Note: this post is very long I should have broken it up into two but I didn’t. Please excuse an grammatical errors I was extremely tired when I wrote it.
In recent weeks there have been too many blatant and outright idiotic ideas that have come out in the feminist movement (and some that have been there for many years) that have actually become hazardous to the well being and sanity of black women. In fact, for those who claim the movement is supposed to be freeing, it is rife with ideas that are actually enslaving to black women, trapping them like the person in the above picture. Forcing black women into a complicated labyrinth that traps and drains dry the black women who are led into it.
Because of clever wordplay that ends with black women twisted confused , angry, feeling guilty and still dissatisfied with the mainstream feminist movement and what it has done for their lives.This post is going to focus on how the labyrinth is created and exposing the techniques mainstream feminists, or as some call “funfems”, use to control and confuse you while actually hurting you.
Let’s start out with some of the popular rhetoric that is used.
*Note: the websites I’ve chosen to quote, I chose because they seem to represent popular ideals that I often hear everywhere else. And influence a lot of people.
When the feminist labyrinth is created (i.e when you cosign white feminist ideals there are, of course, some target words that you will hear. For example you will hear many a feminist tell you that they *don’t see color* or that *race shouldn’t be an issue* or *they love every color from black to white to purple* or that black women are *women first* and that we are all oppressed. Or if black women don’t feed into this bull, in some other clever ploy they will at the very least be forced to acknowledge their white privilege and agree that black people are oppressed and that we should all work together.
But I want you to notice something, and this is where the labyrinth takes its first sharp veer, They may use words like blacks, black people, African Americans, African American MEN, people of color, women of color, other minorities and so forth, but very rarely, if ever do white feminists (or feminists who are not black) ever specifically talk about black women and issues that are simply unique to said black women.
But why is this a problem?
You’re probably wondering. I’ll tell you. Because if black women can only be lumped into a category of women or blacks it never actually gives black women the platform needed to talk about problems that hit them specifically. Take for example the debauchery of 2011 and how Ashley Judd was picked apart for saying that rap promoted rape culture. (Something black women, the victims of said culture) have been complaining about for years.) White feminists where quick to jump to the aid of Hip Hop (as if it needs help), saying that it was only a problem because they men involved were black. On Jezebel when one ( black female commenter said the following she was picked apart by those ladies.)
PooBisouBisou (formerly C.Monstress)
Hopefully now people can STFU and stop being “appalled” that a white woman say openly that she feels offended at misogyny of any kind. Even though other black women -even other black female rappers – have also expressed issues with hip-hop lyrics I guess what really matters in that it must be about race and not gender because black masculinity trumps everything else. OMG how dare she call out Diddy and Snoop the two paragons of feminist sentiment in the pop rap game.
When more rappers start being as offended by misogyny as they are of being accused of it then maybe the pissed reactions will be taken a bit more seriously.
And guess what? Feminists WERE pissed by Johnny Cash lyrics (although the movement didn’t reach it’s peak until a little while after those songs were released), rock lyrics and have called out country lyrics too.
Edited by cookie monstress at 04/09/11 1:38 PM
She also followed up with this
PooBisouBisou (formerly C.Monstress) @*_* weirdfacedthing
She didn’t say rap music equals rape culture she said MOST – not all and specifically referring to Snoop and Diddy – and that hip hop has been the soundtrack to rape culture. So first people keep misquoting her and reading into shit. All she has been talking about in the interviews is how *all* mainstream culture supports rape culture.
If someone is going to seriously look me in the face and say that rap music as a genre isn’t by far the most consistent and blatant in its misogyny I’m going to laugh them out of the room.
Now the reasons for this are complex and people are absolutely right in saying that this music is only distributed at the mainstream level by record corps because they don’t care about the denigration of black women (or men). If white women were being dissed in rap music as much as black women were, the records would never get airplay or widespread release. That I understand. That I agree with. But does that mean that we should let rappers off the hook or that our job here is done insofar as critiquing the PATTERN of sexism that still exists just because Talib Kweli is one of the “good” guys and he was pissed?
The main reason that I’m invested in this issue is this, “I guess what really matters in that it must be about race and not gender because black masculinity trumps everything else.” People have conveniently forgot that black women were the first people to speak out against the misogyny in rap/hip hop waaaaay before those conversations became public and white suburban parents started to pearl clutch about black culture. Black male celebrities almost ONLY get pissed about racism in public discourse if it threatens black *masculine* culture and are either totally silent or indifferent about the ways in which black women are effected by racism, sexism in general and sexism from the men within their own racial group. (re: Spike Lee and others who have come out in support of Chris Brown)
Here was a woman coming out with a book about her sexual abuse and misogyny. Yet instead of this being about violence against women it’s suddenly about her being a bigot because she’s disturbed by the sexualization and objectification of women in rap music that even black female emcees have discussed openly since time out of mind.
People keep pulling exceptions out of their asses like it makes a difference in talking about the overarching pattern of female objectification in most mainstream rap. Consider this: when Jezebel often comments on the lack of black models in fashion seasons or the whitewashing of characters in Hollywood films – what *always* happens? A bunch of white commenters say things along the lines of “OMG it’s just color!” or “What about Chanel Iman/Naomi Campbell/Halle Berry? They’re famous and black so you’re just being sensitive”, “It’s about finding a good actress not race” etc. etc. The discussion is completely derailed into a) selective examples which actually end up proving the rule b) talking about how noticing the problem is in itself racist or race obsessed c) changing the subject to other mediums that are inclusive of black women – i.e the music industry. And us black commenters get upset, rightly so.
I don’t see how what’s going on here is any different except along the axes of both gender and race. you have a) discrete examples of the opposite b) accusations against Ashley Judd that she is racist and not, for example, speaking out of concern for all women c) changing the subject to country, rock, punk and saying that they’re all fucked up too so what about them? As a black woman (insert other ethno-racial, religious groups here) this is the same pattern of thought that has guilted some of us into silence about gender issues because to bring them up is to somehow “turn against” our own men or be accused of abandoning the “larger” struggle against racism and prejudice which is basically blackmail.
Judd spoke out as a woman on an issue that affects all women just like I have done on behalf of Middle Eastern women under oppresssive forms of religion or women in some African communities that are victims of genital mutiliation or white women in the US who’ve had rape claims doubted because of their clothing or sexual past. I don’t have to be a cultural anthropologist or area scholar to have an opinion on any of these issues when my lived experience as a woman provides some insight into the contiguity of oppression. Similarly I don’t think Judd has to account for every single rap artist in existence when addressing what is clearly observable in the mainstream rap landscape.
Now her statement may have been clumsily worded but did she deserve the insane flaming that she’s received about two sentences in a book dedicated to ending violence against women? Perspective. Yet Kweli gets a pass for sniping at her education (another commenter snarked at Judd’s use of big words in her statement as if you can’t keep it real if you’re too book smart?) and basically breezing past the nugget of truth in her statement. Why?
Most of the women (and whatever men were on the site) were pissed that this black woman was calling out Rap and her agreement with Ashley Judd because it was generalizing hip hop because it was only being called out because the men were black. This comment was followed up by a woman who said
*_* weirdfacedthing@PooBisouBisou (formerly C.Monstress)
You seem heavily invested in this issue. What you don’t seem to get is she didn’t initially say “misogyny” she said “rape culture”. Those are two very different things. One is a huge, gaping asshole and the other is a predator. Why is it so hard for you to understand why a black man(anti-rape culture rapper Talib) would be pissed about a Southern white woman (Ashley Judd of the abusive country singing ass Judds) referring to an entire genre, that happens to be dominated by black men, a fucking “rape culture”.
See this is what makes the labyrinth twist and turn. On the one hand black women are supposed to stand for women’s rights. It’s imperative that we all come together for freedom from the patriarchy. But in a confusing and deserting twist white women expect black women to defer to the humiliation and degradation black male rappers feel (for being called out on something the majority actually do) at the expense of themselves. Because somehow the notion of protecting women doesn’t apply to them for black women.
I bet you can guess why. But if not, remember what I told you before. White Feminists and Black activists are two sides to the same numbingly oppressive coin. Because they both have their default protection the keeps them from being touched. White women, in this case because they can support this drivel, this putrid corpse called Hip Hop, that is passed as music while not having to feel the affects of being called bitch, whore , ho, slut, chickenhead, etc. and black men because they have the protection of their gender to run roughshod over black women. (they are excused because they are supposedly speaking about oppression Notice male, trying to make a buck, (and who can fault someone who’s a hustler right?) or they are trying to “express themselves in their art.” or it’s “just a persona and not real” (I guess the objectification was not real right?)
And in all of this black women are deserted by their so called friends while being guilted into sticking up for black
men’s oppression at the expense of themselves. And we’ve seen how defending some black male celebrities has gotten us nothing when black women were up in arms about Gwyneth Paltrows Niggas in Paris tweet and black celebrities like Nas gave her a “pass”. Black women are only allowed to care about race or gender when one of the other groups deems it okay.
Let’s look at another instance where the feminist rhetoric has failed to provide an airbag for black women. Recently Chad
Ochocinco Johnson was arrested and fired for headbutting his wife Evelyn Lozada. Evelyn ( who is shown as being violent and argumentative herself on basketball wives? Idk I don’t watch the show) was immediately deemed a liar by black women and white women alike, leaving me scratching my head.
Firstly I was shocked that women who say that violence against women is never okay were suddenly changing their tune because she has a violent in the past. Just because someone is violent doesn’t mean they can’t be a victim. But somehow in this case the Lozada was called all sorts of names from schemer to digger and thrown out to dry. (Yes chad was fired but people still thought it was unfair to target him because he was a black man.) Of course in this case this system (i.e white men had done a disservice to black men by firing him and letting other deadbeats (white or course) run free.)
Again those feminists were quick to throw Evelyn’s past in her face while as usual the gender card came through for Chad bringing oodles of support. (Although it’s possible, I can’t think of one women who would headbutt a man almost twice their weight and size. And despite what people say I still contend that fighting another woman is not the same as fighting a man.) But of course the people saying hold out judgement on Chad Johnson were the same people to disbelieve Lozada.
So again another neat little fold added to the maze showing that in the case of any black male (supposed or proven) the perpetrator gender wins a defense.
If the blatant racio misogyny isn’t enough lets look at the soft core racism that that is rife within the mainstream feminist movement that is deployed when feminists take a break (or not) from supporting supposed dbr males. And I want you to notice that it is always black MALES who get the defense of feminists at the expense of black women. NEVER the other way around.
Recently there was a post on Jezebel (written by a man) that said that restaurants where sushi is eaten off human plates (naked women with pasties on) was dehumanizing. Of course the women were up in arms. As they usually are when people who say that pornography and prostitution( which were also mentioned in the conversation) are also dehumanizing and objectifying. These women were pissed that this man said that. Saying that as long as the women are consenting that it is alright . As usual from their white privileged vantage point missing out on the fact that while they are supporting prostitution and pornography most of the people exploited by both of these things are women of color, black women and poor women of all races. See while in their privileged reality a woman CAN (supposedly) enjoy doing pornography or prositiution or being a sushi table, they don’t realize that the majority of the women involved in this are exploited and used. ( i.e the rampant abuse of women in India sold by their families to make a living as prostitutes usually underage where there are visited by even American Men) (
the black women European immigrantsfrom Africa forced into prostitution in western European countries like Italy and Africa.
*it’s gotten so bad American black women are automatically assumed to be prostitutes because it’s so rampant.* or the women right here in America who “chose” the lifestyle because they needed money or were physically abused. ( I remember an episode of MTV’s true life where white women who was raising her five brothers and sisters was forced to choose stripping )
They also, while ironically enjoying “empowering strip classes” ignore the fact that the majority of the women involved in these professions aren’t there by choice. As my awesome sister has told me time and time again on the subject, women grow up dreaming that one day they can be a stripper/hooker/porn star. Because if it were so great they would DO IT TOO. Forget college you can make 2 grand a day in porn or more!
These women also don’t give a damn that crap like this leads to human trafficking because as they say “sex sells” ( Russia and the Ukraine a prime example of how disturbing this is and ironically a lot of these women are kidnapped and sold to Americans! (See the movie Taken with Liam Neeson it’s disgusting.)
Not only does this ridiculous feminist agenda make it seem like these issues are really empowering (when the majority of the women inside these professions are oppressed) they ignore how race and ethnicity play into economic class and generally coerce women into a lifestyle that they don’t want and unlike them can’t get out of. Or simply gaining rights for sex workers only aids the fact that they are forced to be sex workers because they are poor. It’s like putting a band-aid on a gash that needs stitches. Not to mention how disgusting it is to promote something that so many women are trying desperately to escape. It’s just selfish to legalize something that will make it easier to make for women to be exploited and fall into a lifestyle they didn’t choose nor want. It’s legalizing the exploitation of the poor.
It also adds more folds to the maze because while feminists are up in arms about women being “sexualized from a young age” they are condoning if not encouraging this lifestyle that according to men themselves is dehumanizing to women. I find it ironic and funny that they are telling the man who wrote this article about how women being objectified by men how they aren’t being objectified. Wouldn’t men know who they are objectifying?
To twist and turn you into knots black women are being led down the same path white women are on and guilted if they don’t support it, by being told that it’s “Women’s Rights” when really it’s the exact opposite. But here’s a question how can you wonder why women are objectified if women like them choose to do stuff like be sushi plates or join in going to strip clubs. How can black women support an idea (i.e. promiscuity, pornography not being objectifying, or in recent years slut walks) when the white women who are pushing this are protected from the after effects of these ill thought out movements?Answer is, you can’t. We’ve seen how the feminist idea of casual sex has left black women the victims of HIV cases more than anyone else because of the promiscuity of some of the men in the black community. In other words you simply CAN NOT support those ideas because you don’t have the
white protection to keep you from being hurt by it while white feminists do. Just like how white women can be in slut walks and still be seen as pure or how white women can do pornography for fun and be delusional enough to think that it’s not hurting women as a whole.
Another twist comes with black women being told that up is down and down is up. For instance a woman on Clutch posted an article,
promoting top-freedom i.e the rights of women to walk around topless under the guise of female freedom and empowerment. Buzz words like are used to try and convince black women that stuff like this is actually empowering while playing into a flawed system. Here’s a clue. It’s misogynistic in itself for women to have to take off their shirts like men to be seen as equal because in a patriarchal society men get to set the standard. If women wanted *true* freedom or equality there would be a movement for MEN to put shirts on because they are dressed inappropriately. The same with the women who believe that sleeping around is true freedom because Men get to do it. Actual equality would be being able to set the status quo and that would include making men rethink their promiscuity and shunning that in males instead of playing into a misogynistic game.
So how do you get out?
If you’ve started clawing at the walls of the maze like a hamster you realize that there is a way out. For starters you need to realize that white women feminists CAN NOT speak for you because your experience isn’t the same. Insersectionality had made that pretty clear (see my older posts). You also need to realize that feminist will never actually be your true ally because they need to keep their privilege to equal white men.
I have said this before. White women are only not equal to White men because (as Kimberle Crenshaw would say) of their gender. Meaning the only way that white women can achieve equality in the current system is by playing the racism drum and having feminism They need to have their privilege to access the same rights as white men. And you can be sure that once they get you will not have access to it. Believe… It’s impossible for that to happen.
The only way to get out and the easiest way to find the exit is to say enough. Black women MUST simply stop supporting them altogether. Because with neutrality comes a clear path.