Last night I took the time to watch Chris Rock’s new Netflix comedy special, Tamborine. I wanted to see after the whole Monique debacle, where she repeatedly compared herself to Chris Rock and other black male comedians, if she honestly could hold a candle to someone who essentially is her competitor. That was really it. I had no other intentions but to compare Chris Rock and Monique. I didn’t think that watching his stand up would open my eyes to see how some men view themselves when it comes to relationships.
Throughout his set, Chris made multiple references to relationships, which shocked the hell out of me. Often, a lot of black comedians focus their jokes on sex, life, kids, and that one time they got so fucked up they couldn’t stand, but they hardly focus on relationships. Considering Chris was in a 19-year marriage, it shouldn’t have been such a surprise, but still.
He made one statement that I've seen numerous men post over the past couple of weeks.
“Only women, children, and dogs are loved unconditionally. A man is only loved under the condition that he provide something.”
Before I start to dissect this statement, let me first say that I understand why so many men find this quote relatable, even if it’s the furthest from the truth, especially by today’s norms. With social media, discussions always seem to revolve around who's bringing what to the table. The $200 date discussion happens at least once a month and then the next day, we’re discussing what’s acceptable when it comes to splitting bills in a relationship. If men solely based their opinion on what they saw on social media, then I would get it—it looks like women only care about men being the provider and nothing else.
Let me repeat myself.
If men solely based their opinion on what they saw on social media, then I would get it.
But we’re all adults (at least I hope you are if you’ve found your way to my blog) and we shouldn’t be so foolish to think that what someone puts on social media is 100% their truth.
So let’s keep it real.
That entire quote is a crock of shit.
Today’s men are far from providers and today’s women are far from being loved unconditionally.
Back in 2001, Destiny’s Child dropped their hit single Independent Women. I personally remember dancing to it when I was 10 in the living room with my friends, screaming that I was Beyonce and daring anyone to fight me if they disagreed. I was too young to understand the lyrics and too immature to get the movement. Gone were the days of women singing about their broken hearts and how they needed a man. From then on, women started to embrace their independence and rely less on men.
Don’t get me wrong, I know there were songs prior to Independent Women that pushed the “I don’t need a man” narrative and I’m not saying that this is what solely made women become more independent. I honestly cannot pinpoint when the change happened, but I know during the 90s, women were still under the belief that only a man could be the provider. If you would’ve mentioned stay at home dads during this time, you probably would’ve been stoned. Women were hardly the breadwinners in the relationship and it went without being questioned.
That song was pivotal in the “I’m a strong, independent woman, I don’t need no man” movement. Today, whenever a woman says she’s focused on her career and not worried about having a husband or kids, people barely blink. The narrative has switched. We aren’t nearly as expected to be in a relationship as our parents were. More and more women are seeking sperm donors, solely so they can raise their kids on their own. Single-parent adoption and fostering have become extremely popular over the last ten years. Although there is a huge pay discrepancy between women and men, we can still support ourselves.
We don’t need you to be providers. This is nothing new and we all know this. I’ve dated several men who were uncomfortable with the fact that I had a successful career while they were pushing sneakers at Foot Locker. I had no issue with where they worked, so as long as they had some type of job, but it bothered them that I was essentially the breadwinner. This is just my personal experience, but I know I'm not alone. So where does this talk of men needing to provide something come from?
I going to be totally honest for a second, I believe men hide behind quotes and topics like this to feed their ego. This generation is not being raised to expect the man to provide for his entire family and pay all the bills. This generation isn’t even being raised to have a family—which is why single-parent homes are the norm in the US. We aren’t being raised to work through our issues when it comes marriage—which is why the divorce rate is at 50%. Men aren’t even being chastised for not marrying the women they get pregnant anymore. So again I ask, where does this talk of men needing to provide something come from?
Let me take a step back. I realize that I may be jumping the gun by assuming that this automatically means money. If this isn’t the case, then yes, I do expect my man to provide me with the bare necessities to keep a relationship healthy.
Trust. Honesty. Faithfulness. Dependency. Commitment.
I expect you to provide that because that’s what I’m giving you in return. Even then, when it’s not provided, I’ve seen women remain patient and stand by their man. Unconditionally.
See what I did there?
Truth be told? Y'all aren't out here unconditionally loving these women. Unless I misunderstand the definition of unconditional love. Unconditional love wouldn’t have men over-sexualizing and dehumanizing women. Unconditional love wouldn’t have 1 in 3 women being victims of some form of physical violence by their intimate partner within their lifetime. Unconditional love wouldn’t have 13.6 million women who are single mothers.
And I’m really just scratching the surface. I can go there for a second.
Does a culture that normalizes sexual assault and abuse represent unconditional love for women?
Does a culture that has normalized the abandonment of women in motherhood represent unconditional love for women?
Does a sexual culture which encourages the use of women for sexual gratification represent unconditional love for women?
Does a culture obsessed with beauty that devalues women who don't meet a certain standard represent unconditional love for women?
Do the men who complain about being friend-zoned love women unconditionally?
Do the men who won’t stop harassing women on a street until they say, “I have a man,” love women unconditionally?
Let’s cut the bullshit. Women are conditionally loved just as much, if not more, than men.
This isn’t a shot at Chris Rock, this is a shot at the countless men who thought that this quote was okay to bash women. This is a shot at the men who never waste the opportunity to try and diminish women in relationships. It’s beyond me how anyone could hear that joke and honestly think, "You know what, he has a damn good point!" Not by today’s standards and not with today’s men. Not when the majority of them can’t provide financial stability, are boring, toxic, emotionally unavailable, and can barely help a woman to an orgasm.
Am I’m going too far? Maybe, but I’m just trying to make a point. That quote probably would’ve been true 40 years ago but in 2018? It’s trash. The fact that out of all the things Chris Rock said, this is the one statement that went viral is puzzling. Everyone, men especially, totally glossed over the fact that he admitted that he cheated on his wife, wasn’t a good husband and felt like he was invincible because he paid all the bills.
But we’re supposed to love you unconditionally because you can provide what exactly?