Category Archives: Gender

Let’s Take A Look In The Mirror

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I am frustrated when breath is wasted arguing about All Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter in connection with Black Lives Matter, but another problem is slowly brewing in the black community, or maybe it’s always been there. The unspoken words that are said through the inaction of our so-called “Uppity Negroes” is simple:

Black Lives Matter… But My Black Life Matters More Than Yours

This is a sad truth that I am learning about in the black community. As my conservative upbringing is being challenged and I am becoming more familiar with the black justice movement, whether it’s the Austin Justice Coalition or Black Lives Matter. I find that many young black professionals, who are way more liberal and progressive than I am, are nowhere to be found. Young Black Professionals who grew up in way more diverse environments or predominately black areas are nowhere to be found. (I am from Lexington, Kentucky and it’s not exactly the most diverse place in the world). As I engage with more activists, I find it puzzling and wonder where are all the young black professionals are who rant and rave on their Facebook and Twitter accounts, and lament to their friends in their Groupme’s and Slack groups about Police.

Where Art thou?

Since I have moved to Austin, three years ago, a city where more black people are steadily leaving, and young black millennials don’t want to be here, I find that segment of the population, to be self-absorbed and completely out of touch with not only reality, but with the suffering of black lives in Austin and across the country.

Why so Serious?

I have been an avid volunteer for one of the largest non-profit organizations here in Austin, a predominantly white city, but the non-profit serves a high percentage of black and brown kids. Many of the children who live in Austin that are below the poverty line are Hispanic and Black. They need mentors, they need successful people who look like them, but time and time again, I am the only black volunteer. Trying to get young black professionals to give their TIME OR MONEY is like pulling teeth. But they are the first to buy tickets for any concert, ready to spend money on drinks, and go to Happy Hour after Happy Hour trying to find a significant other in a city where it is hard to do. Then the deaths of young black men and women across the country began to be more public, either filmed or sound recorded, and the Black Lives Matter Movement was born.

These same inactive millennials, they “feel” for the movement, “cry” about the movement. Because we all know a person who could’ve been Sandra Bland, Alton Sterling, or even Freddie Gray. But they don’t do anything. They don’t go to marches, don’t donate their time, and the best part is that they take the time to criticize activists for being too radical, too loud, or not creating enough solutions when the reality is that if maybe they were at the table, with all of their skills, with more educated black folks, finding solutions might be a little easier. While it is easy to blame many of the generational curses that plague the black community on others, we are still are own worst enemy.

To me, the reality is that these “Uppity Negroes”, by their inaction are saying that THEIR Black Life Matters more. I say this and I am an Uppity Negro, and proud of it. But I am in the trenches, and I want you to be there with me. I get it. When you grow up middle or upper middle class, there is a level of comfort that you enjoy, and maintaining that comfort or improving upon that comfort is your main goal. That is all our white counterparts have to worry about. Guess what? YOUR. ARE. NOT. THEM.

The reality I want to leave you with is that the comfort you hold so near and dear to your heart is made possible, because your parents or caregivers didn’t make that one mistake, didn’t have that one tragedy in their life, or whatever else it may have been that you are here, and you are not them. Trust me you are not as removed from the toils of your people as you would like to think. Because no one talks about the fact that there are very few victims of police brutality that are in the “Uppity Negro” status. It is classism at its finest, and we have to stop acting like it’s not happening. If you woke up in a different position or circumstance, you might think differently and wonder why black folks who’ve “made” it, are nowhere to be found. We spend a lot of time trying to convince people, especially white people, why all lives matter is not cool, but what we really need to do is remind black people, that when you say Black Lives Matter, saying those words mean nothing, if you do nothing.

M/P

Originally posted here on Alibix.co ‘s website.

Being a Woman in a Man’s World: My Thoughts on Hillary with a Pinch of Pat Summitt

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“The man’s world must become a man’s and a woman’s world. What are we afraid of?” – M. Carey Thomas

I have been working on this piece for quite some time. I rarely shop out my ideas, discuss in detail, but something wasn’t quite right with my thoughts. Maybe, I felt that my thoughts were a little controversial or maybe, writing a post that was (kind of) in favor of Hillary, a person I am not fond of, was actually quite difficult.

But as I talked with several people about the public relationship between Bill and Hillary and how it has shaped America’s view of her, and consequently caused the American people not to see her in a positive light. I was met with the same resounding response that points to a simple fact for most people:

“I just wish she had made it here (the Presidency) based on her own merits”

“I think Bill being President has everything to do with her getting close to becoming President”

“She wouldn’t even be the nominee if it wasn’t for Bill”

And so on. Each person I asked was a Democrat. Their responses perplexed me. As humans in this vast and complex world, we are unable to write our own story. Who is to say had Bill not become President that Hillary wouldn’t have risen to the Presidency, to be successful in politics, or affecting change in this country. For this we do not know, but I find that most people think, Hillary is here solely based on her husband.

It’s not even a matter if people think she’s a liar, corrupt, or made mistakes as Secretary of State – it is because, if she makes it to the White House, it will be on the coat tails of her husband.

But I think it’s more than that.

It could be her desire for her own fame and success that has fueled her to the Presidency or it could be her commitment to serve this country. But you know what, if she was a man, it wouldn’t matter.

Hillary is being unfairly judged, because she is a woman. I know people have made this point over and over, but I, an outsider, wanted to make this point again. Because, despite my strong dislike of her, I am flabbergasted by the disrespect Hillary receives from members in her own party.  People still have more respect for her [enter all the bad adjectives you can think of] husband.

How many Presidents of the United States of America made it, because they were white males, from an affluent family, and they just so happened to end up in the White House. There are few Presidents, who earned the spot every step of the way. In general, there are far more people who were given a little help to get where they are today, so why are we holding Hillary Clinton to a different standard? Why do we as women give men a break, but don’t quite do the same thing for women? Is it because we have to be better? Or would we prefer to just work double time and allow men to work half of the time? Not to mention…. infidelity and cheating in marriage sometimes seems so commonplace in America because of the over sexualization in this country. How many of you, who’ve experienced betrayal in your life or in your family, could imagine experiencing infidelity in the public eye at the highest office in America, and for the world to see, not just America, and bounce back from it? How many of you after being completely embarrassed and disrespected, could then decide to run for a public office in the state of New York, one of the most media hungry places in America? How many of you all could face that kind of fire and win, and continue on.

Yeah, her hunger and need for the spotlight might fuel it, and I don’t really care, because to me, that is a tough thing to do and she should deserve a little more respect for her tenacity. Respect that we would easily be given to her if she was a man.

Now to preference who should be respecting, if you have ideological differences with Hilary (as do I), then by all means, you are free to disagree/dislike/hate her and make claims along those lines. But there are women, young and old, black, white, blue and green, who furiously supported Barack Obama, that struggle to support Hilary or diss her for no good reason in my opinion.

I would like to just make note, that Obama’s rise to the Presidency, although historical in its own right, the differences between overcoming the obstacles of race versus gender are actually drastically different. As a black woman, I can tell you the preference and deference black men with less abilities get over me time and time again from women is not only maddening, but sad. The blunt truth is that it’s happening simply because they are men. The long and short of it, women want to support men. It might be biblical. I get it. But we represent over 50% of the population and continue to allow men to make decisions that affect our lives and bodies, and yet, we struggle to view women in a positive light for being strong, dominant, and unafraid.

And I must pause here, because Pat Summit passed away last week, one of my favorite sports hero and I believe she was one of the few women, in the public eye, who was strong, dominant, and unafraid – and she had our respect completely. There is no question that her success and rise to popularity were forged with her own blood, sweat, and tears to be successful as a coach in women’s college basketball and to win Olympic gold. But she was the best of the best in a woman’s world. Many wanted her to cross over to coach men, whether in college or professional sports. But as I write about Hillary, I wonder if not crossing over was one of her best decisions.

One reporter shared:

“More than once, Tennessee’s athletic bigwigs considered asking Summitt to coach the men instead. With each crash-and-burn, it became more obvious that men couldn’t handle this particular job and that Summitt would be the safest hire available. She considered it but kept turning it down.

I think women should help women,” Summit said. A good reason, but there was a better one.

I wouldn’t want people to think I looked at the men’s game as a step up.”

It wasn’t. But it remains a concrete ceiling. If it were glass, a woman could at least see the path to coaching a men’s team. Imagine the fun, if Summitt had decided to burst through it. ” (Source)

And maybe we should take a lesson from Pat’s book.

  1. Women should be helping women.
  2. Let’s stop acting like their “world” is a step-up.

I must say this article is really less about Hillary, but my views on how women should go about supporting each other. Let’s try to hold each other to the right standard and support them in the same way we support men. Let’s stop holding ourselves to a higher and more unrealistic standard, and stop burdening ourselves for no apparent reason. We make mistakes, we are human. If we aren’t forgiving our fellow women then we probably aren’t forgiving ourselves. And trust me, men are not thinking twice about it, and moving on to the next thing.

M/P

Looking Through Her Lens (My Thoughts on LEMONADE)

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“In the perspective of every person lies a lens through which we may better understand ourselves”- Ellen Langer

So I know that you have already read a number of articles about Beyoncé and Lemonade and I am sorry to add to your list, but I guess I am sorry not sorry. Because I will tell you… it wasn’t easy to decide what to write about, there were several angles to come at this piece. I read several articles about this and that, about infidelity and Jay-Z, Black women empowerment, feminism and even that Beyoncé is no role model based on her lyrics (and there were some questionable lyrics), but I am sure they had some purpose, for HER. And this makes sense, as with a movie, a good book, or album, people can watch, read or listen to the exact same thing and walk away with a complete different interpretation. But let’s be clear the whole album is for Beyoncé, and certain parts are for our enjoyment.

I believe this is true for any real artist, and I am sure there are people who think Beyoncé is a manufactured robot whose sole purpose in life is to brainwash and make millions. But for the purpose of this post and my  satisfaction, I am writing from the viewpoint that Beyoncé is an artist and she paid top dollar for her writers to construct the lyrics to match her visual masterpiece that is LEMONADE. (I would say it’s not a masterpiece musically because just listening to the tracks it is not her best, but we can debate that at a later time.)

So as I sat down, I was trying to be polite with my thoughts, but I felt pretty strong about some comments and critiques such as the following, as tweeted by Azealia Bank’s herself.

Exhibit A – “You keep crying over a man and perpetuating that sad black female sufferance and it’s not good for what we’re trying to accomplish here”

Exhibit B – “You been singing about this n****a for years and he still playing you. That’s not strength, that’s stupidity”

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Just stop.

Azealia’s tweets are coupled with several comments of sarcasm that I heard from others, such as “poor ole Beyoncé singing the blues”, “oh, her life must be so hard” –

Seriously?

Okay, look, no one is saying that Beyoncé’s life is hard, but does that mean she can’t talk about the issues that she is having with Jay-Z. Azealia’s tweets and those comments completely miss the complexity of the role of women in the 21st century. When you have to balance a husband, kids and a career. The reason more women, of all races and ages, loved it, is that Beyoncé struggled (and is struggling) with the same shit as we all do and she is the “baddest bitch in the game”. But her being the baddest doesn’t change the fact that a man can (and probably will) betray your trust whether it is infidelity or something monetary or when something equally intimate is taken for granted. There are so many ways to be betrayed.

The reality is that our families, especially our significant others or our companions, deeply influence our everyday life and it’s hard. So to invalidate her feminism “cred” because she opens up about her struggles with a lying (maybe cheating) husband is like the opposite of feminism.

We, as group of people, who support the political, social, and economic equality of women, cannot be upset or frustrated that Beyoncé felt betrayed and felt the need to make music about it. For centuries, women have had to fight with decision of staying or leaving, heck, probably a few millennia! I mean who could forget how Adam was quick to throw shade in the Garden of Eden because Eve gave him the piece of fruit that caused him to sin:

Then the man said, “The woman whom YOU gave to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I ate.” – Gensis 3:12

See, men have been making excuses since the beginning of time. That isn’t changing.

So as a 30 year old woman with friends at different stages of their romantic life: single, married for years, newlyweds, divorcees, and even windows, regardless of whether they are successful professionally, or kick ass mothers, their relationships are a priority, so why would it be different for Beyoncé? Not for one second, would I agree with the critiques about HOW anti-feministic it is that she is whining and crying about her husband cheating. I mean I guess she could be quiet, and be damned nonetheless like Hillary Clinton, who stayed extremely quiet about Bill’s infidelity and her struggles until recently during her campaign and people have always talked about her silence. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

The reality is not about whether Beyoncé is weak or not, but we are actually uncomfortable with the honestly of Beyoncé’s album. Even for people who liked and admired it. It makes us all a little uncomfortable, in this male dominated world, that Beyoncé felt that she:

  • could openly critique a man directly, who is as equally successful;
  • felt betrayed and stay; AND
  • told the world all about it.

I didn’t walk away from Beyoncé ‘s album with a sad black suffrage vibe, did you?  I kind of felt like it was more  along these lines:

Life is hard.

Love is hard.

Money, fame, and beauty doesn’t make life easier.

That is really what she is trying to say in between her anger. The first thing I really thought about when I finished the album, was whether it was therapeutic for her? Was it part of her healing and recovery? Not to mention a lyrical guide for all the other women who are dealing with similar issues in their marriages, maybe Beyoncé wanted to bring them some comfort to her struggles. To be silent no more, and talk about how crazy she felt about her situation.

But in reality, we just saw misery, the heartache was so appetizing, especially when it’s not our own, and let it be a celebrity. We were less concerned what it meant for Beyoncé and the fact that we should be happy that we got to witness it.

So you can think she has nothing to complain about, but I think it doesn’t matter how perfect we want life to be, it will never be, and when life is falling apart, you find out –  some people will revel in it, shame you for your life falling apart, and only  a few will support you in it. But you will have to walk through that journey step by step nevertheless. No one can escape it including Beyoncé .

In closing, if Beyoncé can’t talk about Feminism and she can’t talk about Black Lives Matter, what makes her unfit to talk about relationships? To often she is seen and not heard, and when she decided to share her voice candidly about her man, in a male-dominated world, it wasn’t just the men who had a problem. It was women speaking much louder as if we all don’t struggle with feeling appreciated, loved, and supported. Even the BEST man will let you down at least once. Because we are human, and no one is perfect. So stop acting like you didn’t see a little of yourself through Beyoncé’s lens.

Stop trying to brush the shame under the rug. Embrace it, and move on.

M/P

Can We Talk about Consent?

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“There is no policy too sensitive to question, and no subject so taboo that you cannot even mention it”  – Lee Hsien Long

I can tell you I feel a little uncomfortable writing about this, but it continues to be a problem. I was appalled by the case of pop singer Kesha, who is unable to get out of a contract obligation with her producer who,according to the pop star, raped her and the biggest takeaway is that they think she is lying. (source). Of course, the court doesn’t say that explicitly. The article states:

“The judge said that granting the singer’s request to nullify her deal would undermine the state’s laws governing contracts and the court couldn’t do that.”

The court wouldn’t make a person stay in a contract if they believe she was in harm or danger. But they obviously think she is in no harm or danger, and just wants to get out of the contract, and using her lady parts as an excuse. She probably had sex with him to advance her career. Of course. Oh, wait, did I mention she is considered a party girl, and sings about it? (source). To me, this is saying that her consent doesn’t and didn’t matter. What people and what the judge believes, is all that matters. And that is why I am here.

I want to write about consent, because there are not enough of us, who have never  been sexually assaulted, talking about the issue, talking about our close calls. That’s right, not all women, but a lot of women in my generation, may have hung out with a guy who we thought was cute, and we had no intention of having sex with them. We may have kissed a little too long, but we got the courage to say that we didn’t go any further, they got it, and they stopped. Not because they are superheroes, because that’s what you are supposed to do. The thing that cannot be highlighted enough, is that we are in control of our bodies, and when we are with a guy this should respected no matter what. Now, Amber Rose gave an example a couple of weeks ago on Tyrese and Rev Run’s show on Oprah’s network that might be a little too raw and uncut so people would easily disagree with her. She takes it all the way to the point that even if you’re naked with a man, and then you decide to not have sex, no is no. And the reality is why it isn’t enough? Now, I have discussed this with several people, men and women, and I find that they think Amber Rose’s example goes too far. That if you allow yourself to be naked in front of a man, what do you think he is going to do?

Here, look at the clip.

If you think that a guy should just be able to have a go when they’re naked, what is different when they are clothed? If a girl tells a guy she wants to have sex with clothes on, and changes her mind, what does having clothes or not having clothes on make a difference? To some extent we are saying men have no control of themselves and we should let them have a go anywhere or that the women deserves it? I think they need to exercise some self-control, we let them run some of the most important parts of our lives and country.

So let me take it out of that extreme example.

When I was in law school, my first year, I had a boyfriend. We were still getting adjusted to a long distance relationship. He was slightly the jealous type, but not when we were in the city, in fact, he wasn’t clingy at all, so when I went off to law school, I thought he’d be fine, no problem. Well, not so much and when I would go out, he was one annoying person even when I was just trying to hang with my girlfriends. So one day, I was tired of it, and slightly stressed out about law school and we were fighting quite a bit so I went out with a few girlfriends. I met a guy, a tall, dark and handsome guy, and I may have had too much to drink, and at the time, I wasn’t much of a drinker so when he asked to come over, I was flattered, and hesitantly gave him my address.

After we left the bar, he came over and we were having good conversation, but the alcohol was waning. We eventually started kissing, but my mind was already changing. Talking to him, made me miss my boyfriend at the time. I forgot to mention, even though I invited him over, this was the first time I had ever done this. And I remember how I felt when he tried to push me further and I wasn’t feeling it. I was terrified, and I realized I potentially put myself in a dangerous situation. Why? Because here was this man who was 6’2”, maybe 6’3”, in good shape and everything, and I was worried that he could make me do anything. Eventually, he got the picture with no problem, and went and slept on my couch till the morning. As I laid on my bed, I prayed and was extremely thankful. Because the reality is that it could’ve went really left. Like, it really could’ve been me, and it would’ve been all my fault, because I let him in. But no. The guy accepted my non-consent, and that’s what missing in the conversation. There are plenty of men who understand what no is, so the ones who don’t, they don’t get a pass. THEY DO NOT GET A PASS. If I was in a similar situation, with a guy who didn’t accept my no, why would it be my fault if I am subsequently was raped. (Feel free to explain otherwise in my comment section)

So with any movement there is always a need to allies. I find that a lot of advocates involved with sexual violence are people who have experienced it themselves. What about all the women who have made it through without being attacked? Regardless if you have been in a situation such as myself or you have had sex with one person your whole life, we need more people (men and women) who have never sexually and physically assaulted, especially those who have gone out on a date, and said no.

And then there’s this thing called….VICTIM BLAMING…

It’s one thing when men victim blame but I see a number of women who victim blame, like WHAT?!?! But do you know why? Because it hasn’t happened to them. And that’s the problem. A women who is snatched while walking to her car is the same as the person who is just making out with a guy she likes who doesn’t understand no. We have to stop making concessions for certain situations. We have to continue to push what consent really is, and make sure our boys and girls, men and women get it, therefore, we must continue to talk about it.

More than anything about us understanding consent, there is a special place in hell for women who make up allegations about rape. On March 13th, ESPN will premiere it’s 30 for 30 documentary called, “Fantastic Lies” about the Duke Lacrosse Team rape scandal. I am not by any means speaking to anyone’s innocence and guilt, but the whole situation didn’t help women at all. This isn’t an election where Hillary Clinton wants all the women to support her. Anyone could be in the position of being physically assaulted. If you haven’t experienced it, you’re just one experience from it happening to you. Regardless if it’s sexual harassment, sexual abuse, or anything else. Just because it hasn’t happen to you, because for every women who is victim blamed is one more validation that we are the problem and aren’t control of ourselves and our experiences.

M/P

Oh Me, Oh My: My Journey To Get In Touch With My Inner Girl

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“I feel there is something unexplored about woman that only a woman can explore.” – Georgia O’Keeffe

So I just got off of vacation and I really wanted to write about my experience and all the things I learned, but my mind decided to fight me and make me write about something, I promised I would never write about, but here it goes. Beauty. Fashion. All the things girly. Yeah, I never imagined writing about anything around the subject, because there are so many more pressing issues in the world, but as I delve into the evaluation of feminism or just simply watching how Hilary Clinton and Carly Fiorina are being treated differently as women, I can’t help but think on these things to some degree. This is what makes a woman, we are layered, and even when we try to avoid certain experiences they sometimes still seem to creep in on us. What we look like still matters just as much as what it’s in our mind, if not more so, unfortunately. So I am in the middle of a feminine revelation, or shall I say transformation. Yes, America, the #1 tomboy has started doing things a little different and I feel compelled to kind of talk about it. I promise at times I was annoyed in writing this…How dare we be defined by a social norm. For the purpose of this blog post, let’s just say I have subscribed to the notion, that being “girly” is a thing and it looks a certain way.

So I have a lot of girly friends. Why? I am not sure and I really don’t know why, opposites attract, maybe? I am a bona fide Tom Boy, and I have a number of really good guy friends too. Not to mention my brothers and I are really close and they taught me everything that I know about sports and in fact, I always love to brag that I know more sports than the average man.

When I went to college that was the first time that I had to face the reality that I didn’t do a number of things that normal girls do. (Well, actually the first time I had to really deal with this is when I was 11 and was mistaken for a boy), but for the first time living with women other than my mother was a culture shock.

Now, of course, there are no absolutes, but there were a number of things, girly things, that I didn’t do. I won’t mention them cause who wants to be that transparent. To further take me down the road of girliness in college, I joined a sorority. Sometimes, outside of the amazing relationships that I’ve built, how did I manage that? Sometimes I used to feel like an impostor when it comes to “girl” things. What is a purse, why were heels even made, make-up – that’s for clowns, right? I used to feel like life would be easier if I were a man. And not because of the obvious benefits men get, but my personality, demeanor and my likes and dislikes used to be very much geared similar to that of a typical male. Heck, GQ is still my favorite magazine (I mean the articles are good and it’s full of half-naked men). I couldn’t even name more than 3 woman magazines.

So over the last few months, I decided to pamper myself, doing things like maintaining my nails, wearing make-up regularly, keeping my eyebrows on point, being dutiful in cooking and cleaning around my place, and diligently eating healthier and exercising. Oh, and my hair has been on point (most of the time). Growing up, with the exception of hair, things like this I was never taught to focus on. It was always about education, be strong, and fight for your rightful place in the world. I have never gone shopping with my mother, nor have we have ever made a trip to a nail salon or things of that nature.

*Enters my first real relationship (with a boy)*

So to only complicate the situation, the first guy I dated, was very much high maintenance. He would always take longer to get ready then I would. He definitely liked a kind of women who was well manicured, done up from head to toe. Over those 7 years, I tried to do it. I failed miserably over and over. We were in a long distance relationship after I left college (thank GOD), and I would go through a mini-transformation every 3 months when we would see each other. I would always tell myself, I would keep my nails done, hair laid, but nope, that rarely happened. I was never comfortable. I never enjoyed getting done up. It was very robotic to me.

*end of my relationship*

So 7 years later, I was free, the inner tom boy came back with a mad vengeance. I still liked to dress cute and do my hair occasionally, but I think over the following year or so, I rarely touched make-up, didn’t keep my nails looking decent, or even appropriately put jewelry together. For a period, I was going through the loss of a relationship so I wasn’t being horribly judged, and since I wasn’t really dating, I got several passes. As time went on, I wanted to start dating again, and I befriended some new male friends who provided me with a new perspective (that I am not sure I agree), but for the purpose of this article, it is the thesis statement and basis of this article.

This idea that most men (heterosexual) do like women who keep up a certain maintenance, because they can’t help but be visual, and it’s not from a place of shallowness, but why wouldn’t you want to keep yourself together and healthy?

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This “maintenance” involves maintaining healthy habits with exercise and maintaining certain “feminine” social norms (yes, I’m cringing as I write this). I personally feel like I should be able to do whatever the hell I want, and I should be accepted in that matter. But I decided to think I was wrong, and started making small changes, and began this transformation, and guess what I found.  I have completely different interactions with the opposite sex, with men I know and men I don’t know. But even more so I have different interactions with women too, even in my professional space. I have worn make-up more often to work, and see the differences in the interactions, and it’s puzzling to me. What does this mean? Am I not the same person, behind the make-up, clothes and nails?

When I used to look at famous people, who after hitting a certain level of stardom and maybe were a little over weight, they ALWAYS lose weight if they can. The reality is that people treat you different, and if I am not saying it directly, they seem to treat you better. Yes, I said it, and whatever that might look like to you. And I get that, but I was just raised differently. That the external just means less. That focusing on my appearance says nothing about you. I have met a number of women who focus on all those things, and not much else, and when they gain a little weight or circumstances make maintaining that look difficult, they are lost, and obsess over their appearance, because their interactions rise and fall based on their appearance and it’s sad.

I was fortunate not have to deal with these issues for a very long time, and I am very happy that it only took me 3 months out of my life, but I, like most women have to at some point in their life, wrestle with the social norms of femininity as it relates to being a women and what it means. I will never forget the first time Hilary Clinton ran for President and they were having legit discussions about pant versus skirt suits in regards to her “femininity”. It. was. disgusting. (and let’s not forget, I am not a Hilary Fan, unless you attack her womanhood, homey don’t play that). But I will tell you all this, I have enjoyed getting my nails, getting to have a “nail” lady, and trying new things with makeup and getting compliments from men and women alike.

But what I have learned, which I am sure many of you all guessed, but that it’s really about balance and there is no right answer. You can go overboard with anything, focusing too much on your outer appearance or you can look so bad that no one wants to be your friend. But it really is more than that. That this journey is one of the million things that makes our experience as women different and AWESOME. We produce strong young men and women, because we have to juggle so many different norms. That men don’t get to have the complicated and interesting life that women get to lead. Yes, I just said that. That we have to challenge ourselves, question ourselves more than they do especially in 2016. There is still a struggle with roles for women in the workplace, in the home and in relationships. Whether there is a spiritual component or not in your thinking, women are questioned about the way they parent, the fact they have no kids, are we too emotional or not having enough emotion, so that we are considered a bitch, and the list goes on.

I will never subscribe to this idea that I have to look a certain way to get the attention or affection of a man, but being pampered, getting in touch with my inner girl was and IS nice, but it is my friends, not mandatory to be kick ass. Being kick ass is just what women do whether you are or not in touch with your inner girl. So just do that. Kick-Ass!

M/P

 

 

 

The Reality of Truth In America: A Story About Donald Trump and N.W.A.

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“In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same.” –Albert Einstein


What I am about to say may seem a little outlandish. You might think that I am a little crazy. But like the Black Eye Peas, “I got a Feeling”.  There’s this movie out, I don’t know if you heard of it … “Straight Outta of Compton.” And then there’s this actor running for President – Yes, I am referring to Donald Trump. And I see a connection, a similarity… in who they were, and who he is now, and why we just can’t get enough.

Americans, and others, love “the truth”. Straight talking in your face, not caring about the consequences.

* enters N.W.A. and Donald Trump hand in hand*

We loved/love them for their honesty, their bluntness but yet, they have/had their fair share of haters. There are people who disagree with their honesty, and then there are others who would just like them to “tone” it down a bit. But what they both have in common is their comments, lyircs or words about women that are derogatory. Yes… I am taking it there, but hear me out, this is not what it seems.

Filmaker Ava Duvernay expressed her feelings about hip hop so eloquently in 140 characters.

Ava

When you think of N.W.A and other Rap/Hip-Hop artists, as a woman, you can’t help but cringe at some of the lyrics. The honesty that they bring comes with an asterisk when it comes to women for a lot of people. When asked about their lyrics in response to say “F*ck the Police”, they explain that they are exercising their 1st Amendment right and shout from the hilltops that political correctness takes away from the stories they are telling about what’s going on in their communities. But in terms of women, what is the explanation for that? We have the right to talk about women any way we want. Well, that’s what they did and artists still do today.And Donald Trump, in 2015, still going at it strongly dissing women when he can.

Now, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube have kind of changed their tune, and don’t say degrading things about women for the most part (to be discussed later).  And to be honest, now, most people equate Ice Cube to a family actor who is always playing the sensible guy. I mean have you seen Ride Along.  And let’s not forget Dr. Dre’s physically abusive nature towards women from his past. Now, the members of N.W. A. are all grown up and might not talk or do what they used to, but we have new rappers who follow in their footsteps. We see time and time again, that people have no problem saying demeaning things to just about anybody, and we eat it up like cake as long as it’s not about us or offending us.

So here’s the question: Can we handle the truth, and if it is someone else’s truth, should we “handle” it ? Does being in the spotlight have any effect on what you are free to say? Do we really believe in Freedom of Speech as a Nation, and should we?

So I went on a little research expedition about Donald’s inappropriate language, I’m refraining from posting any of that garbage on my site, but here’s at least one link that identifies a few of his comments

Now, some of the comments in the article aren’t that bad, some of them are disgusting. Implying that Megyn Kelly was menstruating  i.e. she was emotional is equivalent to Hilary crying back in the 2008’s primary election. People said this happened cause she’s a woman. Really? Now my friends, those examples aren’t shit. It’s offensive, yes, but let’s not get distracted. Donald’s is offensive when he refers to women sexually or inappropriately but everything people are up in arms about isn’t offensive.  But the reality,  he’s running for President. So is he offensive, because he’s running for President, or because he’s just offensive. One of his supporters, now former, said it best at the end of the above article, “I wouldn’t want my daughter around him”, but would you really want Bill Clinton? (I’m just saying)

I am not at all condoning Trump’s commentary, look back two weeks ago here, I was pissed at him for talking about John McCain, because it was insensitive and un-American. But in some way American, right? This is my 4th post about Freedom of Speech. So you know, it’s something I care about. When we talk about limits and all that and its purpose, and why we should be thankful for it, you can look there and there for those conversations.

My point today America…. Stop picking and choosing the truth that you want to hear, truth should be all encompassing.  

So you have to take the whole person and their truth, not in parts. Can you love N.W.A. for coming out against the Police and shame them for their lyrics about women? You can but to me, it’s the same as an holier than though anti-gay preacher who hires gay men for sex. Like WHET! But here’s the point. Why do we continue to reward people for the things we like and shame them for the things that we don’t. You either love them for all of who they are, or you don’t. We cannot cherry pick the truth. As much as I or you would want to. If you know me, you know who my favorite actor is, and I watched that Clear Project crap, and cried every night for a week, okay maybe not every night or at all, but I love Tom Cruise, jumping on couches and all. So I guess what I am saying is just own it and stop apologizing, which brings us full circle as to why Trump is winning in the polls, winning in America with  his offensive talking points and language.  Trump isn’t apologizing for what he’s saying. It is HIS truth and he’s OWNING IT. There are not enough people doing just that.

In terms of N.W.A., I am not condoning the vile words or actions of abuse, but you cannot separate them. Those young men were born in situations of abuse where they saw it day in and out against women. When they raised themselves out of that environment, and knew better, they did better. This is not the case for all men. It’s not about whether Dr. Dre has or hasn’t really changed. In his new album, Compton, he might not be as bad, but he doesn’t do any favors for women, as mentioned so eloquently in this article. Even if slight, there are still a couple of hints of mistreatment of women. He could use his position to highlight the difficulty of being a black man, and how we unfortunately use violence against our women and children because of the struggle, but that wouldn’t be his truth. So let’s stop making excuses for him.  And that’s what this is really all about. You can yell and scream, inappropriate and vile, all you want, but the biggest problem is not believing people when they tell us who they are. So like I said, I am all for unabashed truth, even if it hurts, because it’s better knowing than not, but that means the rest of America needs to catch up with the truth that’s being spit right to them.

If what Trump is saying is resonating with so many Americans, what is the real problem, and who is going to fix it. Because if we don’t, Trump is going to be elected and he will have the opportunity to do so. My advice to the other candidates on both sides of the aisle, attack him until your truth is a better solution. Otherwise, his truth will continue to reign, and he happens to live in a country that will allow him to do so. Maybe everyone should take the same approach and exercise their freedom of speech as Trump has.

Don’t hate the player, hate the game, and starting learning how to play.

M/P

How Ignorant is Your Bliss (The Monday Fits)

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“I say there is no darkness but ignorance.”   William Shakespeare


It’s been a while since I’ve been actually upset for a Monday Fit, but I am today and I have been fuming for quite a bit. I posted only a quote from Ms. Virginia Woolf last week, because I hadn’t quite formed my thoughts into my brain, because all I could see was red. One of my goals with my blog is to write about a variety of subjects, ideas, and perspectives, but lately, I find my life experiences lead me to similar subjects in a new way. Someone has gotten me all fired up again about fairness when it comes to women, and why feminism is important. I know, you’ve heard me say this, but this story is a little different. Unfortunately it seems thay when we focus on a minority for too long, there is always that one person asking, “What about the majority group”, are we being unfair to them”:

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As if the majority needs a helping hand, puh-lease. So I was out to eat with several people to celebrate the release of a fictional novel. During this celebration, a person, who was female ( unfortunately),  began discussing that many of the stories nowadays involve only female heroines. If you look at the recent obsession with Katniss (from the Hunger Games series) or Veronica (from the Divergent series), among many others, that is correct. These novels are geared towards young girls, but have taken the nation by surprise and are international sellers. Even the beloved Vampire love story, Twilight, for most of the series was written through the eyes of Bella, the female teenager at the beginnging of the story. But as this lady was pointing out this fact, she said, “Where are all the stories for young boys, they need something to read”.  My mouth dropped instantly, I kind of gave the “what the heck” face, and with my most controlled voice, I barked back with, “Are you kidding me, I mean a few recent stories, isn’t compared to the focus of young boys over the last, I don’t know, one hundred plus years…” then I paused looked at the table of 11, some were not in ear shot, but the few people who were listening in, I kind of got the sense that I was the crazy person at the table. So I ended with the, “maybe it’s just me, but there are plenty of stories about young boys, there’s no comparison”, and preceeded to drop the discussion. Cause the way my brain is set up, I just don’t do ignorance.

Now at the time, my statement was just as un-researched as hers, but I knew I would do my due diligence. But facts or no facts, I truly thought it was reasonable to think that her statement was absolutely ridiculous. As a woman, in my opinion, it was even more ridiculous. But the part that gets me most upset, is that I was the only person upset about it. Just off the top of your head, if you just think about the last 20 years, the most famous novel for kids has been none other than Harry stinking Potter, whose popularity is unmatched.

I promise that I don’t like to get passionate or angry, but you see what I have to deal with at a table full of educated people, especially in this information age. It amazes me what people don’t know, so I am going to show you the information that is out there but we’d rather be ignorant. In my little search, I found some interesting statistics involving children’s books, comics, and movies.

 Children’s Stories

In 2011, results from a study published in “Gender & Society”, called Gender in Twentieth-Century Children’s Books. The study looked at Caldecott award-winning books, the well-known US book series Little Golden Books and extensive book listing the Children’s Catalog. (source) The study released stated that, “children’s books are dominated by male central character”, and the research has found the gender disparity was sending children a message that “women and girls occupy a less important role in society than men or boys”.(source) Looking at almost 6,000 children’s books published between 1900 and 2000, the study, led by Janice McCabe, a professor of sociology at Florida State University, found that males are central characters in 57% of children’s books published each year, with just 31% having female central characters.(source) Male animals are central characters in 23% of books per year, the study found, while female animals star in only 7.5%. (source)

The study goes on to say that the gender disparity came close to disappearing by the 1990s for human characters in children’s books, with a ratio of 0.9 to 1 for child characters and 1.2 to 1 for adult characters, it remained for animal characters, with a “significant disparity” of nearly two to one. So there has been progress, but guess where it was happening, “The study found that the 1930s to 1960s, the period between waves of feminist activism, exhibits greater disparities than earlier and later periods”. (source)

And you wonder why I say feminism matters….

 Comics

Although I like comics, I rarely read them, but as I was looking into gender disparity in publications I happened upon this gem, called “Women in Refrigerators”. If you haven’t heard what this is specifically, feel free to look deeper.  But it was “a website that was created in 1999 by a group of comic book fans that feature a list of female comic book characters that have been injured, killed, or depowered as a plot device within various superhero comic books, and seeks to analyze why these plot devices are used disproportionately on female characters. (source) Gail Simone, the named founder, was  sick of seeing “superheroines who have been either depowered, raped, or cut up and stuck in the refrigerator.”

 What’s interesting after Simone and the the group started women in refrigerators, of course, there was backlash. Now I am all for the critiquing of new ideas, so if their premise about women being disproportionately mistreated in comic books was wrong, let’s hear it. Well , much to the delight of Women in Refrigerators,  “Dead Men Defrosting” was created to show that not only is it not true for men, it’s quite the opposite.  Comic fan John Bartol explains, “In cases where males heroes have been altered or appear to die they usually come back even better than before, either power-wise or in terms of character development/relevancy to the reader.”

 Simone also responded to this criticism by saying, “First, there’s [always been] a larger selection of male characters, so a handful killed made barely a ripple. Second, they didn’t seem to be killed in the same way—they tended to die heroically, to go down fighting. Whereas in many cases, the superLADIES were simply found on the kitchen table already carved up.” (source)

Now this interested me, because it opened my eyes a little about not just looking at the surface of who is being feature more, men or women, but also what content is being written about them. oh, there is more…

 Movies

The Bechdel Test, coined in 1985, by American Cartoonist Alison Bechdel, asks if a work of fiction features at least two women who talk to each other about something other than a man. In some tests, the requirement that the two women must be named is sometimes added. Originally conceived for evaluating films, the Bechdel test is now used as an indicator of gender bias in all forms of fiction. Almost half (50%) of all contemporary films fail the test, and critics have noted that the test is most informative when applied in the aggregate, because individual works may pass or fail the test for reasons unrelated to sexism. In film, a study of gender portrayals in 855 of the most financially successful U.S. films from 1950 to 2006 showed that there were, on average, two male characters for each female character, a ratio that remained stable over time. Female characters were portrayed as being involved in sex twice as often as male characters, and their proportion of scenes with explicit sexual content increased over time. Violence increased over time in male and female characters alike. (Source)
So what’s the point?
I think we do ourselves a disservice that when a group of people are
disenfranchised and we choose to highlight, focus, or put all of our
energies on that group, those actions are criticized. I would agree
that focusing solely on any one population or subgroup is bad. If all
the ivy league schools started only accepting minorities and completing
shutting out every single white person who applied and did this for years, of
course it’s clear, this is wrong. But if the ivy leagues selected minorities in large amounts, say 50% of the selected applicants, there would be some unhappy people and the credentials of all the selected applicants would come into question. Because the reality is most people are uncomfortable with the majority
(by number or by power) being overshadowed by the minority.
I would go as far as to say that’s with males that are successful in
predominately female occupations or whites that are successful in hip
hop music, both of those examples are hugely discredited in relation to
the majority in the field. And I think we are even more uncomfortable with segments of the population that have been disenfranchised for longer periods of time such as women or African-Americans.

So as a few women put the “pen to the pad”, and created stories about heroic young ladies, there really is no need to even consider the increase in women in novels as it relates to men.
What it really speaks to is that even WOMEN are afraid to be focused
on, to take the focus off of men, to show how awesome and amazing women are, and that’s the real tradegy. That’s what this whole leaning in phenonmen is all about, even if we stop the men from “holding us” back (whatever that means), we
still choose to hold ourselves back. Let’s not be ignornat, cause this
ain’t bliss.