Archive: sexism

Mother of the prince.

I’m the oldest of my siblings born to my mother and the only girl.  (My father has more kids than can be counted on 1 hand, but I digress.)  I think that under the circumstances, I’ve done allright for myself.  I’ve been on my own for quite some time – job/career, automobile, place to live, finished school, child-free, solo traveler, etc.  I would think that many parents would be happy that their son or daughter was able to live out in the world and be self-sufficient, no matter whether they’re aged 21 or 61.

Apparently not.  :-|

My oldest younger brother could be doing worse, but he’s definitely not doing stellar.  He’s very intelligent but he doesn’t utilize it very much.  Once he hit high school, he seemed to be more concerned with popularity than passing classes.  He made it out of high school by the skin of his teeth but of course he looked good doing it, because goodness forbid he didn’t look good before he left the house.  :-|   During high school, he was offered a chance to get into a well-known medical school program in which students were accepted upon high school graduation and finished everything in 7 years, becoming doctors in their 20s.  He did excellent on certain tests, but his class grades didn’t match the tests and were so bad that the school couldn’t accept him.  His grades were bad because it was more important to be cute and popular.

He graduated and went on to college out of state.  He only lasted 1 year.  He was cute and popular there too – to the point that he had zero credits.  Oh, I forgot to mention – toward the end of his high school career, he met a girl and had sex with her within hours of meeting her.  She got pregnant and decided to carry the pregnancy to term, my nephew.  Isn’t life grand.

He returned home and tried community college.  He only did 1 semester before deciding to quit.  Instead, he met a woman, married her 6 months later, and joined the military without telling anyone until a couple days before he left for training.  He cheated through their whole marriage, but they still had a son.  Toward the end of the marriage, he met another woman, lied about his marital status, and ran off with her while filing for divorce.  He got the other woman pregnant before the divorce was finalized and they had a son.  They got married and later, had another son.  But you get what you ask for because she didn’t leave after he admitted his true status, and he cheated on her too.  Now he has a new girlfriend.

Please note that this is a very short version of the story.  :-|

You would think that any parent in their right mind would not condone this behavior because, after all, “I didn’t raise my child this way!”  But there are plenty of mothers who support this behavior….. whether knowingly or unknowingly, whether explicitly or implicitly, whether overt or covert.  Our mother in particular blames the women for his troubles because, after all, he tripped and fell in the p—y.  Or the women seduced him.  Right mothers?  Isn’t that why your sons have “baby muhva/mama drama”?  :-|

This is more common than many want to believe.  Mothers place their sons on pedestals and enable all kinds of dysfunctional behavior.  Then the cycle continues and the ones who are most affected are the innocent children.

Have any of you had the same experiences?  If you’re a man, have you experienced mommy dearest doting on you, spoiling you?  How has it affected you?  How has it affected the relationships between you and your parent(s) and between you and your siblings?

“Boys are loved and girls are raised.”

Discuss…..

Keep quiet, woman!!!

As in all the congregations of the saints, women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church. (NIV, 1 Corinthians 14:33-35)

A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. (NIV, 1 Timothy 2:11-12)

Well apparently, former President Jimmy Carter didn’t think so.  He always goes against the norm and for that, I like him.

Do any of you practice a religion?  If so (or if not), what do you think of the following article?  Also if so, what is your church/religion like in terms of treatment of women?  And if not, was this one of the reasons why you left?

If you’re interested in further reading, check out The Real Skinny On Eve.  There is also a Facebook page for the book.

_______________________

Losing my religion for equality

  • Jimmy Carter
  • July 15, 2009
Illustration: DysonIllustration: Dyson

Women and girls have been discriminated against for too long in a twisted interpretation of the word of God.

I HAVE been a practising Christian all my life and a deacon and Bible teacher for many years. My faith is a source of strength and comfort to me, as religious beliefs are to hundreds of millions of people around the world. So my decision to sever my ties with the Southern Baptist Convention, after six decades, was painful and difficult. It was, however, an unavoidable decision when the convention’s leaders, quoting a few carefully selected Bible verses and claiming that Eve was created second to Adam and was responsible for original sin, ordained that women must be “subservient” to their husbands and prohibited from serving as deacons, pastors or chaplains in the military service.

This view that women are somehow inferior to men is not restricted to one religion or belief. Women are prevented from playing a full and equal role in many faiths. Nor, tragically, does its influence stop at the walls of the church, mosque, synagogue or temple. This discrimination, unjustifiably attributed to a Higher Authority, has provided a reason or excuse for the deprivation of women’s equal rights across the world for centuries.

At its most repugnant, the belief that women must be subjugated to the wishes of men excuses slavery, violence, forced prostitution, genital mutilation and national laws that omit rape as a crime. But it also costs many millions of girls and women control over their own bodies and lives, and continues to deny them fair access to education, health, employment and influence within their own communities.

The impact of these religious beliefs touches every aspect of our lives. They help explain why in many countries boys are educated before girls; why girls are told when and whom they must marry; and why many face enormous and unacceptable risks in pregnancy and childbirth because their basic health needs are not met.

In some Islamic nations, women are restricted in their movements, punished for permitting the exposure of an arm or ankle, deprived of education, prohibited from driving a car or competing with men for a job. If a woman is raped, she is often most severely punished as the guilty party in the crime.

The same discriminatory thinking lies behind the continuing gender gap in pay and why there are still so few women in office in the West. The root of this prejudice lies deep in our histories, but its impact is felt every day. It is not women and girls alone who suffer. It damages all of us. The evidence shows that investing in women and girls delivers major benefits for society. An educated woman has healthier children. She is more likely to send them to school. She earns more and invests what she earns in her family.

It is simply self-defeating for any community to discriminate against half its population. We need to challenge these self-serving and outdated attitudes and practices - as we are seeing in Iran where women are at the forefront of the battle for democracy and freedom.

I understand, however, why many political leaders can be reluctant about stepping into this minefield. Religion, and tradition, are powerful and sensitive areas to challenge. But my fellow Elders and I, who come from many faiths and backgrounds, no longer need to worry about winning votes or avoiding controversy - and we are deeply committed to challenging injustice wherever we see it.

The Elders are an independent group of eminent global leaders, brought together by former South African president Nelson Mandela, who offer their influence and experience to support peace building, help address major causes of human suffering and promote the shared interests of humanity. We have decided to draw particular attention to the responsibility of religious and traditional leaders in ensuring equality and human rights and have recently published a statement that declares: “The justification of discrimination against women and girls on grounds of religion or tradition, as if it were prescribed by a Higher Authority, is unacceptable.”

We are calling on all leaders to challenge and change the harmful teachings and practices, no matter how ingrained, which justify discrimination against women. We ask, in particular, that leaders of all religions have the courage to acknowledge and emphasise the positive messages of dignity and equality that all the world’s major faiths share.

The carefully selected verses found in the Holy Scriptures to justify the superiority of men owe more to time and place - and the determination of male leaders to hold onto their influence - than eternal truths. Similar biblical excerpts could be found to support the approval of slavery and the timid acquiescence to oppressive rulers.

I am also familiar with vivid descriptions in the same Scriptures in which women are revered as pre-eminent leaders. During the years of the early Christian church women served as deacons, priests, bishops, apostles, teachers and prophets. It wasn’t until the fourth century that dominant Christian leaders, all men, twisted and distorted Holy Scriptures to perpetuate their ascendant positions within the religious hierarchy.

The truth is that male religious leaders have had - and still have - an option to interpret holy teachings either to exalt or subjugate women. They have, for their own selfish ends, overwhelmingly chosen the latter. Their continuing choice provides the foundation or justification for much of the pervasive persecution and abuse of women throughout the world. This is in clear violation not just of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights but also the teachings of Jesus Christ, the Apostle Paul, Moses and the prophets, Muhammad, and founders of other great religions - all of whom have called for proper and equitable treatment of all the children of God. It is time we had the courage to challenge these views.

OBSERVER

Jimmy Carter was president of the United States from 1977 to 1981.

First date sex?

Girl, you gon’ cry
(Tears of joy)
Tears from your eyes
No cards or candy; gimme them panties
Girl, I’m your gift tonight
Girl, you gon’ cry
Tears from yo eyes
Don’t wanna disrespect ya, know I just met ya
But we both know we want…
First date sex
(You want)
First date sex
(I want)
First date sex
That don’t make u a groupie to do me
Girl, we both know we grown
First date sex
(You grown)
First date sex
(I’m grown)
This for my niggas
Sip ya liquor
Roll a swisher to this.

(Please pardon the use of the n-word, it’s not my doing of course.  For the rest of the lyrics,  click on the link below or copy/paste into your browser.)

http://www.metrolyrics.com/first-date-sex-birthday-sex-remix-lyrics-trey-songz.html

_______________________

I first heard this song, a remix of the original song “Birthday Sex” by new artist Jeremih, a few months back and I was kind of surprised.  Maybe it’s because I’m not as experienced as some people, who knows.  I started out kind of late in the game due to family upbringing (which wasn’t the best and was repressive at times).  I was of the understanding that it wasn’t really okay to have sex, or do much of anything else for that matter, on the first date .  It demonstrated that a woman wasn’t worthy of having a relationship because after all, if she had sex with someone that easily, why should a man take her seriously?

So when I heard this song, I said to myself (and others), “So this is the new “in” thing now?”

In general, women are seen as “less than” on a daily basis.  Women have numerous double standards placed upon them – staying “pure” until marriage, having very few (if any) sexual partners, working and being good mothers while getting paid less than men, etc. So it surprised me to see that the “rules” have changed.  It’s now “okay” for women to have first date sex, or even one night stands, and men won’t look at them any different and will even respect them in the morning.  Women can now do the same things that men do and it’s quite alright.  We’ve evolved from being Neanderthals to being on the same level in all aspects of our lives, especially when it comes to love and lust.

Or have we? Is this what really occurs – in Black culture across the Diaspora (and even in other cultures if you want to broaden the topic), do men find this okay?  Does it really work out the way that the above lyrics spell it out?  How do women think/feel about this?

And just a fun fact – the continent of Australia is #1 for one night stands.  Australians are quite alright with one night stands and, supposedly, don’t look at each other any different for it.  It’s very common there.  How funny that I’m going there at the end of this month.  It’ll be interesting to see this phenomenon in action.  (I don’t plan to take part in the phenomenon, but I’ll damn sure watch.  *wink*)

Discuss…..

Rape on Film: Is it Justified ?

Baise-Moi (Kiss Me) was a French film released in 2000 about a sex/murder rampage by 2 women. It features very very sexually explicit, with an 18 certificate. It is on the viewing list for one of my modules at university and I watched it on Friday night for the first time, after renting it.

I still do not know what to make of it as a film. Part of me thinks it is extremely brave in how it deals with female sexuality but I am extremely anti-pornography or anything pornographic so I just felt ambivlent towards how it showed sex. The 2 women (Rafaella Anderson & Karen Bach, 2 ex-adult film actresses) were sublime and very good when they actually had dialogue and interacted with each other. Time magazine reportedly said that Anderson had star quality and was ‘part seraph, part slut’. Yet, the extremely graphic sex scenes were off-putting and disturbing for me. Read more

What is Masculinity: Part II

Preface: **May contain film spoilers** 

I have been on film binge this week: I watched Quiz Show, Poetic Justice, He Got Game. All 3 were enjoyable albeit for different reasons. Quiz Show probably sticks out the most like a sore thumb in that it has no black actors of recognition in it whereas the other two have household names like Tupac Shakur and Denzel Washington. I bought He Got Game because I like Spike Lee’s films and because I am a Denzel addict (but I promise, I won’t go on about that too much…lol).

He Got Game is a Spike Lee directed film, starring Denzel Washington and a host of well known famous faces like Rick Fox, Rosario Dawson. Ray Allen plays his estranged son (and I later found out he is actually a US basketball player). Washington makes a deal with the devil so to speak when he is let out for 1 week on the condition that he could ‘persuade’ his son to sign with some massive university because of other reasons disclosed in the film.

I think the film was a solid effort (the reviewers on Amazon are a bit harsh; Allen was not that bad!). It is very Spike-esque, especially in how it portrays women. The women in this film are used as a foil for the men. Rosario Dawson comes across like a scheming minx, Milla Jovovich plays a prostitute who is being abused by her pimp. I think he likes to mirror these images of women, and he almost makes cariactures of them. Allen’s mother is the only woman who is given a halo-like glow….is this because of motherhood? Because of these displays of femininity or what a woman is, I am not surprised that Dawson’s character or Jovovich’s make you feel sorry for them. They allow you to focus more on the men of the film who are not judged by what they look like or how their bodies are, but by their sporting prowess. Is that a fair trade?

He Got Game reinforces the idea that masculinity of the black man is defined within the realms of sport and it also lifts an interesting lid on the focus of sport within African-American communities. As a non African-American but a black African girl, this is really interesting to watch as sport too is so revered in East Africa. The sport of choice is football, however but the same pressure and love as seen in He Got Game is shared throughout the diaspora.

However, despite the focus on sex (which I have to agree with the reviewers on Amazon is a bit much), the film is quite good. It makes you think about black people and how we work in communities. Not all black communities are the same worldwide but the father-son relationship is dealt with nicely in this film. It seems to me that Allen’s character attempts to define his masculinity away from that of his father (Washington) thus leading me to believe that masculinity is something self-defining.

Has anyone else seen this film? I’d love to hear more thoughts. Here is a previous post on masculinity

Blended Thoughts: Karrine Steffans & Justin + Beyonce Duet

*During all the hype with Karrine Steffans and her first book of confessions in 2005/6, I didn’t really take notice. What has intrigued me was listening to an interview with her and I think it was Al Sharpton. She came across very intelligent when I think back on it. So I was in Borders yesterday and picked up ‘Confessions of a Video Vixen’. I don’t see it as me giving money to a woman who is bringing down rappers etc. I am just interested to read about a black woman’s story of surviving. and I read the book cover to cover yesterday and finished it. I had mixed feelings: why didn’t Steffans go back to St. Thomas to be with her grandmother? what possessed her desperate desire to sleep with all those men? Her book reveals a lot about why many women seek validation in men and it also hints at why femininity in itself is so desperately seeked because it ‘achieves’ male validation, a prize that many young girls feel they need to become worth something. Of course, these ideals of seeking validation are wrong and unhealthy but many young girls suffer from this. What did you think of her? To be honest, I was less interested in who she slept with from the entertainment world, but more interested in hearing how she survived the industry. I know ‘Vixen Diairies’ is comingn out soon so I will be reading that too. A lot of the current reading I did yesterday for my feminist course on bell hooks is so relevant to Karrine Steffans.

*This track is the remix of Until the End of Time by Justin Timberlake featuring one of my favourite singers, Beyonce. There are many thoughts on the track but I love hearing Beyonce on this. Her voice sounds like it used to do in the Destiny Child days. It is calm and cool track. Was Timbaland/Danja the production on this track? I love it and that is a stretch 4 me because of how Justin has kinda duplicated Ginuwine’s style 4 me but he doesn’t irritate me at all on this. I actually like his voice on the song so well done JT!

–A–

a brief look @ bell hooks

I have chosen to do Contemporary Feminist Theory as part of my Politics course this year and we have to do a report on a Feminist Thinker as part of the homework. I am trying 2 be good and do it in advance. I have chosen black american feminist, bell hooks.

I read “Selling Hot P/ssy” essay from Black Looks and “Representations: feminism and black masculinity” from Yearning. The ‘Selling Hot P/ssy’ essay is particularly explosive and really made me think. Here are some other points that I think merit discussion:

  • In ‘Feminism and Black Masculinity’, she notes how one black male correspondent once told her that ”sexism is the last thing black men want to deal with”. This is jaw-dropping even though this book was written years ago. It is so true and relevant: sexism is like the dirt that is routinely hidden underneath the rug, but won’t go away. Why do you think black women and black men allow it to perpetuate itself within our communities worldwide?
  • In ‘Selling Hot P/ssy’, she claims that of Iman that ”she was the perfect black clone of the white ice goddess”. What do you think of this? Does the images that Iman has done perpetuate an extension of Eurocentric beauty?
  • In ‘Feminism and Black Masculinity’, she describes how people felt about the Colour Purple when it was released in the USA. I wonder what it must have been like to be around then when it came out. Did it really divide people?

This woman is definitely relevant. I also like her style of writing, she doesn’t come across preachy and the way she mixes other people’s work to prove her point is refreshing and punchy. In one part of ‘Selling Hot P/ssy’, she quotes Julie Burchill, a famous British female author who wrote an essay called Girls on Film. Here is the extract that bell hooks quotes:

  • “In the mature Forties, Hollywood decided to get to gri[s with the meaty and messy topic of multiracial romance, but it was a morbid business. Even when the girls were gorgeous white girls — multiracial romance brought tears, traumas and suicide. The message was clear: you intelligent white men suffer enough guilt of what your granddaddy did — you want to suffer some more! Keep away from those girls…”

hooks links in this passage (which she describes as Burchill putting it ‘outrageously’) with what she refers to as ‘sanitised ethnic image was defined as that of the tragic mulatto’. Burchill’s passage is uncomfortable to read but it does hint to how the lure of light-skinned black women has been part of the Hollywood world and has been glamourised to be a ‘naughty’ thing for white men of yesteryear to indulge in. Ironically, this is the same woman who wrote Sugar Rush, the successful book turned into addicitive Channel 4 TV show about a girl obsessed with her mixed-race best friend.

Next in my feminist posting series will be a look into the black british feminism book that I mentioned I wanted to read a few months back. Turns out, it had been sitting at the uni library the whole time! Keep your eyes peeled in the coming weeks for the continuation of this blog series!

..black female empowerment & the future of relationships between black women & men…

Many off-shoots of post-70s feminism such as ‘riot grrl’ have been largely the making of white feminists’ work. Riot Grrl has been a deep influence over many feminist, DIY zines around the world. My question is, where do young black girls who are feminists fit into the new sub-cultures emerging from the movement?

There is no question that black girls and white girls need to work together in order to make considerable gains for the female gender. However, we cannot forget that race and ethnicity are equally important issues that cannot be ignored or dealt with just one article in a feminist journal. There needs to be a collective movement, of which the internet is providing. There are numerous black female empowerment sites and blogs which are opening up the platform for debate.

I would like to know why black feminist sub-cultures that exist outside the Internet are still underground and largely unheard of. I was ecstatic when I heard of that book, Black British Feminism, as I mentioned in a previous post because I began to feel like things were beginning to open up. Are many of them mainly underground or unheard of because black women are not interested in feminism or is because there is no general consensus?

The internet sites and blogs are fantastic tools but what happened to the days of meetings and debate forums? Are all black girls supposed to be Amazonian feminists by being strong all the time? Or should black girls worldwide opt out of feminism since it was not ”created” by us? Furthermore, should it be ”African female empowerment” or black female empowerment? Which label do you like the most? Does the term black imply lack of nationalism or will it serve to unify more women?

Do we need a different tactic? Empowerment of young black girls is extremely important in today’s day and age. Relations between black men and women are fraught and tense for the most with continual verbal sparrings on topics like inter-racial dating and gender roles. If a black woman is empowered and believes in her strength and no longer is desperate to seek validation from a man, is that the way forward to healing the rifts between black men and women.

This empowerment can be done through mentoring and providing support to young black girls who want it. I hope to at least give this a shot when I get back to Bristol by donating free magazines and books to Afro-Caribbean community centres. Who knows? Maybe by giving we can see change in the decades to come.

Africa & The Issue of a Woman’s Clothes

I heard about this story a while back about a township in Durban in South Africa that basically bans women from wearing trousers. It sounds ludicrous yet undeniable scary as this passage below will highlight:

Women found wearing trousers in T Section in Umlazi, Durban, risk being stripped to their underwear, having the offending clothing set alight and being barred from living in the area. That was the resolution that was taken at a meeting on Sunday after Zandile Mpanza was made to walk the streets naked and forced to leave the area after an angry mob burnt down her shack. This is not unique to South Africa however. The infamous Mungiki sect of Kenya have been known to strip women for wearing trousers too. According to this BBC article, only men were supposed to stay in that township in South Africa because of the apartheid days of gender separation. Excuse me, what the f— does that have to do with a women wearing Miss Sixty jeans or whatever choice she wants? Exactly, it has NOTHING to do with it. If a woman wants to wear jeans, in theory she should be able to. The men in this issue who are condoning this have become black widow spiders themselves, just trapping women with these pathetic pseudo-traditional values.

This story is from 2004 and highlights that in Swaziland, one of the last countries in Africa with an established monarchy, bus conductors vowed to rape female passengers if they wore mini-skirts. This story just proves what the previous stories above highlight: the African patriarchy is terrified of the African woman. That is why all of this happens because the patriarchy does not want the African woman to be empowered. A mini-skirt in this examples becomes a symbol of power, independence and bravery. The jeans and trousers then become tools of the women to show that she can stand on the same platform as men. Some men clearly don’t like it because they are yearning for the old days.

The old days are over. Women are enjoying their rights and pleasures. Just get over the it. I hope the female activists in these African countries can protect these women. I haven’t heard anything like happen in Tanzania and I have been here for a while on my holidayand I see women wearing skirts and trousers (as I do myself too) but Tanzania is also very conservative and I am sure these feelings are shared by certain stratas of society.

–A–

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