There are times in life when a confluence of events come together and compels those of us who have chosen a life of the keyboard to hold forth. Today is one of those times, for me.
Thanks to a recent discussion I was a part of over at Ms. Susan Walsh's Hooking Up Smart and getting wind of a very interesting NYT article by way of Chuck Ross and The Spearhead, not only has MGOTW finally gone mainstream, but I've finally put a Black Man's spin on the whole ball of wax. Here's my comments on the matter below:
"What a lot of Women are hopping mad about
, is the fact that Women’s Liberation has effectively meant, Men’s Liberation, too – whether Women like it or not. It just might be possible that Men have their own ideas as to how their lives should unfold, and when, and under what circumstances. I for one have gotten all kinds of flak because I don’t choose to marry, but I do choose to have relationships per my timetable. If I were a Woman saying that, I’d be lauded as a heroine of our age; but because I’m a Man saying that, I’ve been villified – by Women. Such is the way of our utterly feminized, hypocritical age.
(White, middle and eventually UMC) Men, are indeed following the lead of Black Men, and are GOTW. No, that doesn’t mean that these guys, most of them anyway, don’t go on to become dads and hubbies or mates; it just means that they’re doing it on their timetable. Like Women, Men too want to explore life outside the script they’ve been handed; and because Men have more time with which to “find themselves”, this can and will mean that Women may not have as many Men who are ready to settle down when they are – and that is the big huge rub. This is about what Women want when they want it – and more and more guys are having none of that.
I’m just sayin.
Second, I deeply question and challenge
Regnerus and others’ notions and ideas of what they mean by “success”; for me, the fact that I’m still alive instead of working myself to death, in a job that I hate, under a mountain of debt from school from taking a subject that I didn’t like and can’t take full advantage of due to among other things, market vagaries, bait and switch and yea I’ll say it, discrimination against Black Males, etc et al, means to me that I am quite successful, because I live life on my own terms and per my own schedule. I owe no one anything, and do the work I actually like doing. I am in good health, mentally and physically – certainly better than Black Men a half century ago. Guys like Regnerus are little better than Feminists who try to guilt trip stay at home moms into going back to work for the sake of “the cause”. I’ll pass.
I’m glad you brought that up
because it gives me the chance to clarify something. For me – and I only speak for myself – I am NOT anti-marriage, or anti-relationships with Women; indeed, quite the opposite.
What I’m against is the notion that Women get to call the shots as to what world I am to operate per their whims – 19th century Victorian England on one side to pander to their Jane Austin fantasies; and 21st century egalitarianism when it suits her. Other guys are more than free to indulge such things; I’ll pass. I like the idea of people actually upholding the ideals of equality, when the lights are on and everyone’s looking – when it actually counts. If I can rise above my base instincts, she can too. In fact, I demand that she does. The standards will not be changed, they will be adhered to. Aggressively. Freedom ain’t free; somebody’s gotta pay.
It’s the Ladies’ Turn."
While it is completely understandable that Ms. Walsh and others would be uncomfortable with the facts, the truth nevertheless is that Black America has always been, and continues to be, the canary in the mine that is (White) America; what happens in B'More today, could very well hit Brookline tomorrow. The evidence of this fact is by now, beyond a matter of dispute or debate; a bestseller by Kay Hymowitz has as its title "Manning Up"; the very title of Ms. Walsh's blog, "Hooking Up", is yet another example of vernacular that found its origins in Black American romantic/sexual life; the terms "Baby Mama/Daddy", not only are now a part of the White People Who Matter's(TM) lexicon, a major motion picture was made with the former as its title; and many, many examples abound.
Therefore, we - African Americans, and for the purposes of this post, Black Men - are the sharp end of the SMP (Sexual Market Place) spear. If you want to know how America's sexual trends are likely to go down in her future, all you need do is take a look at what the Brothas are doing, today.
And, what *are* Brothas doing, today? Well, among other things, we've been "going our way".
We just never called it that - and we've been at it long before our White brothers came up with a fashionable name for it.
When I first came across that curious corner of the Internet known to many as the Manosphere, one of the most oft-repeated terms I would here, was "MGTOW"; when I found out what exactly that meant, and even more to the point, read some of its biggest proponents expound on its virtues, it all felt not just alien, but downright hostile. Sure, it could be said that at least some of these guys had a right to be a bit miffed, given that they had gone through nasty breakups and/or divorces, often involving kids and assets, and that they felt aggrieved - for the sake of argument here, let's say rightly so - but still, their presentation of the "going their own way" concept, was to my mind harsh and extreme, with exhortations that Men shouldn't deal with Women for *any* reason, and so forth. It all came across as just downright bitter and mean.
Also, the notion that Men, in this case, White Men, were making some kind of grand political statement, sounded just a weebit grandiose to me, if not out and out delusional. I mean yea, the personal is, or at least can be, the political and all that; but from my standpoint as a Brotha, I don't know, I just didn't see "going my own way" in those terms. And I don't think the bulk and mass of the Brothahood saw it that way either. By all accounts, we certainly didn't see it as a kind of Male version of Lysistrata, that's for sure.
Of course I can't speak for all my Brothas who have gone their own way over the past few decades, but for me, the whole MGTOW thing was a more personal, close-to-the-vest kind of thing to me. I wasn't out to put on over on the Sistahood, nor was I attempting to make some kind of grand political statement about the state of our times or anything like that. To me, MGTOW was much more intimate.
I am alive today because of my dad. I love and miss him dearly, and as far as I'm concerned he is one of America's true unsung heroes. But there were things about my dad's life that I didn't want for myself - and neither did he. While Black America is chockfull of tales of moms (and many dads!) telling and guiding their daughters to be self-sufficient so that they "don't need no Man", what isn't as nearly well-known is the fact that many Black dads wanted a different, more freer life for their sons, too. He fought in Korea in the USMC, so I wouldn't have to. He braved naked bigotry, out-and-out racism and in-your-face discrimination, regardless as to how "qualified" he was or how hard he worked, so I wouldn't have to. He did jobs he didn't like, worked a heck of a lot harder than he would have wanted and passed up on lots of opportunities so I didn't have to. He wanted me to have choices that simply weren't available to him over the course of his lifetime, and to make the ones best suited to me.
The Sistahood's constant and defiant refrains about their independence and how they "don't need no Man", gave me and millions of other Brothas leave to "find ourselves" in ways we found appropriate; after all, if Black Women felt it OK to question societal norms and gender roles and "Black Male Privilege" we felt OK to examine the same things and more - much, much more.
So, many of us didn't feel the need to abide by what so many in American life - including many a Sista - to be old, stodgy rules of living and being; we didn't feel marriage necessary, along with a host of other things: working jobs that we really didn't like and didn't feel wanted there anyway; or going to school to study some course that we didn't like but only did because we felt that it was the right thing to do, only to wind up under a mountain of debt and still twice as likely to be out of work as our White brothers; or adhering to 19th century norms of courting and dating, to Women who early and often touted to the world and shouted from the rooftops, about how they "don't need no Man", how "strong and independent" they are, and so forth. Black Men were told, that they needed to get with the times of an Enlightened Age, many Sistas said...
...and many of us listened.
Today, Black Men like me are healthier, happier and live with much less stress than our dads at our ages; we don't feel bound by "duty" to do things that, aside from the dictates of Women, have in so many ways truly outlived their purpose; and we feel freer to live lives that speak more to our desires and dictates, no matter who don't like it.
On that note, and to be sure, there are quite a few Sistas who don't like it - hardly a week goes by that doesn't hear at least one Sista bemoaning the fact that Brothas don't/won't "Man Up" - which is really codespeak for, "I'm ready to settle down; now come and do your duty to me". By all accounts, the Brothahood seems to be saying "I'll pass".
That doesn't mean that Brothas who go their own way don't have Women in their lives - far from it. They just seem to be having said Women in their lives per their schedule - meaning, in the way and at times when it's best for them to do so. Sure, most Brothas eventually settle down themselves, but that's just it - they're doing it when it best suits them to do so. And under what circumstances to boot. And we've been doing all this long before the acronym became fashionable online.
After at least a decade of Internet murmoring, yelling and the like, it would appear that our White brothers have not only joined the fold, but have brought the term "MGTOW" to the attention of the wider world. Not to be outdone, naysayers and the like, many Female but quite a few Male commenters alike have registered their consternation and heaped their shoals of scorn on the heads of the MGTOW legions. If Black American sociosexual history is any indication, they might as stop while they're ahead, because none of it will work; nearly three decades of such sustained "bitching" on the part of the Sistahood hasn't changed one blessed thing.
For we have truly entered a Brave New World; and as always, the Brothas will lead the way.
Now adjourn your asses...