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The Crunk Feminist Collective

Down Ass Chick:  a woman who is a lady but she can hang with thugs. She will lie for you but still love you. She will die for you but cry for you. Most importantly she will kill for you like she’ll comfort you. She is a ride or die bitch who will do whatever it takes to be by your side. She’ll be your Bonnie if you are her Clyde. Thugs love these bitches and they show this by showering them with stacks of cash, flashy jewels and rides. (Urban Dictionary)

I taught a class on black masculinity during the pre-summer session and the course covered everything from black man stereotypes, and the patriarchal requirements of black masculinity to big black penis myths, homophobia, and hip hop.  One of our most recent classes on romantic relationships between heterosexual black men and women inspired an interesting conversation that stayed for days…

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The Crunk Feminist Collective

I have recently come to the conclusion that I’m going to have to lose a significant amount of weight in order to have a viable chance at a love life.

Let me be clear: this is not a fat-hating post. When I look in the mirror, for the most part, I like what I see. I like my curves, I like ass, I like my legs, I like my boobs (which I only have in abundance, when I’m tipping the scales), and I like my face.

But the fact remains that I’m a short, dark-skinned, fat Black girl, with a natural. I’m all those things in a culture that not only hates fat, and finds it repulsive, but also in a culture where fat dark-skinned women can only find roles in movies as maids. 

Even so, one could argue that these mainstream films reflect the desires of white America, or…

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Feminist Movies: She’s Gotta Have It

Feminist Movies: She's Gotta Have It.

Feminist Movies: ConSINsual

Feminist Movies: ConSINsual.

#AbuseIsNotCute: Comments on the Chris Brown and Rihanna Relationship Propaganda

#AbuseIsNotCute: Comments on the Chris Brown and Rihanna Relationship Propaganda

To begin, let me inform you that I am a high school teacher in the South Bronx.  I have no children, but feel sorrowful for those who do.

Recently, Rihanna has released a new song featuring Chris Brown entitled, Birthday Cake.  Take a look.  She’s making him her bitch now…

After an entire explanation on the cause behind the Man Down video, I can honestly say that I am perplexed at her actions.

After the airing of this video, Rihanna justified her music by saying that this is for all women who have been sexually assaulted.  I suppose assault is only problematic if it’s vaginal.

I want to state that I am not denying that Rihanna may have hit Chris Brown first.  I do not condone those actions.  To hit a man because you know that he is hesitant to hit you back is abusive and shameful.

When you work with teenagers everyday, you quickly realize the realities of urban/pop culture.  Whether celebrities want to be responsible or not, they set the standard for many cultural aspects that children aspire to.  It is this reason that legends like Bob Marley was tracked by the FBI.  He was THAT POWERFUL.  High paying jobs always come with large responsibility.  I’m sure the CEO of Goldman Sachs had the same complaint as most rappers; “This is just business [entertainment].”

If it’s one message I would like Chris Brown and Rihanna to state is that #AbuseIsNotCute.  It is ok to formulate a friendship and even further, it is ok to forgive.  But nobody said a damn thing about forgetting.  Rihanna is human, and if she goes back to him, she is troubled with same challenges that women around the world face: How do we as women, set the standard for true love?

The romanticizing of both Chris Brown and Rihanna’s shortcomings is truly an attack on our children.  The #TeamBreezy’s and record labels that are seeing dollar signs in Rihanna swollen eye, do not care about the behaviors kids are absorbing through their environment.  Rihanna is a world-recognized superstar.  She does not need a song with Chris Brown for publicity.  She also does a fine job, by herself, drawing attention to her talent.  Man Down is just one example.

It’s amazing what the world will turn the other cheek to for the sake of an R&B song.  R Kelly can sing at Whitney Houston’s funeral, Chris Brown can win a Grammy and Amber Rose can have an opportunity to join the music scene.

I’m disappointed.  It’s a falsehood to say that people are ready to “forgive” Chris Brown.  I am not asking for his apology.  What I am demanding is some social responsibility, the same way parents demanded parental controls on cable along with TV show ratings and age requirements for purchasing cigarettes.  While no parent gives their child permission to engage in harmful acts, they fall vulnerable to other stakeholders that have access to their children’s lexicon, influencing their thoughts and decision making at such an impressionable stage in their development.

If artists can’t make songs that are antisemetic, why can Rihanna make a song about “bitching” Chris Brown?

I’ll wait…

The sexism, and more specifically, the romanticizing of sexism, has got to stop.  It’s time for our girls and boys, whom many may be without fathers, to have a healthy vision of true love.  Love, little sister, does not slam your head against the passenger window of a car.

Standards vs. Expectations: looking at love & relationships from a new perspective

Standards vs. Expectations: looking at love & relationships from a new perspective

They tell you that a man will do to you, whatever you allow him to do.  Let me be the first to say that this is 100% true.

But we all know that sometimes… things just aren’t that simple/easy/black & white.  Sometimes you honestly and truly LOVE someone, unconditionally even.

Agape love is present-life nirvana from my perspective, in that it frees us from wordly expectations.  It’s still standing when reason has fallen long ago; 15 years ago, to be exact.  But…

I have realized that every person is entitled to having standards for how they want to be treated and cared for.  I have them.  They aren’t astronomical but they do require commitment.

In order for people to meet these standards they must fulfill certain expectations.  Although sometimes, human beings fall short of them.  What do we say when a son fails to call his dad for father’s day, or when a grandchild misses her grandmother’s appreciation dinner?  The standard was there, though the expectation wasn’t met.  But year after year, we love our family anyway.

When you can’t choose who you love, you learn to love them for who they are.  Cliche, but oh-so-true.

As a special educator for high school kids, I have learned so much about setting high standards for even the most challenged of children.  They are all capable and they all have the same expectations.  But they all do not reach them at the same time or in the same way.  What matters only, is the desire to learn for themselves.

I thank God for a man that loves God, and is in turn ready to learn to love me.  As a result, I am learning to let love, period.  I’m learning that love is no mold nor model.  It’s fluid and looks different for each union, unique in every way.  Love is the product of Us and for that, I am patient and willing to deal with what’s right in front of me.  No fairytales.

With that said, I am sure that I am still reaching his expectations as well.  🙂 In fact, I have no doubt in my mind!  I over analyze things and can tend to beat a dead horse.  I’m also a bit fixed and can stand to learn to Let Go.  But what’s special is that we both believe in each other and what we’re willing to do for our love.  We believe that we’re meant for one another.  That, cliche or not, means EVERYTHING.

So I guess I’ll be expecting Us to reach Our standard of love.  Until then, I’m thinking Florida might be a good place for us to move… What do you think? 😉

Ho Tales: Living a Double Life In Spite of the “Sexual Revolution”

Ho Tales: Living a Double Life In Spite of the “Sexual Revolution”

Lately, there has been a lot of attention on the “sexual revolution” and the rise in STDs.  As I read my timeline full of feminist activists and scope the blogosphere, I can’t help but to ask, “Where is this revolution taking place?” And is anybody accounting for the amount of unprotected sex being had by people of all ages?

I can’t help but to feel blotted out of this “revolution” that’s supposedly going on.  Every woman I know is revolutionary in her own right, but not in front of men necessarily.  The conversations had by women in the absence of men are the most telling about the nature of this “revolution” and what it means for women of color.  I know so many women who are forced to lead double lives because they want to be human and have a chance to get married on day.

When a woman chooses to have sex before marriage, she is still expected to not be sexually active (or too sexually active) outside of the confounds of a committed relationship.  To be single is to be waiting.  When you don’t wait, you’re desperate and/or a ho, which in this context means black and having more than one too many sexual partners than your love interest can stand.

So many women live double lives – having sex with a team of men, rotating them throughout the week.  I myself have some ho tails to share – sexing more than one guy in a week and/or sleeping with a guy for the sole purpose of getting good dick and some decent company.  Once I slept with this guy on Day 2 and the only reason why I didn’t go after what I wanted on Day 1 was because of the cardinal rule: NEVER sleep with a guy on the first date if you want to be treated with any level of respect or potentially be in a relationship with him.

Or how about my homegirl who met a Jamaican guy on the street and sexed him in the nearby corner, outside?  She loved every minute of it and never saw him again.  But she doesn’t tell just anybody about that marvelous experience because she knows that she would be judged horrendously.  One friend of mine particularly enjoys threesomes, and double penetration is something she swears by.  But this was only told to me in secrecy.

There are plenty of women who have stories that they would never mention in the presence of men; and despite our inner milestones of sexual revelation, I can speak for myself and say that I am still struggling with being all of me in front of a man, hoisms and all. Not to mention, the amount of policing that takes place by other women…  As a professional that works with teenagers, the word ho gets tossed around a lot; and despite the bombardment of our youth with sexual images, there is still a very heavy policing of “appropriate sexual behavior” as determined by the standards of their peers.  Homosexuals are still bullied everyday.

In adulthood, women are called hoes by the most insecure of women in my opinion, when they merely display sexual human characteristics; and the need to appear as closely to the Virgin Mary as possible is still widespread.  There are women who still pride themselves on how long they’ve “held out” from sex despite the fact that they’re already committing fornication by biblical standards.

With the amount of women experiencing sexual disfunction, I can’t push a claim so grandiose as a “sexual revolution”.  Yes, I can pursue a guy for sex without being stoned, but I can’t without being placed in the “ho” category.  We have now progressed to terms such as “cut buddy” and “trick”.  But a woman will curb her number of buddies  and tricks based on the men present in the room, in fear of being labeled a jump off.  There is no need to get into the double standards that we all know exist.  We all experience it everyday.  So how then can we call this revolutionary?

While I know more men and women who have dabbled in same – sex pleasures, it doesn’t speak to the rise in anti-gay legislation world wide.  It is legal to kill homosexuals in many countries, yet we claim revolutionary status.  Resolved, that this sexual revolution is about rich and middle class, heterosexual, white women. While I stand in solidarity with them, I wish the discourse were more inclusive of the diversity of people’s daily lives, realities and set backs.

Yes, I can make my own choices about my sexuality but I must be prepared to live with the consequences of my honesty or live in secrecy, which so many of us do.

So if this revolution is really going on, it’s not going on in my community; and certainly not with any of my friends.  I would like to know who named it as such and why they chose the word revolution.  Was it to incite such a thing?  I certainly hope not because the revolutionaries have always been here, feminist living since the beginning of time.  The question is, will others revolutionize themselves to be tolerant of difference?

I don’t think so.  Human beings have not arrived at that place yet.