Live Your Most Beautiful Life
The following statement posted recently by The Beauty of Black Relationships on their Facebook page gave me tremendous pause:
"NO MAN wants a "strong' or "independent" black woman. Black men want "gentle" team players. When you call yourselves strong independent women, you are calling yourselves MACHO disloyal women...PERIOD."
At first, I was offended by that statement and mentally tossed it to the side, knowing full well that this Facebook page tends to post controversial statements designed to "shock and awe" readers. Then I thought twice about the first sentence in their Facebook post: To what degree is it true that men are turned off by the "I'm a strong, independent woman" stance? Should I seriously be offended, or remember the times I've actually heard male friends say: "That whole 'strong independent' woman thing turns me off."
Don't get me wrong: I am a liberal, pro-feminism, pro-woman's civil rights girl. I believe women should feel strong and independent. What's wrong with strength and independence? Is it better for women to be weak and dependent on men? I don't think so. At the same time, I do wonder if some women use the phrase, "I am strong and independent" simply as a cover for being mean, rude or just plain nasty to men. I'm not coming up with this assumption out of thin air. If you haven't seen the independent, strong woman stereotype manifested on television through "characters" like Nene on The Real Housewives of Atlanta or Omarosa from The Apprentice, then google "strong, independent black woman" and look at the first few images. They are finger-wagging, head rolling women with a nasty expression on their faces. I've heard enough guys complain about "strong and independent" women who immediately come off as rude, insensitive, or downright mean in situations that don't warrant a "stank" attitude. For example, some women get offended when a man steps back and opens the door for them. Here's my opinion for the ladies: why would you get offended by such a gesture? I'm all for being feminist, but being offended by a positive gesture that just happens to arise out of pre-feminist cultural norms is a bit far-fetched and to be quite honest: unnecessary at its core. You are also sending the following message to men: holding the door open for a woman is only met with hostility.
I honestly don't believe that men today are turned off by women who can "hold their own" and take care of themselves. I think many men are simply turned off by rude women who act like they don't want a man at all in their breathing space. In all fairness, there are plenty of women who have been broken by men, or have seen a female member broken by a man, and they have resolved in their minds not to be bothered with any man. Why bother with a guy when the only examples of men in their actual lives are less than stellar? At the same time, I think it is unfair to simply assume that all men are no good and not worth a chance. Some women who have had their hearts broken by a man and shun men at every turn may very well crave true intimacy with a man (in body, mind and soul). However, they don't to express such a desire, just in case they come off as vulnerable and ready to be taken advantage of.
There is a major disconnect when it comes to the actual definition of a "strong, independent woman." A strong, independent woman does not automatically exclude qualities such as gentleness, femininity, or sexiness. I don't have to channel my inner male to be independent. I find strength and independence within my femininity, and can navigate relationships with men in my life and in society without pushing them away. In essence, my strength is an asset, not a divider. When all is said and done, I disagree with the Facebook post, which assumes that a woman who is "strong and independent" cannot be gentle. Gentleness and strength both arise out my X chromosomes. Nuff said.
But this is just my opinion, right? What do you think? Are men today truly turned off by "strong, independent" women?
-Written by: Kris