Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Happy Hump Day!
After yesterday's lively discussion, I'm not sure I even have the brain cells left to tackle today's blog. Good ole Rameer sent this to me on Facebook and suggested it as a blog topic, so ladies and gents...here we go:
Now, first...ladies....BREATHE. It's gonna be alright :)
And for you men - stop beating your chests and calm down.
Let me just say for the record that I understand very well that this woman's mission is to sell her book. I get that. So she may be saying some stuff even SHE doesn't subscribe to - or practice. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn't...who knows. But I don't want to blindly assume that she's completely genuine in her v-blog.
But she DOES seem to have a following - and there are plenty of women out there who believe everything she says and puts it into practice.
I guess the first thing we should do is define submission:
Submission: (1) the act of submitting, yielding, or surrendering; (2) the quality or condition of being submissive; resignation; obedience; meekness; (3) the act of submitting to the authority or control of another: "Oppression that cannot be overcome does not give rise to revolt but to submission" (Simone Weil); (4) the condition of having submitted to the power of someone else; (5) the condition of being submissive, humble, or compliant.
By that definition, being submissive doesn't sound like a good thing. That's probably why it seems a bit oxymoronic to state that your POWER lies in submission -when that very definition seems like the antithesis of power.
Personally, I think she's misusing the word. I think there's a difference between creating a loving home, and being submissive. I understand the idea of "traditional" roles - but I don't think that necessarily gives way to submission. I think men and women can be partners in life - mirrors of each other that reflect our best selves. That requires two WHOLE people to come together who are willing to compromise and make sacrifices equally. A perfect partner is not one who will subjugate him or herself to you, is not someone you can control or who will never disagree with you. A perfect partner is one who is respectful of your individuality and who you can trust to challenge and stretch you in ways that help you and allow you to grow.
I did agree with something she said - I believe women are the foundation of the home, while men are the structure. I believe that our power lies - not in submission - but in our ability to nurture, be strong, be smart, emotionally resilient, caring, and in touch with ourselves while having our finger on the pulse of the world around us. Men and women are different - but not one is superior to the other.
Now, let's say for the sake of argument I'm wrong in the meaning of "submission." Let's say it means you follow your man's lead as he is the head of the household. Let's go further to say that your religious beliefs teach you to be submissive.
The bible uses the word submit for the wife AND the husband. They are to submit to EACH OTHER. Due to the widespread belief in and adherence to Christianity in the Black community, Black men in particular are big proponents of the idea of submissive women - especially if they feel powerless out in the world. The one place they feel they should be powerful is at home. I get that...makes sense I guess.
But it's a false sense of power. And subconsciously I think most men aren't attracted to women who don't think for themselves, have no opinion of their own, cannot contribute ideas and who go along with everything they say. And if he does want a woman like that, it's usually because he's lacking in some way of his own. His confidence and feelings of adequacy are fed by a women who yields completely to him. However, a man should realize that he can have a women who adores and nurtures him and their family completely when he understands that integrating two lives into a whole is greater than the sum of its parts - equal parts.
One of the male posters to her v-blog wrote this in response:
"While a woman submissive (or possibly more accurately nurturing) to her husband and household can be a beautiful and wonderful thing under the right conditions, sadly, there are plenty of no good men willing to take advantage of this. Any relationship should be give and take, and a man should be willing to accommodate the wants and needs of the woman in his life as well as his own. Open communication and sometimes a little compromise go a long way toward maintaining a healthy and loving relationship. It simply cannot be a one way street. A confident self-assured man does not want a woman to submit nor subjugate herself to him. The confident man embraces his woman as an equal partner. He is openly proud of her and acknowledges her skills and strengths as she acknowledges his. These two form a powerful, mutually enriching, mutually supportive team where the lead is taken by one then the other as their skills, education and experience dictate. Neither is relegated to a box based strictly on gender."
And enduring loving relationship demands that both men and women understand that the relationship itself is wiser than either of them individually. Relationships are more artful, and less didactic. It doesn't control, but rather leads us to discover, and challenges us to expand the sphere of our love beyond ourselves. Our power lies in mutual respect. Our power lies in our sense of accomplishment and the benefit we bring to our family, our community and the world. As women, our power lies in our resilient spirit, our joyful heart, our intelligence, and in our divine soul. The only power that lies in submission is our submission to God.