Updated: Feb 8, 2019
"Nobody wins when the family feuds. We all screwed cause we never had the tools." —
Jay-Z , Family Feud
The “men are trash” movement bothers me.
As a feminist, I should be joining the marches and making posters for the movement. But- I’m not though. I believe that men are a lot more complicated and sensitive than we give than credit to be. Let explain to you how I got here. I am a listener and lover of the wildly popular podcast, “The Read.” Every week, there is a letter about a guy with great penis that a girl doesn’t want to let go. Crissle and Kid Fury would begin their rants on trash men and saving yourself from heartbreak. I would nine times out of ten, agree with the advice; but as I laughed, I couldn’t help but feel like a hypocrite.
The truth is, I know a ton of good black men. The type who have been in relationships for five plus years; with no real drama or outside babies. You know, guys who hang out with their fathers on a regular basis. Or the type of men that spend Saturday mornings on three-way phone calls with their mom and sister. Clearly, these types of men aren’t trash, they have the qualities that we should all look for in a man. What if I told you that those exact same men, have attention issues and it plays out as them flirting with other women? See, men are EXTREMELY sensitive and human. They leave this vulnerable side for women they deem worthy. They treat personal things as something a woman must earn. Which makes me think, why aren’t we doing the same? Why are we dying to bring the guy we just met to our family reunion? We may have laughed at Tasha in Insecure. But some of us have been on date number one thinking about future kids. Could it be that women have unrealistic expectations that leads us to thinking that a man has trash behavior?
When Jay released “4:44,” I was obsessed with everything about the album. He came out and said that he’s been leading us astray. This album was the manifestation of his motto, “Hov did that, so hopefully you don’t have to go through that.” He told us he was trash and the steps he had to take to overcome it. He even brought in more men with different points of views to show: Hey, men are complicated as fuck. They don’t know what they are doing when it comes to love (any more than women). See, what I have come to realized is, traditionally men aren't expected to figure out the “love shit”. They must get money; provide for the family, be the protectors. AND, they can’t cry or bitch about how hard it is. With something as rare as this album (and the footnotes), there should be pieces celebrating vulnerability. You would think we would all talk about how some of the most powerful men in the industry discussed their shortcomings in love. Instead, it was the exact opposite. People were downing him for revealing his deepest secret. They even went so far as to say that Beyoncé wasn’t a true feminist and she was DUMB for sticking around. Can we just stop and laugh at that?! Has no one heard “Ring the Alarm?”
Bey put in YEARS… Shit a decade with this man. She made it clear she wouldn’t just walk away from something she built. Plus, they have a MARRIAGE, not some raggedy ass relationship. I’m ranting – but the point is, I found myself frustrated and disgusted by the public response. It made me realize that men are not trash, we just have a trash ass mentality when it comes to men in relationships. Movies has ruined us all. They have us thinking that relationships are just a matter of finding the right person, who’s attractive, makes you laugh, possibly give you “leg shaking orgasms” or have money. Then, BAM we’re all set. Life falls into place, cue the happily ever after music. But- like Jerrod Carmichael said, “There’s a reason fairy tales don't have sequels...”
The truth is, no one wants to see what it takes to sustain that level of happiness. People see Michelle and President Obama now and laugh at their cute little love story. “Oh my gosh! A hole in the floor board of the car!” But no one thinks about the constant internal debates Michelle probably had during the “in between” period. Sure, he was charming. Had swag too, but shit, he wasn’t on her level. She was placing her bets on potential and her heart. I can just imagine the phone calls with her girl friends back then! (“A hole? His broke ass! Run Chelly!”) If you haven’t been in a serious relationship, let me be the first to tell you they are HARD. It’s no fairy tale and there damn sure isn’t a rule book to get it right. So instead of saying, “men are trash.” Let’s say that men are complicated emotional human beings with penises.
Let’s agree they don’t always get it right. Let's applaud a man when he reveals a weakness. Let's show some compassion and patience. Remember that even with money and #lifegoals, there are still real things to overcome in relationships. Money doesn’t banish personal demons. There is so much division in the world, why are we creating more in our homes? In our own society? Shit within our own damn culture! Can we not have a trash ass mentality! Or do you still think men are trash?
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