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Unformatted text preview: ROMANCE & RELATIONSHIPS RELATIONSHIPS Shifting, Chapter 8 General Impressions General If you were to describe the state of Black If female-male relationships how would you describe them? describe Healthy/unhealthy Increasing/diminishing Satisfying/unsatisfying Peaceful/conflictual Supportive/unsupportive How satisfied were your parents and older How family members with their relationships? family How satisfied are you and your peers with How your relationships? your Overview Overview All intimate relationships are All challenging, sometimes conflicting (space, power, money, sex) (space, Race creates greater stress on BMBF relationships b/c of need to shift BF to deal with racial bigotry and desire for home setting to be a place of refuge where you can be your authentic self. authentic Marriage & Divorce Marriage Significant Significant decline in rate of marriage among AA women women Divorce rate for Divorce AA women higher than other ethnic groups groups Rates of Never Rates Married women Married 38% of AA 38% women 18 & over over 25% of Hispanic 25% women 18 & over 18% of WW 18 18% & over over Population rates Population Ratio of Black adult Ratio heterosexual women to men about 19 to 17 due to high rates of homicide, suicide and imprisonment among AA men imprisonment Labor Force Labor BW are in the labor force more BW than BM than Underemployment and Underemployment unemployment of BM affects their willingness to wed and stay wed wed Poverty Poverty 35% of Black female-led 35% families live below the poverty line line Marital Satisfaction Marital AA who are married have higher AA levels of personal happiness and general life satisfaction than those who have never married or who are separated/divorced separated/divorced BW who are married have more BW stress than husbands probably b/c they carry more of burden they BW less satisfied with their BW marriages than WW marriages Marital Satisfaction continued Marital Middle-class, married BW Middle-class, experience more depression than middle-class, married WW Marriage generally contributes to Marriage emotional well-being but this is truer for men than women and for Caucasians than AA, consistent with the double whammy of racism and sexism that AA women face sexism Characteristics of BF-BM Relationships Relationships Tend to establish more Tend egalitarian relationships egalitarian Black married couples more Black likely to be open and fluid with roles and responsibilities: Both Both cook, clean, nurture children, and work outside home Characteristics of relationships continued relationships Devaluation of AA men in Devaluation society has led some to buy into gender biases which affects relationships relationships Some Some AA men when denied opportunity to be in control in external world, impose desire for control on relationships causing conflicts conflicts Shifting in relationships Shifting BW sometimes shift to maintain BW relationships with BM relationships Endure emotional/physical abuse Silencing of self Become submissive to detriment Become of their well-being of Often our relationships are not Often sites where we are able to be our authentic selves our Shifting continued Shifting To make the men in our lives To more comfortable and confident: more Suppress Suppress our own needs, strengths, and desires strengths, Behave in less direct or assertive Behave ways ways Minimize accomplishments and Minimize success success Overfunctioning Overfunctioning Even though BW experience Even racism just like BM do, though different, BW often feel need to be a protective buffer for BM who are suffering from consequences of racism to neglect of their own needs neglect Overfunctioning continued Overfunctioning BW recognize the mistreatment of BW BM and empathize with them BM We may become recipient of anger We and target of rage that cannot be expressed outside of home expressed We are expected to understand BM’s We burden and tolerate his behavior (joblessness, unavailability, hanging out, getting drunk/high) out, Overfunctioning cont. Overfunctioning We may suppress parts of We ourselves to preserve peace or overfunction to pick up slack overfunction We enact the myth of the We unshakeable BW (strong Black woman/SBW) woman/SBW) Social and cultural expectations Social within the Black community often encourage us to do this often Minimizing Success & Accomplishments Accomplishments BW receive mixed messages: BW Pressed to excel educationally and career-wise and raise children and also expected to submit to BM and not outshine him him Research indicated that 40% hid Research their talents to avoid intimidating their mates/boyfriends their Minimizing Success Minimizing Minimizing success may be used as Minimizing defense against myth of non-femininity— defense that we are too aggressive, opinionated, that unfeminine unfeminine Engage in balancing act between being Engage independent and self-sufficient and sensitive and not emasculating BM sensitive Conflicts may occur when she earns more Conflicts than husband/boyfriend than This posture is harmful to the Black This community which needs more rather than fewer leaders. fewer Not Pretty Enough Not Feelings of inadequacy with regard Feelings to our physical appearance may result in investing significant resources to modify our appearance while diminishing our success while All women expected to adhere to All certain physical standards however it is more weighty for BW b/c the standard is based on WW—we live in the shadow of the “lily complex”— in belief that the way to look beautiful is belief to look White to Not Pretty Enough continued Not To fit into the mainstream mold, To some BW alter, change, augment aspects of themselves augment Straighten Straighten our hair, perm it, wear weaves, extensions, wigs, bleach our skin, wear colored contacts, dress like hoochie mamas dress Submission Submission Staying in abusive relationships that Staying put them at risk of physical injury and death death Inability to say “no” to risky sex so Inability may get pregnant when they are not ready, be left to raise a child alone, or contract STD or HIV or Submission considered a virtue Submission according to cult of true womanhood but a vice when women are not able to take care of, protect and defend themselves themselves Submission continued Submission Women who have Women been abused often blame themselves creating double burden of abuse and self-blame and Result of shifting Result seen in HIV statistics statistics BW have highest BW rates of HIV & AIDS of any group of women in U.S. of 30% of HIV occurs 30% among women & 64% of newly inflected women are AA are AIDS is #1 killer of AIDS AA women 25-34 years old years Submission cont. Submission B/c of mate unavailability BW may B/c not challenge Black cultural norms that encourage unprotected sex that One study found that women’s One assertiveness in asking men to use condoms was key factor in whether condoms were used condoms Another study found that consistent Another condom users more likely than inconsistent or nonusers to communicate about AIDS with partners partners Submission cont. Submission In another study girls and women that have In less control and power in influencing relationship decision making are less able to initiate and sustain safer sex behaviors in their relationships in Silencing, one way that gender-based Silencing, power dynamics expressed, may prevent women from insisting on using condoms women High HIV rate among BW may reflect their High powerlessness in relationships with men powerlessness Healthy Relationships Healthy Relationships can grow and change Relationships when couples acknowledge their differences and their varying needs and desires and Through honest communication and Through attentive listening partnerships of respect and cooperation are built respect Compromise is fundamental –both Compromise parties must accommodate the other parties Need to recognize that neither Need person is perfect person Healthy Relationships cont. Healthy Couples must share their fears and Couples vulnerabilities and develop deeper more intimate understanding of the other so that they can empathize with each other with Need to allow each other opportunity Need to process what goes on in outside world while creating a barrier that provides protection on the inside— provides create your own sacred space Healthy Relationships cont. Healthy Need help of extended families, Need religious groups, and Black organizations to strengthen couples’ relationships relationships Marital counseling is a valuable tool Marital for some couples and premarital counseling is recommended for all: Help couples learn to communicate, problem-solve and manage conflict problem-solve Healthy Relationships cont. Healthy “For BW challenge is to find For balance that allow them to connect and commit without being silenced and victimized, to engage without losing themselves, to retain their individuality in the midst of partnership, and to genuinely and fully love and be loved..” and ...
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