Men, Commitment, Tradition & The Independent Woman: PBG Responds
This morning, I had the opportunity to read a post on SingleBlackMale.org entitled “Have Blurred Gender Roles Pushed Men Away From Commitment” written by a man that tweets as @DamnPops. I’ve been a reader of SBM for a few years and I check the site frequently to see what opinions some men have for the world from time to time. I saw the title and thought it would be interesting to see how a man feels about a shift in traditional gender roles and how it is affecting Love relationships between men and women (yes, this post is very heteronomative, so I’m writing from that point of view as well.)
I was shocked to see a post not so much about gender roles, but about women who work as much as men and some things said about being able to cook and clean and do laundry. And by “shocked” I mean, “not surprised at all and kinda disappointed.”
The author of the post began with “Today, women are as independent as ever.”
Let’s stop right there, because we need a definition of “independence” as it pertains to the discussion of how women live their lives within the confines of Patriarchy. This is what I recently came up with one day during one of my Twitter #PBGSermons:
“Independent = I don’t have to make life-altering decisions based in fear and desperation. I am free to choose in Love and security.”
That’s it. That’s all “Independent Woman” means. It’s a woman who is not bound to make herself small or abandon her wants and needs out of fear of not being taken care of or being denied resources. All too often, I see too much other useless stuff attached to it that has nothing to do with the simple basics of being able to take care of oneself and make choices freely. Being able to do that shouldn’t be an undesirable characteristic of anybody. We all should be able to take care of ourselves without some kind of of stigma being attached to it. That has nothing to do with “gender roles,” traditional or not. That is survival. The Independent Woman is one who isn’t as vulnerable to exploitation as a woman who isn’t able to care for herself. But in a society in which the value of a man is measured by how much he can materialistically provide for a woman’s well-being and survival, the woman who doesn’t need that from him is seen as an outlier to the system. She is unusual, undesirable and oftentimes seen as a threat.
I feel like the points made by the author of the post on SBM are very basic. He wrote about household chores that are “traditional” when it comes to what men desire in their female partners: cooking, cleaning, laundry and raising children. All of these are very important life skills that all adults should be able to do with some competence. What I didn’t see was any mention of what responsibilities men have in these “traditional” gender roles when it comes to taking care of home: yard work, auto maintenance, moving furniture and home improvement.
I say “whatever” because I was taught how to do all that shit before I left home because BASIC LIFE SKILLS DUH. I give a side-eye to any grown adult that doesn’t know how to do any of that for themselves. I will question the upbringing of a 35 year-old man OR woman that can’t cook a basic meal or clean their own toilet properly. As a hetero woman, a man who can’t do that is undesirable to ME but all too often that is acceptable because Patriarchy has boxed men into being brutish dolts incapable of even wiping their own behinds without the help of either their mothers or their wives. That is, when she has time in between beating the family’s laundry on a rock down by the creek and creating a five course meal for four by 6pm everyday after being at work all day and helping that children make science projects and working out to stay fit and later on SEXY TIME…
Big Mama has lived that life and she is TIRED!
At the end of everything, none of this stuff about “traditional gender roles” has anything to do with men moving away from commitment. Some of our traditions are what make our culture and our lives and our Loves rich and beautiful. They sustain us and guide us in our collective and individual happiness. Others are destructive and don’t support us in ways that matter at all. They are just things we do because we’ve always done them and that’s never a good reason to do anything. I believe men will commit to what they find that fits their needs in a relationship when they find it IF they want to commit. The same thing goes for women. But the thing is, everybody doesn’t want to commit and that is perfectly OK.