Why is it that many Black women would rather say, “That’s how men are” when they should be saying “I don’t like that characteristic in a person, period—be they friend, boyfriend, father, husband, or otherwise”?
Many of us still insist that men should run our households, our churches, our jobs, and unfortunately our lives instead of insisting on gender equality. Women must stop relying on the idea of a man to represent sense, stability, and strength simply because he has a penis and an attitude.
I am not the first to say, nor will I be the last:
When heterosexual/”straight” Black women become unafraid and unashamed to raise their standards and stick to them, a different breed of Black man—men in general—will appear.
Some Black women are so afraid of being alone for the rest of their lives, that they make their happiness contingent upon having a love or romantic interest in their life in its most acceptable form—a man. Furthermore, they measure their worth by how many men are interested in them or find them desirable. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of person the guy is or how he treats her, all that matters is that they both perform the actions of being in a heterosexual relationship, whether its dating, marrying, or whatever. It’s a show, like a movie or a theater performance, almost as if there is a script.
What’s the point of acting, if you’re not really happy or fulfilled?
Unfortunately, it appears to be a system of supply and demand. Once they see that we’re not buying their games anymore, refuse to play their games, and encourage everybody else not to play either, there will be change.
There are several things that women need to be remembered in relationships with some men:
1. His ideas of his manhood and the manhood of those around him (or lack thereof) will always come before his realization of his humanity.
2. You can tell a lot about someone who calls himself a man by how he treats the women around him. If he engages in disrespecting other women and allows women to be disrespected in his presence, these are warning signs.
3. [White] heterosexual male privilege is key to man’s sense of importance and power. That privilege will almost if not always come at the expense of women, children, and the non-gender conforming—that means you and everybody else.
4. Many women are too convinced of men’s limitations and potential for change to challenge them.
5. There is a difference between those males that we can build relationships with and, for lack of a better phrase, “hopeless cases”. You won’t know unless you try. Keep in mind that it’s essential to learn to discern who and what relationships are worth your time and which ones harmful to your health, most importantly your sense of self.
You are not “too strong” because you know what we want and need. You are not necessarily weak because you are trapped in or settle for relationships that do not in the end benefit or please you. But if in the end you find yourself unhappy with your relationships with those who identify as male then you have to not only consider the possibility that maybe you’ve never challenged “men” to be more for the sake of their own humanity but also deal with the fact that they may just want to be a man more than they want to be with you. Not to blame yourself but question and challenge.
In the end, we have to stop being accessories and a trophies to their performances of masculinity.
Women cannot continue to be too afraid of what they want and the possibilities open to them by accepting the behavior of those men who not only harm us but harm our families and neighborhoods with their need to validate their sense of masculinity. We cannot continue to indoctrinate boys and young men into the patterns of thinking and behavior that not only create a vicious cycle of misogyny—that is, hatred of women both latent and overt—but perpetuate the patriarchal societal practices that oppress everyone.