I remember always being asked in college “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I remember being so afraid of that question because I did not know how to answer it. It seemed like all of my friends had these great 30 second elevator speeches prepared about how they wanted to be the CEO of a company or start their own business and I was sitting there still trying to figure out what pair of shoes I would wear for the day. I was an awkward college student. Eclectic and weird but I always seemed to do just enough to pass by. I was socially active, a leader in different organizations, and had a solid group of friends. Even still, I never had an answer for that question. I had no idea how to put into words where I wanted to be in five years. So instead, I chose the most popular route.
I want to work for Company X, get married at 28, travel the world, and have children at thirty two.
I mean, that is what a strong woman did right? Husband and children, those priorities were supposed to be number ten and eleven on my very long list of things I was supposed to do for myself first. How could I, at eighteen admit that by twenty five I wanted to be married and have a family? How could I say, ” At twenty five, I want to be a fulltime mom and bake cakes and rub my husband’s shoulders after a long day of work.” Almost nine years later, I am doing exactly that and I still have a hard time admitting that it is actually what I want to do.
In saying all of that, I have to also say that I consider myself very pro woman. I feel that women have the right to work. Women should be able to breast feed in public. Women deserve to earn the same amount as men in the workforce. So for a long time, I considered myself a feminist. Even more so, I considered myself a Black feminist. I felt that Black women were so disrespected in the media. I was tired of seeing us fighting on television. I did not want to see anymore ass cheeks in music videos. We were so much more than that. Black women were business owners. Team leaders. Strong role models. We were so damn independent and strong. We were strong Black women.
I was constantly being told that in order to be a real Black feminist I had to subscribe to the knowledge that if a man could not handle me in all my strength then surely, he must be weak.
He must not be a man at all but a boy who needed to grow up. I was not told to change or let my guard down. I was perfect the way that I was and if a man could not accept me, he was the problem not me. I was told that as a Black feminist, I should never depend on a man. I should always have a way out of my marriage and my group of girlfriends should be my real soulmates. My husband should actually just be my side piece.
I was torn. Is this what feminism had morphed into?
It seemed to me that the popularity of feminism had shifted away from women’s rights and found focus in being anti man. It was slowly becoming anti marriage. It was opposing all those ideals I had of a happy life. Well…now I could not be a feminist anymore. I have juggled back and forth with trying to figure out where I stand with the pro feminist movement and finally decided to get comfy and settle somewhere right in the middle- I am neutral. While I agree with some parts, I do not agree with it all. And that is ok.
I polled women asking them where they stood on feminism and marriage. While some said that the two were not related, others admitted that feminism did not have a place in their marriages. Me deciding to hold a neutral standpoint on this topic, I had to agree with both.
To be considered a feminist, all aspects of it have to be accepted and to say that feminism does not intercede with a marriage is partially untrue. Feminism is constantly telling us, especially Black women to think “I” and not “we”. We are not being taught how to make a marriage or relationship work. We are being taught that we are simply too good and too strong to be led by a man.
Our heads are being pumped up in such a way that we are floating around with our feet not touching the ground.
The truth of the matter is, we need to be brought back down to reality. For a relationship to work, this side of feminism cannot be accepted into a marriage. A marriage is full of compromise. It is full of recognizing your faults at times instead of being focused on your partner’s. And it is surely a place where a prideful heart will lead you to demise. On the other hand, the aspect of women’s rights when it pertains to equal pay, sexism, and misogyny in the workplace are problems that are not necessarily between man and wife but are between woman and world. As women, we have been fighting for years to be seen as equal. To be considered for the same jobs, promotions, and duties.
So how do we bridge this gap of feminism? How do we find a way to fight for equal rights without sabotaging the self esteem of our men? In no way am I my brother’s enemy. I want to be a feminist but I still want to love our men. Is that so hard?
I would love to hear your thoughts below.