Saturday, November 6, 2010

PEEK A BOO: Where are all the great women?

That's Peek-A-Boo to the right, she's a super hero. For real, her name is Lashawn Baez. After she transforms, she becomes Peek-a-Boo, a super hero with the power to vanish away. She's also a Medical School graduate student. Well, she's the brainchild of Geoff Johns and Scott Kolins of DC comics.

The name Peek-a-Boo seems to fit an array of women that stand behind great men. Some of whom find themselves in the unenviable position of supporting their husbands while standing in the quiet abyss of obscurity. Yet others are mentioned in the same breath as their championed husband. Many of them are forced to drop their titles and their last names and their own dreams, and acquire the name of "His Wife". What type of super human woman can withstand the torrential storms of standing behind her great man. Aside from the pressures of their jobs, the wake of some great men is filled with Harlots, Jezebels, Judases, Parasites, and a private life that washes away like footprints in the sand after a high tide. Yet, the good woman, the great woman, the strong woman holds on.

Why then, is the phase "behind every good man, there's a good woman" reserved for men? I mean, I seldom, if ever, hear that phrase used in reference to the man standing behind his great woman. In fact, the word "great" seldom precedes the name of women. There's Henry The Great and The Great Houdini. There's even The Great White Hope. Can you believe that - a great - white HOPE, and not a great black woman?

Is the phrase not reciprocal because this is a man's world? Heck, James Brown even wrote a song about it, titled, "This is a man's world". He was the hardest working man in show business and the greatest R & B singer of all time. Does the phrase "behind their man" mean in back of their man or lesser than her man? For many woman, the role of supporting her husband is a honorable position. Unfortunately, it appears men do not aspire to the status of the man behind the woman. The reversal of roles, if only in name, is a hard pill for most men to swallow - why?

Most will agree that there is a good woman behind most great men. Why is that? Is that because "to the victor goes the spoils? Women do outnumber men 7 to 1 in many cities. Maybe men can cheery-pick, you know, finding the "GOOD" woman, and leaving the rest behind. I 've frequently heard woman say there's a small pool of good men. Can it be that all the good woman have been taken by all the great men, and therefore few are left to become great women? That doesn't make sense, or does it? Well, just ponder that for a second while we move on.

President Barack Obama has a good woman behind him, and everyone knows her name. Nelson Mandela had a good woman supporting him, and everyone knows her name. Who doesn't know Coretta Scott King, and her famous husband. If I say Betty Shabazz, you'd probably say Malcolm X.

I could continue this game of "Peeking-at-his-Boo" until the night grew thin, but I am looking for a few great women. The list of great men, and what some might consider as their also-ran is endless. I am looking for the His & Her couple with the woman on top. Why do the names of great woman lack the reverberating names of the good man behind them? I have to admit, Oprah and Steadman is the only couple I could think of, and I doubt they even apply. Oprah is a powerful force, a good woman, but Steadman - how does he fit into the formula? My point: Are there great women, or is that position, or title, reserved for men? More so, where's the good "boo" behind the great woman, if there is such a thing. Maybe it's true that all the good men transformed all the great woman into "His Wife", the house wife, and his Peek-a-Boo, and thus, there's no good woman left behind, to one day, lead the way to greatness. Dang it, I am stumped, I can't figure this out.

Are there any great women up in here? Stand up if you dare, and holla like something aint fair. Or, sit back, like you just don't care. Be the boo that nobody knew.

1 comment:

Big Mark 243 said...

Oprah and Stedman?

Seriously, this is a complex problem. First, there is the 'real number' issue... women out number men, period. Now we can begin to blend in environmental factors. Racism, from which you can inject into how culture was shaped and formed around black Americans (this comment presumes that this is a discussion about great women in African-American communities) exacerbates the problem of how black men and women relate to one another.

Being brought over as slaves, the white superiority philosophy that has shaped this country severely crippled the relationship in the nuclear family. The man in black America was NEVER allowed to adequately provide for his family, the most basic ideal for a husband and father, and because of this fundamental inability, the love and admiration that normally is accorded the head of the household is warped.

Women are then compelled to absorb some, if not all, of the responsiblities of the father in the household and because the fail of black men is so pervasive, in extended family situations. This creates an environment where the perpetuation of a badly flawed design for relationships between black men and women are formed. There is a reason that you don't have other cultures and ethnic groups trumpeting that their women are the backbone of their communities. To identify with the women as the leaders and head of the home is something that was done because of duress. I believe that subsequent to women becoming the de facto head of household, eventually black men stopped being trained to be the husbands and fathers they should be, mainly because of the abscence of a role model not only in the home but in a child's immediate environment.

The conflict that black American's have with not ever having a traditional model to build a community that was based on the strong male leaders has resulted in failed relationship patterns developing as women have become more capable and are considered as equals. This consideration does not placate many black women because the desire for the ideal, a black man who is head of household and breadwinner, is firmly entrenched and unfortunately, I think a lot of sister think that becuase they have carried the burden of the holding together as fractured as it is, household or community, that they should 'let' the men take care of them.

Of course, this is an extreme. But there are too many examples of 'extreme' around. Also, how does this impact on young black men who wish to be fathers and husbands?

Because the environment siphons so many off, the middle class of 'relationship eligible' men, like the middle class of American society, has shrunken to an alarming levels, which were already low to begin with. The learning curve is steep and the price for mistakes are high.

Sister don't get the chance to work through relationships to learn how to love and be partners to ambitious black men because there are few to learn from and the competition is keen for those black men who are available.

Whew! Said a mouthful, but this is a big topic with a lot of sharp angles. I have hijacked enough... keep up with the questions, bro!!