March is Women’s History Month and, as a Man, I am SUPER excited to be able to celebrate the existence, achievements, and stories of the Sistah’s worldwide that make the idea of History a possibility! So many faces of all colors, ages, and backgrounds come to mind when I begin to give my prayers of thanks for the nurturing hands, encouragement, strength, and Love I’ve been blessed to receive over the years. Even during my times of development, when my Manhood was so fragile that I couldn’t understand the power of the gift of Women, Queens and Warriors of brilliance and grace patiently educated me so that I could one day find my place alongside them….sometimes behind them…..and sometimes in front.
In my travels I learned a great deal more about Women and their “place.” Where they have chosen to position themselves and where they have been told they should be. America teaches us, in a bubble, the ideas and concepts of the relationship between Woman and Man. Our overarching culture structures the roles of the two people regardless as to race, religion, or socioeconomic background.
Men are supposed to….
And Women are supposed to…..
On average, grade school children will be able to finish these sentences and categorize the duties assigned to each sex. Especially when it comes to Marriage. We have come a long way from the toxic ways of thinking of our past that made Women property and less than equal with their male counterparts. But, we have a long, LONG, LOOOONG way to go.
I am married to the luckiest Woman alive. (LOL!) Which makes me the luckiest man. All of my male friends who are married and have children understand this when I say it: We. Are. Not. Worthy. Biologically, spiritually, and mentally we are not even on the scoreboard. If you’re familiar with the text, the Bible says that God made man on the 6th Day of creation. Then, he took his time and created Women to perfection! So how did we get to this place, globally, where Women have been put into the “sidekick” role?
Living in the Middle East blew the doors off of what I thought about marriage and women’s “place” in society. I took my preconceived notions with me and happily left them in the desert as I educated myself. I got to befriend couples from many walks of life and lands, and we shared ideologies. I was unmarried at the time and eager to learn from these people who were different from me and very much in love. We as Americans have this idea of Middle Eastern and Asian Women being docile and submissive to a fault. Walking two steps behind her husband, not being allowed to drive, praying in the back of the masjid, and keeping her entire body covered. Many of the marriages are arranged and the western idea of Romanticism is absent.
It just seemed so drab.
But, just like in the majority of American homes, the Women are RUNNING THE SHOW. Their pious belief in the ancient traditions of their religion challenge them daily. They understand the world has progressed and looks down on them for seemingly submitting to their husbands. But, they let me know that it is a DAILY struggle being polite to this pitiful man that would lose his head if she didn’t keep it on his neck. It is the faith in Allah that gives them the strength to humbly love their husbands, and assume their “place” by his side. It is not a position to which they are ordered to be, but a place that they have chosen in accordance with their religion. There is a fine line of difference there, but my Arab Sistah’s do not feel that it is necessary for the outside world to fully understand the complexities of their choice. And, trust me, when they need to put things in check, they do so with the full power of Womanhood. As far as the arranged marriages, they say that it is difficult, awkward, and Love is not instantaneous. But, everything that is done between the couple is under the auspices of matrimony. Their first date, their first kiss, the first time making love, the first fight, everything is part of their marital story. Out of that time together, they learn and gain respect for one another, and that respect turns into love. Their foundation is strong because they created friendship and then cultivated adoration from the commitment to one another.
It was then that I realized, we as men had been duped since the beginning. Women around the globe allow us the illusion of control to feed our egos, and protect our fragility (All the Women just said, “Amen!”).
Which brings me to the message I’d like to convey to my brothers out there: Women are the center of the Marriage Universe.
Men go out on conquests, hunt, and war, but that is all in orbit around the Sun of Femininity. The best of us (husbands) realize that we cannot tell a woman her place, because wherever she is, she is the center of everything. Their “place” is just that…..THEIR place; to do whatever they want. To achieve and create and pursue happiness under the full freedom of humanity. To stifle that is to limit the universe, and dim the light in our own world.
Also, as I am a huge advocate of Women’s Rights, I completely understand my “place” in the fight is not needed. If I am called upon, I will show up READY to help, but I know that Women are capable of doing this all on their own. I am reminded of the scene in Malcolm X when the white student approached him as he prepared to speak at her university. “How can I help,” she asked with such passion?! “You can’t,” replied Malcolm, because he understood that his people’s victory needed to be self propelled and unaffected by a need to compromise with outsiders.
As important as we think our input is, and as helpful as we feel we could be, it is time that we remove our egos from the situation and allow Women to be in charge of their own destinies. The obviously inadequate inequalities that exist around the world need to be addressed, changed, and protected by law so that men and businesses who can not treat Women as equals can be prosecuted.
In 2018, let’s destroy the idea of a Woman’s place. Imagine the progress and distance we would gain if we took the chains and obstacles away from our own teammates!!