Posts Tagged ‘feminism’

mmmmhhh. chocolate

mmmmhhh. chocolate

Jessica White makes me all shy and stuttery

So I got a comment on one of my recent blog posts (scroll down) and it was so bloody long, I decided to make it its own post. I think the commentor brought up some interesting points, so I though it would be fun to let it stand on its own and see what you guys think. I was going to write comment response but there’s a lot in here. I really think some of the thought process in here is super interesting and I don’t think the commentor is alone. I’m guessing a lot of people have these opinions.  Happy 4th!

Brandon,

What an interesting post. I both agree and disagree with varying points throughout your post (as well as the comments). I have an undergraduate degree in Economics from a top-ten institution. I. Am. Beautiful. And I am currently pursuing my Phd.

I must admit that miss “Single Black Woman’s” scenario has been my own on far too many occasions. I tell a guy I am working towards my Phd and he says “wow, that’s cool” and doesn’t seem interested any more. I have no clue why, and I choose not to concern myself with this question as it doesn’t concern me. I also, however, agree with “Miko” when he states that the laws of attraction (if they exist!) are far more nuanced and complex than we can possibly imagine.

Discussing my own situation (about which I am eternally positive) is not why I am responding to your post. I chose to write back because of the following words that arrested my attention:

“how people react to you is in direct proportion to how you make them feel. When you make them feel good about you and themselves, they will respond positively to you.”

I will give you credit for stating at the end that your advice can be applied to all genders. I find your advice curious though for a several of reasons. Your entire post is not directed at both genders. It is aimed directly towards women (I will presume women of African descent). This robs those words at the end of your post of their meaning. I also find these words to be inherently contradictory, as the title of this post reads:

“It’s not that we’re intimidated, You’re just a bitch”

I understand that this is a blog and where you have to balance several (perhaps competing goals). Your apparent ease with labeling women with this awful and derogatory term would suggest that men in fact, do not have to follow this advice of emanating positivity and “making the other person feel good about themselves.” At the very least, you do not have to follow this advice.

Response: The post was really directed towards women because they’re the ones who have complained to me (or generally) that one of the hindrances towards their relationship successes is men being intimidated by them. The day a critical mass of black men tell me the same thing, I’ll write a blog about that. Awful and Derogatory, Schmawful and Shwerogatory. I personally think women have kind of hijacked the word bitch to make it much more onerous than it is. it becomes this symbol of righteous indignation. It certainly wasn’t directed at a singular person, and I wouldn’t call someone a bitch directly. Most people who try to take super offense to that term are just looking for something to be offended by so they can get their righteous indignation meter rising (See Sean Hannity). I was originally going to go with douchebag, but it just didn’t have the right ring to it.

This brings me to my third and final point and I will phrase it in the interrogative. First, it is worth teasing out some of the advice you give. You recommend that these high-achieving, (implicitly) cold and bitchy women put forth more positivity and make men feel good about themselves. And the way you put both of these in the same sentence almost conflates the two, as if they were one and the same. Yet, They are not (although they can be done simultaneously).

That went over my head. I’m gonna need one of my Ph.D friends to put that in laymen’s terms for me. Miko, where you at?

This is not, however, my point. What I wish to know is: Why should a woman need to make a man feel good about himself”? More to the point, Why should a woman who is unacquainted with a certain male individual need to make him feel good about himself? It seems to me that support is something available to give and receive once two people know a few things about each and actually have a relationship. And this does not have to be official as two people who are only distant acquaintances can still be supportive of each other.

Um, because she doesn’t want to grow old alone with a whole bunch of cats? To me, this seems like simple common sense. When I meet people, I try to make them feel good about our interaction, particularly if it’s someone I want to build a relationship with (friend, business, networking, whatever).You phrase it as though I expect the woman to throw rose petals at dude’s feet and clean the royal penis. I think it’s fairly clear that what I’m saying is simply that people respond positively to kindness and friendliness. This may be news to you, but you’re never going to get the chance to have the support in a coupling/partnership you talk about if people’s first impression of you is that you’re mean and unfriendly.

In the situation you address, where two people meet each other for the first time, you seem to suggest that the woman at the outset of the interaction make the man feel good about himself. This firmly supports an unequal balance of power as your post says nothing substantive of the male individual returning this gesture (which, is a bit much to ask during a first conversation). Yet, You insist on this point 3 times during your post.

By emphasizing this point, and implying that professional, educated women are negative, cold “bitches”, you perpetuate the power dynamics and backwards, chauvinist, sexist systems of interaction that so many women have worked diligently to reverse.

Cry me a river, why don’t you. Seriously? You not being disrespectful, entitled, or cold puts us on the path toward the revocation of women’s suffrage? As far as the male “returning the gesture,” it’s implicit that by him opening the conversation or approaching the woman, he’s being open and friendly with her. Granted, we all know this isn’t always the case, but for the sake of this conversation, we’re not talk about arm-grabbing guy in the club with the velour tracksuit and dress shoes.

No woman, or human being, for that matter, exists to make a male, “feel good about himself”. If we are partner’s/couple, and there is a relationship, this is perhaps both implied and expected.

In my opinion, a woman should scowl from time to time. My question to you is, why is it that if she scowls or if she is upset, she is a bitch? Could it be that she had a hard day at work? Could it be that her male boss made an inappropriate advance? In my opinion, entitlement (can) and should be used. It is a strategy for making it in a world where we were not meant to survive any way. (That goes for men of color too). And I do not advise taking that armor off. Because I cannot go into my place of work without SOMEONE looking at me as though I do not belong there. I cannot turn on the television without having a stereotype of my own body looking back at me. As I said before, we were not meant to survive. Excuse my platitudes, but life is full of ups and downs and no one can exude a relentless positivity at all times. And you know as well as I do that everyone tries to put on their best when they go out. And Trust, women as know what they want, and they will let go of the armor for the right guy!

Curses! By the Gods of Saturn, This Armor wont let the love in!

Curses! By the Gods of Saturn, This Armor won't let the love in!

By failing addressing to dysfunctional histories of relationship dynamics between men and women of color, (which would take into account a host of other social and economic factors) you miss many components of the difficulties faced by BOTH parties. Most importantly, FAILING (completely) to address the racisms and other obstacles that both men and women of color face on a daily basis as they rise is unacceptable.

Oy. This goes back to my point of why Africans and Carribean folk do better than us. They’re out there getting it while we constantly look for obstacles. “Not meant to survive?” Give me a break. That may be true for you, but I wasn’t meant to survive, I was meant to thrive. I play to win. I’m here to raise the champagne bottle on the podium. I grin when I fight. Are there going to be people in my way? Of course. We live in a capitalist society. We’re ALL competing for limited resources. My competitiors can and will use race, class, and every other trick in the book to get what we both want, but I would be a fool to let that paralyze me into inaction or hiding in my armor. The thing about armor is that when you have too much on, it gets so heavy that you can’t swing your sword. Entitlement as a strategy? Word? Let me know how that works out for you. As far as the “dysfunctional history of relationship dynamics between men and women of color,” how does that macro view affect your micro world? Are you seeking to repeat history or are you going to blaze a new, more productive trail?

I .Will. Not. Lose. Ever! Fuckers!

I .Will. Not. Lose. Ever! Fuckers!

While I applaud the spirit of your post, I believe that there are many women who would disagree with both your analysis of the situation (woman as bitch, ready to fight a way) and your recommendations.

Ph.D Bound


Thanks for your timely and interesting commentary. I disagree with you on about everything, but I think your voice is an important one in this discussion and I imagine many people share your view.