All Articles Tagged "men and women"

It’s Time To Break Down Patriarchy

August 21st, 2015 - By Chuck Creekmur
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Making the first move

Source: Yourtango

The piece I was going to write was going to be titled “Dedication To The Women That Got Me Through Life.” But it suddenly struck me to write about another subject: patriarchy. Yes, patriarchy. A couple years ago I really didn’t know what patriarchy was, and I bet many of you didn’t either. So, here is the definition:

1:  social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line; broadly :  control by men of a disproportionately large share of power

2:  a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

As a Black man, I had a difficult time processing the idea of patriarchy. This country is primarily governed by White men, even though a brother is the president. Our families are fractured, and the Black female has been the centerpiece and rock for generations, in my opinion.

And then, I didn’t quite understand how it pertained to me. Keeping it real, I feel like I’ve been a comrade to women, especially Black women, with whom I’ve shared struggle. Far from perfect, I’ve employed many women in influential positions and worked alongside them on many things. But patriarchy still lives and breathes, lurking in the shadows of racism, terrorism and other societal ailments. Men pretty much ignore it.

Let’s get down to it, guys. Here are seven ways you, the regular Joe, can help purge the national idea of men dominating women.

1. Men must be open to the fact that they may be unaware of everything patriarchy encompasses. Have an open mind and open ears. Furthermore, leave space for the women in your life to speak up and encourage open dialogue. Honestly, because Black men already go through so much, it may be tough to grasp. Nevertheless, you have to do it if you want transparency in your life and relationships with your women friends.

2. Do not take things personally when women talk about patriarchy. This is what I know I did early on because I definitely didn’t think certain criticism pertained to me. But, I thought of it like racism. Notice how the non-racists quietly benefit from systemic prejudice and so-called White supremacy–but don’t say anything against it? Don’t be that guy.

3. Do not give women permission to do things. I remember a few years after my dad died, some man my mom dated tried to tell her what she should do with her money. She dumped him like a hot potato. Obviously, if you are in a partnership or a martial situation, things work a bit differently, but you still have to hold the individual in high regard. Learn to respect a woman’s autonomy as well as their preferences.

4. Read a book by a Black feminist or womanist. I have a couple books by bell hooks, but I have to admit, I didn’t finish yet. (Blame my ADD for that one.) Click this link for a list of other Black feminists. Get to know them.

5. Talk to other men when you see them doing something out of pocket to women or when they speak foul about them. I remember my homeboy used to call his girlfriend all sorts of things. I am proud to say that I talked him out of that madness over time. I get it. He was extremely frustrated with her and they had a lot of work to do. Plus, that’s the language of our culture, too. I’m glad to say that they have been married for 15 years now and have a great partnership. He’s an entirely different guy now.

Bonus: Seriously, men, think about how your mother, daughter or any woman might receive your words or actions before putting them into effect. Think about how you might want them to be treated but also think about how they want to be treated. This oftentimes, can be a challenge. Honestly, it’s downright confounding and seemingly contradictory. But you can do it.

I believe Black men have difficulty grasping these concepts because we too have been marginalized and stripped of our power. So, what do we do? We often exercise might upon those closest to us, in places we can control like our households. What is refreshing is seeing young brothers educating themselves on patriarchy and breaking these cycles. Older men too.

We have plenty of work to do, this I know.

We can do it.

True or False? You Never Know A Man Until You Tell Him No

March 24th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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You Never Know A Man Until You Tell Him No


Like most of us in various Internet communities across the country, the good people of Very Smart Brothas, were discussing Wiz Khalifa, Kanye West and their recent comments directed at their shared ex, Amber Rose. The article was good (as expected) and generally expressed what I felt about the situation (minus the love I have for Amber Rose). Essentially, Panama, the author of the piece, was arguing that it was super wack for both Wiz and Kanye to attempt to slut shame or berate Rose now that they were no longer with her; especially Wiz, considering Amber is the mother of his son.

Both Kanye and Wiz knew she was a stripper and both decided to date and perhaps love her anyway. But the minute the relationship went sour, all of a sudden her being a stripper was a huge problem. And not only was it an issue, Amber, a woman they had both publicly and repeatedly acknowledged as their lady, was suddenly dirty and unworthy of their time and affection.


But it was in the comment section that I found something I wanted to ask you all, our readers and commenters, about and see if you agreed with the statement: You never know a man until you tell him no. 


Now that is interesting.

You might be wondering did Amber tell Wiz and Kanye no? Why yes, yes she did. She’s said that she is the one who broke up with Kanye. That’s a hard no. And in response to his infidelity, she told Wiz no [more] when she filed for that divorce.

But it didn’t just happen with Amber and these rappers. It happens to us, “regular women” everyday.

I believe the commenter or someone responding to her referenced the men on the street who, when they’re trying to holler at you, call you all types of Queens and Goddesses. But the minute you tell that same dude you’re not interested or have a boyfriend, then suddenly you morph into a bitch who was ugly anyway.

Beyoncé even had a song about something like this about a man who flipped when she said they couldn’t have sex. It’s called “Yes.” 

Ladies, sing along if you know it:

I said yes to your number and 

And yes to you dating me 

Yes we can be together

But you got to wait for me

The first time I said no, 

It’s like I never said yes.

In the name of fairness and equality, we could say the same is true for woman. No one likes rejection. But men, who have largely been programmed to place much value on their pride and ego, are perhaps more likely to take a bruise to the ego far more personally and lash out because of it.

I was discussing this notion with a man earlier today and he argued that a woman can learn just as much from a yes as she can from a no. Basically, he said you don’t know a man until you see his reaction to all of your responses.


But I still think watching someone when they’re not getting what they want is far more character revealing and informative than watching them when they’re satisfied and content.

But those are just my thoughts. What do you think about the statement? Do you think it applies to men and women equally or does it tend to be more egregious in men due to pride and ego? Share your thoughts.

For The Men: Signs We’re Actually Flirting With You

March 25th, 2014 - By Kevin L. Clark
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The art of flirting is a skill that takes time and practice to master. Women are known all over the world as innovators of subtlety, so it’s up to the man to remain keenly aware of every gesture, every word, and every glance she throws your way.

But while we’re not always the most attentive creatures on the face of the Earth, the lady who is interested has key indicators that should be noticeable to even the most Mr. Magoo-type man.

Here, we list the 15 most identifiable signs that a woman is flirting with you. This means when these behaviors are not exhibited, you can reasonable deduce she’s not interested.

Man Out Of Work? How To Cope When You’re The Breadwinner… and Why Women Need To Learn How

March 12th, 2013 - By C. Cleveland
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For two years women have made up the majority of the country’s workforce. Women also hold most managerial positions. Chaka Khan’s girl power lyrics may be in need of an update. We are every woman (and man); it’s all in us. But where does all this empowerment leave our men? What happens to relationships when men are underperforming women in the prized role of breadwinner?

We’re not talking about deadbeat dads, or lazy mama’s boys who refuse to get a job (we don’t want them anyway). We’re talking about good men who are trying their best, but can’t catch a break in this economy. In 2012, men’s workforce participation rate – working age men who are either working or looking for work – fell to its lowest point on record (since 1948).

The Value of Work In Relationships

Relationship consultant and author Robert E. Hall writes for The Huffington Post:

Relationships are often the first major casualty for the unemployed or even the underemployed. We underestimate the value of work when we view it just in economic terms. Work is much more than the value customers receive or the pay workers collect for producing products and services…Work contributes to essential relationships that yield crucial psychic income. And as the structure of work changes, so do our relationships and our society.

While women’s place in society has progressed, many hold on to traditional views of men and relationships. Picking up the check is liberating at first, but the privilege wears off after a couple of months. Coming home from work to find your man sitting on the couch can elicit resentful feelings, regardless of how many jobs he applied for while you were out. We demand that men change how they view us, but women also need to change how they view men including the value his paycheck adds to his worth.

Beyonce Was Right…

Kathryn Edin, a sociologist who spent five years talking with low-income mothers in Philadelphia, believes the family dynamics of low-income neighborhoods ruled by matriarchies will spread to the whole country. Men, unable to provide steady income or meet women’s expectations, are at risk of becoming obsolete in the lives of women who make all the decisions for their family.

The future of business with its emphasis on relationships and transformative coaching managerial style seems geared toward women. In 2010, for every two men who got a college degree, three women did the same.

Men who are having trouble finding employment, or an income that matches their partner’s are a symptom of a quickly approaching future. It’s a relationship dynamic women will need to learn to deal with as well. Couples counselors, as well as couples who have successfully weathered unemployment, offer these tips:

Keep an open mind. Your partner securing a 9-to-5 position with a salary that matches your own may not be the answer to your relationship woes, or even feasible for your partner. Encourage (and celebrate) them finding temporary and alternative sources of employment, or looking for a position in another area.

Know where you stand financially and adjust your lifestyle accordingly. Once your partner is out of work, there’s no use in wishing for that two-income relationship life or pressuring your significant other to keep up with that lifestyle. Deal with reality. Identify what expenses can be cut and make boosting your savings and paying off debt a priority.

Communicate, but don’t interrogate. Talking is the best way to deal with any issue in your relationship. Be cognizant of the right time and type of communication your partner prefers. Instead of forcing your mate to give a daily recount of every job they apply to, set aside regular meetings where your partner can share their progress and you can brainstorm ideas together.

Don’t forget to have fun and count your blessings. Put the focus on what is right in your relationship. Keep the romance alive with low and no-cost date nights. Boost your partner’s morale by reminding them what their strengths and accomplishments are. Research shows a spouse’s attitude towards job hunting strongly influences the mental state of the unemployed mate.

C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveInTheCity) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).

It’s Not You, It’s Both Of You: How Men And Women Can Be Hypocrites In Relationships

March 12th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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You can try to categorize some behaviors as female and others as male, but really, it all depends on whose perspective you’re viewing it from. When it comes down to it, we’re all human,we tend to be driven by the same things, and we have the same insecurities, frustrations and desires. The difference is we express them in more “male” or “female” ways, but often we are guilty of the exact same behavior we criticize, we just don’t notice it because it looks different. In all of these ways, most couples are hypocritical and do not practice what they preach.

“What Are You Looking For In A Woman?” Why That’s The Worst Question To Ask On A Date

November 27th, 2012 - By La Truly
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A man and woman are sitting to dinner on their first date. He’s chosen a gorgeous restaurant and has an amazing smile. She looks absolutely fly in her new little black dress and he’s told her so once or twice already. SCORE! Flirtatious small talk has ranged from his athleticism to her impossibly deep dimples. Surface stuff? Yes. But it’s setting a cool, comfortable atmosphere and both parties are feeling each other.

Then comes the “Kiss of Death” question which SHOULD allow both people to assess where the friendship/relationship has the potential to go (or not) but more often than not it leads to even thicker masks being painted on.

“So… what do you look for/like in a man/woman?”

Time after time this one seemingly harmless question changes a person’s demeanor and behavior unbeknownst to them.

He says he enjoys women who have a good head on their shoulders, give great conversation, have eclectic taste in music, work out and are into football. As he speaks she’s working her way down her self-check list, mentally checking things off with a smile until the “works out” and “is into football” leaves his lips.

What the what? She’s naturally petite, doesn’t do much more than Pilates and rarely watches football, aside from movies that have something to do with the sport. She hates football. But she doesn’t want to lose this awesome guy. Quick! What does she say?

“I’m really getting into football lately! Go Steelers!” Then she pulls any and every football tidbit she’s ever heard her brothers talk about and tries to arrange them all in a semi-literate way, praying he doesn’t ask too many questions until she can get home and Google everything she can on the sport.

Or the other way around, he asks what she looks for in a man and she gushes about men who enjoy traveling and know their way around the kitchen. He freaks. What can he cook? A bowl of cereal. But what does he say, mesmerized by the gorgeous smile of this woman sitting before him?

“Yeah, I enjoy watching the Food Network to get ideas for new recipes.”

“Oh, you cook?” She asks him with eyes bright.

“I’m somethin’ like a black Emeril Lagasse,” he brags, as he frantically makes a mental note to ask his sister for cooking advice.

We have all done it at some point. So focused on maintaining the interest of the person in front of us that we throw complete honesty out the window. We want to impress. We want to be wanted because, well, we want them; Feigning interest in things we could really care less about and pretending to be pros with things we are total failures at or have never even tried. Then, IF a relationship materializes, we wonder why things start to unravel sooner than later.

I don’t suggest baring your soul from the first conversation, but it is important to remember who you are and to be honest about it from the jump. We forget that some aspects of what we find attractive in others often morph and grow and change as we grow and experience life.

You would be surprised at how often my open disdain for things has created a larger air of interest on behalf of the guy. Instead of shying away because we didn’t share one or two of the same interests, it was now his opportunity to teach me something which could turn itself into a successful second or third date, and who knows after that?

Nowadays I try to avoid asking such a cornered question as “What do you like in a man/woman?” Instead, I just engage. I engage in conversation about any range of topics. I engage in small silly behaviors like singing off-key to a favorite song. I engage in being me in front of him and honestly, even if a relationship never materializes, more often than not, I’ve had some great dates and secured awesome friends. I would rather be my random self than to try to stuff myself into an uncomfortable mold. Because, let’s be honest, many men have no real clue what they “like” until they meet her. Forget what he “likes.” Be you. Whether a relationship materializes or not, he’ll respect it and you’ll know that you’re being appreciated for what YOU actually bring to the table.

La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change among young women. Her blog: and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.

Are You Sharing Too Much With Your Boo? Things Men Just Don’t Want To Know

September 17th, 2012 - By Julia Austin
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Men are always saying women talk too much. They don’t really mean it: they love us. When it comes to the basics—our career, our feelings, our wellbeing—the good guys do want to know. So where does the notion that women talk too much come from? This.

Single Black Male: Defending Your Woman’s Honor In An Age Of Disrespectful Men

August 27th, 2012 - By WisdomIsMisery
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ignoring a black man

“Should you defend your woman’s honor?” Yes.

The question is simple; the answer is complex, which is why it comes up all the time. Many of us have had friends, male and female, ask for advice on some variation of the following story, “X disrespectful man did Y and my man failed to do 1,2,3. How should I feel about that? Am I with someone who can’t or won’t defend me?”

Honestly, half the problem is that men and women don’t define disrespect in the same way. If they did, at least 75 percent of these discussions would be null and void. Let’s be clear, if someone disrespects your woman, they are disrespecting you too because you should feel that you are an extended representation of each other. But, if I’m walking down the street with you and some random guy yells, “You have a nice A$$!” Is that a compliment or a diss? Is he being disrespectful or simultaneously complementing her nice A$$ and my taste in nice-A$$ having women? In some major cities, there might even be a bit of confusion around if he is talking about your A$$ or mine. But, I digress.

It is no secret that, generally speaking, men are more disrespectful towards women than ever. Increasingly, the level of disrespect is tolerated, which encourages more disrespect and creates ever-greater disrespectful men. At what point does the disrespect cross the line and need to be addressed?

Is it a comment on Facebook? An off-hand remark on Twitter? Should you attack the first man or woman that, as you perceive it, disrespects your woman as Swizz Beats did last week on Instagram? Whether you agree or disagree with his methods, there is no doubt that Swizz tried to defend his woman’s honor.  However, he was negatively judged for doing so by many online observers. Despite the fact that more women wish men would defend their honor, many did not agree with the way Swizz went about defending his. What did he do wrong?

Is disrespect ‘OK’ as long as it is limited to the confines of the Internet? What happens when these people leave the safety found in e-anonymity and take their disrespect into the real world? Are you only responsible for defending your woman’s honor as opposed to all women’s honor?

Rewinding the Sexual Revolution: Can We Place Some Value on Sex Again, Please?

March 20th, 2012 - By madamenoire
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By Sheena Bryant

Can We Reverse The Sexual Revolution? Please.
As the first quarter of 2012 wraps up,  I find myself reflecting on the yearʼs progress thus far and I am reminded of the bizarre way this year started for me. While at a friendʼs house ringing in this new year with other young professionals, I had a rather disturbing encounter with one of the other partygoers. He was obviously enjoying the libations a bit more than perhaps he should have. Heʼd ventured too far into my personal space on a couple of occasions already that night and he continued to throw glances my way that hinted at the fact that he was not directing wholesome thoughts toward me.

After some time, he walked over calmly and said simply, “I really want to f**k you.” Without hesitation, he proceeded to pull money out of his pocket and asked, “Will this interest you?” When I told him that it certainly would not, he decided the best course of action would be to up the ante, and to do so again until he figured heʼd reach an amount that would yield a yes. He went as high as the money in his pocket would allow and assured that what wasn’t in his pocket, was definitely in the bank. I remained calm as I told him that his actions were extremely disrespectful and that he should stop talking, immediately, and walk away, swiftly.

Men say crazy things to me all of the time, but what struck me most about the encounter with this man is how comfortable he was with treating me like a prostitute. There was no awkwardness or embarrassment present in his speech; he spoke with ease. We live in a society where sex is everywhere. It is in the images we view on television; itʼs in the lyrics of the music we consume daily; itʼs plastered throughout advertisements for the food we eat to the products we buy. Sex is no longer this intimate thing secretly confined in the boudoirs of lovers. It is so prevalent that men deem it appropriate to proposition women in small gatherings of friends apparently.

It is clear that few people continue to revere sex as something sacred to be shared between two people who love or at least really care for each other. It is completely permissible to engage in casual sex with people who aren’t quite lovers and are quite nary friends. Itʼs totally fine to discuss oneʼs sexcapades in public. Itʼs common behavior to laud men for their perceived sexual prowess and to applaud women who are in control of their sexuality and are liberated in the bedroom. It is certain; we no longer live in a sexually repressed society, and this progress can be looked at in both a good and bad way. The way men and women handle each other these days suggests that all we are to each other is cu**s and co**s.

There are undoubtedly some great things that have come from the liberation that the sexual revolution brought about. But since then, weʼve gone too far left of right. When Iʼm treated like a hooker at a friendʼs house, I canʼt help but ponder—in an age when it is so acceptable to publicly reduce men and women to objects of sexual pleasure (by both men and women alike)—how do we work our way back to something more decent?
While everybody seems to be in the business of selling sex, perhaps we should be having more candid conversations about its return policy. I’m just saying.

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10 Tips and Tricks for Talking to Men

March 13th, 2012 - By MN Editor
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My best friend likes this guy that she works with but she can’t manage to muster up the courage to even say hello to him. Meanwhile, another man, who she’s totally not feeling is all up in her face but she has no problems cordially communicating with him.

Aarggh! So frustrating, right? This one story represents so many situations. When it comes to men, we have no problem talking to the one we can’t stand but struggle to mutter a simple greeting to the ones we’d really like to get to know.

If you’re a woman like this, check out these tips and tricks to learning how to talk to men at Your

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