When I was younger, I remember going on my first real…date? I’m not even sure your average person would really call it that, because I wasn’t exactly being “treated” to anything. The money that paid for my movie ticket, my meal, my dessert and my entertainment was all my own. I was twelve. I didn’t have a job, but neither did he. He asked his parents for money, just the way I’d asked mine, though I am positive he did not receive the same grief I did upon asking. This next sentence was the start of a lifetime of battling dependence for me, while being crushed by the weight of never being independent enough by the same people who wanted me dependent on a man:
“Why isn’t he paying for you?”
Ma… he’s twelve… I’m twelve… we can’t work… and just like you, his parents don’t want to hand him money for nothing. Please, chill out.
I’d almost had to cancel my first date, as I’d grown sick and mf tideeeee of reasoning for ten dollars. The way I saw it when I was younger, a date implied enjoying each other’s presence and the time spent with one another, not enjoying his money. That’s not what I wanted, what I even thought about. I hadn’t grown up with a mindset where “courting” necessarily implied testing his bankroll, and it was always kind of gross to me, to see the girls that did. I mean… come on. You’ve got your sixth, seventh, and eighth grade girls out here weighing what a guy’s bank account looks like, over what value he can give you emotionally. What kind of financial support he can offer, instead of moral support. Of all of the vain focuses on a female’s mind when it comes down to the guy she’s searching for in this modern era, (money, looks, height, popularity, possessions…), money has got to be the sickest one in my book.
My mom came out of her first relationship strong and proud, with a no bullshit attitude and a f*%@ that n**a mantra. As far as I can remember, she’d never relied on a man for any type of currency, minding her own while making her own. We never went hungry, we always looked fresh, and we always had more than your average kids in possessions. We were spoiled, as well as she could spoil us, and what was the greatest of all was my sister and I had never watched a man or woman or person carry her. She was a role model; your mom could never. Though I really hope she could, I do.
And so inevitably, I also grew up with confusion latent in my mind, because why on earth was she trying to make me dependent when she herself, was not? With all that she had learned from her first relationship with my father, with all of the lessons she branded into me and my sister’s little brains, with all of the pain she’d gone through while relying on constant dependency in a relationship, why was she asking us to let any lil’ boy pay for anything we could easily get on our own? My grandma too-to this very day, now when I am twenty-two years old with my own goals, aspirations, my own money… she wants to know why my man is not paying for every expense that I have.
Now y’all; the very last thing I want to do is downplay my own worth and what I bring to the table in a relationship, because I know damn well that I am a down ass chick. But never would I ever even let the thought fleet across my mind that my worth was so much, that I should never have to pay my way through life like everyone else. I ain’t worth that. I would ask no man to carry me financially, for so many reasons. It’s wrong and honestly… it’s dirty.
We want to raise all of our young women as dominants. We want them to know that dependency on a man is absolutely not the way. That they are enough on their own, their worth is unmatched, and that they can be the boss too. If any era was the time of the woman, it is definitely now. Females are paving the way, no doubt, from everything from politics to the WWE, (Sasha Banks is the absolute standard, but y’all don’t know nothing about that). We want our girls to grow up to be Serena Williams, Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey ‘nem. So why do we teach them the opposite?
We love Meg the Stallion and we conquered our lil’ “Hot Girl Summer”, but I believe what needs to be taken into account and addressed is that, for one, that HGS shit was all about playing men to get what you want, greedily, leaving them heartbroken while you, as a woman, grow kinda… heartless. Call me a square, call me a prude, call me whatever you damn well please, but when HGS is dissected, this aforementioned concept is exactly what is being portrayed in the media to our young women and girls, and it is sick. Especially when the minds that are watching the media the closest, are also the most impressionable. That last statement is arguable, sure, but when middle schoolers and highschoolers are looking up to Meg the Stallion the way we looked up to Nicki Minaj, when they’re looking up to Cardi B the way we looked up to Beyonce, what can we honestly, realistically expect? The young mind is way too impressionable to overcome the weight and power that the media actually holds. In the majority of circumstances at least. And please brothers and sisters forgive me for this one, but it’s only fact- most of this misconception occurs in our community. We are the dependent ones, and we encourage and push that lifestyle on our young women. As a community, African Americans need to do better. We have such potential to thrive and shine, but we hold our own selves back in way more than just this concept alone. But that’s a conversation for a different time.
What we fail to teach them after sending this misleading message is that the women telling you to empty his vault are also filthy effin rich on their own. They have their own assets, their own businesses, their own foundations and funds already. If divorce, break up, or unfortunate romantic circumstance ever invaded their unity, they could sign a prenup comfortably, pick up their accounts, and go. The average woman can not. Now what is your daughter, or niece, or granddaughter going to do if the relationship you pushed them so hard to control monetarily doesn’t work out and she’s left in a place of instability afterwards? Are you going to take her in, build her up, push her where you should have when she was younger? I think not, because by that time, she should know, or at least you expect her to. But… honestly, did y’all go out of your way to teach her when you should have? I, again, think not.
At the end of the day, what a person is taught through verbalism and circumstance is what they turn into. Either or, or both, plain and simple. Your daughter sees you relying on a man instead of trying to build yourself up independently; guess what she’s going to do as an unfortunate consequence? You tell your granddaughter that a man is supposed to be accountable for the finances in a pairing; guess what she’ll turn into? Another unfortunate consequence of this mindset, ladies and gentlemen, is that our boys grow up to feel as though it is their job to support a woman when that is entirely untrue. So many men are under the impression that it is their job to buy the house, buy the groceries, buy the dinner, buy the gifts, and y’all, it is breaking them. It breaks us when we realize a man can not provide for us, monetarily, the way we think he should, and we take that as heartbreak. When he wants to save his money, not to waste it on gifts and false showings of affection, we perceive it as heartbreak. Please make the effort to understand what I am saying here. Self reflect, come up with new lesson plans for your girls, change your own mindset. When a man can not afford an affluent lifestyle for two, we call him trash. Literal garbage! Ask yourself, next time you want to blame a man for your poor circumstances: can you even afford it yourself? Can you do what you expect him to do? Please ladies, look at yourselves too.
And please, stop telling your girls that they are (self proclaimed) queens, worthy of everything they never sought out to deserve in the first place. We can view ourselves as royalty without placing the accountability on a man to affirm the statement. Being a queen should not comply with having a king. The two are absolutely perpendicular, and we treat the king as the parallel, the asset to success. A man does not equal inevitable success, but hard work does. The day a girl becomes accountable for her own bills, her own lifestyle, her own lessons and demands and needs as well as wants, is the day she becomes that independent woman we all want our girls to be.
Send our girls in the right direction please.
Teach your girls and boys how important it is to build finances on their own, and then come together as a financial unit, but also how it is essential, as in literally not an option, to put assets aside for themselves. It is not a breach of trust, it is not a back up plan, it is not a shifty movement to make. We are so afraid, as women, to envision a life without our partner’s support and assistance, when we can not even assist ourselves. We are so afraid to acknowledge the fact that we have the potential to become powerhouses. We are so afraid of busting a hole in a man’s ego by being more successful than them. Why do we teach each other to be so damn afraid?
And one more thing. One more thing that, ladies, I hope we genuinely understand, acknowledge, readjust, and practice. One more stigmatic, seldom thought of, thing. This whole topic leaves me with one question that has yet to be answered for me.
What do we as women, offer to a man after he hands over his finances, his time, his emotions, his all? Because contrary to popular belief, there are absolutely good men out here willing to give us any and everything we could dream of. Do we reciprocate? Do we reimburse? Do we get greedy? So I guess my question is, what do you provide for your king (monetarily or otherwise), after he treats you like a queen? A status we, apparently, feel entitled to?
No, sex does not count.
Do you get greedy, or do you reciprocate?
Feel free to answer in the comments! Stay tuned for the next topic: Intimacy and Materialism.