The messages young boys and girls get, still today, are dis-empowering to both, and unhealthy for their eventual unions. These messages are being perpetuated by men and women and they’re destructive. Are you and your beliefs part of the problem?
I’m specifically speaking to women here, though it’s for everybody.
Woman, you’ve got to be willing to challenge your beliefs in order to free yourself from unhealthy beliefs about you for your sake, and for every female who looks to you for wisdom and guidance.
Nobody is Inferior to Anybody
A Facebook friend–female, black, educated and self-assured started a discussion about a conversation she had with a man that led to them disagreeing. She firmly held her position and he was bothered that though he pressed she didn’t budge. He ultimately told her that she needed to be humbled and reminded of her “place”.
This is a conversation that I have regularly with powerful women who still struggle when it comes to their relationships because the impacts of these messages operate under the surface, in women’s subconscious minds, and create mass confusion in their lives. So let me be very clear about the messages we’re given as young girls, and what our grown-woman responses need to be to them.
Throughout my entire life, in different ways both directly and indirectly, I’ve gotten these messages, and maybe you have too:
- That I should humble myself when talking to a man. MESSAGE: That is, if I ever intend to keep one, I need to practice on every man, and not “disrespect” any man for any reason.
- That there’s “a woman’s place” that is acceptable [to be worthy]. MESSAGE: That place is not equal to man’s, and should I not stay in it, no real man will want me.
- A lady should be seen and not heard. MESSAGE: I’m an important ornament, but my feelings and opinions don’t matter, therefore I should mind my manners [and stay within “proper” — deemed by him as respectful — limitations] when communicating with my man.
- The way to “honor” a man is by not opposing him; let him have the last word to make a man feel like a man. MESSAGE: He’s more important than I am, and if he feels insecure or inadequate, it’s my fault.
- Opposing him is “out of line” so arguing with him means I’m way out of place, especially in front of others. And that’s any man. Even if he’s not my man. [Wait. REALLY?!] And in some cultures, a man is expected to slap a woman back into “her place”; or remind her who he is — and no matter how low(down) he is the underlying message is that she is lower, less worthy than him and therefore deserving of the treatment she gets.
Though it’s been a journey sorting through all the messages, TODAY, I’M SCREAMING from the tallest mountain top: MISS ME WITH ALL ‘LAT HIERARCHICAL, MISOGYNIST, PATRIARCHAL, AND OFTEN RELIGIOUS (BUT NOT GODLY) BULLSHIT!
We can’t seek and expect equality in every area except relationships with men. It makes no sense.
Today’s woman has had no choice but to evolve with our ever-evolving times (currently, bringing value to nearly every field of endeavor where men are, and doing it as well, often better than their male peers), so it’s natural to struggle trying to live out these messages, and there’s a good reason for it: IT’S ALL BULLSHIT!
They’re all ways to reinforce patriarchal culture and gender hierarchy to control women. Women, we have ONE JOB in this: STOP ALLOWING IT!
The biggest culprit in this secondary hierarchical existence comes from the institutions we’ve been groomed to trust most, including religious ones. It changes only when we stop accepting that it’s our responsibility to cover a man’s insecurities and “make him feel like a man” by shrinking in his presence when he feels inadequate, uncomfortable, stressed, challenged or afraid! FEAR means the man is ALIVE! It’s a cue for HIM to grow, not for you to shrink!
When his FEAR shows up, and instead of addressing them he blames you by using intimidation, manipulation or laying his hands on you, and then paints those actions “manly” because he’s “puts a woman in her place,” you don’t have a man, Love. You have a toddler in a man’s suit. Whole, evolved, secure men don’t want women to control; rather, they NEED equal, whole partners. And until you stop settling for toddlers in relationships, you’ll continue to bump heads, (or, in some cases, his fist on your head) and be considered, and thus treated, as “less than”.
I’m Not Inferior To Anybody, and Nobody is Superior to Me.
The reality is that boys and girls are still being groomed (consciously or unconsciously, directly and indirectly, by both the men and women in their lives) for a man to be revered above, and at the expense, of the woman.
I believe the throne has enough room for equal reverence; it was designed for the QUEEN and the KING. Anything else will continue to conflict with your soul, because deep down you know you should be treated better, but you’ve got an enemy within — Your Beliefs!
We ALL need a re-education, especially on what it means to really love because too many [women] compromise their very souls to have any semblance of it.
Until we stop muzzling our girls, thus snuffing out their essence of self-love they (we) will remain secondary. We have to teach both boys and girls to honor, esteem and respect EACH OTHER — our uniqueness as individuals – which is not based on gender! We have to teach them that every person has value and purpose, and needs support along their individual journeys. They need to know that life presents regular challenges and that each are opportunities to develop into more of ourselves and move closer to our goals. We have to teach them that the only foundation that can sustain healthy relationships is one built on mutual H.E.R. — honor, esteem and respect.
However, you can’t teach what you do not live, and you can’t live what you don’t believe. Challenger Your Beliefs.
This male chest-beating mess must stop! It’s THE pre-cursor to male inflicted intimate-partner violence, and the root cause of many homicides resulting from domestic abuse.
Why We Must Do Better
Equal reverence EARLY benefits all!
It will build the confidence in every girl to dream as big as she desires, knowing they can all come true so that she is free to become a BADASS at work, and at home because there’s no competition in partnership. And it will give boys permission to have and face their insecurities without being considered “weak” or less “manly”; to build the character necessary to not feel threatened by, but to embrace fruitful partnership, with bold, brilliant women.
We’re not going anywhere. We’ll never be less smart, nor in lesser need of love, so it’s our responsibilities to establish the standard for our own treatment. And if you have boys, it’s your responsibility to teach them H.E.R., to encourage them to honor, esteem and respect girls in the same ways they want to be honored, esteemed and respected. You don’t need a man to teach them that, and when they’re old they won’t depart from it.
This is the stuff that creates lasting partnerships, but men who believe their supposed to reign over women, and women who allow it will never know loving partnerships. AND they make loving relationships harder for all those watching their union. What is your union really teaching those close enough to know the truth?
A man who would try to muzzle me, in my opinion, is a bitch. I don’t bow to bitches. Bowing women have never made men out of a scared lil’ boys in adult suits.
I was fortunate. I was taught by my father that I matter–that my positions and opinions, regardless of gender, matter. I know I can speak up even when it makes others uncomfortable, and I’m good if others have a problem with it for whatever reason, whoever they are. I’m to be regarded as an equal partner or nothing at all! And though there have been periods in my life when I’ve chosen to be single, I’ve never had to be alone.
– Zara “BADASS ALL THE TIME” Green
I think it’s important for every woman to consider this question because it’s subconsciously (and likely negatively) directing your interactions with men: What messages did you get as a young girl, and through your life that you now recognize as confusion catalysts as you try to maintain relationships in your personal life?