After Darrell

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Through writing her memoir Brothers (and Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving, former Washington Post columnist and author Donna Britt came to understand how the trauma of her brother's death at the hands of the police influenced her. 


Donna Britt

Comments [23]

Tom LI

To John Maguire - too bad youre speaking of fantasy...few relationships are about equality in the end, or the middle.

Oh, the two people involved may speak about being equals, especially the female, and with a wink the male, but equality of the sexes is NOT part of the American mind-set. All romantic relationships involve some lopsided power. Some may not struggle with it, happy to let things go as they will, but eventually when things get hard, that lopsided nature rises up to lead the fight, or the trip down the lane of fixing the whole thing to go forward.

Women in the US are still considered the lesser of the two in the relationship, no matter if she holds the economic cards, as many now do, especially in the minority communities, due to many reasons - not the least of which is the hold that Xtianity has, and the overall cultural misogyny. The woman is still expected to be sexy and ready for sex when the man desires it. The female is still expected to know how to run a household, raise kids, and be the Cheerleader of the entire family. The female is epected to come to the relationship fully educated in How To make the relationship work - while the male is expected to be the slower of the two. The least emotionally and relationship developed of the two. The male is still expected to be the default "Leader", and final decision maker, no matter how much he might abdicate that role by apathy, or laziness, or fear of commitment to being the Man, Father, etc...

The old cliches and stereotypes are still alive and well...they only went extinct on TV, where the females now spend 90% of their time degrading the male characters. An obvious blow-back to the real world women live in.

Dec. 20 2011 06:36 PM
desdemona finch from brooklyn, ny

I'm of the opinion that you only need to baby humans under the age of 21 who have passed through your cervix, been plucked from your loins or have been legally adopted by you.

Dec. 20 2011 05:54 PM
Ed from Larchmont

Whatever one's faith, one could read John Paul's letter 'On the dignity of women', excellent.

Dec. 20 2011 02:59 PM

I feel sorry for the author. She has gone as far as writing a book to justify her very unhealthy, co-dependent behavior. And it's equally agregious calling it "care-giving". It's called caretaking, and it's unhealthy for everyone involved. The men being "cared" for end up narcisistic, and will go from relationship to relationship, (as will their caretakers, wondering what went wrong?). Children who witness this behavior will continue to perpetrate it in their own lives. Healthy relationships in our society are based on equality, not one half providing all the nuturing and love while the other just provides a paycheck. Shame on WNYC for co-signing this woman's illness, and giving her book any publicity. You should have directed her to a therapist or nearest 12-Step meeting. Any meeting, instead of giving this unhealthy behavior credibility and acceptance!

Dec. 20 2011 12:37 PM
Tammy from New Jersey

We all need to be nurtured - it's a basic human need. The more we nurture our children (both male and female), the more capable they will be of nurturing others when they grow up. Nurturing doesn't mean doing everything for them (except when they're too young to do it for themselves). It means loving them, providing for their basic needs, and teaching them to take care of themselves and to value themselves.

Dec. 20 2011 11:05 AM
MP from Brooklyn

KYLE from somerville - SUCH an excellent question. My husband was my son's primary caregiver until he was eight, and he was not such an anomaly in our community. My son is loving, empathetic, and extremely gentle with younger children and animals. I give my husband a LOT of credit.

Dec. 20 2011 11:04 AM
Elsie from Brooklyn

95% of my female friends are in codependent relationships where the women do everything and the men do whatever they feel like doing, which is more often than not, nothing. Women are taught to be codependent so men don't ever have to grow up. If women want better men, then women need to stop martyring themselves for no reason.

Also, this woman's ridiculous claim that God created women to take care of men is insulting. This retro attitude, so often promulgated by women to justify their codependent behavior. Strong women take care of men because we have been taught that it's bad if you're independent and unwilling to wipe your man's bottoms. I assure the writer that if there were a god, he/she/it would not have created one gender to be the slave to another.

Dec. 20 2011 10:59 AM
Jeremy R. from Brooklyn!

Personal anecdotes and generalizations do not equal the truth. Men work more hours per week and choose more dangerous work to be better able to take care of their families. Fact And Brian just laughs along. Man bashing with a smile is still man bashing. @endmean2men

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
Inquisigal from Brooklyn

I am enjoying listening to Ms. Britt sharing her experience. It's interesting, given I have the opposite feeling toward "female giving." I am the daughter of a mother who gave, and continues to give - so much that she has angered and alienated myself, my father, and all of my siblings.

When a woman and mother continues to give, and do things for others, when they are not needed or desired - it creates a feeling of being "smothered." One of my siblings is struggling to stand on her own 2 feet at the age of 40 because my mother, to this day, still tried to do everything for her - and then conversely, complains about "all she does."

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
susan from manhattan

I call it the Little Red Hen syndrome...

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
Amy from Manhattan

So for women it's DNA but for men it's because they're raised that way? That's overgeneralized.

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
KYLE from somerville

Proposed study - will the generation that has been born during "The Great recession" and having there first care taker be the laid off father shift the balance of care takers

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
Britta from Hell's Kitchen

What bothers me the most is that when I choose not to take care of people, it is the women who are the ones who feel they need to police the caregiving. They are the ones to balk when I choose to take care of myself rather than others.

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM

I hear you, Donna! I have six brothers! - I heard poet ---- Howe talk to Terry Gross about the (Irish) "two-tiered system" in her house - wow -

But I am willing to bet that Brian's a pretty nurturing guy. My doctor told me the otehr day that he doesn't "listen - because I'm a man"

Dec. 20 2011 10:58 AM
carolita from nyc

My brothers observed the lack of nurturing from my father, and decided to emulate my mother instead. So they're very caring and nurturing. I guess it can work both ways.

Dec. 20 2011 10:57 AM
Ellen from Brooklyn

I just... I can't handle the idea that a certain behavior is a "female" trait. I know men that are the caregivers in their families, and I know women that couldn't care less about dealing with other people's problems.

I do think there is a societal expectation for women to be caretakers/nurturers but I think there is a similar pressure on men to be protectors. There is a commercial right now with a man changing the headlights on a car instead of watching football because he's doing it for his teen daughter.

I would believe that our life experiences and society shape our behaviors, but that is vastly different from being in our "DNA"

Dec. 20 2011 10:56 AM
MP from Brooklyn

She is absolutely right that the burden of caring for elderly parents frequently falls on the daughters of the family. There are exceptions, of course, but in many families that I know, even large families, the responsibility is borne almost entirely by one child, and that child is usually female. I am especially concerned because I'm pretty sure that in family I'm going to be "it."

Dec. 20 2011 10:55 AM
carmen from NYC

I find myself taking care of my man all the time, and he's twenty years older than me! I'm the one to google everything regarding any of his physical questions, and come up with herbal remedies for this and for that. Yes, I'm totally using a lot of my time and money taking care of him, which sometimes perplexes me. But I guess it's just the way I am.

Dec. 20 2011 10:55 AM

Seriously? Is this actually a segment? Donna, please, speak for yourself.

Dec. 20 2011 10:55 AM
suzanne donahue from brooklyn

We, women take care of men so they can grow up and run for office in Iowa, as that is apparently still not an option for us.

In seriousness, we've made strides toward equality, yet still take the extra load of being primary caregivers in family and community.

Dec. 20 2011 10:54 AM
desdemona finch from brooklyn, ny

Men are big boys. They can take responsibility for themselves. They should.

Women need to allow them to be responsible instead of coddling and "controlling" them to some extent.

Women need to be nurtured too and need to put themselves first once in a while

Part of love is allowing your loved ones to take responsibility for their own lives and their obligations.

Dec. 20 2011 10:53 AM
Ed from Larchmont

It's man's nature to protect women (among others), it's women's nature to cultivate life and care for men (among others). That's why Pope John Paul II said that women 'have a genius for love', and that 'loving comes more easily to women'. Not such a bad thing, though it's not politically correct.

Dec. 20 2011 10:52 AM
ThinkingDeeplyWithYOu from Rahway, NJ, USA

What Donna is saying is what keeps this culture of female centered care giving going. Men have no obligation since their genetically adverse to it (Has nothing to do with selfishness and laziness).

Dec. 20 2011 10:51 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.