The idea of independence is something that is truly valued by the French. My host mom was telling me how she admired Carla Bruni (yeah, ew, I know) because Carla is an independent woman. Muriel made her sound like she's using the president to gain "le pouvoir". She made it a point to tell me that Carla doesn't live with Sarko. Instead she makes him drive her home every night. Muriel has a lot of respect for Carla because she "worked her way up".
I think she just likes Carla because she thinks she has a personal connection with her. Turns out Muriel's daughter and Carla were both finalists to be the face of a Davidoff ad and in the end they chose Muriel's daughter instead of Carla. Funny thing is, Muriel's daughter isn't such a big fan of Carla. Maybe because she was competition...
However, the idea of independence seems to be taught and practiced early in the French culture. Here in France I've met 11 year olds who seem more mature than 30 somethings that I know. Maybe it's part of this whole pride thing. People seem to learn independence at a very very young age here. Maybe it's for the best, but I think they're just throwing their childhood away.
There's a time to grow up, and it's not at 11 years of age.