Know Your (Gender) Role

-By Jontae Grace

“You cant tell a woman shit nowadays. They don’t listen.

“By ‘listen’ you really mean ‘obey”.

“How you gone tell me how to handle mine when you aint even handling yours right?”

These are just a few of the responses I get when talking to men and women about gender roles and relationships. Over the last two decades, we have experienced monumental changes to our society, our economy, and our communities. These changes have completely shuffled the dynamics between men and women, and we haven’t yet learned how to make it work in our favor. Add to all of this the recent movement to reject traditional gender roles, and you get a big mess. In this piece, I will explain why gender roles are good in theory, and how we can use the reality of our genders to overcome the problems we face today.

We must acknowledge that although we are equal, we are not identical. We each have mental, physical and emotional tendencies that are unique, and we also have expectations of one another based on the nature of our genders. The concept of a unisex society is unrealistic, and insults the complexity of humans. So then, our real goal should not be to reject gender roles simply because we can; we simply want the power to choose our own roles in relationships, free from the influence of society and culture. For this reason, we must reopen the conversation of gender roles, and redefine our own framework to make our relationships work in the 2KTeens.

Men have found themselves in a precarious position in the last two decades. To the outside world, we are living the life of pharaohs: gainfully employed, educated, not gay, and outnumbered 3-1 by felines. It seems like the ideal setup, having ample women to smash and even more available to wife. But any man who has tried to build an empire with a woman will tell you that it may be smarter to simply buy a dog for companionship and a yearly subscription of Black Ice Pass for a release.

She doesn’t need your money, she makes her own. She doesn’t need your guidance, she got through undergrad, grad school and corporate america on her own. She doesn’t need your sex, she has a silver bullet at home and a pocket rocket in her purse. Even worse, you cant tell her anything about how she is running her operation anymore. Advice? Forget it. Constructive criticism? Save it. It seems like all she wants from you is a warm body and a third leg.

What can you offer the woman who already has everything she needs, and can afford anything she wants? How do you stay marketable when your skills are becoming increasingly replaceable? You must evolve, brother.

You have to learn to add value to her life, value that cannot be measured in dollar signs. Gone are the days where all you had to do is go to work and bring home a check. There are qualities, experiences and skills that she can only gain from you, and you must acknowledge that you hold a crucial piece to her life. Remember that you provide balance and emotional stability to her otherwise chaotic existence. The life of a hardworking, successful woman in the 21st century is fraught with daily tests of her intellectual, spiritual and moral integrity. She needs you to anchor her because the waves of life are trying to drown everything that she has built, and everything that she stands for. THAT, is your main role.

Ladies, you have to re-learn to allow men to fulfill their natural role in your life. I know you’re tired of those play-Playstation-all-day, smoke-trees-and-eat-up-all-the-Golden Grahams, use-your-car-and-be-gone-all-day kinda men, right? After all, you’ve done everything in your power to earn a comfortable standard of living in this racist, sexist, capitalist society, and the least a man can do is acknowledge your struggle, right? Daily, you get up and do battle to prove that you are just as competent as any man, only to receive seventy-seven cents on the dollar for the same work a man does. And through it all, you maintain your loving, cheerful outlook on life, AND you are prospering despite the opposition.

The last thing you want is a man – boyfriend or not – telling you how he thinks you should spend your money, what he thinks you should do in this or that situation, and how he feels about you blah-blah-blah-ing. This is your life, your destiny, and your path. You’ve come too far, endured too much and overcome more than he’ll ever realize to get where you are, and you will not be ordered around like the help.

The issue of control is one of the major conflicts in our relationships. There is a common belief that masculine power is the only kind of control that a person can wield in a relationship. Society has designated femininity as weak, submissive, and therefore unworthy of respect. As a result, many women have taken more aggressive approaches to life and love in order to control their own destinies, and protect their interests. This has caused confrontation with men, even the good ones who want to see you win.

Not every man is out to run your life or use you for his own ends. You must learn to distinguish between a man who wants to control your actions to suit his own agenda, and a man who offers his guidance out of genuine concern for your well-being. He will always make decisions based on what is best for you both, not just him. You must learn to trust the man you’ve chosen, consider his counsel, and weigh his opinions. I understand that you may be a little reluctant to defer to a man after years of bad experiences and flying solo, but remember that God places good men in your life to do you good, not harm. In reality, both men and women are meant to yield to one another.

The difference is, men search for a woman who he is comfortable entrusting with the keys to his kingdom. Once he finds her, there are no limits to the power he grants her, no area of his life or his resources that she cannot access. Because she reflects him, he wants to give her the best that he can, materially and spiritually. He wants her to want for nothing, his goal is to shepherd her through the seasons of life with as little discomfort and sorrow as possible.

Women on the other hand, have struggled balancing their newly gained financial independence with the idea of sharing that power with a man. Because she fights with the world daily to carve out her place, she has trouble turning that fight off when she comes home, and our relationships have become a battlefield because of it. In many ways, money was the worst thing to happen to our relationships. Everything was all good when we were both broke and on the same page, but once we started to move up, we no longer made decisions from a position of teamwork, but a place of competition. Relationships have regressed to daily power struggles, each person fighting over the reins.

The truth is, women have always had power in relationships, especially women of color. Our community structures have always elevated grandmothers, aunties, mothers and sisters to positions of great authority and influence. Several communities in Africa are matriarchies – in which social standing, marriage and inheritance transfers through the female line, not the male. Feminine energy is undeniable, and respected without having to be aggressive. Women must learn to harness their feminine energy, and use it to balance this male-dominated world. It can have real effects if used wisely.

When masculine and feminine energies combine, it creates the balance of life. But ladies, I need you to understand that your man is not your adversary. If he has genuine feelings for you, he wants the best for you and will use every ounce of his strength to help you achieve your goals. Yes, he may have an opinion about how to elevate your life, and his view may be unpopular. But listen with your heart instead of your ears, and you may learn something that will go a long way toward helping you achieve your heart’s desire. Remember, you do have help in this race. We are still here with you, on your side. But you have to allow us to enhance you.

Brothas, I know you are confused at this point as to where you fit in a woman’s life. You have been told that you are no longer needed, that you no longer matter, but trust me: you matter. But you have to continue to strive to grow spiritually and mentally if you expect to keep pace with a woman in this day and age. I know you feel like you can’t assert yourself, and everything is a fight. But trust me, white women are not the answer. Well, they’re not the entire answer. You have to try to find that woman who will let you be yourself, and value you for your god-given gifts. And when you do find her, give her the keys.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. “Everything was all good when we were both broke and on the same page, but once we started to move up, we no longer made decisions from a position of teamwork, but a place of competition.” <~ I can't believe someone else said this besides me!!! I absolutely loved this post. It makes me want to print it out and frame it, lol!

    Along side of trust issues that I have (not just with my mate, but everybody) this is a continuous battle that my fiance and I struggle with. Regardless of the subject matter of the arguement, I had to understand JUST YESTERDAY, that I can't end all sentences with, "well you can get the f#k out then," or "I was fine before you, I'll be fine after…" Yes, Mr. Grace, I'm terrible *holds head in shame*

    But when you break it down like this, I do realize that I'm on the right track (I think) I'm a stubborn ass. And it's not because I was born that way, it's a little more history behind it. I think we'll just name it "animosity" I understand that he is trying to see where he fits in and this post confirms his every action. And it's one tough ass call when he "thinks" that it's time for something to be taken care of and I already handled it *shrugs* I don't like to procrastinate. I guess communication would solve that problem, lol (geez, another breakthrough)

    Before I lay on the chaise lounge and have you sit next to me with a pen and pad, I'll just end by saying GREAT READ!!

    1. Jontae Grace says:

      First of all, thank you soo much for reading, enjoying and commenting Miss Candi! It means alot to me.

      We have become americanized to the point that we think more about I and me, instead of us and we. And now we are starting to see how that clashes with our true nature as a communal people. The main issue facing us right now is how to prosper in America (which requires one set of values) and finding harmony in our personal lives (which requires a different and slightly contridictory set of values).

      LMAO @ your way of ending arguments!! Who hasn’t used one of those before? My favorite one to say to a successful woman is, “I don’t need you. There are way more YOU’S out there than there are ME’S.” But its good that you are conscious of your areas to grow. If you can learn a behavior – positive or negative – you can unlearn it.

      Thanks again for reading, peace and blessings to you and yours 🙂 and congrats on the engagement!

      1. You are so welcome. I’ve even backtracked to some of your older classics. I must say, I have really enjoyed the good reads.

        That “I and me” factor, uughh, you are so right. I just wrote a post, “Cold Feet” where I talk about this same thing that plagues me. I’m finding that I’m beginning to fall into this, “everyone needs someone…” mind frame (only on my good days). Somehow a partner/mate/soulmate kind of balances those tangled and intertwined brainwaves.

        Those values… I see where they should be applied, but the problem is breaking away from what you are already use to. I don’t believe that I will ever be able to let go of what has already been instilled in me (beast mode: grind hard or go home independence), I’ve never been comfortable with allowing a man to do “a man’s job”. I’m sorry I don’t know what that is. However, I am aware of the things that I am able to do and will do for him in order to still make him feel that he is the love of my life and completes me. I don’t submit, I commit, and at the end of the day, everyone wins.

        Thanks!!

  2. Socialkenny says:

    We can blame this on 4 things:

    1.) Feminism aka Femi-Nazism

    2.) Media

    3.) Western world

    4.) Weak men who sell out just for ass

    Feminism basically pushes for men to be obsolete. If it were up to them; men wouldn’t exist at all (but to procreate and be sperm donors).

    Men in the western world (US, Canada and Western Europe) are doormats compared to men in the east and south.

    Men in the states are too quick to sell out just for a piece of ass while putting their manhood aside and allowing women to get away with all types of shenanigans.

    As for assertions and women behaviorally, sistas need to learn their role as women. That’s why black men have been gravitating to women of other races and heritage over the decades. It isn’t that we love white chicks and Asians. It’s respect. And those girls know their gender roles (which is to be humble while the men aggressive and dominant).

    Not that women should get run over, but you can’t be more dominant that the man you’re with.

    1. Jontae Grace says:

      Feminism messed alot of things up for our relationships. Women of color tried to attach their movement to the mainstream white feminist movement, only to find racism and classism as a barrier. It wasnt what they thought it was going to be.

      To be clear, I do consider myself a Black Feminist/Womanist, meaning that I support the elevation and equality of all women in matters of money and politics. But we have not been able to shake that competition element out of our relationships.

      1. I’m 10000% against the Black feminist movement. When I look at it, it doesn’t really make any sense to me. To call yourself a Black feminist, would mean that Black men have gotten something in this country that Black men haven’t. I still haven’t been able to come up with anything. Black feminism has done nothing for the Black community as a whole. I still haven’t seen any Black feminist group come up and support Trayvon Martin’s mom. When that Black weather woman got fired, I didn’t see any Black feminist group come out and support her. Black people in this country have enough problems as it us. We need to stick together to fight White supremacy. No Black woman should be calling herself a feminist.

  3. Mz. Bambi says:

    Reblogged this on Realyfe 101 and commented:
    Very good reading!!

    1. Socialkenny says:

      I’m surprised that any chic would reblog this being that it’s putting women in their proverbial place lol. Just saying.

      1. Mz. Bambi says:

        lol..Kenny..just hush!

      2. Mz. Bambi says:

        It’s a really good article and I wanted to share with others…damn you and your random comments!

    2. Jontae Grace says:

      Thanks for reading and sharing!! Ima keep working hard to give you that good D.

      Dialogue, that is 😉

      1. Mz. Bambi says:

        lmboooo!! I was like..what in the world?!

  4. Merely a smiling visitant here to share the love (:, btw outstanding design and style. “Justice is always violent to the party offending, for every man is innocent in his own eyes.” by Daniel Defoe. Modcloth coupon http://modclothcoupons.or

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