Updated: Jul 28, 2020
I’M NOT YOUR SUPERWOMAN
-Karyn White (Superwoman)
In an effort to make social distancing a little more bearable, earlier this week we were given the treat of watching music legends Babyface and Teddy Riley face off with their hits on IG Live.
For an 80s baby raised in the 90s, this was like the music Olympics. Hit after hit brought back endless memories. It was very nostalgic, not just for me, but for at least 500k other people (IG crashed on mobile devices). It was definitely a highlight of this quarantine. If you missed it, click the pic for a link to the playlist ;)
The moment I got my entire life was when Babyface played Superwoman by Karyn White. This was my SONG!! I can remember belting out these lyrics as a kid (mind you this song came out when I was 6...I told y'all music was in my DNA lol). The next day I started to think more about these lyrics and why this song hit home for me. Karyn basically told her partner, “Looka here...I’ll lay out the red carpet for you but you gotta do your part too!! The frustration was obvious in her voice, homegirl was fed up.
As I continued to think about her plight, I was reminded of a conversation that my therapist and I had about the Superwoman complex that seems to run rampant in the African American community. I was raised by strong, Black women who seemed to carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. So, naturally, I took the same traits into adulthood. Despite having a spouse, for a long time, I had my mind made up that some things I just had to do on my own. By doing so, I was bringing unnecessary stress and heartache to myself.
The American Heart Association explains how the “Superwoman Schema” is rooted in suppressed emotions and vulnerability, the determination to succeed or fear of failure, and the strong feeling of obligation to others. Unfortunately, these feelings and poor coping mechanisms can cause more harm than good. If women are not careful, the need to wear the infamous cape could have negative physical, emotional, and mental consequences.
Not to be a Debbie Downer, but the research regarding the Superwoman Schema is out there and it's quite alarming. Here are a few more resources that discuss the issue, along with tips on how to overcome the need to be everybody's everything.
Is the Strong Black Woman Stereotype Hurting Black Women
The Superwoman Complex in the Workplace
Resources to Combat the Superwoman Complex
Until next time,