Last week, I wrote about a cartoon that idolizes Black women from yesteryear and craps on modern Black women. One of the uplifted qualities of the 70s woman was “knows that she has more power being submissive to her a man.” Unsurprisingly, many commenters latched onto the idea of submission and rallied against it.
“Submission” has become some sort of weird buzzword. The second a guy—always a guy—throws it into a conversation as a desirable trait, you can bet good money that an argument is about to ensue. It’s an exasperating conversation that women go ape s#@! over. We hear men say it and most of us envision a man wanting a woman akin to Vanessa Bell Calloway’s character in “Coming to America”, the type of woman who answers every question with “whatever you like” and will hop on one foot while barking like a dog—a big dog, if necessary—to please her man. Just the idea of it is enough to make many of us black out as we tough type an enraged response. As much as we try to convince and cajole guys to an enlightened perspective, they rarely budge. Maybe men are just that pigheaded. Or maybe something’s getting lost in interpretation between the language of Venus and Mars.
I like to think that most men are not Neanderthals and there must be some confusion of what many men mean when they say they want a submissive woman. So I asked my Male Mind Squad (if you read A Belle in Brooklyn, you know they address an array of topics in the book), my go-to group of thinking men across the country, ranging from their mid-20s to mid 40s and who are either dateable or would be if they weren’t already committed or married (because that’s the only kind we really want to hear from on these topics.) I prayed their answers wouldn’t reveal that their mindsets were from the Stone Ages.
There’s hope. Most of the respondents didn’t expect a woman to submit, or even think she should. They even added some sort of disclaimer to their answers like, “I don’t believe in submission”.
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