You’re likely familiar with the lyrics above and recognize them as the 2004 hit “Cater 2 U” by Destiny’s Child. Although a commercial success, the song was not without criticism for its message of female servitude. Its message was described as everything from “seriously sexist” to “cringe inducing.” While there are those who ranted about the song derailing female empowerment; as with any controversial topic, it also had its supporters. In its defense, author Emma Gannon wrote, “It’s OK to want to be attractive to men AND be considered a feminist.”
Fast forward to 2016 where we revisit this debate anew. This time in the form of an article written by newlywed blogger Amanda Lauren, entitled “Staying Hot For My Husband Is ESSENTIAL To A Successful Marriage.” Amanda, who coincidentally can pass for a “Becky with the good hair,” states, “When my husband gets home from work, I love to make him his favorite cocktail.” She goes on to add, “One of the most important things I do to make him happy is to be the woman of both his fantasies and reality. If my husband wasn’t turned on by me, we couldn’t have essential intimacy.” Yes. ‘Essential intimacy’ is the equivalent of “Drunk in Love.”
Amanda acknowledges that she and her husband are probably not the poster children for millennial marriages, and she’s right, according to a Pew research on millennials’ attitudes about marriage. When asked about what kind of marriage leads to the more satisfying way of life, the Pew found that 72% of Millennials chose the model in which the husband and wife both work and both care for the household and children. It’s unlikely that those who favor this egalitarian model of marriage would support Amanda’s views.
Not surprisingly, Internet bullies crawled out of their holes to tar and feather her with comments that are incredibly too vulgar and cruel to bear repeating. Some of these remarks would have you believe that her article was about the benefits of sacrificing babies, instead of the innocuous thoughts of a woman about failure-proofing HER marriage. Thankfully, there are those who remained civil even in their disagreement. Many of them commented that she was too early in her marriage to understand that this is a simplistic outlook of matrimony.
A famous millennial who might empathize with and support Amanda’s more traditional view of marriage is Ayesha Curry. Ayesha, the wife of NBA superstar Steph Curry, makes no apologies for being her husband’s most vocal supporter, or for her focus on their marriage and their children. In the tweet to launch the greatest feud since the East Coast-West Coast rap rivalry of the 90s, Ayesha commented that she keeps her “good stuff” covered for her husband.
In response, some – a lot – of men on Twitter raised her to the status of black Madonna (Michelangelo’s) and used her as an excuse to crucify women they deemed “hoes” who weren’t “marriage material.” Many women, on the other hand, took offense at being measured by the Ayesha litmus test. Do you cook? No. Are you your man’s loudest cheerleader? Most times, but I’ll let that dummy know when he messes up. Are you willing to be a lady in the street but a freak in the bed? I can dress however I choose to in public and still be considered a lady. A woman with those answers would fail to be an “Ayesha material wife,” which is wholly unfair.
Whether a feminist or a womanist, the backbone of these movements is the ability for women to define themselves how they choose. Women like Amanda and Ayesha can choose to cater to their husbands in a way that others might not, and that’s their prerogative. Just as it’s the right of others to approach their vows differently.
We can make the case that keeping one’s self “tight” does not guarantee a spouse will remain faithful (paging Halle Berry, and, allegedly, Queen Bey). But with the divorce rate in America projected at 40-50 percent for couples entering their first marriage, what does it hurt for Amanda to do what she thinks is right to help ward against that? I don’t know. It’s not my place to make that call. Her marriage. Her approach.