By Devin Robinson
Nationwide — I firmly believe that women and men are equal. Get that? Equal. But if we expect real equality, then we need to be equal all across the board. We spend a significant amount of time focusing on what men should do while ignoring what women should as well. There are various forms of abuse: mental, verbal, and yes, physical. All abuse is wrong on both sides. Since physical abuse is more evident, we give it more attention. Because it is more detrimental when a man strikes a woman, the woman instantly becomes the victim. However, that shouldn’t mean physical abuse from a woman towards a man should be minimized. Unfortunately we have become a society of “measurers”.
There was literally zero outrage when Beyoncé’s younger sister Solange physically attacked Jay-Z in that now infamous elevator video several months ago. Beyoncé even went on the joke about the ordeal in her new song “Flawless”. Why was it a joke? Because Jay-Z didn’t hit her back. So it became okay. The only rhetoric and outrage that existed was the public’s desperation to know what happened; for gossip’s sake.
Whether the abuse leaves a physical mark or not, they all leave emotional wounds. A real man doesn’t hit a woman, is the new rhetoric, while a woman hitting a man is comedy. When can we begin the new rhetoric of “real humans don’t hit humans?” I believe no one should hit anyone. I oppose abuse and violence in all context, one reason why I oppose the death penalty. We simply don’t have the right to strike one another.
There is an element we woefully ignore. When we are hard at work telling men to walk away, let’s also focus on what he is being told to walk away from; which, obviously, is abuse. We are ignoring the taunting, antagonizing, provoking, and verbal abuse that leads up to many physical abuse cases. We are constantly telling men to “take it”, walk away but eventually all that bottling up is gonna come out somewhere, at someone or something. It’s human nature. It’s the abuse from abuse syndrome.
America keeps missing the mark when it comes to this topic. If women are going to fight for equality, then they must also be the change they would like to see. My fear is for my 3 sons with ages ranging from 19-14. They could possibly face this issue in the future and I would hope that society and justice fairly deals with it.
Here’s the thing. Just like blacks spend so much time proving we are not racist that we make it easier for the racist to be racist, women spend a lot of time unconsciously proving they are not equal (with the wrong rhetoric) that it makes it easier for the chauvinists to be chauvinists.
But I get it. In this country of “who has less are automatic victims” it also holds true in the world of domestic violence; who loses the battle is the victim, forgetting that we are in the middle of a bigger war of mankind.
When we overlook taking responsibility and verbal restraint all we are really subliminally saying is women aren’t equal. We are saying women have less control over themselves than men, making men the superior being, which I don’t believe. It’s just a cop out.
Emasculating of men and dehumanizing of women both have lasting consequences. But when we fail to have a real discussion and insist on real responsibility from both ends, and fail to focus on real equality, all we simply are is a bunch of perpetual hypocrites.
Devin Robinson is a college professor and the author of “Rebuilding the Black American Infrastructure: Making America a Colorless Nation”. You can learn more about him at www.DevinRobinson.com.