On the Protection of Women | Why Fathers Need to be More Involved in Daughters Relationships

Back in the day, men had to ask  a woman’s father for her hand in marriage, but now that’s considered old fashioned and unnecessary. These days, some men aren’t even meeting the fathers until the wedding rehearsal. “Ask for my hand?  For what? What am I, a piece a property? So I’m not capable of giving my own hand?” This is the response many men would be hit with if they even suggested talking to a woman’s father first. And that’s part of why things have gotten so bad.

I was completely capable of “giving my own hand” if I chose, but still my father had a talk with my husband before we married. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it was probably something along the lines of, “Listen here, boy. F_ _ _ up and see what happens. I’m from the streets, son. Jersey all day!” Ok, so that was a bit of a stretch. I’m sure my father said nothing like that, but he did make it clear that there were certain standards he’d have to live up to if he wanted to marry his daughter.

It wasn’t about passing ownership from one pair of male hands to the next. It was about a man being held accountable by another man. In the same way that women find it easier and best to talk to other women about issues of femininity, men should approach other men on issues of masculinity and manhood.  Women shouldn’t have to yell, “Treat us better!” “Stop beating us!” Stop abandoning us with your children!”  Those messages should come from other men– fathers, uncles, brothers, sons and friends (or even a random man on the street who witnessed some foolishness and couldn’t help but to get involved).

A woman knows if another woman is up to no good, and so does a man. That’s why fathers need to be the intercessors. You might be fooled by a nice smile and a smooth baritone voice (and so might your mother), but your father won’t. You might be captivated by his cologne and conversation, but your father is immune. He has been taking care of you his entire life, doing everything he can to make sure you are safe and happy, so he’ll be damned if he’s going to let another man come into your life and ruin all the work he’s done. No sir. Not today. Not on his watch.

That is what fathers are for.

Let’s be clear. This is not to discount the work or importance of mothers. Mother’s are absolutely essential, but this is an area where a father (not necessarily biological) needs to be present. When a woman gets in a serious relationship with a man, she’s not just agreeing to be his companion, she is agreeing to let him be the father of any children they may have. She is agreeing to allow him to be the leader of whatever family they may create. She is agreeing to be the mother of any offspring he may produce. That’s a big deal, a super big deal, one you shouldn’t be making by yourself.

Love is great, but it isn’t always logical. In fact, it can be downright crazy. Think of all the people that stay in bad relationships because they can’t bring themselves to leave. (Perhaps you’re thinking of yourself right now.) Think of all the people that are so attached to the “loves of their lives” that they put up with horrible treatment. Love actually makes it harder to judge a person’s worthiness. It fills the air with a sweet-smelling fog that makes it difficult to see what’s in front of you.

Ladies, we need to turn down the Destiny’s Child long enough to realize that we do not have to exist in this world completely by ourselves. We’ve been convinced that we have to have our own everything, even our own backs. Well, that just isn’t possible. If your back is going to be covered (and we can probably all agree that it should be), it has to be done by someone else. There is no way around that. And since you’re dealing with a man–something you are not–why not have the cover of someone who is? Makes sense, don’t it?

~Nadirah Angail

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A Letter to Men: Holding Men Accountable for their Behavior

Image credit: Corbis/Moonboard

I usually write for and about women. I’m trying a different approach this time; I’m talking directly to the fellas.  I’d like to make a request of you, if I can. It’s pretty simple: Can you step it up, please?

You’re lucky. You guys have gone pretty much unexamined until now. Most relationship writers (myself included) have spent countless hours and words on coaching women on how to be, what to accept and what to do. We need some balance up in here. It’s time you got some coaching.

Men are often maligned as dogs that will treat women horribly if you let them. I don’t accept that. I know the strong protective nature that is in you all. I know how much you love your mothers, sisters, daughters, aunt, nieces  and female friends.  Deep down, you want you be better, but because most women have lowered their expectations of you, you’ve been convinced that it’s okay. Well, guess what. It’s not.

I’ve always told women to carry themselves with respect (and I still stand by that statement) but even if they don’t, you still have a responsibility to  treat them a certain way.  That particular woman may not know her own value, but because you know yours, you shouldn’t allow yourself to be disrespectful.

I’ve always told women to stop having sex so quickly with men (and I still stand by that statement) but even if they don’t, you need to stop being so quick to accept what they are foolishly giving out. Everyone knows that no one wants a woman who sleeps around, but we conveniently skip over the fact that a promiscuous man is just as unattractive to any woman who is looking for something real. When a woman is ready to hop in your bed at a moment’s notice, you think of it as a reflection on her. “If she’s dumb enough to give it out, I’m not going to turn it down.” But, do you ever stop to think of the reflection on you? Yes, she is being dumb to give herself to man who probably won’t value the gift she is bestowing, but you’re also being dumb to connect yourself to such an emotionally immature woman. The man a woman chooses says a lot about her. Do you think the opposite isn’t true?

Sex may be a simple act for you, but it rarely is for women. With it comes a barrage of emotion and feelings that connect her to you (regardless of if you want to be connected to her). You say you don’t want any drama. You say you want to leave the past in the past, but you continually attach yourself to women who aren’t going to let you just “hit and run.”  Come on, man. You should know this. I’m not saying anything new.  You want to lose the drama? You want to stop getting your tires slashed? You want your ex to stop harassing your current girlfriend? Be more selective with the women you connect yourself to.

The next time you have a chance to sleep with a woman who doesn’t respect herself enough to know better, don’t. Instead, tell her she is beautiful inside and out and deserves something better. Tell her you’re not going to be just another man on her long list of losers, even if she invites you to. Tell her the respect you have for all women won’t allow you to be the next mistake in her life. Tell her something she’s probably never heard before. Tell her “no.”

`Nadirah Angail

Like this? Buy Nadirah Angail’s Book “On All the Things That Make Me Beautiful: Short Inspirational Essays on Life, Love & Self” Available here.