Cis-hetero men love to blame many of their personal failings as human beings on Feminists.

We seem to have y’all shook.


[To those whom the shoe fits:] Always know that the fact that you’re an obtuse, unexceptional and very average man has nothing to do with women who are strong, smart & vocal. It’s all you. You don’t deserve the desire, respect or bodies of women simply because you were born with a penis. It is 2014, after all.

On a broader note, perhaps “Black masculinity” needs to be re-imagined. It isn’t sustainable for black women’s autonomy to be regarded as an existential crisis. It isn’t sustainable for how you define yourselves “as men” to be contingent upon how you oppress women and gay people. Furthermore, when those groups refuse to be silenced and decide to define themselves outside of your gaze (please remember that self-determination is a basic human right) you want to swear and rant and “urgh, those Feminists” and froth at the mouth, aimlessly. Quite aimlessly.

Feminists aren’t a mischievous alien species. We are women. We have been here. And though we love you immensely, we have decided, with finality, that “our silence will not protect us” and that “if we are silent about our pain, they will kill us and say that we enjoyed it”. Word to mama Audre Lorde and mama Zora Neale Hurston.

On Twitter, @Home_Halfway, who appeared to be a man, contributed to the #YesAllWomen Trending Topic with: “To be against Feminism is to be against human rights.” And the choir clapped.

What “Black womanhood” is, has had the opportunity to re-imagine and re-invent itself over time in such a way that women have a healthy spectrum of choice. Some of us want to be dedicated housewives or career women or single mothers. Some of us are heterosexual or lesbians or still figuring it out or, or, or – the list is endless and it’s never a matter of either or.

I don’t think Black masculinity has enjoyed that same fluidity. Human emotions that don’t include anger and rage still seem to be quite a taboo. This accepted masculinity for heterosexual men seems to exist rigidly and the sad thing is that it is destructive to everyone including yourselves. We as women are in the process of being able to fully enjoy the vast scope of our humanity. Why have oppressive binaries when you can claim evolving?

It’s troubling because you end up with many Black men who are frustrated, and often angered to the point of violence, that women are no longer doing what is expected – instead of looking within themselves and defining their manhood anew, in such a way that it does not need women to be oppressed in order for it to recognise itself. Black masculinity cannot be so frail as to be threatened by black women working and fighting to better ourselves. Do better.

This isn’t an attack. Introspection is a valuable thing and feeling hurt that “all Feminists do is bad mouth Black men” is to want to derail the discussion and draw attention to your egos instead of giving attention to the larger, legitimate problem at hand. Not all men? Please read this.

I am surrounded by black men on the daily. I am just tired of being scared and apprehensive when it comes to you. So trust, I say all of this with love. And I know it isn’t all black men. I just want you all [and us all] to be and do better.

I just won’t live half a life to accommodate anyone.

Author: Nova

I'm an Anthropology postgrad or baby master anthropologist, poet and writer. Occasional badass too. Patricia Smith says: "Say a prayer and start slinging" - I do.

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