It’s been awhile since my last post. I’ve been busy… making a movie, editing a movie, turning 25, preparing for another move and getting ready for school next fall, among other things. Alot has been on my mind lately, particularly the boxing in, packaging, or rigid categorization of women’s identities, especially that of black women. It is no coincidence that the recent influx of “single, lonely black women” TV specials, books, and movie deals coincides almost directly with the increasing, or continued need to place women’s lives and existences into small, air-tight boxes.
#iHateFemalesWho try to get pregnant for the financial benefits, that’s one of the LOWEST things a bitch could ever do !
#ihatefemaleswho are extra loud every where they go
#ihatefemaleswho get pissy drunk!!!
#ihatefemaleswho TWEET AB0UT H0W HAPPY THEY ARE BEiNG SiNGLE ; THEN TWEET AB0UT H0W L0NELY THEY ARE… #C0NFUSEDBiTCH GET iT T0GETHER…
#IHateFemalesWho grow up too fast..why are you 13 sleeping with a 26year old…why you have a baby at 14? why did you drop out of skool?
#ihatefemaleswho try to sleep with everyone….you don’t have to be a hoe. Not in the rule-book.
The preceding comments come from a twitter trending topic in which people from all over the world participated in verbally bashing “females.” Not women, ladies, or even girls, but females. For almost two days, users logged on and shared their hatred for these “females.” Though I never take these trending topics seriously, this particular one seemed to rest upon very problematic assumptions and ideologies of policing women’s existences. Most of the “hate” seemed to follow the strict lines of stereotypes that have been attached to black women and women of color for years: loud women, loose women, women who have sex with more than one man, women who have babies out of wedlock.
Well guess what? Some women like to have sex alot. Some don’t. Some women are incredibly intelligent and suffer from mental illness. Some women plant flowers and are mathematicians, but still have problems controlling their anger, and are working on it. Some women were sexually abused growing up which impacts their present relationships with their partners. Some women have drinking problems but raise children and run law firms. Some women don’t drink but love dancing and singing. Some women are single and lonely but lead wonderful lives.
I am one of these women. Not a female or a girl, but a woman. I am a part of a group of multi-faceted human beings who can not be confined to fit someone’s limited notions. Am I saying that the above-mentioned women (on twitter) don’t exist? No. They exist just as men who do the same things (but don’t get “hated” on twitter for it) exist, but the continual picture painted of black women seems too narrow to account for the nuances and varying degrees in personalities and psyches. What’s even more disheartening is seeing so many women buy into these rigid classifications without taking time to question them and celebrate the beautiful indentations of their identities. Growing up I was surrounded by this narrow framework- girls were either “fast” hoes or “good girls” who were “going somewhere in life.” But what about the in-between; the fast girls who were great in math or the good girls who were curious about sex and secretly hated school? In our need to categorize, an increased fear is perpetuated in girls and women to hide their true selves, keep silent, neglect the complexities of their lives, and what ultimately makes them human.
Once we start to conceive of one another in a fuller, richer light, dialogue and relationships between black women, men, teens, children, and elders can be strengthened, and we can begin to understand the influence of ideology, mass media, society on our self-conceptions.
And then we get to rapper Slim Thug’s recent comments about Black women not “cooking” and sticking by their man:
“Black women have to bow down and let it be known that they gotta start working hard; they gotta start cooking and being down for they man more… I have a brother that dates a White woman and he always be fucking with me about it saying, “Y’all gotta go through all that shit [but] my White woman is fine. She don’t give me no problems, she do whatever I say and y’all gotta do all that arguing and fighting and worry about all this other shit…My girl is Black and White. I guess the half White in her is where she still cooks and do all the shit that I say…”
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Slim Thug’s statements? Not much. He is furthering a very binaristic construction of black women; that we don’t “take care of our man,” we don’t cook and take orders correctly, and we’re materialistic, while white women are the exact opposite- they cook, clean, are obedient and don’t care about being mistreated. It’s a very dangerous way to frame black womanhood, especially because it strengthens antebellum ideals of white women and womanhood as something pure, sacred, and clean while black, enslaved women were seen as deviant, dirty, impure, and disposable. For Slim Thug to carry this explosive ideology into the ears of his young fans who may happen to be black girls and boys, is completely irresponsible and destructive.
Ultimately, I’m sick of being sandwiched between the titles of “hoe” versus “housewife” because i don’t fit either, and most women don’t. Or what about the “woman who stands by her man” versus the “man-hating feminist?” Can I not speak up for the rights of women and people, be a feminist, argue a little, love, sing, write, and create without being put into the “angry black woman” club? Can I walk down the street without a man assuming that my sole purpose is to stop and talk to him? Can I be divine, emotionally astute, distinct, and still have issues and problems dealing with my emotions? Yes I can. We all can, and we deserve the right to be free in this world. To crush any and all boxes that someone may want to put us in.
My name is Nijla.