Talk Back

Why Men Never Criticize Other Men

When it comes to dating and relationships, there is a huge market for self-help and reflection geared towards Black women. From Steve Harvey to Ayesha Curry to Rev. Run to Tyrese, voices of both sexes seem to have a genuine concern for the female sex and how we behave—especially when it comes to relationships.

Whether you agree with what any of these figures have to say, the fact of the matter is that they have become mainstream voices aimed at helping out the ladies in the love department. Personally, I fall middle left on the respectability politics spectrum, as having a daughter will do that to you. Nevertheless, I find value in public figures and their opinions on women and relationships.

What I find problematic is that men have not picked up the torch to offer members of their own gender wisdom and guidance in dealing with women.

In terms of self-help, there are plenty of voices who toe the line of Black respectability for Black men. Charles Barkley, Chris Rock, and in the past, Bill Cosby all have often made comments on Black male behavior, but never on the Black man in relationships.

All jokes aside, one common thread among popular relationship experts is that a man’s behavior is based on that of a woman. If we are “good girls,” we get rewarded with a mate. If we aren’t, then we need to do better. But where is this accountability for men and why isn’t anybody defining the line of respectability for their role in a relationship?

At times, it seems as though women have become desperate to the point of tearing ourselves down. For every post about #Blackgirlmagic I see on the web, there is a post that completely tears down the notion of solidarity in our womanhood. Arguments over who eats first, who should be the breadwinner, and other “rules” are hurled at women by men and women alike. These arguments divide us by using irrelevant and quite frankly, outdated ideas that stir people emotionally. I even caught wind of a J-Lo boycott over her song, “I Aint Your Mamma,” as if there is something wrong with demanding that your man do his fair share.

Men and women are very different biologically, but it doesn’t mean that our guys should be left out in the cold when it comes to self-improvement. Everyone can stand to tighten up their act and gain a new perspective, and yes that includes our men. Yet, time and again, we keep seeing men and women telling women to straighten up their act.

Unfortunately for society, there is an idea that men do not have to do the same for one another. Artists like Chris Brown are able to simultaneously lash out at young women like Kehlani for being cheaters, while at the same time make videos about loving two women. Where are the men when situations like this occur to mentor young men on how to act with integrity? The idea of “Bros before h**s” has made men incapable of looking at one another with a critical eye because they are afraid of being considered weak. Until the real men stand up, the chemistry between the men and women of our generation will remain unbalanced.

Elizabeth Aguirre is a Digital Writer and Retail Design Project Manager living and working in Chicago, Il. When she’s not tweeting about social justice issues, she can be found meditating or blogging at