Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines Womanhood as “the distinguishing character or qualities of a woman” Womanhood can also be construed as the “state or condition of being a woman.” In the biblical sense, women are seen as the equalizer, the true of fruits man’s spiritual labor, a blessing only bestowed upon those deemed worthy enough to bask in ambiance of the fairer sex. Proverbs 19:14 tells us “House and wealth are inherited from fathers, but a prudent wife is from the lord.” The woman is the creator and curator of life, the culmination of all things beautiful in this world. Her aura is the summation of things ordered by the Lord himself, an earthly testament to his grace and benevolence. The woman is the spiritual guide, always ready to soothe the inhibitions of men too prideful or too “powerful” to humble themselves. The woman is to be revered and respected, loved and protected. Her vanity and physical appearance do not and should not overshadows her loving spirit and nurturing temperament. Is an entity whose presence is necessary in this world; one who’s aura brings out nothing but the best in those lucky enough to be blessed with its presence.
As a young black male, growing up in the suburbs of Atlanta, seeing a beautiful black woman was second nature to me. The swirls of melanin that flow so freely through the streets of Atlanta lull a sense of security, one that can only be matched by the soothing tone of a black woman’s voice. I grew up surrounded by the pinnacle of black womanhood, some who reveled in the ability to excel in all endeavors, despite staunch and sometimes spiteful opposition. My mother and later maternal grandmother, both Spelmanites, instilled the worth of the black woman in me at an early age. “Be the man a woman wants to need, be a man that wants to lead.” was something my mother frequently infused into her motherly tidbits of world wisdom. She made it imperative that I understood that being black man, there was target on my back and the only ally I truly had was the black woman, so I owed it to her to preserve her best interest at all times. My grandmother, a retired school teacher and avid churchgoer was the exemplification of a spiritual woman, taking all things to the lord in prayer or song.
However, history and popular culture have shown us that the black woman is not always held in the light she honestly deserves to shine in. As black men, we need to be held accountable for the treatment of our women. We’ve been led astray and corrupted by the various powers that be. Be it racism, classism, sexism, the hip-hop industry or just generational miscommunication, we’ve lost our way when it comes to guiding and nurturing our women. We’ve become complacent with the idea that women will put up with us, no matter how poorly we treat the ones we claim to care for. We’ve let the images we see in the media warp and distort our perception of reality, rendering us to broken images of what it means to be a man in the eyes of a woman. It is our responsibility to ensure that women, black women especially, are respected and safeguarded in our communities. We must raise our sons to honor his feminine companion, shielding her heart and mental health like it were his own. We have to cease and desist the objectification of our women. The over-sexualized, hyper-masculine, pseudo-womanizing is why our women don’t see themselves as valuable to us. We have to stop raping our women, bastardizing our children and setting poor examples for the generations to come. We owe it to the black woman to be the pillar of the black nuclear family.
As men, we must lead by example and follow out of trust. We have to let our women guide emotionally and strengthen us mentally. The woman has healing powers far beyond our comprehension and we owe it to them to allow these powers to take hold. We must train our daughters to love themselves, to strive for the dreams and only submit to men worthy of her presence. The black woman is the backbone, the rib, the finishing piece in the complex puzzle that is black masculinity. She is the Yin to our ever-so-formfitting Yang. She creates balance in a world where equilibrium is not always a luxury. In a time where this country is facing moral and racial divide, the black woman is the familiar and welcome face, the prize you cannot put a price on and one Uncle Sam cannot tax. Her heart for others holds the tone of Martin, her strength and fearlessness in the face of oppression sing the tune of Malcolm. She a warrior on the frontline without ever having to strike a blow out of anger and her graces should be met with dignity. We cannot survive without the support of our women, with that being said, we have to support them.