Last week, I wrote a piece called “Man Up!” Of course, it was well-received, because it took men to task. But the balance of it all is also discussing what women need to do to make things better.
Sadly, some people just don’t want to do anything but talk about the problems men have. I’m certain that this piece will not be met with the warm and fuzzy welcome that the Man Up piece was met with.
It’s just not as popular to discuss the issues women have. It’s nearly a Cardinal sin.
But, you already know that Darryl James isn’t concerned with what is popular, only what is pragmatic.
So, let’s deal with a few things that Black women need to deal with.
Sisters, start checking other Black women more often when they are out of control. When men try to let sisters know what the problems are, we get accused of hating women or “blaming the victim.” But we all know that there is bad behavior on both sides—we need to stop pretending that only Black men have problems.
For example, sisters need to resolve the confusion and conflict between today’s so-called Liberated “Independent” Women and women who still want men to pay for everything. You can’t be a modern woman, but hold on to the things from the old school that solely benefit you.
If you are truly independent, have your own means and don’t need a man, why not pay your own way? Why view men in financial terms with financial expectations—especially if you don’t want to be defined in sexual terms with sexual expectations? Both views are old school—bring one and the other comes right along.
And, speaking of being viewed in sexual terms, never try to get men to focus on your mind when your t*ts and a** are packaged specifically to make us ignore everything and look at your t*ts and a**. Men are visual and even if you aren’t dressed like a hooker, be a grownup and realize that there are plenty of women who are dressed like hookers and plenty of men who like to look, including men who really are interested in your mind.
Realize that you can not change a man, even though a good woman can influence a good man. If you see things you don’t like at the start, realize that they will probably be there at the end when you get hurt.
And speaking of pain, stop pretending that only women get hurt. Men get hurt, too and it’s ugly when anyone carries that stuff into the next relationship. Get some therapy, which does not mean talking to your girlfriends about how horrible men are.
Let’s talk about sex, baby.
Ladies, don’t ever get mad at a man who is unfaithful if you have decided to be unfaithful as well. We know that what is good for the goose can be good for the gander, so stop pretending that only men cheat.
Don’t ever place yourself in a position where date rape can occur. If you don’t know the man very well, you don’t need to be in private places with him, particularly if you have had too much to drink (or too much to smoke). Of course no means no, but that slogan means little if you have been harmed.
It is not enough to say that a man must “wrap it up.” You must demand that he wrap it up or just decide not to have sex. If you get a disease or get pregnant, you can not act like all women are victims of all men when you opened your body and allowed him inside of you.
And if you have sex and get pregnant, do not think that having a child will make you a wife. If he wasn’t shopping for rings before you got pregnant, chances are he still won’t.
No matter what anyone says, do not imagine that making a man a father will make him responsible. If you have a baby with a man who you already know is unemployed and/or irresponsible, you are a Deadbeat Mom, because you knew your child would be without a good father—especially if he already has other children that he doesn’t take care of.
And, since we know that there are more single mothers raising children than single fathers, be a real woman and take some of the responsibility for the boys who are grown men, but are still boys. Be honest, because we know that many single mothers over the past thirty years have been coddling their boys and turning them into lazy grown boys (The “Baby Boy” Syndrome) with a sense of entitlement. It’s not just the absentee father’s fault.
If you are a single mother, you must take responsibility for making certain that your child has an example of a strong Black man in his life. If you don’t have a man, look to the men in your family. You can also look to mentoring programs, or go to the Black church or Black fraternities. Contrary to the popular slogan, you can not do it all by yourself and you don’t have to.
This is for the grown girls who never became ladies: Don’t get mad at a man who beats the snot out of your nose if you a) searched for a man with “a little thug” in him and/or b) placed your hands on him first. We know a man shouldn’t hit a woman, but don’t EVER forget that a woman shouldn’t hit a man either. Let’s just keep our hands off of each other.
And, even though it seems popular and cool for some females to be “thugged out,” a woman should never talk like a man or act like a man and still expect to be treated like a lady. Ladies don’t date thugs or act like thugs.
But if you are thugged out, tattooed to the gills or in other ways just not that fly, stop complaining about the men who don’t want you when you may be the women that men don’t want. Any man who reads a woman’s magazine always gets a laugh reading lies about what men supposedly want. Try this—ask a man what he wants and if it ain’t you, just be a woman about it and move on.
Are you a mother to your children, meaning that you are making certain that there is a male presence in their lives? Are you a good example of a positive Black woman or do you even care? Do you trash Black men whenever you get a chance? Do you work with young Black women or do you pretend that only Black men have issues?
Don’t talk about how bad Black men are unless you have taken some action to improve things. If there is no strong Black man in your life, seek one out, even if only to make friends with and keep hope alive.
Finally, stop talking to each other about what a “real man” should do and be, because most of what you talk to each other about is straight from Fairytale Land. But especially stop dogging Black men out to each other and to White women, some of whom now think that all of you hate all of us and that all of us want all of them.
If you want to know what a “real man” should be or do, how about asking real men?
Just be a woman about it and focus on what a good woman should be, especially when you are with the girls.
Here’s the key—both men AND women have problems and if we only focus on one side or the other, there will be no progress. Get it?
In the words of Method Man from the Wu-Tang Clan, “If you keep it real with me, I’ll keep it real with you.”
And if the things I wrote here make you mad, just be a woman about it and either make the necessary changes or realize that I wasn’t talking about you. Pass it on to women you know fit the bill.
That’s what real women do.
Darryl James n is an award-winning author who is now a filmmaker. He released his first mini-movie, “Crack,” and in Spring of this year, will release his first full-length documentary. James’ latest book, “Bridging The Black Gender Gap,” is the basis of his lectures and seminars. Previous installments of this column can now be viewed at www.bridgecolumn.com. James can be reached at