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.