Would We Feel Differently About Gabriel Aubrey If He Was a Woman?

March 8, 2012  |  


I’ll be honest. When I read that Gabriel Aubry was requesting up to $20,000 a month from Halle Berry to support his daughter’s lifestyle the first thought that came to mind was, what kind of man are you? Despite whatever difference in earnings comes along with being an Academy Award winning actress versus a Wilhelmina model, I wanted what Gabriel has between his legs to make him say, as a man, I refuse to let a woman support me. Because let’s face it, that’s essentially what Halle would be doing.

I don’t know the specifics of this ex-couple’s co-parenting deal, but I know that it doesn’t take a minimum of $15,000 a month to entertain a 3-year-old that you’re only taking care of half the time. That money would no doubt go toward a home he’d live in year-round, his own wardrobe—considering he wants Halle to give him money to pay for Nahla’s, and who knows what else. And it’s not just that he supposedly wants to maintain the lifestyle that his toddler daughter has become accustomed to, he also wants Halle to pay for trips for him and his daughter to visit his family. If you can’t even buy a plane ticket to Canada and keep a decent roof over your head should you have any type of custodial rights at all?

But, just because Gabriel is a man does that mean if the shoe was on the other gender’s foot, I be jumping up and down saying, “girl, get yours?” Not necessarily. We see these women every day, they’re on VH1 and Bravo calling themselves wives when they’re really just a woman who gave birth to a well-paid athlete’s child when, probably like Gabriel, they thought their relationship was the real deal, and now they’re sitting pretty. The difference is they have sole custody of their children and the fathers, at the very least, should contribute to their child’s financial wellbeing as their parental obligation. Do most women get more than what’s needed to raise a couple of kids these days? Probably so. Do I fault them for it? Not really. While these women could most certainly “get a job” like we often say they need to do, do some of their backgrounds really suggest they’re qualified to do anything other than ask would you like cheese with that? Gabriel, on the other hand, modeled for Versace, DKNY, and Valentino, and he holds a modeling contract with an agency in Milan. This man could work and maintain a lifestyle similar to Halle Berry’s if he wanted to, but he doesn’t, and that’s why I question his manhood in some respects. I mean I thought men prided themselves on being able to provide. Is that passe now?

I can admit that this is a double standard, and it’s one we as a society enforce regularly. When Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce and was set to get $75 million, some called her move calculated, most said regardless of how the money was coming to her she should take whatever she’s entitled to under the law. Look at Shaunie O’Neal and Juanita Jordan. Yes, all of these women were married to their children’s fathers—who all happened to be habitual cheaters—but we applauded the huge chunks of money they walked away from their marriages with without ever having to take a shot, as Drake would say. We may call some women who get knocked up by ballers and take the money golddiggers but we still expect them to cash that check. On the other hand, look at Russell Brand who could have taken $20 million away in his divorce to Katy Perry this year but opted not to. When I read the news, I thought, wow that’s admirable, but I know had it been a woman, I might have thought, wow that was stupid. Although let’s be honest, how many women would have turned it down?

More than anything these stories serve as a warning of what can happen when you make babies with someone you wouldn’t even make a home with. We may not have millions of dollars at risk but as women increasingly become the breadwinners, it’s not unfathomable that we could find ourselves having to pay for some other man’s lifestyle simply because we have a kid by him and we share custodial rights. It’s bad enough we’ve got more woman than I’d like to think about riding out babymamdom to Gucci and Prada their way to the top. We don’t need men doing it too.

Do you feel like as a man Gabriel shouldn’t even want Halle to support him? Do you think men have grown to be OK with women taking care of them in this way or is this still mostly a woman’s issue?

Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.

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