Has Feminism Hurt Black Men and Our Relationships With Them?

| 10/06/2011 | Comments (4)


William J. Bennett, a contributor writer to CNN, recently penned an article entitled  “Why Men Are In Trouble.” The article acknowledged the fact that modern American women are more educated, more successful and apparently more ambitious than their male counterparts.

Mr. Bennett provided some interesting statistics:

  • In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two.
  • Women’s earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.
  • In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues.
  • Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. [The numbers are even more grim for Black children. Morehouse College’s Turning the Corner on Father Absence in Black America reports that “80 percent of all African-American children will spend part of their childhood living apart from their fathers.”]
  • Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.

Hanna Rosin, author of the controversial 2010 Atlantic article “The End of Men,” shared her thoughts on the gender role reversal being witnessed in America.  “Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed,” writes Rosin. She notes that the changes in American culture from manufacturing and farming (which required brawn), to technology and business (which require brains), has “catapulted women to the top of the work force, leaving men in their dust.”

Would this not mean that women are inherently smarter than men, but were intentionally kept ignorant so that men could feel superior?

My response is a resounding “yes.”

A few days ago I watched a Jane Austen movie entitled Mansfield Park. Set in the early 1800s, the heroine of the movie is a poor girl sent to live with wealthy relatives in England. Though they did not treat her as an equal, she is provided with a comfortable living and the opportunity to socialize with men of means. Having the opportunity to make a “good” marriage was important, as at that time it was the sole way young women could assure her survival.

An avid reader and talented writer with the skill to use words in a surprisingly colorful manner, Fanny Price is greatly admired by the youngest son of her benefactor. In one scene young Edwin explains to his father “Fanny has a voracious mind Father, as hungry as any mans.” In other words, a woman’s intelligence is compared to that of a man – the benchmark for academic accomplishment, brilliance with language and even the ability to learn period. This smug belief in inherent male superiority is at the core of men’s current troubles in American society.

Hanna Rosin Asks: Are Women Leaving Men Behind?

The problem of immaturity in males, loss of focus, dearth of accomplishment and confusion about what it means to be a man are recognized problems in Black America. However, these issues permeate society as a whole, without regard to race. Young men in general are lagging in education, employment and accomplishment.

“Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?” writes Mr. Bennett.

In the Black community, men place blame for their failures on feminism. Reportedly, back in the days when women knew their role and their place, men had no problems being men. These Black men are angry, believing that Black women’s anxiousness to prove that they don’t need a man has removed male motivation to do much of anything of merit; they have no reason to try.  Such sentiments are common amongst Black men, and shameful in my eyes.

What such beliefs express is a weakness of character, a neediness, that is quite unattractive. If a woman feeling confident, strong and powerful makes you feel insecure, weak and powerless, your manhood was never really yours in the first place. Therefore, your figurative loss of it is no loss at all.  One cannot lose something they never had.

It it the responsibility of Black women to build up Black men? Would not a real man establish his sense of manhood on his own merit?What part of this equation rests solely on the head and shoulders of Black men? Can men not determine what makes them men without pointing to the feminine and saying “we as men are the opposite of that!?”

Black Women Are Eager to Accept Personal Blame and Responsibility For Male Failure

Only Black women are anxious to assume all blame for men’s failings. Only Black women think it their responsibility to fix men and help men and support men. Only Black women think it is appropriate for them to dull their light and reduce the speed of their forward progress in order to “let men be men.” Only Black women think that by making themselves small, less and insignificant they can make their man feel better about himself.

The most vocal opponents to feminism and its alleged negative effect on manhood is Black women.

In reality, feminism has done nothing to HARM men. Men see it as something negative because it advanced women’s causes. For the first time in history women focused on and stood up for themselves, their wants, their needs, their lives. And men can’t stand it because they are used to being considered first, their needs being met by women without question, their thoughts and opinions taken as fact by uneducated unsophisticated females that look on them in awe.

My assessment of these attitudes are borne out in fact.

(continued on page two below)

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Veteran social researcher, relationship advice columnist, author and radio host. Author of hundreds of articles on American and black culture, gender issues, singles, dating and relationships. Author of "Sucka Free Love!" , "The 24 Types of Suckas to Avoid," "The Black Church - Where Women Pray and Men Pray," and "Why Vegan is the New Black" all available on Amazon.Com. Her unique voice and insightful commentary have delighted fans and riled haters for 20 years. Read her stuff on SurvivingDating.Com and AskHeartBeat.Com.

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  1. Bellydancer says:

    I commented on FB earlier and just wanted to add that I am tired of the posts this past year that seem to pop up that feminism has hurt black relationships and is keeping black women from marrying etc…Women suffer from a large amount of problems other than relationships up until 1970 a woman could not have credit in her name her father or husband had to sign for it. A lot of women black or white do not want to admit that if men were not forced to do certain things then they would not do them at all and women could not benefit some woman had to speak up and make a damn nuisance of herself to get the right things done. Men were happy as long as they benefitted only.

  2. Trixie says:

    This article resounds with me. It is so true. As a black woman that has dated both black men and non-black men, I’ve found that the black men had the biggest issues with an independent thinking woman. They could do anything that they wanted to do, but I was supposed to be the committed woman. Are you kidding me?

    I get so tired of black men trying to control black women by saying we need to be more submissive and white women just know how to listen more. Well, this is no slight to a white woman, but this black woman just refused to listen to a fool on a soapbox. Thank goodness for feminism. This has balanced the scales and allowed more black women to “just say no” to controlling, abusive men in their lives.

    Thanks Deborrah for calling this out. You are so insightful.

  3. Deborrah says:

    (posted by BrooklynBluBird on FB)

    I am well aware of the gender expectations, power plays and cultural dynamics that come into play in interpersonal relationships. And I am well aware of WHY black men, like all men, seek to dominate their women, be it directly or submliminally. I understand the male need to feel in control and i have my ideas about where that comes from. I am also well aware, of the position that reality, places women like me in, with regards to the mating game, both inside and outside, the black community. And i am aware, of what I am up against, when it comes to the mindsets of the average black male, I will come across, both casually and romantically.

    Each woman had to decide for herself, how much she is willing to compromise, in order to fit the measure of acceptable standard of femininity, in a world that does everything it can, to box her into a very small space, which for the most part, forces her to play a game that places her at a great disadvantage. I have played that game at times. We all have.

    Not one woman on this thread can say, she has never, in effort to play to the expectations of black men, compromised her self, her dignity or her full humanity. We have ALL played the game. Some of us have simply decided that we are no longer intersted in playing. And those of us who are not there, yet, are atleast beginning to question the status quo, and are asking ourselves very important questions that will direct our behavior and decision making practices, in the future.

    I brought up the issue of white women, ONLY to point out, how, culturally, males expect women to forgive the transgressions of collective male behavior, against the female collective, when they themselves will not forgive other collective male behavior, against themselves. Any time ANYTHING goes down thats even remotely tied to race, the black man is the FIRST one hurling accusations of ‘racism’ and ‘white supremacy’ at the nearest white person he can find. But when it comes to black women, we arent sposed to speak to what ails us, cuz, as you put it, black men simply dont give a fuck. What kind of position do you think that puts black women in?

    When it all comes down to it, for black men, their gender trumps their race, each and every time. And their individual needs as men will always trump their quams with racism. The same black men who will call the white man, the ‘devil’, will bed the ‘devil’s daughter, spreading his seed to her and passing on his genetic legacy to the daughter of the “demon”. Yet, that very same brotha, will expect a sista, to forgive all that has been done to her BY black men, and remain sweet, tender and gentle, smiling happily as she plays submissive woman to his ‘manly ego’ and leverage the threat of choosing the ‘devil’s daughter’ over his OWN woman, if she refuses to comply with his EGOIC needs.

    That right there is some shit to witness and we sistas with some intelligence and insight, understand EXACTLY whats going on. Oftimes, those same brothas, are the first one to call a sista a ‘sell out’ and remind her of all the atrocities done to her by the ‘white man’, in years gone by, should SHE choose to exercise HER options. Black men expect us to put race first, when for them, its gender (and thus, dick) first. And yall will ABANDON your own race of women, to go have your ego and dick stroked by women who are willing to play the ‘game’ of manipulation, wherein she allows him to ‘feel’ like man, all the while, manipulating him from behind the scenes. The ROLE she is willing to play, is not out of love and respect for him or his manhood. its out of a desire to get her needs met, at any cost. Yet, it is women who choose NOT to play the game, who are called selfish. This is some backward ass shit, if you ask me.

    Now, im not saying that other races of men dont do the same thing. Yall ALL do it. But black men, because of the powerlessness felt in the outside world, try ESPECIALLY hard, to reinforce these patriarchal notions of male supremacy, within their romantic relationships. Black women, are often made to choose, between their humanity, and their womanhood. And for either choice, theirs a price to pay.

    Some of us are deciding which price is greater. For some, the desire to have a man is worth any and all costs. For others…well, we will either opt out, remain non-committal, forgo men altogether and opt for lesbianism, or, find men of OTHER groups, who, altho still in need of domination, do not need their egos and dicks stroked as much, because their positions are already in place in the world.

    But the fact that ANY of this is what goes on between the genders is some bullshit, and I am REALLY beginning to think there is something seriously wrong with the male of our species, that makes him defectual in some very crucial ways. And you may be right…we may not be able to change it right now. But eventually, somethings gonna give. Even if its simply, yall kill every single human being clear off this planet. Cuz at the rate we’re headed, thats exactly whats gonna happen.

    The EGO of the human male, will be the downfall of all of humanity. I believe this with all of my being. Your unwillingness to rise above your basic primal instincts, to be a being of a higher frequency, not only keeps you wallowing in the muck, but forces us women to wallow with you.

    Its really a damned shame.

  4. eLLe85 says:

    Good FB comment. I wish this could be broadcasted out to… everywhere. You knocked another one out the park with this one Ms. Deborrah!

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