From Our Readers How To Be An Independent Woman From Our Readers

A recent dinner conversation with my friend Logan caused me to reevaluate myself as an independent black woman who don’t need a man. We were discussing what it meant to be an independent woman; I proceeded to reveal my ignorance when it comes to appliances, such as lawn mowers, power tools, toaster ovens, televisions, printers, etc.

Apparently, Logan is the Beyoncé of female mechanics. She questioned my ability to provide for myself when I told her I didn’t know how to change a flat. Or use a jack. Or locate my spare tire. Thus, with a gleam in her eye, she said, “You need to be an independent woman. I’m going to teach you how to change a tire…but let me check with my dad first to see if it’s okay.”

Two days later, we’re in the university parking lot, reeking of independence and womanhood. Obviously, I had a photographer there to capture what was to be a miraculous milestone in my adult life (I also wanted to show everyone on Instagram how awesome and independent I can be). I am now a tire-changing, high-class diva. Which inspired me to write this post.

So…how do you become an independent woman like me? Here are some tips:

1. Know tool names.
Whether it’s a hammer or a switch blade or whatever, know it. You don’t have to know what they do, but if you know their names, it’s easy to pretend like you do. If you want to be really independent, know how to spell tool names.

2. Carry heavy stuff around.
It’s important to occasionally carry heavy things in public in order to establish your independence to society. Carry a 12-pack of Coke around Wal-Mart for a couple of minutes instead of putting it in a cart. Roll your eyes, tighten your grip, and say “I got this” if a man offers to help.

3. Be able to parallel park or drive a stick-shift.
I can’t do either of those things, but I bet Sarah Palin can, so they’re probably important.

4. Pump your own gas.
I would rather be stranded on the side of the road than ask a man, other than my father, to put gas in my car. Because I respect myself. And because I don’t have a boyfriend.

5. Know all the words to at least three Beyoncé songs.
I feel like this is self-explanatory.

6. Help other women become independent.
There’s nothing more strong and independent than teaching other girls how to check the oil in their cars or build something out of wood…or twerk, or something. Help a sista out!

That’s basically all it takes to be an independent woman. Most importantly, always remember that you don’t need to depend on others for approval or affirmation. (Side note: go check out that tire-changing picture on my Instagram, I need more likes! @andreareevs)

If you don’t have a metaphorical member of Destiny’s Child to help you with your car troubles, here’s a post from She Knows Living on how to change a tire!

Andrea Reeves is a 20 year-old college student with a slightly-endearing obsession with Disney and Harry Styles. She’s a Public Relations/Journalism major at a hipster school in You’ve Probably Never Heard of It, FL. who decided to give blogging a shot; most of her posts are a mixture of how-tos, “girly stuff,” and stories about being a broke, single college student. Read more on her blog and her Twitter.

Featured Image via Shutterstock


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  1. Geeze some of these people are taking this so seriously. At the end of the day it was a quick read and it made us laugh. That was her point in the first place. You would think that we are reading this from the new york times or something like that. Why is it so important to put someone down for writing a half page blog? Can everybody just chill?

    There are lots of people out there that will read anything just so they can hate on it. Good Job keeping your head up and staying positive!!

  2. I’m a senior in college, and the day I became a woman was when I changed a flat with my hair and makeup done for junior prom. Love this list!! From one PR major to another, perfect column and AP style ;)

  3. Omg, this was AWESOME….I love your sense of humor and how you don’t take yourself too seriously! It made me smile :) Don’t know why people are getting so upset about it :/ Keep up the GREAT work!! I look forward to reading more!!! :)))

    • Thank you so much! I forget not everyone has the same sense of humor, so I appreciate the compliment :) thanks for reading!

  4. I really enjoyed reading this post! If I had a dollar for every time I get asked if I need help with something heavy, I’d be rich. Thanks for the laugh!

  5. So being an independent “insert additional descriptor here” woman is a journey… Some of us jump on the road at different points… I may have been born into a very progressive household, where my father’s daily mantra/affirmation was programmed into me. You are smart and beautiful and need no one but yourself to be happy. In my 40 years, I have come to realize that this loving independence taught to me is not the norm for many. Knowing all the tools, how to change oil, mow my lawn, apply some bitchin’ cat-eye liner and cook the best gumbo you have ever had — these are the things that I would put on my list to be an independent woman. My list, my journey. This list is not exclusionary- make your own and share…. don’t judge. Let’s lift up and support, not break down and exclude.

  6. I don’t know any lyrics to Beyonce, but can jam out like hell to St. Vincent. Perhaps this means I am less an independent woman, which I will accept in lieu of my awesome radness and taste in independent musical icons…i.e. woman that write their own music, play their own instruments and are not influenced by media and society and fame and riches.

  7. Why do you have to prove anything to society? yes, learn to do things on your own and be self sufficient, but I feel like these are things women didn’t do themselves in the 50s. I get that you were trying to be lighthearted, but I feel like this is just playing into gender stereotypes and selling women short.

    • I have to agree with Hailey Vick on this one, although the article is sweet. There is so much more to being an independent women then this. However i think this article is a nudge in the right direction and is helping the greater cause of feminism by making it a talking point. :-)

  8. Meow! I didn’t realise Hello Giggles had gotten so mean. It was an innocent post with fun and random ideas that the writer thought would help women. I, for one, greatly agree with the need to help women become independent; my only suggestion would be to stretch that out to: help all people to be strong and united.

  9. what a load of rubbish

  10. Reading this post sorta made me angry because the title was misleading. I thought it would be a decent post with really helpful tips, and all of these things are just stupid. I can do ALL of these things except for #5 because I don’t NEED to know all the damn lyrics to a Beyonce song. How is that going to benefit me for the future besides killing it at Kareoke Night with friends?

    Having these skills doesn’t necessarily MAKE you an independent woman, it just flaunts that you aren’t lazy to learn it. Or the fact that you’re “breaking gender stereotypes” because you’re a woman who can do “manly things.”

    So following into #6, “Help other women become independent,”
    Dear Andrea Reeves, Journalism student, from a FL school that I never heard of,
    Nice try sweetie. Great post that would be helpful on Tumblr. I suggest rewriting this post after 2 more years of Journalism, and I know you can make a MUCH better list. Good luck!
    A friendly and fellow Media major graduate from a not-so-well-known College in NYC

  11. Considering that this was Hello Giggles and not Jezebel, I actually wasn’t expecting much. Infact, I had already laughed at the title. So I’m not as offput by all of that as the others. What I’m commenting on here is the very first sentence. “A recent dinner conversation with my friend Logan caused me to reevaluate myself as an independent black woman who don’t need a man. ”

    Certainly, it’s not my business what your chosen identity is, but when I look at your blog I have a bit of cognitive dissonance. And further than that, I wonder if that first sentence isn’t a jab at black women. Or, if in fact you do consider yourself black, yet clearly highly educated, why do you need to use incorrect grammar? Is that your idea of what blackness is? Does one have to be a diva in order to be independent?

    Sorry for being so blunt.

    • Thank you for being direct/honest. I am both white and African American and that’s just a phrase I’ve heard tossed around in the media. I’m very confident and secure in my racial identity and didn’t mean anything by it. Being a diva does not have to be an equivalent to being independent, but I don’t see anything wrong with jokingly referring to myself as a “high-class diva” because I changed my own tire. Again, light-hearted fun. I write the way I speak on a regular basis, no racial jabs intended. Thanks for reading!

      • doesn’t matter if there was no racial jab intended, it’s a degrading stereotype that’s so problematic and that fact that you just heard it tossed around a bunch does not excuse your use of it. Neither does the fact that you say that in real life (that’s honestly even worse). Please do some more research next time.

        • Again, I apologize. I know what it’s like to be degraded because of my gender AND race and I’ve always used humor to deflect hurtful comments and build a thick skin…in other words, I don’t take words very seriously. I’m sorry if my comment came off as insensitive or ignorant and I appreciate you speaking up. However, you don’t know my personal journey or experience involving this subject. Also, when I said this is how I speak, I meant that genuinely. I grew up in the south where “don’ts” and “ain’ts” are commonly used amongst ALL races. “I’m a woman who don’t need a man” is more of a jab to my county’s school system than the black race. Throwing ‘black’ in there was a personal decision, based on my actual racial identity. Thanks for reading.

  12. Ehhh.. I hope that this entire list isn’t meant to be serious. You really lost my respect with number 5. I agree with knowing tool names (I have since I was little). I agree with pumping your own gas…I know how to check my oil, change my tire (and have had to do so). I can change a brake light, jump start and even change a car battery. I agree that an independent woman should carry heavy stuff and be able to parallel park. I’ve never had the opportunity to drive a stick shift, but I have a motorcycle license, which is essentially the same principal with the clutch and the gears, so I’m sure I could figure it out. And there’s where your list should have expanded on true independence rather than devolving into nonsense. An independent woman should be able to think for herself, to exercise critical thinking skills and be abe to figure stuff out…to have enough knowledge about enough simple stuff that she can use and apply to solve more complicated issues. Rather than have gone into the ridiculous territory of Beyonce songs, how about delving into being able to function on a real level of independence such as that? And touching on the importance of being capable of functioning in or outside of a relationship? How about stressing the importance of being able to exist as a single woman happily or being able to function in a healthy relationship and still be her own person? That, to me, would have capped off the list on much more of a respectful and helpful note.

    • Hey, Michelle! Like I said to Allyson below, this article was not to be taken too seriously and I’m sorry if it made you lose a little hope in humanity. I’m not writing a book on womanhood or trying to change the world, I just wanted to make light fun of something I commonly saw amongst girls my age. Truthfully, I’m a 20 year old college student who has a lot to learn about real independence and this was in no means me being serious about what it means to be a strong, independent woman. In reality, I am actually a very ridiculous person and I say silly things- all in good fun! And I love Beyoncé.

      I appreciate your wisdom and insight on what a real independent woman looks like and I completely agree/respect everything you said. I hope you have a great day/new year!


      • I can respect and agree with that. I do applaud your efforts and the fact that you’ve leaned so.much. I suppose the problem was that the first half of your article really WAS practical and serious. I’ve seen some Facebook comments from people who think that some of this stuff should be a given, but unfortunately it’s not for many women these days. It’s almost sad. So at the beginning of your list, I got a little excited. Then it got really light…I don’t have a problem with Beyonce at all. I just felt it was not where it should have gone. Hearing tour explanation, though, I fully understand. So again, good for you..and best of luck in your journey.

  13. I definitely agree that all people (men and women) should be self sufficient and learn basic things like changing a tire, cooking (actual food), and being able to tackle everyday problems with a spark of ingenuity. As a woman who knows her way around a drill, a level, and a wok, I often wished these basic concepts were taught more often. This article, however, struck a nerve in me. Some points are valid, while others seemed unimportant or came off as sarcasm. For example, “You don’t have to know what they do, but if you know their names, it’s easy to pretend like you do.” …”Barbie laugh, hair-toss.” Learning how to do something because Sarah Palin ca do it? How about learn to do it (parallal parking, etc) because it is a real life important skill. I’m not one to bash anyone’s heroines, but this came off as flippant. (Maya Angelou, Marie Curie FTW!) And knowing three Beyoncé songs, really? No, REALLY? Running around screaming, “I don’t need no man!” does not an independent woman make. The last point (though, again, came off as blithe) I think the most important. We should help others to be more independent, and indeed a lot of the skills I possess I learned from my mother. Invite your friends to cook with you (assuming you know how), assist her in hanging that picture straight, help guide her into that parallel parking spot, be there with roadside assistance on speed dial when the car slips off the jack, and be encouraging all the while.

    • Hey, Allyson, I’m glad you posted this. This article was meant to be totally light-hearted and while some basic concepts come from my genuine opinion, I was mostly poking fun at the community I personally live in; believe it or not, I know girls who don’t like to pump their own gas and have no idea how to change a tire. I used my dry sense of humor and constant sarcasm to slightly get a point across, but mostly just make people giggle. As far as Sarah Palin goes, I have no real attachment. She’s the first woman I thought of that probably knew how to drive a stick (so does my mom and she knows her way around the toolbox, too). As far as Beyoncé goes…let’s just skip that part, because I make no apologies for that one! …People who know me personally know this was all in good fun and I’m glad my article made you think about the subject, if nothing else. On a serious note, I have friends who teach me how to change tires and have (tried) guiding me into a parallel parking spot. You seem like one of those types of friends, too, which I respect and admire. Thanks for reading!


  14. This made me laugh and it’s true. I’ve been meaning to get my dad to teach me how to change my car’s oil and other fluids. At least I can get my own gas, fix minor toilet problems, and use a saw, hammer, and nails. Oh, and I can fix minor computer issues, too, which is important.

  15. This really made me giggle. I’ll be… working on it. lol

  16. I got 1, 2, 4 and 5 down so I think I’m well on my way! But really, I should learn how to change my tire someday.