Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Girl, Shut Your Mouth

Y'all heard of this woman named Shanel Cooper Sykes?

I guess I'm late to the party, (I be on CP Time when it comes to cool stuff), but apparently she's sweeping the internet with her You Tube videos telling women to get it right and keep it there. The lovely Lisa Raye doppelganger seems to be delighting men across the country and comment sections devoted to her are littered with wedding proposals.

But, Mrs. Cooper-Sykes isn't beloved by everyone. She's not popular with some ladies who have accused her of pandering to male audiences with her comments about staying in the kitchen and staying fly. I had a close friend of my mine have a very visceral negative reaction when she was introduced to Mrs. Cooper-Sykes through various Facebook comments devoted to worshipping at her domestic altar. When I pressed my friend on the reason for her response, she said she couldn't put her finger on it exactly, but she knew the woman bothered her.

That, of course, piqued my interest.

My friend, she's one of my best friends actually, is what I would call a "New Age woman." She's not a fan of cooking or cleaning, is ambivalent about child rearing, and thinks that any man she marries is going to have to get in where he fits in. She says the only duties she assigns to her man are showering her with adoration, friendship and love, nothing more. Oh wait, and he has to lay good pipe.


My friend eventually admitted that she was pissed with Cooper-Sykes because it seemed like the life coach was telling women that if they wanted to snare a decent man, they'd better embrace all of the traditional duties of womanhood. My friend, bless her soul, has decided that if that's what it takes to get a man, she's better off with her dog and her HBO.

Personally, I wasn't a fan of Cooper-Sykes' videos. Not because I disagreed with what she said, but because she was obviously pandering to men who think that the reason why they can't find a good woman is because none are left, when the real problem is that you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. What I mean is that a lot of the cats complaining that women don't have their stuff together have the same problem themselves, but they are so busy lamenting their woes they haven't done any self-evaluation.

So, while Cooper-Sykes was right about what many men would consider assets in a woman, the peanut gallery cheering her on is bothersome. From my experience, the cats who are looking for a good woman, and who have their stuff together, have absolutely NO problem locating a decent catch. It is a buyer's market out there.

But, back to my friend.

Her comment about just seeking friendship, adoration and love sounded good, but it's been my experience that all that glitters ain't gold. She says she doesn't want a man to "provide" for her, but I wonder whether she would be cool with a dude who wanted to be Mr. Mom. I also thought her qualifications left a lot of room for interpretation. What men consider loving, adoring and friendly is often quite different from what women see that way.

I suggested to her that a good exercise for her would be to truly think about what duties go into making a life with another person, the day-to-day minutiae, and then be honest about what duties she would be willing to do for a man, and what she wouldn't. After all, whatever she wouldn't do would then either be her man's job, the job of a paid staffer, or it would never get down. From personal experience, I've found that many of us have become unconsciously set in our ways and we don't even realize this has happened until we try to build a new life with someone else.

I think it's a good exercise for all couples to have a concrete understanding of what each partner does in a relationship so that we can truly appreciate our mates. I also think we need to understand each partner's roles and responsibilities. Too often, I've seen men and women (but typically women) have long lists of things that their partner should do, but struggle to figure out what their own roles are. Or, I've seen couples where people blindly accept the largess of their mate without seeing any responsibility to reciprocate.

I figure that once people, like my friend, truly understand everything they require from the other person in a relationship it will be easier for them to accept the requirements their mates place on them.

And they won't be so eager to shut up people like Mrs. Cooper-Sykes.



Jay said...

for the record, i do clean, big man. i just don't do it, you know, at some dude's behest or as though it's my job title. in fact, being the way that i am, i'd probably clean LESS if i were involved just to make that point. which i guess is kinda the point and partly why i'm still single. drats.

Big Man said...


I didn't say you didn't clean. I said you wouldn't want a man to EXPECT you to clean.

I understand, truly I do. I do a LOT of stuff in my relationship. The traditional man stuff and quite a bit of traditional woman stuff. But, I hate when people expect me to do stuff, and take it for granted. Then again, I'm guilty of the same thing, so I shouldn't be too angry.

SweetT said...

i dunno... maybe the feminist in me hasn't broken completely free of the patriarchy yet, but uh... i don't really see anything wrong w/what she's saying. perhaps because i like to cook and clean and was reared to believe those are functions of woman in the house... i mean, i certainly don't expect to do all of either of those things, but i don't mind doing them altogether, either. i have to cook and clean to survive anyway, so what's the big deal? i'm single (definitely not looking), so perhaps i am just being an idealist?

my issue w/this woman is that she hasn't said anything i haven't heard before yet, and i've sat through 3 of her videos... won't be buying the book. may flip through it at borders one day.

Anonymous said...

I guess my issue, Sweet T is that I don't believe there are or should be woman jobs and man jobs. I know that that those divisions have existed historically and I understand why. But I reject them, pretty vehemently. I'm more likely to organize a campaign against traditional gender roles than I am to acquiese to them to make a relationship work. Stupid? Maybe. Selfish? Hellz yeah. But I do intend to take BM's advice and evaluate my role and (the eventual) His role in the relationship.

Anonymous said...

Big Man
Most cats like you are just as misogynistic as any other man, so why capitulate to these lazy a** bytches!

Big Man said...


If you say so...

Big Man said...


I was thinking about your comment. I realized that without know your gender, I didn't have a good grasp on what you meant.

Initially I thought you were a dude saying I was just like every other guy and I should stop pretending to be different for lazy women.

Then I thought you were a woman saying that I was just like every other guy, and that it wasn't worth the time of any woman to give in to any of us.

So, which was it?

cinque said...

I just watched the videos by Mrs. Cooper-Sykes and I have to admit I enjoyed them. It sounds to me as if you are saying the same thing she is saying about evaluating what you bring into a relationship. Women do not take criticism well at all!!!! And criticism from another woman is almost blasphemous. She is right on quite a few levels and wrong on some. Women must start to be able to take some criticism if they truly want things to change in relationships.

Big Man said...


Everybody needs to take criticism. Women and men. That's the problem, one group is pointing at the other group saying "It's your turn now."

When I was younger I would argue the opposing point of view with men and women alike just to force them to stretch their minds. So, women saying "all men are dogs" would get a piece of my mind. And dudes saying "Bitches ain't shit" would hear from me too.

It didn't make me popular with either group.

Raving Black Lunatic