Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Interesting article on African American women/Thoughts on Strong Women in Today's Society

This is kind of related to my project... just seems like black women are stereotyped as just simply being loud and obese.

The above article was written in response to this article (both written by the same person):

"...found that black women's fealty to black men has helped create an imbalance that penalizes them. And that a combination of forces — online social networks, integrated neighborhoods and workplace diversity — are tempting them to look elsewhere for partnership."

The author of this article is a single middle-aged black woman and also faces the same types of issues. This intrigues me a little... what is the real cause for these women to look for partnership outside their race? Is that these women have been taught to be strong, opinionated women and their former prospective partners just can't seem to handle these types of strong personalities? Is it because women, and in this case in particular, that black women have become stronger figures and society and have surpassed their male counterparts?

It seems to me that more and more each day, I notice strong women are without male partnership. This became especially apparent to me while I was watching the Oscars this past year. This was the first time that a female director won the Best Director award. Kathryn Bigelow won for the The Hurt Locker (which this film in and of itself surprised me that a female directed it and could really get to the heart of male camaraderie in the army). When they were announcing the nominees at the award ceremony, each male nominated had a female partner on their arm, but Kathryn stood out to me not only for being the only female nominated, but also for not having a date to the Oscars (she was also previously married to one of the other nominees for the same category). It's not like I felt bad for her. It felt more empowering than anything else. She didn't seem to need to prove anything to anyone. She is who she is and on top of that is highly successful with her career.

There are very few well known female directors in the film industry. Only three women have been nominated for the Best Director award in the past. Bigelow won the Oscar over such highly acclaimed directors such as James Cameron (for Avatar) and Quentin Tarantino (for Inglorious Bastards). I don't believe I ever even heard of Kathryn Bigelow until the ceremony. Just seems to me that whenever there are strong women receiving some of the spotlight in any industry, workplace, social event, etc that some are quick to judge/try to suppress these women for their vibrant independence.

In the second article posted at the top of this entry gives a direct example of how women are being suppressed for having a voice:

Darryl James is a black author and radio host who sponsors forums on "black love." Discussions are sometimes so heated that he reminds people on the invitations to be civil.

He contends that it's not so much a lack of "good black men," but changing social patterns that have made it harder for black people in their 30s and 40s to partner up. And the mainstream attention, he says, just makes the problem worse: "All this whining on 'Oprah' demoralizes black men and makes the women look angry and desperate."

James was the sponsor of the forum at the L.A. Athletic Club last year. And his advice to the women there made a certain kind of sense.

"Turn the volume down," he said. "Lose the attitude."

I think it is the easy way out to say that women look angry and desperate and whiny for stating that there is a lack of good men in today's society. Isn't it possible, that maybe it is actually true? Maybe there are less partners to pair up with... maybe women are just more vocal about their frustrations than men are and then automatically classified as being angry.It surprises me that the female writer of this article seems to agree to a certain extent about women having to turn down the volume. There never seems to be any real good way of getting this point across because every time a woman starts mentioning it, people roll their eyes and tell them to shut up. It seems that as women gain more power in society, men feel more and more demoralized and threatened, and thus resort to stating women are angry and desperate for saying they cannot find male counterparts.

I spoke to a male friend about my findings and he stated that in order for women to find male partners, women should lower their standards of men. But why should we? If we're so strong, we're looking for men who are just as strong if not stronger because that is how society has programmed women to look for a male partner. I personally want to find someone as strong as I am to have someone to keep up with and the same for them to be able to keep up with me. But should we settle for anything less than what we want? If men cannot be happy with successful women, why should women pretend to be happy with men who do not meet their needs or standards, or even worse, why should women dumb themselves down to look like a more pleasing candidate for dating? This seems like a lose-lose situation, however, I am not entirely sure how it could ever change unless we deprogram ourselves and stop feeling threatened by someone's success or guilty for being successful.

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