Monday, September 22, 2008

On Waiting Around for A Man

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A few weeks back I was speaking with Tracey Rose about how as women,
we will drop what we are doing, a paper or a project,
to kick it with a man.
I understand that a distraction is a distraction,
and sometimes you desire
one because you just don't want to
be working on what you have in front
of you at that moment.

However, there is something to be said how men can put work
first and companionship second, whereas we are willing to sacrifice
our work, for the opportunity for companionship.

I mentioned this to Filthy and he offered that as women,
we are socialized to make the love from a man our number one priority.

He and I than began to have a discussion about how one of the ways that
patriarchy measures manhood is by dollars so it makes sense
that heterosexual men are willing to put emphasis on work
over a desire to be with a woman. They do this because they have
been socialized to do so. This is a narrow cell to live in.
I sensed in him that it was a moment of realization for both of us.
It became clear that this may have a tendency to damage the quality of
life for both women. In that moment, I became empathetic towards
men about the fact that we may expect them to perform in ways that
they haven't been taught or given the tools to carry out.

Capitalism is able to maintain its hold over the spirits of men by telling
them that they are what they take home after taxes
.

Furthermore, as Black people, who were originally brought to this
country to work for free, and to give birth to children to work
for free, I suggest that we be cautious with tying our humanity
to pay after taxes.

I also added that if men are encouraged to pursue work
over women, then implicit in that line of thought is
that women or a woman will always be around to be pursued.
This would indicate that we are expendable, replaceable
and in ample supply.

In addition, I heard him tell one of his friends in a conversation
about how women go about relationships differently and the
the implications that this may have for community organizing work.
He mentioned how women have a more astute understanding of
the fact that relationships need to be nurtured along in order to
thrive. I liken it to a church metaphor. If you attend Bible study
on Tuesday, and church on Sunday where you eat Ms. Johnson
cobbler or Ms. Jacksons greens, it is much easier to help Ms. Johnson
with her landlord problem
if you have been eating and praying with
her twice a week for the last
6 months.

Filthy and I went on to have a conversation about how, because
of our socialization, we tend to constantly evaluate
our careers against our relationships, trying to see how the fit, if they
are mismatched, how they are progressing into the future and
finally whether may be healthy or unhealthy. He remarked,
matter of factly that men tend not to do this because they are
not socialized to evalaute their careers against their families.

After that conversation I thought about the messages that
fairy-tales send us, I thought of my roommate in law school who
was working class Persian lady from Los Angeles who joined
a fancy and expensive art collectors group with the hopes of
meeting a rich man at an event, I thought of how some women
go to college with the hopes of meeting their husbands.

As for focusing on work or choosing companionship, I have done
both. On one have I have been too rigid in
insisting that my kicking it time is planned out ahead of time,
just so that I don't, in my opinion let a dude know that he can
disrespect my time by calling me in the middle of a
afternoon Tuesday afternoon, (we were both students)
saying "What 'chu doing? I am on break from class,
you don't have class today, why don't you come through?"
I remember look into the phone like, dude you don't have it like that.
He then accused me of treating relationships like work product.

I have also shelved working on a project to hang out with a guy.
I knew that I was suppose to read for class, but I got a offer for
Sangria and see a new independent film. Next thing I knew I was in
the shower and out the door.

However, it became clear to me 2 years ago,
that there seemed to be something amiss in a mans
ability and perhaps more importantly the societal
expectation that he should focus on his work yet, I should
be flexible when he was free.

For instance,The Graduate stayed in the library. Sure, he liked
him some M.dot,
and would give lip service to wanting to hang
out, but whenever I would
catch him on the phone, he was
going to or coming from the library. In seeing how dedicated
he was to the library, and with my competitive nature,
I started going to library for five and six hour stints.

It was in observing him that I came to see how someone
placed reading and writing at the center of their schedule
and built everything else around it. I am sure he dated and
that were women on the scene, but his main priority was taking
care of his grad school work.

Thinking about this issue has reinforced, for me, how the
gender roles and
expectations that we are expected shape
our choices and actions.
For instance, even when my female friends
have mentioned to me that I should focus, or that men are a distraction
for me, or that I should not give out more than I am getting, I think to
myself that their
comment is about them, not about me. I also think
that perhaps they are not
taking care of the things that they need to
do hence the desire to tell me what to do. I have also wondered if they
would say the same
things to me if I were a man.

Thats not to say that they don't mean well when they say
these things because more than likely they do.
However, I know that all personal transformation takes place
from the inside out, so someone inquiring about my essays,
about how my book is going, how grad school is going, how 100 V
is going, how Filthy is going and then proceeding to tell me
that I need to focus, is highly unlikely to inspire reflection
or transformation.

What I do know after reading think about this, is that being
a gender rebel is not for the faint of heart, feel me?

Any one tell you to focus recently?
Have you had any second thoughts about changing your
plans to hang out with someone
?

16 comments:

j said...

Your totally right.

As a man, i tend to put work first and women second.

But thats probably because most of the time they cost me more money than they make me.

Im sure that comes off alot worse than i actually mean it, but i really dont have the time explain myself.

-J!!!

ahnkabee said...

"This would indicate that we are expendable, replaceable and in ample supply."

Hold up. We're not?

Kidding.

I think you and Filthy are right in that a lot of it is conditioning (which seems like the best reason and worst excuse for everything). But once you realize that, you gotta make changes.

I'm the only one telling me to focus these days. Everyone else seems to think I have my shit together.
I am the first to admit that I used to drop everything and anything to kick it with a dude I liked. In a past relationship, I started to see this as a problem. My ex's work ethic and need to spend time working on himself was admirable and it made me realize I wasn't spending enough time on my own obligations or working on me. So I switched gears, but honestly, I'd rush through my work or put it off completely the second he wanted to hang out. We eventually compromised, meeting up to work independently in each other's company. I remember thinking, This is probably what a marriage feels like, but I enjoyed it.

I recently hung out with a dude but set a curfew, which I announced to him as soon as I got to his place, so that I'd hold myself accountable to it. I got to see him, make the most of my time with him, and then I went home and worked on my lessons for the next day - all before my bedtime.

Part of me doesn't even care to look at it in terms of gender roles and societal conditioning. Part of me just sees it as personal responsibility and being grown.

Oh. And also...

"I think to myself that their comment is about them, not about me. I also think that perhaps they are not taking care of the things that they need to do hence the desire to tell me what to do."

For real.

Model Minority said...

I'm the only one telling me to focus these days. Everyone else seems to think I have my shit together.
I am the first to admit that I used to drop everything and anything to kick it with a dude I liked.
============
Ain't that some shit. For reals.

Glad you left a comment. I can tell it came straight from the heart too.

THIS was one of them POSTS.

Model Minority said...

But thats probably because most of the time they cost me more money than they make me.

Im sure that comes off alot worse than i actually mean it, but i really dont have the time explain myself.
========
Neggrrroooo everything we say got a BIT of truth to it...I am thinking of coming down ya way for xmas...you gonna be around?

DJ Diva said...

This is very interesting.

I found that when I was single...I focused more. I was able to schedule dates and outings, plus focus on my studies.

When I was in a relationship...I ended up putting so much to the side I almost failed out.

Needless to say that when I finally finished my degree...I was single lol

I watched my ex soar to heights with an idea from me..yet when he was focused on it...I was focused on him. I am still reaping what I sowed.

(first question) People give me advice all the time...sometimes they come hard with it. Even going as far as to basically tell me how to do what I'm doing. My response is "If you could do what I do..so much better than me...why aren't you doing it?"

That usually shuts them up

I love your posts...even though I dont always comment..

Model Minority said...

My response is "If you could do what I do..so much better than me...why aren't you doing it?"

========
Yes mam.

Glad you commented. Keep coming back.

TROUBLMan said...

While, socialization is partly due the woman choosing men before career, it's hard for me to give all the credit to our socialization. I think part of it is a biological sense of security that women find in men. It's like how men biologically find sexual pleasure in women. In my opinion men, choose career because they want more women and less commitment, which also has biological implications.

And don't forget that socialization has also taught many women seek careers first. Although society is not a progressive as it should be, there is a real sense of feminist pride. And it's growing. Just look at how the campaign.

But your are definitely right when you say, Men think women are expendable, replaceable and in ample supply.

Model Minority said...

I think part of it is a biological sense of security that women find in men. It's like how men biologically find sexual pleasure in women.
=======
Negro. Based on what?

Are you saying that there is a pleasure for security trade off taking place?
If so, based on what?

But your are definitely right when you say, Men think women are expendable, replaceable and in ample supply.
==
Really. Based on what?

j said...

I more than likely will be around. I was thinking of spending christmas in canada with some Fam, but i havent made any concrete decisions.

Holla at me and let me know whats up. Me and my people can def show Model minorities from all walks of life a good time.

Easy

-J!!!

Model Minority said...

Okay..will do.

Me and my people can def show Model minorities from all walks of life a good time.
=======
And I am certainly from "several walks" of life.

the prisoner's wife said...

ugh...seeing as i have rearranged my LIFE for my dude, i guess i fall into the "fit it in" category. however, i didn't put my life (education/career) on hold for him. if anything, he encourages me to pursue things, just as i do for him.

i think you are right. we are SOCIALIZED to behave a certain way. i have always been amazed at how some people raise their boys vs. their girls. unless they are some hippy, they instill in their boys a toughness/lack of emotion that can be unhealthy, while girls are allowed the room to express themselves (yet told from jump to be independent). i aim to raise my son in a way that allows him to be a GREAT person in all aspects: comfortable with himself enough to share his feelings, independent, and just an all-around good dude.

sidenote: i was looking over the ballot initiatives in CA this year and noticed prop 5, 6, and 9. all dealing with crime, and specifically drug laws. i wonder why we haven't heard more about this? what's your take on them?

Model Minority said...

i was looking over the ballot initiatives in CA this year and noticed prop 5, 6, and 9. all dealing with crime, and specifically drug laws. i wonder why we haven't heard more about this?
=========
I posit that we haven't heard more because we treat poverty and addiction like they are crimes, begging for punishment.
what's your take on them?
=========
I know that there is a bill to treat MORE
young folks like adult gangmembers so that they can be electrocuted...other than that nothing.

What did you see so far?

TROUBLMan said...

Negro. Based on what?

Are you saying that there is a pleasure for security trade off taking place?

If so, based on what?

Most of the evidence out there comes from studying other primates.

First, the gender difference in Humans are real. Men are typically larger and stronger.

Also, researchers studying primate social structure have identified various social group compositions like single female and her offspring, one-male-several-female, monogamous, polyandrous, etc.

Around the world, humans mostly subscribe to monogamy. In social arrangements like this the bigger and stronger partner is the one responsible for security.

As far as men thinking women are expendable, replaceable and in ample supply, that comes form my experience. Is it true across the board of course not, but are largely driven by their sexual impulses which more often tells them to get as many women as possible.

Model Minority said...

Allright Darwin....Ta hehehehe.

I think we are on that nature/nuture zone...Imma be easy...But...he basically speaks on this issue, but frames it from his, a male, perspective.

http://www.marclamonthill.com/mlhblog/?p=5810

Aunt Jackie said...

In reading this I sometimes wonder how and where I fit in as a woman, or perhaps due to my upbringing I have been socialized differently.

I am more the type to put men or relationships on pause to secure my career. So much so that it's been a challenge in many of my relationships over the past ten years. I literally get lost in my work and have a hard time finding my way out sometimes.

Just the other day I was having a talk with a dude I've been seeing about how I'd like to progress things...my answer was in a month.

His response was, does that mean you will or won't go out with me tonight?

I think I actually walking around thinking there are an abundance of men who are replaceable. Perhaps I need to rethink my own work.love life balance.

Model Minority said...

His response was, does that mean you will or won't go out with me tonight?

I think I actually walking around thinking there are an abundance of men who are replaceable. Perhaps I need to rethink my own work.love life balance.
========
Ain't that some shit?
Like damn.

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