The TownhallSocial issues

Eboni K. Williams, Iyanla Vanzant, and the importance of gender roles

By Celeste Duffie

Editor’s note: The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. View more opinion on ScoonTV. 

Peace be still

After the cancellation of Jada Pinkett Smith’s “Red Table Talk,” I mistakenly thought black twitter would be able to relax. But no, enter Eboni K. Williams and Dr. Iyanla Vanzant to turn up the heat yet again.  

Admittedly, I was unaware of the shot sent across the bow during an episode of “The Grio with Eboni K. Williams.” A friend called to ask me what I thought about the ruckus and strongly encouraged me to watch the interview. So, with the stubbornness of a mule, I endeavored to find out what was going on.  

In general, I am somewhat reticent to get involved in internet dramas. Mostly because, on a scale of ten, the conversations tend to be nine-parts emotion and one-part intelligence. Unfortunately, public discourse has been truncated to a grievance Olympics, where the most passionately aggrieved gather to form a mob, take their quivers, and turn their arrows on their opponent. This conversation and subsequent backlash were no exception. 

Upside down 

Many years ago, Neil Clark Warren founded the dating website eHarmony. According to google, 600,000 marriages can be attributed to the site. When asked why his site was successful at producing marriages, he replied that the extensive questionnaire could predict matches based on the concept of sameness. Moreover, he explained that couples who were most alike have the greatest probability of lasting love. 

These couples are successful because sameness minimizes the number of competing interests and priorities between partners in the relationship. That allows couples to focus their energies on winning competitions outside of the home instead of against each other. However, it’s the differences between men and women’s role in society that may prove even more important. 

Recently, the mob’s arrows were trained on Ebony K. Williams. In the interview, she ineloquently said that she would date a bus driver only if he owned the bus. Many found this comment to be callous and dismissive of men with blue collar jobs. It’s as if she thought they were beneath her.  

 Talking loud, saying nothing 

I appreciated the respectful tone of the conversation between Ebony K. Williams and Dr. Vanzant. That said, this conversation lacked context. First, men and women have different priorities when selecting a mate. Public discourse regarding those priorities is important. I am a fan of the manosphere because I enjoy hearing the unadulterated voices of men regarding relationships even when I do not agree. And if you listen, you’ll find that men in the manosphere prefer women who are not their educational, social, and financial equals. Men tend to be attracted to women who have specific needs that they can fulfill. So, for all the faux fuss, to take up the bus driver’s cross, he is likely to be as uninterested in dating Eboni Williams as she is in dating him. As for Dr. Vanzant, I do not know many men that find a woman who separates her bank account from him and has a prenuptial agreement affirming or appealing. 

Out of order 

None of this has anything to do with who’s driving the bus or who has a podcast. This is the result of social engineering that has systematically dismantled traditional dating and family life. Cultural and economic shifts incentivize employers to reward women in the workplace. Often, these rewards establish women with more financial and social capital than men. Even if men do not articulate this, they know it and are rightfully aggrieved by it. Basic economic theory says that an increase in supply in any commodity reduces its cost. Therefore, the increase of women in the workforce must reduce the unit cost and devalue the labor of men. Many women seem unaware that their ascension to social and financial prominence has been at the expense of men. 

I support women who live up to their potential and are rewarded for their achievements. However, we cannot ignore the laws of nature — for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the interview, Dr. Vanzant asked Ebony how many women she knew “that could live outside for three days,” implying that women are the beneficiaries of an extraordinarily convenient and less threatening society built by men. Women should appreciate the gift of civility that men have given us. While I appreciate Dr. Vanzant’s attempt, the better question would be why have men allowed the society they built to devalue them? 

Currently, men and women are struggling to find suitable mates. As such, both men and women must face the uncomfortable truth. The things men appreciate in women are often not the things women appreciate in themselves. My guess is for the foreseeable future, men are unlikely to be attracted to women who do not act as their compliment. For women, any chance to reject social and financial advancement will go begging. The status quo remains undefeated.  

I was asked to opine — and so I have. 

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Celeste Duffie

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