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Monday, May 30, 2011

On My Level - Part 1 :: Delusions of Compatibility

It's 2011.

In this day and age, women of color (namely African American women) are making substantial progress in the corporate/professional arena. With respect to their careers, they are ascending to and beyond various milestones of success and realizing many of their goals. They are undoubtedly a growing formidable power in the workforce.

With respect to education, and focusing primarily on the DMV (Washington DC, Maryland, Virgina) demographic, to encounter an African American woman who does not possess at least one advanced degree is a rarity; although, however, it is most likely that she is currently in school in pursuit of such a degree.

Regarding financial status, many women in this category are oft times well compensated. They may live in anything from condominiums to single-family detached homes that they alone afford. They drive late-model vehicles. Their wardrobes are oft times far from meager in variety and breadth. They also vacation in premier locations across the country as well as abroad.

Such women have either worked hard to obtain this level of earthly success, or have been wise and prudent enough to properly manage and capitalize upon what has been passed down to them by, perhaps, their parents. Regardless of the cause or source of there status, they've made it. Unfortunately, though, earthly success has not equated to relational/romantic success for many of these women.

Within the context of romantic relationships, there exists a growing sentiment within this female demographic that suggests a man must have obtained the same level of earthly success before he can be considered 'eligible'. Amongst many of these women, it is a commonly held belief that a man is not 'on their level' if he does not either possess, or is not in pursuit of, the tangible distinctions of prosperity and education comparable to that of their own.

"There are a lot of women, though, who are trying to match up their education level, who are trying to match up their corporate status to find somebody on the same level..."
It would therefore be reasonable to assume that these women believe what makes one vocationally and/or materially successful would likewise produce relational success. After all, to establish comparable prestige as a prerequisite for 'romantic eligibility' not only implies that such "prestige", in their mind, is a conclusive measure of the quality of a man, but is also the foundation of a romantic relationship that is holistically successful.

No romance if no finance...yes? Arguably so. However, this frame of logic seems to venture far beyond the valid notion that a man must have livable income, progressive employment and, perhaps, reliable transportation before he is considered 'eligible'. To follow such logic would suggest, then, that the aforementioned parameters are insufficient; especially if the material credentials of the scrutinizing woman exceed them in any way. If that is the case.... Why?

Why is a man deemed 'ineligible' if he does not either match, exceed, or aspire to obtain the same tangible distinctions of prosperity and education as that of his female counterpart?

Why is comparable prestige a prerequisite to 'romantic eligibility'?

Why is the relational validity of a man measured by his corporeal prosperity?

Why, then, is the substantive character of a man, outside of all tangible wealth and status, widely neglected by so many amongst this demographic of women?

[See On My Level - Part 2 :: Elitism in the Dating Game COMING SOON]


  1. Good blog! very true about what you said. I am happy for my black women yet at the same time sadden for them. They have reach new heights when it come to careers & education, but fail miserably when it come to relationships. To quickly blame them would be immature for there are a lot of factors that lead to this old situation.

    unfortunately there's no easy solution to this problem. There's no self help book, black forum, poetry meeting, all black family march, church sermon, Bill Cosby rant, or Tyler Perry movie to remedy this problem

    women were brought up that way with this mentality and our culture/economy encourages it

    women are no longer taught who to judge a man by his character but by his wealth or lack their of. And they have this destructive ideology that relationships are suppose to make them happy. Looking forward to part 2

  2. I tend to break it down, but this is my third attempt. Yeah... my second attempt also failed, so I'll answer quickly in hopes nothing else goes bad. *smile*

    I think women like the idea of security & find comfort in a man who is cultured & well-versed, which is why they deem distinctions of prosperity and education, respectively, factors of eligibility. Comparable prestige is, in my opinion, a matter of pride, a matter of perception--being seen as a "have" & not a "have not", being a "power couple"--among their community of others who've "made it". The relational validity of a man is measured by his corporeal prosperity--you mean physical attractiveness--no more than a woman's. ...No? In fact, I think women are more forgiving concerning this. I have personally given men the time of day that did not interest me at first sight, but did gain my interest once they showed (seemingly) attractive character--personable, funny, creative, open minded; essentially, welcoming/warm vibes & potential. Now, as far as the substantive character of a man being widely neglected by so many amongst this demographic of women, I again, feel like that goes both ways. I believe that has much to do with our (generally) skewed idea of what is love, the true makings of it. It's said art imitates life, but I believe many of us are imitating or desire to imitate art, what's mass-produced by the media--the cool (charming & stylish) guy get the girl, the hot (sex appealing & stylish) girl gets the guy--whether they have character or not! That is why the character of a wo/man often times seem neglected because most women (and men, I'm sure) are just about invisible, if they aren't appealing to the eye (usually comparable to the world's idea of beauty--we all know what that is, if not check out the magazine stand). But again, I definitely think women are more forgiving. The most ratched (not very appealing physically or otherwise) man will be the same man who will be nitpicky about the women he'd even consider, like he's Marcus from "Boomerang". ...There's definitely a double standard regarding this, men are excused for much more & I don't think it's because women are all that thirsty & settling for substandard men. *lol* And to continue, women don't find value in being smart, in having morals, or even character when it's seems as if the Amber Roses & Kim Kardashians are the ones getting the dudes, not the girl next door or the girl at the library or museum, furthermore, the church pew. There are even Christian men, whom have a perspective that isn't too far removed from the Kanyes regarding what they're looking for in women. The same church boy who says he wants a fun, healthy girl with natural hair is pursuing the girl who likes to party, chain smoke with a relaxer. *lol* Overall, I think men & women in relation to each other & our unreasonable standards are more alike than different. Men & women are both guilty of the "on my level" (or, more appropriately, "on what I think is my level") prerequisite.

    Looking forward to Part 2.

  3. I actually think that professional black women in the DMV and elsewhere are punished for being successful. Most of the professional black women I know (myself and several of my friends) do not hold the standard that this blog assumes they hold for men. All of the professional women that I know want a man that is trustworthy, loves God, and is a hard worker, no matter what they do for a living, or what their bank account or car may look like (not to say that the other standard isn't held by some women, but a lot less than the blog imples). What I have found is that black men are intimidated by women who they perceive to be more "successful" than they are. And that makes me sad. I am a professional woman who can take care of myself, but I am ready and willing to accept the leadership of a Godly man, whenever God chooses to bring him. But, I've found that instead of being valued for working hard and being financially secure by God's grace, men often judge you as "less feminine" or less desirable. Could it be that the perceived "standard" that professional black women hold black men to is a smokescreen and the real issue is the insecurities of black men?

    I don't want to be judged for having achieved some level of success anymore than a man wants to be judged for having had professional or financial difficulties.

  4. Just offering a different perspective. If you've ever watched the movie "The Best Man" I think that movie offers a perfect examnple of how black men tend to view successful, professional women. Good topic and blog! I will def look for Blog #2.

  5. [Important note to remember] This blog is not saying that ALL 'successful' African American women possess the "on my level" sentiment. It is saying "within this demographic" and "amongst many of these women"...not ALL of them.

  6. Your blog definitely did make it clear you weren't talking about all professional women. I guess I just think it's a red herring. I think there may be a few here or there that think this way, but I honestly believe most don't. I think it's the exception rather than the rule. But maybe that could be just my group of friends, would be interesting to take a wider look. I agree w/ your premise that the "on the level" sentiment is flawed.