3 Ways Growing Up Around Women Has Affected Me As A Man [guest blog]
In this article, Vernon (the only male staff at ThatSister.com) looks at what he’s learned and missed out on by growing up around more women than men. And he asks, would he have changed that if he could?
So, I’m a black man in my thirties. Brought up by a single mother, I shared many of my early years around women.
My five aunties (and only two uncles). Thought I don’t feel I was particularly close with any of these at the time.
While it’s not something I often dwell on, I’d be lying if I said I never thought about the heavy female presence I had growing up.
Or another way to look at it, the lack of a real male presence.
That’s not to say I spent a huge amount of time around my aunties growing up, but I definitely don’t feel I ever had a strong male role model. Or a male role model of any sort.
When I reached out to Dominique of Melanin Mind & Soul about writing this article, I didn’t fully know what I was letting myself in for. As when I started thinking about ways this dynamic affected how my life turned out, I realised there’s things I’ve bottled up over the years.
I always assumed it’s something I don’t really think about because it’s not important. But as I did start thinking about it and planning out what I’d say in this article, I felt certain emotions stirring. And the surprising thing is, these emotions felt familiar. Like they’re something I’ve felt before, even if I can’t put my finger on when.
Supressed emotions maybe?
No need for you to answer, I’ll save that for my new shrink! 🙂
But in all seriousness, today I want to look at what I personally feel have been the pros and cons of growing up around mainly women. I’ll also be asking, if I could go back and change my upbringing, would I?
What I Feel I Got Out Of Growing Up Around Women
I’ll start with the positives.
An ‘Everyone is Equal’ Mentality
I believe that men and women are equal.
Now, you may say that this is obvious, and that’s how it should be seen anyway. But the reality is, whether they admit it, not everyone feels the same.
Some people show this by the way they talk to the opposite sex. Others will outright say they feel men are superior.
While these views aren’t as common and open as they used to be when I was growing up, they still very much exist.
But I genuinely feel that no one should be seen as more important than another person simply based on their gender.
For me, it’s the person that’s important. I’ve met solid women and men. Similarly, I’ve met men and women who are the opposite of what you’d class as a decent human being. It just depends on the upbringing.
An Appreciation Of How Strong Women Can Be
My twin sister and I were brought up by a single mom. There were ups, and there were downs. There were some hard times. But it’s not until I grew up and had my own child that I truly realised the kind of struggles my mother faced.
Raising one child between two parents on a decent income is hard enough. How my mother raised twins by herself on next to nothing will never cease to amaze me.
In terms of manpower, she literally had it 4 times harder than me, and that’s not even factoring in the financial differences.
Only a strong woman could do that.
What I Feel I Missed Out On Not Having Many Men Around Me Growing Up
So those are two of the main things I feel I got out of growing up mainly around women. But what did I miss out on?
A Male Perspective And Companionship
As much as I’ve come to appreciate how strong women are, that’s not to say that I wouldn’t have further benefited by having a reliable close male around. A father, or father figure. A brother even.
The thing is, there are some things that a man is just more likely to say to you. You connect with them differently. Not in a way that’s better or worse than you would with a woman, just different.
I used to look at one of my cousins and his father, and I envied that relationship they had. Sub-consciously, growing up I tried to impress one of my uncles and seek his approval. I’m slightly embarrassed to say I have done this even until recently, in my early 30s. He doesn’t know, but it’s a real feeling I felt.
While I wouldn’t say I have them myself (as I don’t know my father), I can see how people get daddy issues. Both women and men.
Would I Change Anything?
So, the question is, would I change anything if I could go back? Well, as much as I feel I missed out on something by not having a father figure or even male role model growing up, I wouldn’t change it. Despite some differences we used to have, I feel my mother did a good job raising me. Some of the things I resented her for when I was younger, I now realise they impacted my life in a positive way.
So in short, no. But I can’t help but wonder the person I would be if I had both male and female support growing up.
Can you relate? Leave a comment below.
Previous guest posts:
Saabirah Lawrence – 4 Key Things I Have Learnt From Attending Events [guest post]
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