Men in America, regardless of race, tend to exhibit dual personalities that we turn off and on at will whenever in mixed company. We master this ability to be like chameleons so that we, too, can follow in the footsteps of our forefathers and be granted the same privileges of any all-American man: to have our cake and eat it too; to be kowtowed to, obeyed — even worshipped, so that we won’t fly into a temper tantrum like a spoiled little brat. And when differences of opinion arise, like any “real man,” we’ve learned how to bring closure to the dispute, shutting down negotiations with the final word.
Such ways of thinking, albeit archaic and sexist, have long prevailed, perpetuating paths predestined for young boys as they’re indoctrinated into American patriarchy. The impact of this societal norm leaves most women in a position where equality, while a noble, logical notion, exists more in the philosophical realm than in the real world.
We want the sisters to walk with us, just not in front of us. We don’t mind if they express their views, feelings, needs and concerns, just not too often, not too loudly, not too boldly. We want to have things our way because, well, that’s just the way it is — the way it’s always been.
Still, many men suffer from a kind of perversion, a malevolence, an imbalance of neurons and protons that allow us to respond like maniacs should any woman we love become the harassed, humiliated, battered or violated “target” of another man determined to get what and who he desires.
The irony is that when we treat our wives, soulmates, special lady — even that hot “temptress” who finally invited us up to her place for a nightcap, in similar, inappropriate manners, we cry foul, indignant that anyone would dare question our privileges and powers guaranteed to every “man of the house.”
This is the world in which women must live, survive and somehow thrive. Women care for our children, they take of our homes, they work just as many hours as any male colleague but receive less in wages. From the time they take their first step, they must brush off physical advances, sometimes sexual in nature, everywhere they go: in grade school, as college coeds, while walking along any street or avenue, at their job, in restaurants, coffee shops and nightclubs — even within the “safe confines” of their families.
That’s why women are still marching. That’s why women are still battling. That’s why women are still running — running to and running from. It’s not the stranger in their midst that they fear most and seek to avoid — it’s you, it’s me — it’s us.