In the wake of Kanyegate 2018 (because you have to specify which time Kanye West said some outlandish ish) Snoop Dog and others posted a meme that quickly made its way to all of our feeds. It read: “The Evolution of Jay Z and Kanye show you how influential your wife can be to your life.” To which we say, NOPE.
Can a woman be a great influence on her man? Absolutely. Is his behavior her making? Absolutely not. A grown man’s actions are his own doing and not the creation of his woman. The Kardashians may be problematic for their consistent appropriation of Black women, but Kanye West posing in a “Make America Great Again” while praising Donald Trump is not on Kim.
There are too many cases of great women who tried to use their fairy dust to transform a man into something he is not and it only left her depleted. As Black women, our magic is real but our role is not to re-raise grown men. The collateral cost is already high for us as a marginalized group in society, and there is no need to spend our energy trying to change an adult. And even if he does make the choice to be a decent person and husband, there is no undoing the damage already caused, as illustrated by Beyoncé’s miscarriages. To blame women for their men’s actions is peak patriarchy.
You can’t go to the gym and workout for somebody else, and you certainly can’t help them do the work on their inner selves. Linking a man’s behavior to his wife isn’t just wrong, but dangerous, signaling to women in unhealthy relationships that if they just work harder he will change. As Mikki Taylor, former ESSENCE Editor and author of the new book Editor In Chic says, “Don’t hallucinate about who is at home.”
I haven’t always been clear on the fact that it isn’t a woman’s job to transform a man. In my upcoming book Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success I had planned to write a section called “Turn Your Clark Kent Into Superman” on how women can bring out the best in the man in our lives. But the more I researched and lived, I realized no matter how powerful we are as women, it’s not our job to try to transform a man or anyone else. And the energy we would spend on trying to do so we should pour into our own lives (which also gives you more options for meeting quality people). What we can do is look to see if the best is already within the person we are with because, good or bad, people show you signs of who they are. Believe them.
Is Your Clark Kent a Superman?
Here are a few signs your guy is already a superhero from Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success.
He’s a force for good.
When he sees a problem, he does what he can to make things better.
He respects your hustle.
Superman’s first act of goodwill was saving Lois Lane who was out doing her job as a reporter. A superman isn’t threatened by a powerful woman and appreciates what she offers.
He acknowledges his kryptonite.
If your Clark Kent is Superman he isn’t ashamed of his shortcomings and acknowledges and manages his flaws.
Charreah K. Jackson serves as ESSENCE Senior Editor, Lifestyle and Relationships and the author of Boss Bride: The Powerful Woman’s Playbook for Love and Success. Preorder your copy: bossbride.com