I was in the one freakum dress I still own, headed to a bar in Springfield. I don’t go out very often, but one of my friends was throwing a party. I stopped by the mirror before I headed out the door.
5 inch heels? Check. Hair? Check. Guess dress? Check. I looked like a Basketball Wife in training.
I carefully made my way down the stairs and stood by my car. I clicked the alarm.
I unlocked the door and tried to turn on the car.
I walked upstairs and had the same thought that every pretty woman has in this circumstance:
“Lord, which man should I call to come help me with my car?”
I’m used to men taking care of me. My Dad, and both of my brothers–including my youngest, who is 14 years younger than me–make sure I’m well taken care of. And while I live away from them, there is always a man who is willing to take out my trash or help me with various issues that come up–bug infestation, car problems, etc.
After some prayer, I called C. C. has always handled my car issues with grace, and there was the added bonus of him living right down the hill from me. He came through, dressed better than I thought he would be, with his truck, jumper cables, and assorted tools. I wisely changed out of my scandalous dress into something *slightly* more appropriate–a dress and leggings with sandals.
As I ran down the stairs to greet and thank C. for helping me so quickly, I thought, “how lucky am I that, as a black woman, I have the opportunity to be the damsel in distress!”
I know that sentiment sounds odd, but black women *never* seem to be able to get away with seeming weak, vulnerable, or dependent upon anyone but themselves. Let mass media tell our story and we’re always yelling at somebody about how we don’t need anybody.
On the flipside, when a black woman is financially dependent upon a man, we get called golddiggers.
So if I depend entirely on myself, and my own resources, I’m the emotionally unavailable “strong woman”; but if I depend on a man, I’m a “golddigger.”
And then, on top of all of these assumptions, there is the portrayal that black men don’t ever take care of black women. When they do give black women a car, or money, people call them “tricks.” And they say:
I’m not stupid: there are relationships out there that exist because a woman is pretty and a man has money. But those relationships are not exclusive to the black community.
Yet, the media portrays a lot of black women as either lonely due to their independence, or too dependent upon men or the U.S. government to finance their lifestyle.
Here’s the truth: all the men in my life, from family members to friends, to (yes, even) exes, are willing to help me whenever I need it. When I can help myself, I do so; when I can help others, I do so. But when I need help, I ask for it. And the men come to my rescue! Every once in a while, it’s nice to see cute guys come running to my aid.
This is one of the reasons why Django Unchained was so important. A black man had the opportunity to be his wife’s hero.
Of her role as Broomhilda, Kerry Washington stated: “How often do you see black women rescued by the man they love on screen?” asks Washington. “I’m a womanist and that’s real but there is a beauty in knowing that the man you love will do anything to find you and will do it at any cost. We all want to be that princess and know how that feels and want to believe it’s possible for anyone. Black women deserve to see that and believe it too.” –http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/12/24/django-unchained-s-damsel-in-distress.html
After diagnosing my car, C. thanked me for calling him. “It was nice to come and help you out. You were a damsel in distress!” he said.
For once, I had no problem with that.