Last week, singer Keri Hilson posted a picture with an interesting statement on her instagram. On the black and white photo of a couple, the text read:
“I often wonder if more girls were willing to be ladies, more guys would feel challenged to be gentlemen.”
Her captioned photo created an interesting dialogue (or debate, if you will) on whether or not women should be held accountable for men’s actions.
Some commenters said:
anseauxpins: I disagree. If a man really wanted to be a gentleman, he would do it regardless of how a woman was behaving. I’m not saying that woman should not act like a lady. I believe they should. I just think that we should not hold a woman accountable for the way a man acts.
troubletroublesme: Um, how about no! Instead people should work to be better human beings. Don’t put the blame on only one group of people because it goes both ways.
mfsexxie88: News flash my bra burning comrades: you teach people how to treat you. If a girl dresses like a whore and acts like a whore then she will be treated like one. Expecting someone else to “be a gentleman” or a lady for that matter, to everyone is like saying “don’t give that duck breadcrumbs! It says it’s a rabbit”
On her twitter, @KeriHilson had a lot to say about the reactions:
Interesting comments on my last ig post…quite a stir. But I don’t see the confusion. Ladies don’t get it twisted. It DOES start with YOU!!
Unfortunately, every man doesn’t possess some standard high amount of respect for every woman they encounter…ctnd…
…just as every woman doesn’t exude the same amount of confidence, class, or self respect.
This is not a perfect world, where men treat “hoes” with the same respect they give “ladies” just because their mother taught them well.
Bottom line is, a man will treat you according to the “messages” YOU put out there. That’s the way of the world…reality.
If you exude sex, you will attract men who want that from you. If you exude self respect, you will attract the type of men who respect women
In this world, you attract what you exude. Ladies, WE set the tone!! NEVER forget that!! We have the power to change our experiences w/ men.
After reading all this, what do all of you think, sistas?
Is it on the women to “control” how a man approaches them? Is it true that whatever you put out there is what you’re going to get back? Do we really have the power and influence?
Or, does it come down to good old-fashioned home training? Are these men out here being disrespectful toward women and only looking for one thing because they weren’t raised to treat women as ladies?
My take? Unlike Miss Keri baby’s classic photo, I don’t think it’s such a black-and-white issue. I do agree that women have the ability to affect how they are viewed, approached, and, ultimately treated…but to an extent. And I also agree that a lot of how men view and treat women has to do with how he was raised, and, overall, just who he is as a person.
Like Keri said, we can and should set the tone. Women should have standards (as should men) because standards create boundaries. Men need to know what they can and cannot do to and/or with you because you’ve set those standards. For example, I do not allow men to talk to me disrespectfully, nor call me the N-word (and that’s actually for everyone). This is something I demand from the beginning, not in a rude, arrogant way or anything, but I let men know up front I don’t tolerate being talked to in certain manners. I am a woman and am worthy enough for any man to correct his speech when he’s in my presence. And you know what, sistas? The ones who are respectful do just that. Even those who are just my friends try not to curse a lot around me and say rude, disrespectful things about women because they know, “Not with Shala.”
Yet, notice I said the ones who are respectful. Understand, you can be the classiest woman out there, exude confidence and have the highest standards, but the bottom line is some men will still approach and treat you the wrong way. That’s reality.
Michelle Obama is classy, beautiful and intelligent. Many men respect her and speak highly of her, yet there are still plenty of others who say disrespectful, negative things. Why? Because not every man is at that level of maturity nor has that wisdom to recognize a “true lady” and understand how to treat her so. That’s why I don’t feel like it’s always 100 percent that whatever you put out there, you’ll get back. There is some middle ground (both positive and negative).
On the other point, some commenters believed men’s behavior when it comes to women all have to do with how they’re raised. Again, I don’t think this is completely black and white, although I do believe, for the most part, home training plays a large part in how a man views and treats a woman. Almost everything starts in the home and how an individual was raised. Yet, just like that small percentage of men who will still treat women disrespectfully even though a woman may only “put out” classiness, there are some people who do not grow up to be a product of their “good” environments.
I’ve seen many kids raised in two-parent homes, biblical values and/or morals, good education with a loving family and they still grow up to be totally opposite of that “he/she was raised right” persona. Some kids totally turn against the good their parents taught them, yet that doesn’t mean they weren’t initially raised right. The same holds true for some of these men.
Enough of my thoughts, though. What about you, sistas? Is it on the women, the men, or the parents from jump?
Service is her passion, writing is her platform, women and the Black Community are her avenues. Shala Marks is a writer, editor and soon-to-be author. Through her work, Marks aspires to demonstrate “The Craft of Writing, and the Art of Efficacy.” She has a B.A. in journalism from Arizona State University. Connect with her at: