A Message From A Grandfather to His Granddaughter[s]

For you, Baby-Boo, the world can be an unforgiving and even a dangerous place. Do not be afraid, however, but be careful, shrewd and even cunning when necessary. For if this world is unfair to men, then men will be unfair to thee. Simply because you are female.

Of course not all men – but enough of them so that your world will be different from theirs.

I have seen much and now there are more years behind me than in front of me. Before I was even able to grow a mustache, the singer, James Brown sang a song called, “It’s A Man’s Man’s World”. The opening lyrics were, “This is a man’s world, this is a man’s world. But it wouldn’t be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” Despite those lyrics, many men do not behave as if their world would be nothing without a woman or a girl or they behave as if women exist so that this world can remain a man’s world.

Many men will see you as female first as opposed to human first because to them, they are male first and then human. That order of things allows them to emphasize the differences and marginalize what women and men have in common. The emphasis on the difference justifies relegating you to a station below theirs. Thus, as a girl/woman, your voice, your opinion and even your facts are less than their voice, their opinion and their facts. Such men have erected and fight vigorously to maintain a structure in which they are dominant so that they may enjoy the accouterments of power and privilege at your expense.

These men are beneath you. They lack substance and depend on dominating you to maintain their form, their facade. Read them well for they often will appear accommodating as they hope to hide their hand. Eschew them like you would a poison well.

Other men will want to make you responsible for their actions. You are the “devil” that makes them behave badly and you are never the “saint” that makes them behave respectfully. These men are weak, pathetic and unworthy. Do not spend time with the likes of these for you will always be the blame for their nocent behavior.

To some men you will be a mere accessory as would a watch or pair of cuff links. Your prettiness clogs their mind and feeds their childish ego. You make them look good but they make you look cheap. Dismiss these men for they care only about the glitter and not the gold.

Many of them will see you as mere meat whose only purpose is to gratify their desires. They sexualize you because they measure their manhood by the number of women they bed. These men are boys impersonating a measure of man they can never live up to. Their definition of manhood rises no higher than below their belt. Play with them, if you will, but only on your terms. Otherwise, keep them at a distance or deal with them in small doses only for you have better things to do with your time.

Then there are men who will demean you, abuse you and try to possess you. They are jealous and needy because they build their identity and self-worth around you so that without you they are nothing. They do not see it that way but it is that way. Leave them and their world. To stay is to die one way or the other. These men can charm, beg for forgiveness in sweet words and pleading tones. But, as what happened to my mother, you can end up face down in a pool of your own blood because you believed the sweet loving tone and words. No, these type of men are not all killers, but never give them a chance for you to find out. And if by some chance you are deceived, run at the first instance and never forgive. Ignore your heart and heed my words: Never forgive. Never stay.

On the other hand, a few will honor your humanity and respect you as different but still equal and that you are the other side of the coin; there are no one-sided coins. These men are worthy of your energy and of who you are. Let them grow in your love and flourish in your respect. But never swim farther than you can swim back — otherwise you can drown if he swims away.

Give completely, if he does. Set the boundaries early and never yield at the expense of who you are.
Treat your needs as vital but your wants as luxuries – know the difference [never compromise on your needs for they are non-negotiable]. Understand, too, that respect and appreciation for you does not mean that a man fully understands you because no man will ever know what it is like to be female in this man’s world — no matter his orientation.

Once you choose to love [be it a man or another woman] love in such a way that you become a better person and if he values you, he too will become better.

Sex is a gift that should be given only to the worthy or as something you wish to use for your own relief — but never equate it with love; do not be confused. Lust can confuse, unless you know it.

No man is perfect as is no woman, but men wear the mantles of power and thereby, control much of what happens in the world. True, you have personal power and never relinquish it. Do not confuse it, however, with the levers of power that men pull to make the world turn. Life is unforgivably unfair. So hold on to the only real power you have.

Two more things to know:

Beware other women because men have constructed a system in which women often view each other as competitors for the attention and adoration of men. They will view you as such for as long as they believe you have what a man wants. Understand that phenomenon. It is not personal as much as it is the workings of men exploiting and flexing their power to maintain dominance over women. Some women will define other women as a threat when the real threat is the system that men have constructed to keep you fighting each other for scraps.

Secondly, you are black and as such, most of the world will view you as stationed at the the dirt end of the totem pole. [Proof-positive that the world is egregiously stupid.] In any event, your burden is double that of white women. This is not to say that all whites are racists. It is to say, far too many are – enough are so as to make the distance you must travel twice as far. Nevertheless, wear your blackness not as if it were a royal garment [yes, it is something to be proud of, however] but as if it were who you are.

Baby Boo, I know what I have said is not easy to accept and do, but I would be unworthy if I did not warn and teach you. They say this is a man’s world and because it is, the world is a cesspool. Knowing that it is, you can keep much of the stink off you and stand in a spot less foul. Be human then always be woman.

Pop-Pop loves you.

Published in: on March 30, 2016 at 12:54 AM  Leave a Comment  
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Women and Men – Power and Fear

Having observed, researched and pondered the interactions between men and women across different times and different societies, I’m glad I’m not a woman but I am ashamed of being a man – more specifically, ashamed of how men, in general, treat women.

Why does one half the species, often demean, abuse or even kill the other half? My theory:

Especially in these modern times, men need women more than women need men [emotionally]. Women provide a structure within which men can thrive and reinforce their status. Yes, men and women need each but not equally. This imbalance [perceived or not] is not something men are comfortable accepting. They fear women because women have what men desperately want [sex, support, even to some extent, the basis for a man’s identity]. This gives women power that threatens men. So they erect an infrastructure characterized by persistent, sustained subjugation or marginalization of women. In short, those whose power is illegitimate always fear those they dominate.

To that end: In some societies men tell women what to wear or not to wear – so that men do not have to exercise control over their own libido. In other countries they blame women for being assaulted because they wore one thing rather than another. There are societies where women are considered unclean even untouchable when they are menstruating; in other communities, they are considered chattel to be bought and sold like meat. In general men often judge women by their looks so much so that women even compete against each other in ways most petty, for the fleeting attention of men. In turn women often demean themselves because men cut off their access to opportunity or other resources.  Additionally, a promiscuous man is often lauded; a promiscuous woman, scorned. Men will also pay women less but expect them to do as much as a man. Men are more likely than women to abuse the other – kick, batter, choke or otherwise do what savages do – to maintain power. Thus, if a woman exercises her power, her right, she is often attacked or assailed so as to be put back in her designated place – below that of the man – so that the patriarchal system remains in tact.

Worse and tragically, if a man leaves, a woman may cry; if she dares to leave, she all too often, will die.

Men have developed a system in society that facilitates their longing for and almost genetic need for power because no matter how lowly the man’s stature, he can at least exercise power over another. Power over someone he fears and is angry that he needs her in ways that are fundamental to his well-being or his sense of self. Whether he is a corporate mogul, an important politician, a janitor or garbage collector, he can at least step on someone else and feel powerful. That someone else? Womankind.

I agree I have made generalizations [thus, there are exceptions] but they are more true than not. Women have a power that men fear and that fear is a driving force in how they ultimately view and treat women. I’m glad I’m a man but I am not proud of it. This is not to say that women are saints and morally superior. After all, they are human and as such they are the moral equivalent of men except that, for the most part, they are dominated by men. I can only hope that I have distanced myself sufficiently from the majority of my half of the species in how I respond to the power of women.

Published in: on January 9, 2016 at 11:52 PM  Leave a Comment  
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