Archive | June, 2011

Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians!

29 Jun me'shell2

So I’m sitting in a coffee shop talking with a brother about a trip he took to Africa to work in a village. I was a little annoyed by his comments that more black kids should be taken to Africa so they can see how good they have it in America, but I decided not to intervene on that point. (Good is a relative term and entitled US urban/suburban black youth can go to plenty urban and rural places in the US and see that they have greater access to basic needs. No global gawking is necessary).

Then he proceeds to explain that one of the participants was a lesbian and that she started to become more feminine the more she got into the gender roles established in the community that hosted them. He continued to talk about this woman reconsidering her “lesbianism” having had this experience in Africa until I explained that I did not agree with his perspectives on lesbianism as something wrong.

In hindsight I wish I had just said, “Did you say lesbians? I love lesbians. They are so awesome!” Then followed that up with my long list of why I LOVE lesbians.

Lesbians founded my alma mater—I’m pretty sure of it.

Lesbians taught me about Marx in their spare time in Ohio.

Lesbians gave me a place to stay in DC, Oakland, Southern California, Ohio etc.

Lesbians are deliberate about having a relationship with my son.

A lesbian groomed my partner for his current position and still has the shit we left behind when we moved in her basement—MB we will handle our business soon.

Lesbians taught me about heterosexual privilege, homophobia, and heterosexism in addition to racism, sexism, ageism, ableism etc.

Lesbians played guitar and sang and danced with me

Lesbians write some really good fiction

Lesbians go door knocking with me on Get Out The Vote campaigns

Lesbians go marching and rallying with me

Lesbians fight for justice everywhere

Lesbians taught me about public policy, labor rights, women’s rights activism and advocacy

Lesbians helped me paint and pack my house when we moved away

Lesbians brought me honey and took me out to dinner.

Lesbians created black women’s studies

In short lesbians have always shown me and mine lots of love.

Did you say lesbians? I LOVE LESBIANS, will be my first response next time someone wants to think that we might think alike because we are both, I dunno, black, speaking English, fancy the same coffee shop at the same time of day, whatever. Next time I will be ready with a list of ALL the fly lesbians I love: Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Sapphire, Cheryl Clark, Me’shell Ndegeocello, JenRose, MaryBeth, Laura and Katie (shout out to your new beautiful baby girl), Moya, Nancy, Monique, Bonji, Donna Troka, Sile Singleton, Taising and Jen, Carol, Smiley, just to name a few. Do you love lesbians too? Name your list of favorites and tell us why. (Please be considerate, do not out anyone!)

Please Accept My Sincere Apology

27 Jun

Dear Sonja,

I just wanted to write a letter and let you know how important you are to me. You have been there by my side all these years and I am ashamed to say that I have never showed you my full appreciation.

Sonja, you helped me learn things about myself, my body, and my pleasure that no sex education class, romance novel, porn film, or lover could ever teach me. Thank you, baby.

You have always been the prominent player of the goodie drawer, but I promise that you will no longer have to share that space. I’m gonna make you your own goodie throne..Yes, gurrrl– you’re that special to me.

Through the good, the bad and the-oh so very awkward of sexual encounters, you were there. I’ll admit, there were times when your mere presence would intimidate past lovers. Their insecurities about the committed relationship between you and my clit would start negatively affecting my relationship with them. Back then, I didn’t have the courage to explain to them that you were a part of the full package. I didn’t have the courage to tell them that they could leave. I was forced to downplay the significance of your touch, your speed, and your rhythm. I was forced to deny that you were always the missing ingredient. Sometimes, I just gave up and stopped reaching for you during those moments of almost climaxing. Sadly, (for both of us), I neglected you, and you…you just patiently waited for me. You didn’t even judge me when you heard all those fake moans of “ecstasy.” You just waited for them to leave and then got back in that game.

Sonja, I apologize for all of my neglect. The only thing you ever ask me for are new batteries, and baby, from now on I promise to buy the family size packs so that we never run out. ‘Cause girl, you sure do know how to show your appreciation.

Thank you for being my ride or die chick…but, most importantly, thank you for letting me ride.

Sincerely,
Crunkista

Sex, Scripts, & Single Ladies

23 Jun

I’ll admit it.  When VH1’s scripted dramedy Single Ladies premiered a few weeks ago I had very low expectations–so low, in fact, that I forgot it was even coming on that night. It wasn’t  until I logged on to my Facebook and saw a bunch of statements like, “OMG!” “He said what?” “Stacey Dash is how old?” “Why does LisaRaye always play herself?” that I realized the show was on. So, I flipped the channel to VH1 to see what all the buzz was about. To tell the truth, it took me a minute to even find VH1 because a channel whose claim to fame is messy-ass shows like Basketball Wives and Love and Hip Hop is generally not on my radar.

Anyway, my first impression of Single Ladies was that it was an over-the-top soap opera in the vein of Dynasty and Melrose Place, replete with rich, beautiful people and sudsy, paper-thin plot lines. And while I thought it had the potential to be some escapist fun, the raggedy acting, flat characters, and reliance on tired stereotypes had me giving the show the side eye. I will say I had great fun Facebook-critiquing it and decided to keep watching the show for the moment, if only for sociological interest…okay, and the eye candy, too, let me not front.

April, Val, and Keisha out on the town. Is it wrong for me to wonder if April shops at the same wig shop as Kim Zolciak?

My Facebook friends ran the gamut of reactions to the pilot episode. Some vowed that Single Ladies took two hours of their lives that they can never get back. Others decided that they would stick it out, at least for a few more episodes.

In thinking of my own mixed reaction to show, I decided to check out what critics had to say. Let’s just say that reviews have been less than kind, to say the least.

Hank Stuever at The Washington Post wrote:

This is a series for people who found “Sex and the City” too quick-witted and “The Wendy Williams Show” too intellectually stimulating.  It’s the TV equivalent of a beach read with no words.

I’ll admit it. I died and was later resurrected when I read that. Ooop!

Brian Lowry at Variety wrote:

Although VH1 bills “Single Ladies” as a romantic comedy, this hourlong show is really a soap–basically a scripted version of “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” seeking to fill a niche among African-American women largely abandoned by broadcasters since “Girlfriends” went off the air. Still, it’s not a particularly inspired serial, replete with tired situations, stiff dialogue and male characters possessing less dimension than those populating “Sex and the City,” if that’s possible. It’s not easy for a series featuring beautiful women to harbor zero appeal among men, but these “Ladies” thread that needle.

Hmm. I can get with the first part of the comment, but I must admit that one-dimensional male characters were the least of our concerns in Sex and the City. You mean to tell me that those women went all around NYC and they couldn’t find more than like three people of color to put in the whole series (Sonia Braga, Blair Underwood…who was the third, y’all? Help me out…). So, no, the fact that we did not learn Big’s first name until the last episode of the series has not kept me awake at night.

By the same token, of all the critiques to make about Single Ladies, and there are plenty to make, the lack of fully realized male characters is not at the top of my list.  Because the show is a soap, the scenarios are definitely over the top.  Still, having lived in Atlanta for five years, I know that the dating scene there is often off the chain, with folks doing the most and achieving the least, much to  many sisters’ chagrin. Case in point: I dated a beautiful, smart, and gainfully-employed brother who thought the same stupid shit as Val’s sexy chef did in episode two: giving head is just not “manly” but receiving head is “natural.”  It’s true, folks, there are still people out there in the twenty-first century who think black men shouldn’t do cranial maneuvers! It is not a myth like unicorns and leprechauns; they actually exist. (Yes, I know there are brothers who do it and do it well, but y’all might want to take your fallen brethren under your wings, ’cause they are tripping).  So, seriously, I’m not hating on the show because some men (read: some straight men) ages 18-45 don’t like it. #kanyeshrug

How about the fact that the show only has one token gay male character, when we know good and hell well that Atlanta has a vibrant and diverse queer community? How about the fact that almost all the women on the show can pass the paper bag test? Riddle me that. Now, I’m not suggesting that a soap opera on VH1 has to be all things to all people. But with Queen Latifah’s Flavor Unit productions at the helm, I think it’s fair to ask for a bit more. C’mon, Khadijah, we need ya!

At the end of the day, I do find the show interesting on a few levels. Real talk, sometimes after teaching and writing all day all I want to watch is something that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower. I also do enjoy seeing a city I love represented, especially as I toil in the confederate wilderness of Alabama. Looking at Stacey Dash and LisaRaye McCoy makes me vow to drink more water and get more sleep because they make 45 look really, really good.  Some of the situations that the women have encountered around men and dominance have been surprisingly interesting. In fact, I had a great conversation the other day with my girl Crunktastic about the whole dinner scene with the pompous professors, which tickled me especially as a sister with working class roots who went to Emory for graduate school.  Despite the fact that all the profs were caricatures, I did think the class dynamics of the scene was fascinating and I definitely laughed out loud when the words “hypersexualization” and “objectification” made it onto the show.  Let me mess around and find out that some folks at VH1 have taken women’s studies…

Bottom line for me: the show is not great, but it does prompt some interesting questions about race, class, gender, and sisterhood, in addition to having a slew of foine—yes, foine—guest stars and an easy, breezy plot. I’ll be watching, with a crunk feminist critical lens of course, for now.

What is your take on Single Ladies?

“And You Even Licked My Balls: A Black Feminist Note on Nate Dogg”

20 Jun

***Note: This piece is from the blog vault of CF ReninaJ, who maintains her own spot at newmodelminority.com. As the 24 hr news cycle goes, it’s easy to miss great commentary on popular culture. Occasionally, then, we’ll share with you pieces that we think you should read, which you might’ve missed. We hope you enjoy the reflection below on Nate Dogg’s life and music for those feminist, Hip Hop enthusiasts among us.***

So I have been thinking of Nate Dogg in general but rap music in particular and the difference between how I as a Black woman and how White men relate to rap music.

While I understand that sexism and patriarchy is systemic, that we LEARN and are taught how to be “men” and “women,” how to be racist, how to be sexist as well as  how to Love, how to forgive.

What I am getting at is, to be crude, we don’t pop out of our mommas knowing how to be men and women, we are taught from infancy on through blue and pink clothing,  girls being told to sit a certain way that is lady like, boys being told crying is weak, and not manly etc.

I also know that there are several structural things impacting the lives of Black men and women such as archaic drug laws, mandatory minimums, three strikes, the underdevelopment of public education, gentrification, police who shot and kill Black people with impunity, and the lack of good grocery stores in working class and low income neighborhoods. All this matters.

Culture matters as well. Culture meaning,  music, books, websites and films.

Culture is hegemony’s goon.

Which brings me to Nate Dogg. The recent coverage of his death clarified for me why some issues that I have thought of about rap music but didn’t have the language to articulate.

I am a little troubled over how White mens investment in Black mens misogyny in rap music isn’t interrogated. And how this impacts me and the women who look like me.

Society is organized by and for men.

And our lives in the US are hyper segregated racially.

By and large Black people don’t live around White folks, so most White men can experience the pleasure of singing “and you even licked my balls” in the comfort of their cars, homes and apartments, whereas a young Black man said to me nearly two years ago on 125th street that he wanted to “stick his dick in my butt.”

On the street, in broad daylight.

This was so absurd I thought HE was singing a rap song initially. No, he was talkingto me.

Consequently, largely, White men are  not subjected to the kinds of violence and sexism that is sung about in the songs that Nate sang the hook on. As a Black woman, I am.

As a woman, as a Black women who Walks like she has a right to be in the street, this means my behind is toast.

For example, there is an officer in my neighborhood that harasses me so fucking much that I am now on a first name basis, Peace to Officer Anderson. Typically he stops me because there is apparently a 11pm curfew in DC for children under 18 on week nights. He normally asks me from his car, “Hey, how old are you.”  Dead ass, the second time he did it, I responded saying I was grown. o.O

After the third time, I was like “Mr. Officer whats your name because this is either the second or third time you have asked me that, and seeing as we are going to keep running into each other, I thought we could just on speaking terms.” He smiled. Doesn’t MPD carry 9mm’s too? Sassing officers of the state who carry legal weapons?  Ummhmm. And, he told me his name.

My clarity on this issue came about after I read a excerpt of a post on NPR about Nate Dogg by Jozen Cummings. He writes,

“There’s also “Ain’t No Fun (If The Homies Can’t Get None),” a song that was never chosen as a single from Snoop Dogg’s debut album, Doggystyle but has become a favorite for many DJs trying to work a room. The song is a tour-de-force of misogynistic lyrics, but only Nate Dogg can make a verse about dismissing a one-night stand sound so sensitive and endearing.”

“Remembering Nate Dogg, Hip-Hop’s Hook Man”

by Jozen Cummings, NPR.org,  March 16th, 2011

(via beatsrhimesandlife)

Then I reblogged and responded on tumblr saying:

In some ways, Cummings comments re Nate Dogg remind me of why I think The Chronic and Doggy style are the Devil, in terms of rap music. Men in general and White men in particular have a different relationship to the kinds of violence that I am subjected to as a Black woman who WALKS like she has a right to be in the street. Shit…two weeks ago I told two dudes to kill me or leave me alone. Dead ass. This ain’t for play. This is our lives.

Have you ever thought about White men’s investment in rap lyrics by Black men that are hella outta pocket?

I went to look for Cummings racial identity and I learned that he is African American, Japanese and Puerto Rican, so I am not saying that he is White. What I am saying is that his writing about Nate Dogg’s misogyny reminds me of how when the misogyny bomb is dropped, people who look like me tend to get hit with hella sharpnel. Whereas White men get to live out their thug fantasies singing along with Nate “And you even licked my balls.”

The Chronic and Doggystyle are sonically genius, however, did they up the ante on allowing White men and even some Black ones live out their Black sex fantasies?

Do you see the connection between Black women and White men that I am trying to make, why or why not?

Originally posted at New Model Minority.com.

8 Reasons Why Formenism Can Ruin Your Love Life

17 Jun


Despite the fact that “How Feminism is Ruining Your Love Life” traffics in the worst kind of stereotypes around black feminism, we want to respond in the spirit that we’d like to think the original piece was intended. The stated goal of the article is to help sisters, albeit those who have “misguidedly” used “radical black feminism” and, as a result, are single, or rather, man-less. Unfortunately, in the guise of helping folks who have been led astray, this piece will undoubtedly lead some sisters down a road to perdition and to a world of hurt.  When it comes to sisters’ lives, we don’t play. And for that reason, we are also gonna keep it CRUNK. 

  1. Not all women want a man. Some of us want women. Some of us want (multiple) men. Some of want to be, and are, gloriously single. We can experience intimacy in multiple ways. Black women are complicated. And, lowkey, calling single sisters “mules” because they are holding it down by choice or circumstance—well, that ain’t what Mother Zora had in mind.
  2. Femininity? How about femininities (and masculinities)? There are multiple ways to be a black woman. See #1.  (Also, 1892 called. They want their old-ass notions of Black womanhood back.)
  3. It takes a village, not only to raise a child, but also to be(come) a fully actualized human being. Perhaps sisters wouldn’t have to work so hard if we got rid of this patriarchal hierarchy in which female friendships come last. Sister-friends and other forms of family need not necessarily compete in one’s life. (Relationships should not in fact be user-friendly. Beware of any sister that puts her girls on a DVR plan—i.e., pauses them at will, fast-forwards through the inconvenient parts, listens to and makes time for them only when she has nothing better to do on a Saturday night, etc.)
  4. The “How To Get A Man Checklist Meme”= #Fail. Like majorly –and if a list about finding a partner doesn’t include attention to things like shared interests, politics, goals, etc., but is (yet another) checklist on what sisters don’t (read: never) get right and what we need to fix about ourselves then, frankly, it’s the last things sisters need. Can a day go by when there is not a pejorative list of do’s and don’ts for black women? (Seriously, this author sounds like the love child of Scheherezade Ali and Steve Harvey; T.D. Jakes is the Godfather, and Daniel Patrick Moynihan officiated at the shotgun wedding, where Tyler Perry was the videographer.)
  5. Formenism =#setup; Feminism=#comeup: Formenism[1] is the misguided belief (read:  sexist man’s wet dream) that giving in to every traditional and stereotypical gender role for women will guarantee that you get a man and live happily ever after.  That is, you will happily submit while T.I.’s “You Can Have Whatever You Like” plays in the background.  There is however a catch…
  6. It’s hard to yell when the bedrail’s in your mouth! (We told y’all it was a setup!) So, um yeah, giving women contradictory messages (“a ho is a ho is a ho” but don’t be a prude) about sex is unhelpful. No one is saying go fuck with reckless abandon. But don’t abandon your desires when you fuck.  We advocate responsible, fulfilling sexual activity. Why?: cuz we grown. And cuz sex is not just for men. Women want it too. And they should be able to get it on their own terms. No apologies. Wonder how that, “hey you should just conform to the sexist sexual double-standard cuz that’s how it is” would’ve worked on the whole slavery and racism thing?  And in case you hadn’t heard, Black feminist sex is the best sex ever. Even scientists agree.
  7. For the record: there are plenty of sisters out here looking for a dude to be the head of her family, while she serves as his willing “helpmeet” and she isn’t having any more luck than the rest of us.  Can’t blame that on feminism. Try again.
  8. Madame Noire might as well be called “Misogynoir”[2] if it’s gonna publish this kind of ish, which promotes dangerous messages about black women in the name of our welfare. We deserve better. #shutitdown

Real talk: we acknowledge that the original piece speaks to a sort of disgruntled feminism, the kind that might occur among sisters who played all their feminist cards right and still don’t have the (progressive) man to show for it.  We feel your pain, truly. But asking us to turn a caustic, critical gaze back on black women, rather than to take a good hard look at the systems that perpetuate patriarchy, sexism, and the like is unfair and damaging. As CF Eesha put it, “Feminism is not about ‘living your best life.’ It’s about de-centering yourself so that we can all live our best lives.” And, as CF ReninaJ broke it down, “Feminism is not about being equal to men… We need to be clear about who we want to be equal to. In fact, we need to ask do we want to be equal or do we want to be free?”  At the end of the day, advocating that sisters seek out traditional marriage roles denies the fact that Black women and their partners, be they men and/or women, have been creating multiple models of partnership, family, and love for a very long time. Going backward to a way we never were is not an option; as our sisters at QBG say, black girls are from the future.

 Crunkadelic & Crunktastic 


[1] Sarojini Nadar and Cheryl Potgieter 2010

[2] Term coined by CF Moyazb to describe the particular brand of hatred directed at black women in American visual & popular culture.

False Feminism: Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman

16 Jun

You know, this has been said time and time again. But a woman candidate is NOT the same as a feminist candidate. And I know that many of the CFC’s beloved readers are not suffering the delusion that Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin are feminist advocates.

So why am I up in a tizzy about this, today of all days, when there are many pressing matters at hand? Well, it’s because there are many pressing matters at hand. And I don’t want to watch the mainstream media and blogosphere continue to reckon with the feminist bonafides of these decidedly anti-women presidential contenders (presumably, in the case of Sarah Palin who hasn’t declared her candidacy yet). What is really going on here?

I believe that the root of this confusion is actually a deeper rift in the feminist community/movement. As Carmen Vasquez wrote in “Towards A Revolutionary Ethics,”

“We can’t even agree on what a feminist is, never mind what she would believe in and how she defines the principles that constitute honor amongst us. In key with the American capitalist obsession for individualism and anything goes so long as it gets you what you want. Feminism in America has come to mean anything you like, honey. There are as many definitions of Feminism as there are feminists, some of my sisters say, with a chuckle. I don’t think it’s funny.[i]

It isn’t funny. Feminism is an action. An action that requires solidarity with others who do not shared your lived experience. An action that is NOT merely about equality with men. As CF ReninaJ just put it so aptly:

“Feminism is not about being equal to men. All men are not equal. A black man  from 135th street with a Harvard MBA does not have the same social capital as a Black man from 135th street who just got out of Rikers. Full stop.”

So then what are we talking about here? Why is there any confusion at all about whether feminism is about equality, and whether Michelle Bachman and Sarah Palin (and Barak Obama, for that matter) are feminists? Well, take a look at an image from the homepage of the website of anti-choice group, Feminists for Life.

That looks like a “feminist” image, doesn’t it? Woman as superhero, a quintessential feminist trope. So, what is going on here?

It’s a problem with relying on a loosey-goosey definition of feminism. Feminism that focuses on defining women as autonomous individuals and centers on personal freedom OR feminism that focuses on equality with men are limited because they gloss right over the action-element that is KEY: as defined by bell hooks and many others, feminism is the struggle to end sexist oppression. It is an ACTION, not an identity or a lifestyle.

As we know, shared biology does not mean a shared commitment to dismantling sexist oppression. And that is the crux of this whole thing. Feminism is not about “living your best life.” It’s about de-centering yourself so that we can all live our best lives. It’s about being part of a political movement that does not privilege one definition of woman. A movement that resists imperialism and capitalism.

And here is an important point: if we’re going to resist imperialism and capitalism we have to challenge the sexism we see around the world. Not by defining feminism for women who live elsewhere, but by lifting up their struggles against sexist oppression.  Take for example, the French Muslim women’s struggle against the banning of the veil. It is a contemporary struggle that brings to light the importance of understanding the intersectionality of women’s lives. It’s a complicated issue, but not one that can be fully understood through a singular (read: western feminist) lens.

But here’s the beautiful part: anyone can be a feminist. When feminism is defined in a why that it reminds us about the diversity of women’s experiences it can be truly revolutionary. It can center the voices and experiences of women that have been marginalized.

I don’t think that running for president and shouting about equality of opportunity for women counts. So, Michelle and Sarah stop falsely and disingenuously allying yourself with feminism. We’re on to you.


[i] Vasquez 1983, p.11.

Arielle Loren Asks “Is Beyonce the Face of Contemporary Feminism?” My Response

14 Jun

We need to be clear about who we are trying to be equal to.

In her blog post Arielle Loren asserts that most women do not identify as being feminists even if they share its core ideologies, that there has been a shift in the contemporary agenda for women’s equality and that women are tired of rhetoric of hardcore oppression and patriarchy. She goes on to say that “frankly, all of the traditional feminist criticism of her “Who Runs The World (Girls)” video is just another example of the disconnect between intellectual theory and real life.” Beyonce is the face of contemporary feminism because women feel empowered listening to Beyonce’s music, so consequently, they take this “power” with them as they go on about their day to day lives.

Interesting.

Let me lay out my assumptions.

Feminism is not about being equal to men. All men are not equal. A black man  from 135th street with a Harvard MBA does not have the same social capital as a Black man from 135th street who just got out of Rikers. Full stop.

Next.

We need to be clear about who we want to be equal to. In fact, we need to ask do we want to be equal or do we want to be free?

Second assumption.

Black feminists are rooted in Love.

Black Feminists are interested in creating spaces for men to feel because men who don’t feel do not know how to Love. Black feminists are interested in holding themselves, and others accountable when they say racist, homopobic ‘ish, because thats how we roll. Black feminists will get up in that behind when a rapper tries to make jokes and bets about non consensual choking of women during sex. Peace to Jay Electronica. The Black feminist I know are rooted in Love. Being rooted in Love means that you understand that you will not be able to have meaningful emotionally invested relationships with another adult until you have forgiven you one OR both of your parents for abandoning you. Peace to all my homies who are in therapy. We grown.

Black Feminist Love is hella grown.

We are so grown that we understand like Arielle Loren does, the importance of Black women being able to be sexual, complicated, whole human beings. We understand that is is particularly important for Black women who are rendered 50 million ho’s on the regular in pop culture. The mission statement for the Black Feminist blog  Betta Come Correct states that:

BECAUSE BLACK FEMINIST SEX IS THE BEST SEX EVER…THIS IS ALSO A WAKE UP CALL TO ANYONE WHO INSISTS ON INTIMACY WITHOUT ACCOUNTABILITY, CONDONES VIOLENCE AGAINST BLACK WOMEN, OR REFUSES TO BE TRANSFORMED BY THE ECSTATIC MIRACLE THAT BLACK WOMEN EXIST. YOU ARE SERIOUSLY MISSING OUT.

So Black women having space to be multidimensional and whole is a part of the contemporary Black feminist agenda.

Back to Beyonce.

As you many of you know I have done a lot of writing about Beyonce, because I am concerned about how the messages that she conveys shapes expectations within Black heterosexual relationships. Given the fact that she made 80 million dollars in 2007-2008 and that earning that kind of money is extremely rare for people in general Black women in particular, Beyonce’s messages influence society and they shape how Black women look at themselves and their partners. Black women are not allowed to earn nearly 100 million dollars unless they are beautiful, talented, non-threatening to White men and they convey historical stereotypes about Black men and women. Dave Chappelle walked away for a reason ya’ll.

Because I care about Black women, I pay close attention to what Beyonce says.

It is dangerous to make open statements that women run the world, because there is so much evidence women get the shit end of the stick in the world.

Black, Latina and Asian women are sex trafficked in the Bronx, East Oakland and Las Vegas.

Eastern European women are sex trafficked globally.

An estimated nearly 100 Million female fetuses and girl children have been aborted or neglected in China and India over the last thirty years.

Women are 50.7% of the US Population. Yet, women are only 16.4% of Congress. They are 17 of the 100 members of the Senate. They are 73 of the 435 member of the House of Representatives.

Women are routinely paid less for the same jobs that men do and this is broken down byrace.In fact when I told my students two weeks ago that they could graduate from college and be offered less money, just because of what was between their legs, they looked depressed.

They couldn’t believe how profoundly unfair it was. When I said that “Women are cheap labor” they looked mortified. I explained to them that shutting down was not going to create a more just and equitable world. That they cannot change a system if they do not understand it. And now that they do know that women are offered less money to do the work that men can do, they are expected to go out into the world and change it. Peace to the Equal Pay Act.

Poverty is feminized in this country, meaning that a main predictor of poverty is having a baby because children are expensive (childcare, healthcare, food, clothes, shelter) and there is very little support such as state/federal child care, paid federal family medical leave, support for families who work full time as parents.

We need to be honest about who we are tying to be equal to.

Women do not run the world. The world shits on women. Ask Ester Baxter. Ask SusanGiffords. Ask the woman who claims that she was assaulted and raped by the former President of the IMF. Ask Shaniya Davis’s family.  Ask Ayianna Jones’s family. AskSakia Gunn’s family. Ask. Ask. Ask.

Now if we want to celebrate the catchiness of a Beyonce song, or honor her athletic ability, her fierceness as a dancer, that is perfectly legititmate. But to call her the face of modern day feminism is ahistorical and a slap in the face to Black, White, Latino, Asian, Muslim, Native American women and men who have been working to change our world so that being born with a vagina does not automatically mean being raised to be someones wife, street harassment material, nanny, slave or prostitute, but a fully developed human being.

For more readings on the history of Black Women and Feminism read:
Righteous Discontent: The Women’s Movement and the Black Baptist Church 1880-1920by Evelyn Brooks Higgenbotham
Living for the Revolution by Kimberly Springer
Radical Sisters: Second Wave Feminism and Black Liberation in Washington in DC by Ann Valk.

For more readings on Black, White and Chicana Feminisms:
Separate Roads to Feminism by Benita Roth

For more readings on Third Wave Feminism
To Be Real, Ed by, Rebecca Walker
“Under Construction: Identifying Foundations of Hip Hop Feminism…” by Whitney Peoples
On Being Feminism’s Ms. Nigga by Latoya Peterson <<<And I still have issues with the title.
Feminism for Real: Deconstructing the Academic Industrial Complex of Feminism, Ed. Jessica Yee.

My post on R. Kelly and Julian Assange mentions some good books on feminism as well.

Thoughts. I know you have them.

Is positing Beyonce as “contemporary feminism” a move to come up?

What is your definition of feminism?

Music as feminist empowerment?

Originally posted on New Model Minority.com.

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