Thy Modern Black Father and The “Feminization” of Men. : ThyBlackMan.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Thy Modern Black Father and The “Feminization” of Men.

July 16, 2012 by  
Filed under Ent., News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) With the rate of unemployment reaching record highs across the country in the last few years, many men are at home while the women in their lives are at work. If you look at the statistics in Black communities, the statistics get worse-much worse. The rate of unemployment among Black men has been at a high of 16% which roughly means that one in every seven men is unemployed.

Yesterday, I spent the day with my small family as well as one of my husband’s brothers who happened to be off from work at that time of the day, while his wife was at work. I watched with much admiration as he cared for his almost 3 year old daughter with so much love and affection. He was feeding, changing pull up diapers and giving out an unlimited number of hugs and kisses. I’ve also had the experience of watching my own husband in a similar role.

What is particularly interesting about watching both men is that nothing about their interactions with their children seems bothersome to me or them. That being said, I have been aware of a growing mumbling and grumbling, mostly  among men, about how society and media is on a huge campaign to “feminize” men.

Of course, this is a very complex issue. A lot of us grew up during the time when we generally understood that women were the nurturers and care takers of children and the family while the men were…not. Some saw men who were providers and protectors while others just didn’t see much of their fathers at all. Those that lived in homes with absent fathers, generally experienced living with women who played both roles; providing and also being care takers.

It is interesting to note that a lot of conversations about what a lot of men say they find undesirable about Black women-“strong Black Women”, is actually what might be women exhibiting traits that we would primarily associate with being a man. So, it could be said that women, primarily because of their circumstances, are becoming more like men.

Personally, I do not want to be “like a man”, nor do I think that I am, but I am aware that a lot of women who have “strong” personalities, do tend to rub people the wrong way and I am no exception (*chuckling to myself). Also, I have no desire for my husband to be “like a woman”. A lot of people are still more comfortable with the softer image of a woman who is content with just being a wife and mother, rather than a powerful businesswoman. In the same token, some are more comfortable with a “manly man”-whatever that is.

It seems to me that if women have adapted in order to function in the workplace, because in the last 50 years, the number of working women has exploded, men would also adapt to participating more actively in the various household functions that were previously reserved for women. Think about it: If a woman is “helping” her husband to provide, it stands to reason that he would help her “nurture”. It would then also follow that, with more and more men being unemployed and their wives being employed, the women would then “provide” more and the men “nurture” more.

The rumblings that I hear about the “feminization” of men, to me, seem a little narrow minded. If men are being “feminized”, it would only be because women have somehow, been forced into some sort of masculine function. To perceive the workplace as a masculine function and the home as a feminine function is a perfect example of the narrow mindset that I am referring to. A more logical approach would be to look at both the home and the workplace as opportunities to create the lives and circumstances that we all desire for ourselves and our children.

For some people, it may still be possible to restrict the men to the workplace and the women to the home because that is what they desire. Unfortunately for some, that is not an option. Many women, especially Black women, are single parents and many men, especially black men are experiencing long periods of time where they are unable to find work that will allow them to provide for their families. Even among those that have the option, many women do not want to stay home and instead prefer to work.

The so called “bad economy” has unarguably affected many men and women and sadly, when Americans are negatively “affected”, many Black people are devastated. What many of us may not have expected though, is that the “bad economy” would open the door to important dialogue about who we are as men and women and how we assign value and worth to each other.

I don’t believe that a man taking care of his children makes him a woman any more than a woman working makes her a man. I believe that one positive step that we can all take, as a community, is to start having conversations about what our desired outcomes are and then work together to create our best lives.

I’m not suggesting that we, as women, stop embracing our femininity and beauty as a gender. That is, after all, what makes us attractive to men. Also, I am not suggesting that men have to stop being men in their own unique way. What I am saying is let’s stop being so rigid that we end up focusing on the wrong things and resisting changes that could ultimately lead to happier, healthier and more functional lives.

Written By Nomalanga

Courtesy of;  http://www.blackbluedog.com & http://YourBlackWorld.Net  

 


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Comments

8 Responses to “Thy Modern Black Father and The “Feminization” of Men.”
  1. Papacool says:

    I do not know what makes someone soft by doing non-traditional things as being a Mr.Mom type without being effeminate or switching around the house. A man can raise a child equally as good or even better in some cases than Mothers if given or seizing the opportunity to do so. In getting older, I noticed that there is an alarming trend, especially in Hollywood/movies to have men portray females in drag, specifically comedians. While the role can indeed be humorous, the danger comes in when one realizes that some of these cats play these roles too good for my southern comfort. Then we cross over to the musical side of the equation and find so many men that sing some of the most classical love songs in modern history are not singing for women, but for the men. With images such as these why are we still acting like we do not know why boys grow up only to go astray? I do not want to come across as being the He Man type, but I can honestly state that if I had a son of mine tell me that he was gay, I do not think I would not be affected negatively by that news. But I would indeed be disappointed and would do some serious soul searching as to find out what went wrong. With organizations like the Boy Scouts and Catholic Church leading the way in the issue of gayness, one has to truly wonder what time is it? Changing diapers should be seen as a duty and an obligation as part of raising ones child. But in some cases, it is viewed as a threat to the motherly position. All it takes is a conversation to get everyone involved on the same page. I am willing to do whatever it takes to give my child a fair shot at being the best human being he/she can be. But my foundation would be based on being truthful, leading by example, and getting them to know that I want them to live their lives in a way that is positive and productive. Alot of people seem to be here just taking up space and not being concerned about the next generation, whereas back in the day we has a form of extended family that really cared about your welfare. Nowadays we have a climate of extreme privacy, where one does not get to know their neighbors and are experiencing a high level of disconnect due to this new way of living. Although Father’s Day is recognized in June, one who has kids should know that it goes longer than a day and that involvement in your child’s life is one of the greatest gifts a man can give. When I see mine, I try to always give a hug and never let a time go by without letting them know they are loved. As we have witnessed with the Martin case, losing a child is one of the most devastating losses a parent can ever experience. Been there, and done that and now I have learned to never take anything for granted. So in closing, recognize that the best time to lift one another up is while we are yet living and not when we go on to the next life, as by then it is too late. Peace out, Papacool.

  2. john says:

    Message to CurvyrOad:

    You know what is aad? I believe girls and boys in our community are affected by domineering mothers. I think a lot these days about my cousin who is a female. Her mother did everything to make sure that the relationship with her soul mate didn’t work out. She is very controlling. The result? Well, now she is 32 years old, unmarried, childless, doesn’t have a solid work experience and doesn’t have much more than a high school diploma. Her mother made sure that she is still living under her roof. I noticed that many mothers in our community who are divorced (which is the case of my aunt) feel threatened when their kids want to live their own lives with the opposite sex. It makes me sick and I think it is soooo selfish. In many aspects of her life, my cousin doesn’t thrive.

  3. CurvyrOad says:

    I don’t think the issue is the feminization of the male partner– but that of the male child — being raised by only women or dominant, overbearing and feminizing women.

  4. Deeann D. Mathews says:

    In my family, men and women did whatever was necessary to make sure the next generation moved forward, not backward. To this day, we have men and women who can cook, clean, take care of the babies and work inside and outside the home — whatever circumstances required, people switched up their roles and got flexible in order to be able to reach the goal — solid teaching/nurturing time AND a stable wealth base for the next generation to move forward on.

    About the whole “authority” business… true authority only comes from trust, and trust is earned. A man need not expect that he will be submitted to unless he can show that he is trustworthy, and that takes time. He also ought not waste his time with a woman without capacity to appreciate his efforts… and if Black men and women would get very serious about looking for what really matters in a mate instead of being led around by what their eyes tell them would please the middle of their legs, there are still enough of us to give the next generaton of young Black people a good chance. But it takes maturity and focus.

  5. Realman says:

    It would be great if people like Tyler Perry would just stop promoting this form of perversion. I’m sure this man can still make movies without having cross dressing men in them. He should know by now the damage this is causing in black America.

  6. Brothers and Sisters, we have a serious problem in our community. The fact that we’re talking about this is proof positive. Our roles have changed and the origin of this is slavery. The mental aspects of this horrible period still exist today. The solution is simple, not easy, but simple. Black Unity is the solution. If we created our own businesses, schools, meeting places, not clubs, but places where like minded people could get together in a safe and positive enviroment to talk about the issues of the day, find a husband or wife, share ideas, and all the other things found in a community, we could finally solve our problems, for good. Until we start to look within for the answers, instead of looking for people outside for solutions, we will continue to talk about the problems. It’s time to stop talking and start doing.

    BLACK UNITY

  7. Umm Yeah says:

    I agree with some of what the previous poster said and some of what you said Nomalanga but it is a bit deeper.

    When we talk about emasculation it is not about function. For example, a male can be sensitive to children and work in a what is traditionally a woman’s field. It is about the progressive and consistent, even though subtle, elimination of authority, decisiveness and sense of command that the traditional masculine father held in our history as Africans in America.

    Historically this was done through slavery, and then compounded by the economic and education system. Which it still is. Now, many Black women themselves help perpetuate the cycle without even knowing it, and many Black men allow the cycle continue passively.

    So many Black women are caught in a paradox. They want a ‘real man’, but simultaneously glory in the mythological ‘strong Black woman’ role, which in many cases is defined as not being able to submit or accommodate a ‘strong Black man’ and his personality traits.

    Even the term submission raises the hair on many women’s necks, but yet historically, the patriarch was voluntarily submitted to, because A) He was generally a man’s man and B) He was worthy of being submitted to.

    Modern emasculation makes both A & B a challenge. What woman wants to submit to a man that demonstrates more feminine traits than her? And what woman wants to submit to a man who is not worthy of being submitted to?

    That is what occurs when you have women raising men, a social construct that devalues Black men, and an education system and economy that makes it very difficult for a Black man to be upwardly mobile.

    So emasculation is real, and is a community killer. It creates a vicious cycle for Black women and it keeps our men weak and neutered.

  8. sankofa says:

    I could not disagree with you more regarding we men talking about feminization. Being a masculine man has nothing to do with being gentle and loving to your children. in fact a feminine or effeminate man is someone like a Tyler Perry who dresses up as a woman every chance he gets, or a man who completely takes on effeminate characteristics. What we men are actually saying though many have misused the word is the Emasculating of the man. Which is to remove the very masculine essence of what makes him a man. Just like removing the very feminine essence of what makes you a woman.

    This complaint has gone far beyond the work place, although it started there, with the nonsense about equal work for equal pay. Equal work for equal pay besides a few exceptions punishes the man, because depending on the danger and heaviness of the work, he HAS to carry most of the load. I am speaking from countless years of personal and anecdotal experience.

    Also what most people don’t know is that the high rate of unemployment among African males has a lot to do with the specific elimination of traditional male roles and the increase in specific female oriented role. This is not equality. True equality would be both of us competing evenly for the job. But never the less more women women are in the work place and doing well for themselves, The emasculation I talk about has a little bit of the feeling of unimportance in the work force, but has more to do with how we are pushed to act in this dysfunctional society. We are expected to tone down our masculinity. We are not expected to act like MEN, just like the males in any other ethnic group is. No we are supposed to SETTLE, COMPROMISE and GIVE DIFFERENCE TO, even when it negatively affects us. Even when it is not logical to do so.

    Many women I KNOW, quickly turn the tables on men who settle and compromise after they were told that that’s the way women want it. NO, women want a man to be in charge of himself and the situation that affects them, in fact I would go so far as to say women want a man being in charge of them. Tell me you don’t know of a woman who talks fondly about a man who keeps her in check.

    This is why many supposed good, intelligent woman gravitate to thugs, not because they are thugs (well not so much) but because they are not pussies. Not to be too vulgar but women already have one, they don’t need a man acting like one around them. Or as the Chinese say, be careful of what you ask for, you just might get it. It is obvious that your husband and brother in law are honorable men and are not caught up in the hyper masculinity of men lacking a purpose in life. But the day both you and your sister in law take their masculine essence away from them, is when you will hear the refrain about you wanting to effeminize them.

    Again loving your child is neither a masculine of feminine trait, it is the trait of a righteous parent.

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