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Not every single thing that people think of needs to be turned into a meme.

Yes, it’s odd for the conclusion of a story to come at the beginning of it, but I just really want to drive that point home. This is necessary because, often, in an attempt to appear especially clever or, dare I say, deep, folks create memes like the one above and throw it into the black hole that is the Internet without giving more than a quick thought to it. Unfortunately, this particular meme makes no sense. Not only that, it is insulting to not only the two women featured in it but also a whole host of other people who probably don’t realize it.

The meme, which is supposed to, I guess, make it plain that having a big heart and a good character is what will nab and help you keep a man, is insulting, first and foremost, to Halle Berry. And let’s be honest, folks have owed Berry an apology for years now. The whole, Halle-Berry-may-be-fine-but-she’s-crazy-and-that’s-why-she-can’t-keep-a-man theory has been floating around for quite some time now. But this is the first time I’ve seen it used to compare her to anyone else, which people rarely do. Because the best way to uplift and applaud one kind of woman is to tear down another, right?

In the meme, Berry is judged for being divorced twice, and for having children with two men who, at the time of conception, were not her husbands. And while it’s so easy to read something like this and raise an eyebrow, whoever created the meme didn’t keep in mind the probable and reported reasons behind the demise of her relationships. That includes alleged domestic abuse, mistreatment, constant cheating, and coming to the conclusion that some of those men just weren’t a good fit for her (and “keep a man”? Who is to say that Berry didn’t end things with all of them and run for the hills?). It’s too hard to fit all that info into an adjacent picture cell.

This image is also insulting to Tamela Mann. While the person who created this mess on a free photo editing website, Microsoft Word or Paint (cause this is too basic to be Photoshop) was hoping to applaud her 20+ years of marriage to David Mann and the beautiful children that came from it, it makes it seem as though a bigger woman isn’t as appealing as a skinny woman. Like big girls aren’t sexy too. It’s all, “Yeah, Halle Berry may be gorgeous and skinny, and Mann may be big, but love and character are what keeps a man!” With a side of “Skinny b—hes are evil!” in a Mo’Nique voice. Don’t let the trolls who keep telling folks how many pounds they need to lose in order to be “healthy” fool you. Plus-size beauties are everywhere (ask Drake) and snatching up men. And Mann is quite lovely herself. So, again, nice try meme-maker, but I don’t think Mann would be so eager to thank you for your backhanded compliment.

And then, I would say that this meme is also insulting to women in general. Don’t let the two women in the picture allow you to think this is just about them. Naw, sis. It’s about all of us. One reason being that, as always, through this meme, we’re being told that our worth and happiness is based on whether or not we can keep a man. This kind of stuff is why so many of us are freaked out about our romantic prospects for the future. We believe that when we don’t have a companion, it says something about the kind of person we are. We may be a great friend, an amazing daughter and contribute some awesome sh*t to the world, but let us not have a man to validate us and all of a sudden we’re beings to feel sorry for. Not only that but whether or not you’ve been able to hold onto a consistent boo over the years can now be a question of one’s character.

What a load of crap.

And then there’s the even bigger issue of the fact that such messages pin us ladies against one another.

After this meme had come across my Instagram timeline, a plus-size woman I know reposted it with the caption, “When skinny girls ask why all the big girls are being wifed up.” And I can understand why she would say that. I’ve heard smaller women of the petty persuasion say such things when they see plus-size women with a man on their arm (even if the smaller sista had zero interest in that man). But I hate to see women post crappy memes like this as validation and as a way to make someone else feel like they need to step their game up. Without knowing it, we’re saying that because one has a man, they’re better than, and the woman who doesn’t needs to figure out what’s going wrong inside of herself. And that’s not cute. As Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie put it in her TED Talk, “We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men.”

But are the fellas doing this much for us? Me thinks not.

So, once again, I say all of this to remind folks of the fact that a relationship doesn’t equate to happiness. It can add to happiness, but it’s not the end all, be all. Just because Halle Berry isn’t with the list of men she used to be with doesn’t mean that she’s not happy. And considering that they used to mistreat the hell out of her, and she’s now married with healthy kids and a hit TV show, I’d say she’s probably doing great. I also say all of this to remind folks that it takes a lot more than love and character for the Manns to keep their marriage going 20+ years later. And I also say all this to remind folks that all the love and good character in the world won’t keep the wrong man from running out on you when he is good and ready to.

And lastly, I say all this to remind folks of the most important point of all:

Not every single thing that people think of needs to be turned into a meme.

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