Dating in 2018 is already a mess, but dating as a Black woman means you have to be damn near perfect to be worthy of affection and care. Misogynoir (misogyny directed at Black women specifically) is real. I’ve experienced it while dating. Because we are demonized for our Blackness and womanness simultaneously, people are unforgiving of Black women’s simple mistakes.
Being a Black woman means I am not afforded the luxury of being mediocre. I don’t really believe the men I date would actually be with me if I had children from a previous relationship. Or if I had any real character flaws. I doubt they would be with me if I had any baggage at all. There is no room for error. I have to be on point: flawless, educated, high earning and minimal to zero baggage. These are areas where non-Black women can lack in and still date into upward mobility.
I once dated this guy who admitted to me that I was the first Black woman he’s dated. Of course, this was a red flag. The women he dated prior to me were nowhere near my level (I’m just being honest). And he still treated me like I had to work harder to keep his attention. Suddenly, he was frugal. He would withhold his generosity until he felt I earned it. Even when Black men express serious interest, their decisions are informed by misogynoir. Black women are shortchanged in every area of our lives. We make less money, navigate racism and sexism in the workplace, and then we are made to feel like we have to work for affection and care while other women do not.
A lot of Black men have internalized anti-Blackness and believe Black women are inherently unworthy of protection, provision, care or tenderness. Black women are not seen as capable of experiencing pain. This is evident in maternal mortality rates among Black women being the highest in the developing world. Intimate partner violence continues to be the leading cause of death for young Black women. Black women do better without Black men.
I’m starting to accept that maybe partnership with men may not happen for me. The possibility that I will actually find someone who won’t lower my quality of life is so miniscule. This is the only negative of being a Somali feminist. It’s hard to go back and accept a life that I was violently subjected to without warning or preparation now that I have resources to choose otherwise. My feminism enables me to make better decisions by refusing to perpetuate my own degradation. Ever since I started identifying myself as a feminist, my self-image and confidence has profoundly improved. I’ll always be good.