Remember when you, a little girl, were younger and somehow all your brothers, male friends, and even cousins got away with things you knew you’d never get away with? For instance, they never really needed to help around the house, but whatever little they did was a big deal. But you knew that if you didn’t want to do it, you’d be in trouble. They never really were told they couldn’t eat that last piece of chocolate cake, but if they offered it to anyone else, it was so sweet of him. But you, you had to ask around to make sure no one else wanted it. They were never really told to share, sit properly, or be less. They were always encouraged to be more, to be loud, to be known. But you should always cross your legs and keep quiet. They never really were scolded when he pulled your hair or pulled up your skirt; in fact, everyone brushed it off as ‘child’s play.’ But when you fought back, you were scolded for being too mean, too naughty. And when you looked at them, they knew. They knew they could get away with a lot more than you, a mere little girl, could.
Everything men do, however little they do, as co-workers, as sons, as partners, as husbands and even as fathers, is so glorified. If he, as a co-worker, comes up with an okay plan and you execute it, he still gets the credit, or at least most. If he, as a son, gives his older parents attention, it’s a big deal. If he makes time for you, stays loyal to you, as a partner, it’s so rare. If he takes out the trash, helps around the house as a husband, it’s as though he’s a God who’s touched dirt. If he, as a father, makes time for his children, spends quality time with them while you relax, it is so precious and so kind of him to give up his time. Almost as though it isn’t expected of them in the first place.
But we as women, especially women of color, work so much harder. As co-workers, as daughters, as partners, as wives, and as mothers. We work, work, and work. Every single day. To make something out of ourselves in the workplace, to make a place in a man’s world. To earn our parents respect while having to make time for them, giving them the attention, care, and love because it is a must. To please our partners, giving in each time, be soft, be understanding, not wanting to be a burden. To be the best wife possible so he wouldn’t stray so that he wouldn’t be the tired one at the end of the day. To be a better mother than yours was, to be fair, loving, kind yet firm, wanting to be your children’s friend but mother figure. But men do so little, and we applaud them for it, we accept it each time because otherwise, we get nothing in return.
Since they were boys, their every action is glorified. So as they grow older, they feel as though their every little action, participation, contribution; it means so much, it’s so big what they’ve done. They never realize the burden women carry in their names. They feel so entitled to the world, to our bodies, that their eyes are so blind to the amount women have to do to make it through each day by their sides. They cast us aside. We’re oversensitive, we’ve got no sense of humor, we’re too emotional they say. But that is because the world lies on our shoulders. Not them. They do not have duties that society expects them to fulfill. They do not have children to raise. They do not have a house to run. They do not need to work so hard at their job to gain an inch of recognition and respect. They do not need to put up with lies, cheating, abuse. They do not have parents who expect them to be around once they’ve grown older.
Yes, men have to work too, men have it hard too, men have to provide too. But it’s so easy for men to forget the responsibilities they have towards their family, their partners, their children. Because hey, they’re providing, right? So shouldn’t that be enough?
No. No, it’s not enough. Not anymore. Men have to realize that women can survive without them; in fact, we’ve been taught to survive without them.
But where would men be without women? Where?
You take out the trash once in a while, you staying loyal, you visiting your parents once in a blue moon, you playing with your children for five minutes when you come home does not mean you deserve to be put on a pedestal. That is you being a partner, a husband, a son, a father. Realize that. Do not do so little thinking; it is enough that you are doing us a favor when it is what you are supposed to be doing.
And stop taking advantage of us. Our softness. Our forgiveness. Our readiness to please. Our womanhood, motherhood. We no longer need to glorify you, for you may think that the lion rules the jungle, but it is the lioness who hunts and kills.