In my life time I've often heard the phrase "Behind Every Great Man,is a Good Woman." I've looked at this thing from many angles, culturally, traditionally, religiously and from a physical standpoint found it hard to understand why the woman was relegated to a position that from my limited understanding seem to be of one of a second class citizen. Now it's understood that we exist in a very patriarchial society that at times is very misogynistic,objectifying and disrespectful at best, however if we look at history we have so many shining examples of women who have not only done their part but have been difference makers.
So let's delve into this a little further. As I've stated I've learned about different religions and cultures where the woman has to walk at least 5 paces behind the man, can't accompany them to houses of worship and things like that. However as a Black man I want to look at this from a different perspective based upon my experiences and life lessons. In the community I'm from it quickly became apparent that the women in my circle we're very strong, principled, family oriented women who did what was necessary to make sure that their families had what they needed. As far as tradition goes, it's a common notion that the man is considered to be the head of the house, but what's not spoken about much is the neck that turns that head, "the woman"
From the beginning of time, thru slavery and up until this present day women and especially the black woman has endured much pain, mysery and suffering due to the circumstance of life and those that we as black have help create. However, the one thing that is undeniable is without them many homes would worse off, many doors to masjids, churches and synagogues would be closed and communities would have sunken into to complete decay without their strength and presence. So the question remains "Why Behind?" Well, I look at it from this perspective. The woman's place is not to stand behind but to stand next to. However, there are times in life that these same men who were carrying the burdens of the world on their shoulders, whether it was coming home from prison, losing a job, starting a nation or changing the world sometimes the weight became heavy and they turned to the closest person to them for counsel, guidance and strength.
See, there are times that sisters had to get behind us and place her strong hands in the small of our backs for not just support but to literally hold us up so that we didn't crumble from the weight of the things we encountered on this journey. So yes, sometimes it's necessary to stand behind the man or the men in your life to be that anchor, that support and strength, but it's not your permanent position. I for one am grateful for all the women (mother, sisters, friends, loved ones) who at one time or another found it necessary to stand behind me, hold me up, then give a firm nudge so that I can continue on this journey. And for that I will forever be grateful.