Monday, January 26, 2009
The Myth of the Successful Single Blaq Woman
It is always funny to me to hear “successful” black women talk about how they can’t find a “good” black man. For one, I think it is very interesting how some women define success; I also think that it’s strange that so many “successful” women fail to abide by the gender-roles that make a traditional family tick. Before readers jump down my throat about putting women in a “gender role box”, I submit that gender-roles do no such thing, however the stigma of gender roles is what is truly offensive because the role of the women traditionally has been looked down upon by our matriarchal society. The way that we define success often dictates the attitude of the person carrying that “successful” title. For years financial success has been assumed as a male trait as has working a nine to five, and being the breadwinner of a household. Hence, these being the ways that we have defined success and have related these characteristics almost exclusively to males, women often times assume the “male role” in other situations as well which leaves no room for a male in the relationship. The accomplishments of women in this country have been incredibly abundant, in my opinion rivaled only by those of African Americans. When one puts these two factors together (African American and Woman) the accomplishments are all the more awe inspiring. Black men however have faced a slightly different plight in this country and although we have no shortage of accomplishments and accolades under our collective belt, we are still faced with a plight that is distinctly troubling and obstacles that are distinctly ours. There is the prison system that disproportionally recruits black men for industrial purposes and has been doing so since the late 30’s. There is the stigma of fear that has been perpetuated by caricatures from the minstrel era on through modern times, which often shuts the doors to job and educational opportunities. The list goes on. I say these things, not as excuses for under-performing African American men, but instead to document some of the things preventing us from reaching our full potential. Black women are faced with their fair share of stereotypes as well, but none are as blatant a hindrance as those that plague black men. That having been said, I think that it is time that we (black women and men) redefine our collective idea of what success is. This is not saying that women should lower their standards and tough it out with any coon that shucks and jives his way into their lives, but perhaps it’s time to reevaluate their role as it pertains to a relationship and not confuse it with their role as it pertains to the office. Being a successful black man to me means more than my education, means more than my car, my house, and my job. A great part of it is defined by the quality of my relationship with my significant other and the quality of the family that will one day follow. It would be great to be the breadwinner in all of my relationships as men, that’s what we’re taught we’re supposed to be, but if not, I would like to think that the role of my significant other wouldn’t be dictated by it. How successful can a woman really be if she lets the male centric definition of success hinder her to the point that she is balling and single? Another part of success is happiness and it is hard to be happy when you’re alone.