The Ideal Woman: Do Men Know Who She Is?
By Mel Bancroft
“She’s a Bad Mamma Jamma” and “Brick House” were well-known flirty sayings that evoked the perfect picture of the physique of the ideal woman – coined in the hit tunes’ lyrics. Black men have gleaned from these songs what a woman should look like and have gone on to coin their own phrases like “Do fries go with that shake?” and “junk in the trunk.”
Is this all there is to the ideal woman? Hardly. What if we mixed Florida Evans’ Bible-inspired strength from “Good Times” with Claire Huxtable’s wit and unwavering virtue from “The Cosby Show” and placed them inside Beyonce’s body, would that be her? Would that be the ideal woman?
When asked about this combination of brains, beauty, and strength, business owner Harold Mitchell stated, “This is very realistic; nowadays, there are a lot of women out there like that. Men should pursue the total package because it’s out there. This is the ideal woman of today because you need a woman who will have your back through thick and thin the way you have hers. You gotta have two incomes, a woman who’s smart, because times have changed.” By this man’s account, the ideal woman has to have a great deal of independence.
In the last decade or so we’ve witnessed the new and improved “independent woman” emerge from the ashes of her more matronly persona of earlier times. “She got ‘er own house, she got ‘er own car” has now taken the place of the old “brick house” description. Recently, this mantra has cropped up in countless hip-hop songs as men have begun promoting the importance of what a woman has going for her. But Black women contend that some Black men can’t handle this woman they claim to desire. “Many Black men aren’t secure enough to have an independent woman because they haven’t mastered their own egos – even though they think that’s what they want. The few men who can handle it are more in touch with themselves emotionally. They can allow a woman to have her glory and be proud of her,” said educator Pamela Thomas-Whitlow.
Lure tactics displayed by women and men have taken the meaning of “ideal” and twisted it into a riddle of sorts. It seems that men use every materialistic force they can muster, like their cars, homes, incomes and plush lifestyles (even when they really don’t have them) to win a woman’s favor, and if she ever asks for him to pay for anything, she gets slapped with a “gold digger” conviction. Women labeled “high maintenance” usually treat themselves well while some men who pursue them are thrown off by their independence and hefty expectations – because she doesn’t need a man’s money. And how do trophy-type women expect to be the ideal choice if they don’t bother to contribute to their relationships financially (because they look good)? You know, the ones looking for a free ride – the real “gold digger.”
But there is hope in what many believe to be the Great Equalizer – Michelle Obama. Her body is toned, her figure is curvy, she has her own mind and goals, and she’s a partnering wife and a nurturing mother. She’s tall, intelligent, educated, and beautiful, and she’s Black – Barack’s idea of the ideal woman. If only a temporary revelation born out of the mystery behind what is ideal in a woman, the Obamas offer some semblance of salvation.
Realistically speaking though, there is no one ideal woman, but there are millions of women who are ideal for millions of men somewhere on this planet. Finding her is the catch. But if we had to narrow it down to any one description, maybe the ideal woman is just what nature has created her to be – a beautiful reflection of the love she gives to and receives from her man.
Bancroft is a contributing writer for Regal Black Men’s Magazine.