If a woman does not respect herself, why do I have to respect her? That is the gist of a conversation I had with a friend of mine last week. We were talking about that ridiculous Flavor of Love show. I think the show is a case study in mutual disrespect. The women get on there and pretend to have feelings for Flav with hopes that their camera time will propel their non-existent careers. I acknowledge there may be some women that really are feeling Flav, but I think they are in the minority. Then, on the flip side, Flav takes advantage of the situation. He knows that most of the women aren't really there 'for him' and I'm not sure if he's really serious about finding 'the one' on the show. To get his attention, the woman drop it like it's hot, make their butts clap and tongue him down whenever they get the opportunity. My friend thinks that if the women are putting it out there like that, then why shouldn't Flav take advantage of it?
My position is that if a man respects a woman, he wouldn't let her play herself like that in public. Respect goes two-ways, you have to carry yourself in a respectful manner in order to get respect from anyone. But, are you supposed to respect those that aren't smart enough to respect themselves? Again, I think yes. I remember when a man would intervene if he saw a female friend he respected acting un-ladylike while at the club. He'd pull her to the side and ask her to straighten up. Does that happen anymore?
I can't place all of the blame on the men, women HAVE contributed to the current state of affairs. All of that talk about being 'Independent' and 'Not needing a man' has made many men resentful towards women. I've heard guys say, 'let her independent @ss handle that on her own.' A lot of men are confused and unsure about what's expected of them by women. The female role has expanded and there was no equal change on the masculine side of the equation. So, we're unbalanced. I understand the rationale of the women's movement. I just think the effect it had on Black women was detrimental. It served to divide and conquer our families.
In conclusion, I think that while we may not have a responsibility to a particular person, we should feel responsible about the images and representations we unwittingly pass on to our young people. If men starting telling young girls that they are more interested in your personality than their ability to clap their butt cheeks, maybe a few young girls would stop bending over. And maybe if women would stop chasing after the local drug dealers with the phat whip and big wad of cash and instead gave a second look to the broke computer science college student, a few young guys would consider enrolling in school. It's within our scope of responsibility to respect even those that don't respect themselves, because we're all connected. Imagine where we'd be as a community if we actually practiced that. We can do it, one person at a time.