ok. so i got blasted with this song not too long ago during a random encounter with an urban radio station...
if you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it?
the feminist in me cringed immediately. why does a sensual relationship between two consenting adults have to involve undertones of ownership, constant power struggles, and a tax break in order to be deemed acceptable?*
my enjoyment of and/or emotional connection to a man has no bearing on whether or not he finds me desirable enough to "put a ring on it".
when i want to be monogamous, i am. when i don't, i'm not. and i'm not gonna beg a commitment from anyone who obviously is not content with lil ol' me.
so. fast forward to earlier this week when someone sent a link to this video, giving me the opportunity to listen to the song beginning to end.
it still made my feminist bones ache, but i was forced to make a confession.
she had a point.
as someone who's been in the position of feeling like a man is wasting your time and your precious divine energy by failing to make a commitment beyond sexual fidelity, it does ring true.
you don't want to see me with anyone else? don't bore the hell outta me. you want to avoid a shattered ego? make a move.
while i don't think it's a good idea to go flaunting new dude in front of old dude when his numbers are barely deleted from your SIM card, there is definitely something to be said for losing your place in line.
brothas, please note: we will not wait for you forever--despite what we might say to you when we're deeply in love--and the farther we are from, say, 18 or 21, the more we mean that.
we all know the man who's been on some, "yeah...i cheated once or twice, and i don't never call when i'm gonna be out late with the fellas and i banged up her car that one time, BUT SHE AIN'T HAVE TO LEAVE ME!!" this song is for you.
[sidenote: a recent conversation with the ex noted that brothas are, slowly but surely, stepping up 'cause, "we sense y'all are gonna take our sweet honey away." to which i replied, "GOOD."]
and, to be fair, there are the usual dangers of the wrong women making this their anthem. specifically, ones who wanna use songs like this to avoid looking in the mirror and facing their own knee-high bullshit. or the ones who just want to perpetuate unnecessary forms of drama. sistagirl, that ain't cool.
so, ms. carter, if this is truly intended to be a call for the (fully grown) sistas who've done the work and put in the time to tell their mates to step up or step off, i'm with you.
...feelin' the choreography, too. word to bob fosse.
*to be clear, i am not anti-marriage. i believe that a deep, spiritually and temporally committed union supported by family, friends and loved ones is totally possible and wondrous. i am, at heart, a serial monogamist. it is the judeo-christian institution full of "submission", "helpmeets", and other disparate notions of gender inequality, authority, and further perpetuation of the nuclear family myth/pod--in situations where that family structure is inherently dismissive of community--that pisses me off.