and tell him to come and pay the driver when you have money? You call him that you are coming over to his place, and you don't even ask whether he has something at home to eat. You drive all over to his house, park your car, jump into his and go out to a restaurant to eat. What is the big deal if for once you visit him with something? How much will it cost you to say, 'this is on me' or 'let's split it'...or 'I have already taken care of it?' And you think such a man should respect you, listen to you and be happy when you are coming to visit? No Sugarplum Fairy. You are a liability and a leech.
You may not know it, but these little things say a lot about you. Whenever I hear young up and starting ladies say they are independent, you find out, it is just in thought and opinion not in anything again. I want you to go beyond it and make that independence, a more holistic and all encompassing.
Do not fear the man who feels threatened by your independence, rather fear yourself and your inability to manage your independence well.