With the rate of unemployment reaching record highs across the country in the last few years, many men are at home while the women in their lives are at work. If you look at the statistics in Black communities, the statistics get worse-much worse. The rate of unemployment among Black men has been at a high of 16% which roughly means that one in every seven men is unemployed.
Yesterday, I spent the day with my small family as well as one of my husband’s brothers who happened to be off from work at that time of the day, while his wife was at work. I watched with much admiration as he cared for his almost 3 year old daughter with so much love and affection. He was feeding, changing pull up diapers and giving out an unlimited number of hugs and kisses. I’ve also had the experience of watching my own husband in a similar role.
What is particularly interesting about watching both men is that nothing about their interactions with their children seems bothersome to me or them. That being said, I have been aware of a growing mumbling and grumbling, mostly among men, about how society and media is on a huge campaign to “feminize” men.
Of course, this is a very complex issue. A lot of us grew up during the time when we generally understood that women were the nurturers and care takers of children and the family while the men were…not. Some saw men who were providers and protectors while others just didn’t see much of their fathers at all. Those that lived in homes with absent fathers, generally experienced living with women who played both roles; providing and also being care takers.
It is interesting to note that a lot of conversations about what a lot of men say they find undesirable about Black women-“strong Black Women”, is actually what might be women exhibiting traits that we would primarily associate with being a man. So, it could be said that women, primarily because of their circumstances, are becoming more like men.
Personally, I do not want to be “like a man”, nor do I think that I am, but I am aware that a lot of women who have “strong” personalities, do tend to rub people the wrong way and I am no exception (*chuckling to myself). Also, I have no desire for my husband to be “like a woman”. A lot of people are still more comfortable with the softer image of a woman who is content with just being a wife and mother, rather than a powerful businesswoman. In the same token, some are more comfortable with a “manly man”-whatever that is.
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