In a conversation on Twitter right now, talking about the manic pixie aka helpless infantile awkward white woman trope. Aside from the scary levels of easy prey behavior that the trope supports, I’m also contemplating how much of being “capable” is hard wired into the strong black woman framework. I cannot imagine a life where I wasn’t expected to learn how to take care of myself & the people around me too. Working, going to school, being able to cook, clean house, do hair, pay bills, & basic car repairs (change the oil, put air in the tires, change a tire, etc.) have all been on that list of basic life skill requirements for adulthood for as long as I can remember. And I get that life skills are good & necessary things, but man it would be nice to have a shorter list of expectations sometimes.
We’re not even allowed to focus on our own emotional needs without being accused of being selfish/spoiled, much less expect other people to take care of us. After all, we’re supposed to be the caretakers, all the time, every time. And I get why white feminists object to positive sexism like chivalry or whatever, but I can’t help but wonder if they’d be so quick to toss it aside if they knew how it felt to live outside that bubble. I’m really curious, because between fandom hate of black women who try to take care of themselves (Mercedes, Martha, Tara), & these TV shows that exalt white feminine fragility I am feeling some kind of way. I mean really, can they imagine a world where no one expects them to need any emotional or social support? Where their only roles are supportive friend/mammy/sex toy and that’s what is always presented as normal in the media. Do they ever think about what feminism might mean to black women?
Someone I know said, in earnest, that she was a real live manic pixie dream girl which is part of why she was awesome. I was slackjawed in disbelief. The idea that you would see being incapable at life as awesome is astounding. There was also some weird glossing over mental illness going on that I can’t fully tease out
Anyway. Something that comes up all the time for me in therapy is the question of what I want. I’m almost always focused on helping others, taking care of my shit, taking care of other people’s shit, etc.
I was asked “Why do you always have to run and fix it? What if you took 2 minutes to think about how you feel and what you want to do about the problem” and I just stared blankly. That’s never really been an option.
I run myself into the ground all the damn time. It’s just. That’s what you do. Asking for help feels like I’m being the most selfish horrible person, even though I would totally help a friend who was in my situation
I am behind women being able to care of themselves and not need a man to swoop in and fix shit. But damn it, sometimes I want someone to just come and fix my shit for me. Not all of it, just you know. Something.
I’ve been working on being OK with the idea of “self-care.” I had a hellacious abusive ex-GF who used “self-care” as an excuse for a lot of shitty ass behavior. I picked up so much slack for her I can’t even. It kind of blew my mind when she was outraged people wouldn’t obey her every “self-care” whim. It also blew my mind how often people just catered to her. It still shocks me how demanding she was in her helplessness.
Expectations for myself are always high. It feels like from everyone.
I think unless you are extremely empathic, white women can’t fathom the other side of the situation. That feeling is one that takes years and years and years of doing for yourself and being expected to do for others to build up. I can relate to what you are saying so much stoutoralist because I run myself down a lot too. Gotta take care of so much. For me, I know a lot of it comes from my father passing away and me having to step up in ways young people necessarily shouldn’t have to, but sometimes HAVE to (if that makes sense). And the idea of not doing that when it always happens, is different. Even when you feel like shit or need to take time for yourself. I am getting better at taking time for myself, but not necessarily the kind of self-care that is always the best for my body.
As for the chivalry, I find it annoying hearing a lot of white women complain about it, though I know what they are saying. And it’s for the reasons karnythia is pointing out or hinting too, that many get it sooo much and are expected to be incapable of much of anything that they want to assert independence. However me, I wish for that shit a lot. I’m tired of having doors slammed in my face when I walk literally, I’m tired of seeing dudes get out of seats for white and Asian women (which comes with it’s own reasons that aren’t positive either) only to look at me like bitch, you know you can stand on this bus that will jerk around your small ass body. I’m tired of being expected to move out the way for white folks and all that bullshit. Some fucking chivalry would be nice. Someone saying you need a hand, wouldn’t be bad. Someone who stands up for me because they see I’m tired of always having to stand up for myself, wouldn’t be so bad. So yea, that’s where I’m at right now with this. Good topic, ty.