Another day, another example of Black women being told that they need to be “better” women. Sadly, this time it's perpetuated by a Black woman herself.
Enter: Wife School.
According to this class taught by Ro Élori Cutno, for $299, Wife School will teach “modern” Black women how to presumably be more submissive, less aggressive and more appealing in order to snag one a man who is husband material. Her most recent flyer reads:
“By age 35, nearly all men are husband material, but modern women have lost most wifely qualities.” Adding, “Men will never settle and marry these women, especially not when a woman offers pre-marital sex! Wife School April 16."
Now, Cutno is no stranger to these types of disempowering shenanigans. She has built a “career” dishing out patriarchy to her 88 Twitter followers, telling them that if they just let the man be the man, they will be married and content. She is so shameless that last year, to peddle her book Man Leads…Woman Follows, Everyone Wins, that she blamed Sandra Bland for her own death. On her Facebook page, she wrote that if Bland had a man by her side, none of this would have happened.
She wrote, “Let’ be honest…If Sandra Bland had a husband, she would probably be alive today. Marriage matters. Who's your protector?"
Sigh. Guess it’s never crossed Cutno’s mind that sometimes wives need to be protected from their husbands, fathers and other men in their lives, but I digress.
Now, just like the Hoteps, Cutno’s ideologies shouldn’t be laughed off or ignored. As I’ve said before, this nonsense is a byproduct of sexism in our community. And yes, Black feminism continues to get stronger, but so does this type of pushback. One way to damper our empowerment and feed the male ego is to pressure Black women into morphing into the kind of lady a “good Black man” would want as if that is the only way we can walk down the aisle like our white counterparts.
You know, good old “Matrimonial Darwinism.”
And this push to “adapt or die” resurfaces every six to seven years when the media becomes steam pressed to uncover why Black women just don’t get married (which studies show is not really true). It sets off a domino effect reinvigorating our churches, Black radio and social media to jump in and further push the notion that Black women need to be fixed by unlearning bad characteristics — like being promiscuous, bold, aggressive, loud, unattractive, materialistic, emasculating — that are holding us back from settling down and procreating. Meanwhile, Black men are perfect just the way they are and when they are problematic, abusive and unstable it’s because Black women made them that way.
Yes, it sounds utterly ridiculous, but as a single Black woman in her 30s, I have seen how it messes with Black women’s heads and creates a sense of panic, insecurity and pressure to change. Thankfully for me, coming from a two-parent home, I was never raised to believe that it was a Black woman’s job to follow, obey, nurture or endure bad treatment for the sake of saying that I was someone’s wife.
My parents, who have been married for almost 50 years, raised me to believe that both parties involved must be held accountable in order to have a relationship that prospers. And that, unlike what Ms. Cutno — who I don’t even think is actually married — is telling folks, my father taught me that a “real man” doesn’t need to dominate his spouse in order to feel like a man.
And so the type of marriage and man I am looking for is one that is grounded in equality, mutual respect and teamwork. One where my thoughts, ambitions and dreams are fully supported. So no, a man wouldn’t be settling to be with a modern woman like me, I would be settling to be with a man who wanted less.
Look, if you're trying to be submissive, go ahead, do you. But please stop trying to convert women like me who aren’t interested in being a trifecta of maid, babysitter and concubine. And to be perfectly honest, with everything Black folks are going through, Wife School is the last course we need to enroll in.
How about Overcoming Your #MasculinitySoFragile 101, Addressing Past Sexual Trauma, Seminar in Healthy Relationships and, most important, Advanced Placement in Surviving Racism, Sexism and Homophobia?
Yeah, Ms. Cutno, your class has been dismissed.
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