A couple of weeks ago when I wrote “Steve Harvey and Black Women,” addressing the patriarchal aspect of why literally over 2 million women sought relationship advice from a comedian, one of my readers expressed there was nothing wrong with adhering to Harvey’s guidelines on acting like lady while thinking like a man. I immediately thought about validation.
The issue of validation was addressed again here on Clutch in the comments section of “Method Man Hates Natural Hair?” The resounding belief was that Method Man is entitled to his opinion and no one cares anyway. But what stuck out like a sore thumb was a comment several women agreed on.
Stop expecting these brothas to strengthen the self esteems of black women/girls…they didn’t sign up for that, and they’re not signing up now. Please, black women. Seems like we always seek/expect validation from those who are least likely to give it.
Another commenter wrote:
I would love us to get to a place where we do things to please ourselves and not to get validation.
It’s true. A lot of women consciously and subconsciously seek the validation of men. Certain women are walking around with the hopes of meeting some man’s approval, whether it is in her beauty, her intelligence, her body or her career.
Undoubtedly, the majority of men and women would consider Stacey Dash a beautiful woman. In the latest issue of “Heart & Soul,” Stacey dished on her personal battles with three failed marriages, and openly admitted not loving herself until nearly her 40’s, or feeling beautiful unless she had a man (even though she hasn’t really been single since she was 17). We were shocked to learn that a woman as strikingly gorgeous as Stacey, along with a successful career, felt she needed a man to feel beautiful or loved. But this is a common trait among women.
I don’t think women are solely to blame for their need of validation. Since the beginning of time, justified through religious texts, men have been said to be superior to women. There was a time where the majority of women did need the approval of men to do almost everything. Once it was acceptable for women to think and act independently, we were already psychologically and socially conditioned to assess a certain value to the words of men even over our own. If there is any culprit to this validation women seek, it is patriarchy.
Much of what a woman does is tied to what a man will think, whether we are honest enough to admit it or not. I’ve heard countless women admit they won’t cut their hair even though they would love to, all because their boyfriend doesn’t like short hair. Or the number of women who personally feel rejected when black men prefer white women (I used to be one of them). Better yet, any time millions of women are listening to a two times divorced comedian for advice, as if he holds some golden key on finding and keeping a man, we should realize this says a lot about the need some women have to be led by a man.
Black women in particularly want black men to value and accept us more. And the minute they don’t we feel offended. Well why do we care anyway?
I love black men. I do. But I gave up a long time ago thinking they were going to stand beside us with locked arms in large numbers on the battlefield. If we are looking for validation from a man on our actions or how we think of ourselves, we will spend many of days unhappy. My self-esteem is not wrapped around the preferences or approval of a man.
Patriarchy is a hell of a drug. There is no easy way to dismantle a system that has been in place for hundreds of years. But black women have to stop seeking validation from where it may never come.