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I’m getting ready to flip my life upset down and get married. So my fiancé and I try to have a lot of conversations about relationships in general, strategies that do and don’t work etc. And while most of the conversations are to get a better understanding of how we’ll operate in the most ideal situations, I also recognize that sometimes he be trolling me.

Last night, he sent me this video of African men and women having a very heated debate about the reasons why Black men go for White women, exclusively, after they reach a certain level of success.

As you can imagine, the conversation got heated. I responded to my fiancé saying that the conversation was too ignorant for me to engage. But I’m going to have to hit him back and tell him that’s it’s actually too infuriating. The idea that submission is the primary reason for choosing a White woman over the Black woman who you know will love and support you is asinine and deeply disappointing. And I agree with the sista with the bald fade. This type of thinking makes that particular man, and men like him, seem insecure. 

Since I’d chosen to disengage from that discussion, I forgot about the topic and woke up to do my work for today. And that’s when I stumbled upon this tweet:

And I connected the dots between those first two videos and this man.

To be honest, when I first read the tweet, I thought “I guess…” But it was an unfinished musing, I started asking myself for the 50-11th time how I feel about submission. And I always come back to what I’ve always believed–healthy relationships involve submission from both men and women. I was going to leave it at that but I kept scrolling my timeline and I found opinions from other prominent, Black women with feminist/womanist sensibilities.

https://twitter.com/FeministaJones/status/1032245606562111493

 

And that’s when I finished my thought. Between the videos of the African men and women and this man talking about submission, I concluded, men, particularly Black men–Christian and otherwise–have an obsession with submission. And obsessions are unhealthy. It bothers me that men repeatedly bring up the quality of submission as if it’s the most important one in a relationship. It speaks to a desire to control a woman and that’s terrifying.

I asked the women around me, my coworkers and my sister, what they thought of this man’s tweet. Here’s what they had to say:

Keyaira Kelly: I don’t know what he’s using to qualify a “real man” but I would agree. I’m also into submission and traditional man/woman roles when it’s equal giving and receiving and not abusive. So the language doesn’t bother me. I’m just aware that anyone who would tweet that is probably a f*ck boy because anyone who is a real man isn’t tweeting about women submitting, he’s just living in his leadership. Submission to me is a woman trusting her man to lead so she follows his guidance, advice, input. But now a days men don’t have a track record of being emotionally, financially, professionally rooted, so who is submitting to a mess? 

Charise Frazier: It’s also the deeply Christian principle that n*gg*s clutch to with the death grip. They only focus on the woman submitting, but don’t understand that it’s a 50-50 thing.

In the words of Doja Cat: mooooooooooooooooooo

Shamika Sanders: I’m not bothered by the idea of submission I just think every “good man” thinks he’s a good man and God’s gift and I have a problem with a man who determines what a good man is for women verses the reciprocal. 

Danielle James: I think in 2018 because we can take care of ourselves (vs when we couldn’t get jobs, HAD to depend on men, etc.) it’s been messing with the male psyche and ego. The idea of submission seems rooted in the idea to be the leader, which is fine, but again, many men do not have the characteristics to truly lead. When I think of submission, I think moreso of trust. If I trust you to lead, I’ll let you lead. If I think we’re going over a cliff, Imma take the reigns or just jump ship completely. Leading with ego just seems like a foundation for failure.

Then I asked my sister. Her answer made me laugh at first but it also helped me get to the heart of my true feelings about the word “submission.”

Vanessa Wells: I don’t like that word. It has a meekness tone to it. So I don’t ever want to be associated with that. But I think anyone: man, woman, boy or girl, can follow someone’s lead if they deem them trustworthy.

We were over G-chat, so our conversation went something like this.

Me: Yes. But these n*gg*s are calling themselves trustworthy LOL and then requiring submission. And it’s like slow down n*gg*. I didn’t say I trusted you yet.

Vanessa: Periodt. Don’t eeeeven try it.

Me: But I like what you said. I don’t like that word. Society has made it represent something ugly.

And that’s what I want to leave you all with. I finally figured out my issues with submission. I don’t have a problem following anyone who has proven that they have a better idea, better strategy, more experience, better execution than me. I’m not that type of person. In fact, I prefer to let someone else plan— men and women alike. (Some call that lazy. I call it conserving energy.) But if I think my plan, my way, my idea is better than yours, I’m going to fight to implement it. And in healthy relationships with men who aren’t on some type of sick power trip, they should be able to recognize when a woman has the better plan. Once that’s been established, he should submit to her. Simple reciprocity and recognition of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s maturity. It’s self-awareness. It’s everything patriarchy is not.

Y’all let me know when men start tweeting about that.

 

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag. You can follow her on Facebook and on Instagram and Twitter @VDubShrug.
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