Ok let’s talk. I want to have a serious discussion about relational roles of a man and a woman. This discussion comes on the heels of both a radio program I listened to recently, as well as a running debate I’ve had with a good friend of mine who happens to be a very progressive and liberal thinking woman. This is a person I deeply respect. A great thinker. But every time this subject comes up, it’s battle stations ready!
Now before I pose the questions let me put down the ground rules so we can eliminate side arguments and certain defensive posturing.
1) In the relationship scenario – we are using as an example a good man and woman who are loving, responsible, and respectful. No need to say, “Well if he is a dog hell naw I ain’t submitting to him.”
2) The author of this post truly honors and respects the worth of a woman. Her contributions cannot be counted, and her abilities are almost limitless. There is no sexism involved that says a woman cannot do such and such.
3) These are general principles and should be taken that way. No need for extreme rebuttals on particular words and phrases. Please take the theme in perspective and give the author the benefit of the doubt. You may comment on the lines drawn in the sand areas. There are only one or two at most.
On to the discussion of the day:
As progressive of a thinker as I am, I still hold to some old fashioned values of chivalry. For instance I believe a man’s first priority towards his woman is to protect her. That could be interpreted physically, mentally or whatever. If a burglar were to enter the premises, I would not ask my woman to “go check on that.” She can be a combat expert in karate, M16s and explosives – doesn’t matter. I don’t think it’s her “role” to protect me in that situation. (Now if we are all fighting in some Bonnie and Clyde circumstance in public, that may be a different thing. I believe in opening doors and pulling out chairs in a restaurant. I believe a man should also love and cherish his woman. He should listen to her and do all he can to understand her as she develops and changes. I believe he should provide leadership and vision – providing a specific direction regarding the goals of the family etc. Does this mean that the woman is not providing ideas, feedback etc.? Of course not. In this day and age especially, the 21st Century woman is more versed in the general affairs of society than ever before. Her voice is vital and her contributions priceless. In the idea situation, the woman will compliment her man by having gifts and talents that he does not possess to add to the value of the relationship. He will do the same for her.
I believe a man’s purpose is to provide for his woman. Not that she can’t make money. She may even make more money than he does. He should not be intimidated by her career or her goals in the marketplace. He should support them. At the same time he should be looking to provide for the day to day needs. Depending on the lifestyle a family wants to live, nowadays it takes two incomes combined to make it happen. Still it should be his goal to better himself to the point of being responsible just in case she can’t produce for whatever reason, i.e. childbirth, sickness etc. This to me would be idea.
In terms of functioning day to day – couples should work together to make the household go round. Take advantage of one another’s talents and gifts to make things as smooth as possible. For instance, whichever person is good with organization may be the one to physically pay the bills. If she loves yard work, perhaps she will cut the grass or rake leaves. Just as well he may decorate the house if he has a visual perspective for decor. The roles for day to day ops, should not be delegated merely by gender.
Here is where it gets sticky in the aforementioned debate. I believe that a man should be the leader in the household and in the direction of the relationship. If he is smart, he will recognize the strength and wisdom of his woman and receive her input as vital. If he is leading in a direction that she does not approve of, he could be an emperor with no clothes. Men have blind-spots and his woman should be a partner of ideas of valued discussions. Still he is responsible for the safety and welfare of the family. Both man and woman should be “equal partners” in terms of value, but do not foster equal roles within the structure. Everyone is happy when they can agree, but if the couple don’t agree and a decision needs to be made he should make it after careful consideration. Being “the man” to me merely means being responsible for the overall direction and course of the relationship and the family structure. If it fails its on him unless he did all he could and his woman simply rebelled or decided not to follow his leadership. Again this is assuming both parties are totally committed to the success of the relationship and family.
Furthermore, in my opinion a discerning woman will realize that her brilliance is never undermined when she accepts these precepts. As a matter of fact, any man will tell you if his woman is not happy, the whole house is not happy. Any leading that he does she has to “let” him do anyway. She can in her wisdom and love build him up to be the greatest leader he can be, or she can tear him down and attempt to make mincemeat out of him. Like it or not, James Brown said it best. “This is a man’s world. (directional functioning) But it wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman, boy or girl.” I’ve long had a saying, that God’s great equalizer to a male dominated society is a woman. Because I don’t care how much a man accomplishes, his greatest desire after his purpose it to be loved, needed, appreciated, and respected by his woman. Period. So she is invaluable – and as I said women today especially are more skilled, sharp and able than ever before – and have carried men for a long time, especially black men in the midst of the struggle we have faced within society post slavery, Jim Crow, self identity crisis etc. What a woman has to do and what a woman should be doing to me are two different things.
The benefits of the progressive woman are obvious. The advances have come hard fought and well earned. Our society is still not progressive enough in my view in appreciating, protecting, and valuing women. But the downside is this competitive paradigm for a power struggle. Equal partners in terms of input and value does not mean equal parts of functionality. I believe most women accept and even embrace the theory. The problem becomes an issue of trust because of a negative track record with immature, ignorant, (ignorant in the derogotory as well as the without knowledge sense) and selfish men. (Of which I have been in my day)
My friend thinks this is a sexist way of thinking. That equal partners means equal everything. There are two chiefs and no one is more in charge or responsible than the other.
So chime in on this discussion. What do ya’ll think?? Are my Fred Flintstone ideas merely prehistoric? Is the old school way the best way?
Please respond with love and intelligence as I have presented it with such.
Your friend has to be a black woman. End of discussion.
It’s like Chris Rock recently said in his standup “Don’t Kill the Messenger”. He was speaking of the Presidency and how white woman view it versus black woman. He said a white woman would accept that her man was the President, but a black woman would say WE are President.
As loving, strong and supportive as they can be, many black women don’t know how to stay in their lane. Call me chauvinist, call me retarded, but I think when you do the research you will find that a large population of black women like to run it.
No real man is going to allow that, I don’t care how nice he is. We may try to share the lead spot in order to get along, but sooner or later their is going to be trouble.
Hmmm… is there a race element to this as well? Are white women in general more comfortably accepting of so called traditional roles with their men?
Surely they are once bitten twice shy as well just as black women. But are they raised differently by their mothers to a more supportive role rather than an authoritative?
Ok, my first thought is to snap at you lol. Being the only leader in my household all my life, I would say that woman can most certainly run everything just as well if not better than a man :). Id like to get defensive and blab about all the ways we are equal if not better than our male coutnerparts. But Im not. I have no problem when thinking about stepping to the side and letting a man do the major running of the household, as a woman there is still plenty left to do. We will always be the most responsible for the quality of comfort and love that is maintained in a household. Believe me I would love to give up some of the harder parts and let a man take it over lol.
NOt sure about the whole white woman part, cuz i know I can be a bitch and I have a problem with whats mine is mine so back off sometimes 🙂
I just think its about how two people fit together specificly. If you are truely into each other and wanting the family thing to work peeps will find their groves.
And no matter how us women get to trippin we all like to feel loved, protected and provided for even if we dont know how to accept it
this was a good blog. sorry i read it late!
not to get TOO much into our business but i gotta agree with Abbey when she says that a woman can run the household just fine. I mean mom is and has ALWAYS “gotten it done”, whether i could see it or not. I have respect for her as a powerful woman and proud to be her son. I dont really know for sure if i can comment accurately on
“Being “the man” to me merely means being responsible for the overall direction and course of the relationship and the family structure. If it fails its on him unless he did all he could and his woman simply rebelled or decided not to follow his leadership.”
because i hardly live in a “man and woman” household. well not a regular one at least. I’m talking about Husband and Wife. (you know the difference)
But I know that on what Uncle Richard and you said in your comments I can say “yes” haha im sure your talking about a black woman. and “yes” white women are more lenient to let the “BLACK/not white” man take over the household.
I know that if I ever married, I have to have “whats behind every great black man” I mean I loooove tha sistas but sometimes they are TOO involved into what society “and in most cases their moms lol! xD” mold and shape them out to be. The “OH HEEELLL NAW GURL!” kinda chicks. (you know wat im talking about dad) hahaha. And YEA its cool for a while but man I be like “Shut The Fu*k UP!” (or worse) sometimes then its O-VER! Thats ALL you’ll hear from EVERY girl in school and all the brothas are guna say. “DAAAAMN ooo you messed up” and all the girls are gonna tell her “MMM MMMM you betta drop that nigga gurrrl he aint nothin if he tellin you this an that” so yea ! lol.
And the “white chicks” are always out to rebel and not get tied into society. and if we get to the point of “Shut the Fu*ck UP!” she’ll either
1. YELL YOU “SHUT THE FU*K UP”
2. cry and say that i hate her
3. say “your right i was out of line”
SO HAHAHAHAHH!!!! yea that 3rd one is okay but I be like….damn maybe I was wrong HAHAHH!!!
oh man this is long
but i think you get tha jist of it Daddio~!
All good Lil C,
You are accurate in that your mom is a GREAT woman when it comes to surviving and getting it down. Ask her and she will tell you that I have always admired and respected her for that. She is a true warrior in life and I can say that about more than one black woman I know personally.
As you astutely pointed out, your personal situation has not been as such where you saw a man being a man in the household on the daily – even from me when we were all crew. The point of the post is not whether a woman can hold it down on her own. Hell they have been doing that for centuries! The point was not whether a man and woman should be partners either. Any couple is a partnership. My point was that in the idea situation, i believe its a man’s purpose to lead. Not be the lead in everything necessarily, because both man and woman in a relationship have talents and skills to bear that will benifit the whole. The point in my portion of the debate – is merely that when you have two heads – it’s going to cause conflict. And in every relationship there will be a natural form of leadership taken anyway. Some couples don;t realize it – and there are many woman who “lead” the relationship with their men.
For the man he may act cool wit it – even if its cause he’s non confrontational. but in the end i think generally speaking – he will not be all he can be if his woman is in effect taking over his responsibility to be a visionary and lead.
Great response son! I appreciate your input. You are an insightful fella. A young man after my own heart!