The Benevolent Dictator


First things first: please take a moment to head over here to vote for me to win in The Black Weblog Awards for Best Personal Blog, Best International Blog, Best Sex & Relationships Blog, and Blog to Watch.

Note: Some of you may have seen this before – it ran over at my homegirl Lidia’s spot a few months ago. But it’s late and I gots nothing so we’re throwing it back today. But you know I’ll take care of you come Nasty Friday so fret not.

In an ideal world, a relationship would be like a perfectly-balanced see saw. Each side would be of the same weight and when one side went up, the other would go down (pause?) to compensate. No one side would ever be above the other; instead there would be the perfect, harmonious balance that has everyone on equal footing at all times.

In the real world though, we know that relationships don’t work that way. In most romantic relationships, there is a lover and a loved. Sometimes that just happens organically and other times it’s by design. Sometimes the titles shift fluidly from one partner to another as the relationship grows and develops. But always, there is a balance of power.

No matter who is holding the power at any given point in time, it should be wielded benevolently. It’s almost as though whoever is holding the power has to pretend not to know that they have it and continue to treat their partner as an equal holder of said power, even while knowing they are not. That’s the way it should be handled, but how often do we actually pull it off? And who is better at it – men or women?

In general, when a woman gets a taste of power in her relationship, she enjoys it so much she wants her man to taste it too. So she will conduct herself in such a way so as to share that power with him so he can feel it too. She’ll give him a say in making decisions that he truly has no jurisdiction over, she’ll ask him his opinions about things he’s really not qualified to speak on, just so that he can have a sip from the goblet of her might. She will do her best to make her man feel as though she’s not running him, even though they both know deep down that she is. She will, in essence, make herself a step stool for her man to climb to ascend to the throne she willingly abdicated. A good woman will do this, that is. A trifling woman will throw her power in her man’s face every chance she gets and then wonder why he’s cheating on her, but that’s another post for another day.

When a man is holding the power in a relationship though, he’s rarely willing to share it. He won’t ask his woman for her opinion on things that don’t pertain to her, he’ll do what the f*ck he wants and dare her to say anything about it. He’ll make her feel as though he’s got one foot out the door ready to bounce any minute and have her jumping through hoops to convince him to stay. He’ll guard his power as jealously as a hooker guards her corner. He will – subtly or overtly – remind her every chance he gets that he’s running the show and she can either buy a ticket or leave the theatre. And it doesn’t much matter whether the man is good or bad; 9 times out of 10 he’ll be so absolutely corrupted by his absolute power that he’ll treat any attempts to dilute his reign the same way a government treats insurgents.

I read somewhere recently that “if someone has to have more power [in a relationship], that someone needs to be the woman….when most men wield the power, they abuse it and succumb to their innately self-serving, self-indulgent instincts. Women who have the power, on the other hand, tend to rule in the interest of the family unit rather than their own self-interest. Which is why matriarchal societies are peaceful, harmonious ones. And why societies ruled by males are ultimately destroyed in war”.

Granted, a woman wrote that so we have to take it with a grain of salt, but it does at least prove that I’m not the only one who thinks what women are better at wielding power than men.

The thing is though that after all of this, I still don’t think it’s a good idea for a woman to hold all the cards in a relationship. I think it’s unnatural…unholy even. And I think that deep down women recognize that and that’s why they’re so quick to relinquish their power; it’s not benevolence that drives it, but a desire to restore the natural order of relationships. But then again, if the man only has the power because the woman gave it to him, then who really has it?

What do you guys think? Should we be striving for relationships where power is always distributed equally, or is the imbalance of power a ubiquitous part of being a couple? Is it something you’re aware of in your relationship or are you oblivious? And who do you think does a better job of wielding the power – men or women?

And please don’t forget to vote for me to win a Black Weblog Award or four. Easy instructions and shit are right here.

bag lady. digital nerd. beauty junkie. shoe whore. i'm a sucker for big words and box-fresh kicks. know a little bit about a lot of things and have something to say about everything.

Comments 6

  1. Smarter says:

    First off, Walking Dead on AMC @ the Steve Jobs comic. Smarmy little tyrant, isn’t he?

    All I can say about this is, in all of my previous relationships, it just seems that this is how things worked out. The fact that very few of them lasted into any meaningful commitment (i.e. rings, bells, churches, kids and a picket fence), suggests that maybe this is an indicator that relationship won’t be working out in the long term.

    I really think it should sort of be equitable, and if it’s not, then it’s probably not gonna work out either. But, what do I know?

    Side note: I’m really just now noticing that most Black bloggers are just dropping these posts at 12 sum A.M. WTH, man? I ain’t got time to be up ’til dark o’ clock waiting to do my daily reading. I needs my beauty sleep. Sheesh.

  2. DjESQuared says:

    LOL at anything about Steve. Hes the man, but horribly misunderstood. (Macbooks till DEATH over here.)

    With situations like what youre talking about in mind I came up with a relationship rule. I call it “Shoot for the 50”. I think that we all realize relationships can never be 50/50 (at least not 100% of the time) so as long as the couple is doing their best to get to some kind of middle then it should all work out.

    In relationships the idea of “power” and who has it when can make for a messy situation. If you couple “power” with responsibility then it can be great. If you wanna be in charge then ill take care of the essentials (bills and such) and you take care of the rest.

    The ideal situation is probably something more like playing to your individual stregnths. Im better with money than my S/O so I will probably take care of the majority of the financials. Shes better with planning and things so she can plan vacations, write the grocery list and help me make the budget.

    Team work makes the Dream work.

  3. Ray. says:

    I believe the one who loves less in the relationship holds the power. The one who cares so much that they wanna hold on to the relationship by any means necessary would be too submissive to have the power. And I believe once either get a whiff of the power, some will abuse it, but most will use it to their advantage more often than not.

  4. Teflon says:

    LOL @ Smarter – I think the same thing. I always read early in the morning while I’m sipping my coffee.

    The balance of power is not really who has the MOST power. That’s always up for grabs. To me, the real difference is what kind of power do you have. Remember that movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” when the main woman’s mom says, “The man is the head, but the woman is the neck. She can turn the head any way she likes.” It ain’t exactly feminism, but I think it’s true most of the time. One of the problems I have with feminism (and still consider myself one) is that many women want the exact.same.things. as men without realizing that equality can exist without it. Forgive me, I got some thoughts on this.

    First, there is somehow a negative connotation about the ways most women naturally flex their muscle. Instead of using terms like influencial, subtle, low-key we get manipulative, sneaky, deceitful. Who wants to be associated with that shyt? So we become what “we” think is more forthright, honest, straight-up or real. Then some fool comes along and says we’re brash, sassy, loud and ghetto. Can’t win for losing.

    Women give men power because many of us are more comfortable in the role of co-pilot. I don’t want the responsibility of being the head of my household. There are burdens that rest on my man’s shoulders that I don’t want on mine. Kind of like if you see someone pushing a heavy rock, and instead of pushing the rock you put your hands on his back and push him. He can get the grit on his hands and I can admire the feel of his back muscles, and we’re both working. But for goodness sakes, lead on stuff that you’re good at. There are certain areas where my man defers to me (and not just in the kitchen) because he knows I’m better at X than he is. I’m better with words, he’s better with numbers. We’re a team, so whoever has the most natural ability in an area is leader for that time.

    1. max says:

      Ms Teflon you’re dropping wisdom as always. I like the way you think!

    2. Adonis says:

      I am glad somebody gets it to some degree…

      feminism is f*cking up alot of women i the game…

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