For Colored Girls Who Aren’t Defined By Relationships

“Tyler Perry hates black men.” That’s how a random dude responded when I told him that the images of brothers in Perry’s “For Colored Girls…” were less than flattering.

I previously shared that I think Lifetime Movies do nothing for healthy male-female relationships. 90% of the men in the made-for-TV movies are murderers, abusers, polygamists or embezzlers.

“For Colored Girls…” was no different, but I’m not going to beat that dead horse again.

What else struck me about “For Colored Girls…” was that Perry created each character and interpreted each poem to focus on how men shaped these women’s lives.

Why don’t TV, film and other media offer more stories about women outside of the realm of romantic relationships? Black women don’t always have to be defined by their relationships with men. Now, that I think about it, this is probably what initially irked me about being labeled “single.” I am more than who I date, or who I choose not to date.

True, Perry’s adaptation reflects the topics of Ntozake Shange’s poems, which deal with abortion and domestic abuse. One can’t ignore the male presence and responsibility when these issues arise.

However, in “For Colored Girls…” there was only one character who didn’t have a man (or men) in her life, and hers was the least developed storyline. One could argue that Phylicia Rashad’s unwed character’s weak development results because she was not represented in Shange’s original poems, but if you’re going to take creative license, use that freedom to offer something more balanced and positive.

I guess I should be pleased that the most well-adjusted woman on the screen was single (actually, she was widowed), but she lived right next door the promiscuous SIS who was mistaken for a prostitute by a married man she picked up at a bar.

For a movie Perry said would leave me “lifted,” I was anything but. What’s uplifting about women who endure abuse and disrespect in the name of love? That’s not inspiring. OK. So, they kind of, sort of come out of it in the end, but not to a point where you feel they’ve won. They lost so much in the first two hours of the movie that you doubt they’ll ever really be able to rebound, let alone soar.

For me, if there was any silver lining to the film, it’s that it reminds women not to be so desperate for relationships or intimacy that they accept anything that comes their way. As the movie suggests, being with the wrong man usually doesn’t solve anyone’s problems. So if you are a SIS feeling empty, find ways to fill up that don’t depend on romantic relationships. Who knows? Once you’re full, you might realize that what really makes you happy was in your grasp all along, and you didn’t have to endure abuse or misogyny to find it.


3 Responses to “For Colored Girls Who Aren’t Defined By Relationships”

  1. 1 Machelle Thomas
    November 8, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I think women are always being define by their relationships,if it’s how she carrys herself,to why is she still single and is she dating or is she in any kind of relationship?!!!I think what should define you as a individual is being yourself and how your personality is as a person.I have been single for many many years and it’s on my own doing because who I was with, was really no good for me.His self as a person he was hurting inside with his own issues and, taking his problems out on me instead of going to God for guidance like I have done!

  2. November 9, 2010 at 8:31 am


    I’m really glad you posted this blog. I was invited to see the movie, “For Colored Girls…” I admit, the trailer was intriguing and I was the first to jump and invite folks as well. After a moment at the gym, something I rarely do, I became disinterested in seeing the movie because life, as we know it, is painful enough. I am ready for the, LIFE IS GOOD and sometimes there just isn’t a conflict genre. Sure, life is not perfect, but our perspective determines how we handle things. Women, we just have to do better.

  3. 3 DisappointedSistah
    November 19, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I didn’t come out of the film with that type of view. It came across to me as women who made either made choices or had the choices made for them as children that led them to the point of feeling like the poems expressed. In the end, they had turned the corner in accepting where they were to move forward to their future.

    I believe we as black women, in general, spend more time tearing each other apart for our choices instead of embarrassing each other to work through it so we don’t make the same mistakes again.

    I’ve been very disappointed in my “encounters” with other black females. We are very cruel to each other.

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