Queen B has done it again. However, this time I’m not too sure what her master plan is. Just in case, you’ve been living under a rock or haven’t gotten your weekly Beyhive newsletter, Beyoncé plans on writing and possibly starring in a film about Saartjie Baartman.
Saartjie Baartman was a South African woman who during the 18th and 19th century was sexually abused. In addition to this sexual violence, Baartmen was displayed in human zoos. After her death, ignorant scientists dissected her body, and it wasn’t until 1976 that her body cast was removed from display. Over time, Baartmen became the symbol of the sexual exploitation and fetishization of Black women and their bodies.
Even though, this movie could be an influential step toward representing the dark history of Black women’s body that the history books like to forget, it is still problematic. If there’s going to be a movie about Saartjie Baartman, then it has to be done right. It has to be a complete portrayal of her struggle while in a world that explicitly treated Black women as animals. The question that’s lingering on everyone’s tongue is whether or not Beyonce will be able to do it right?
There’s no denying that Beyonce is a household name. She’s an influential force that has sold millions of records. However, when people watch the film of Saartjie Baartmen, they’ll first watch Beyoncé on the screen and then they will see Saartjie Baartmen. This time around Beyoncé star power on the silver screen might distract the audience from Baartmen’s story.
Another question we have to ask—Is Beyoncé the right one to be telling this story? There are hundreds of screenwriters and actresses who would jump at the opportunity to portray Baartman’s story on screen. Perhaps someone else who is sponsored by Beyonce can create the movie of a moment in history people try to forget.
It’s the Holiday Season! There’s no way that you will walk down the street without seeing a candy cane or hearing a Christmas tune. For some, this is a time of bliss. Presents, a New Year, and eggnog—what more could a person ask for. While for others, the holiday season is a hard time. Not everyone can get swept into Rudolph’s red nose. Life is hard, confusing, frustrating, and a million of other adjectives that could just wrap around you all day. A certain season doesn’t mean you have to suddenly be happy and act in a way you wouldn’t have before the frankincense and myrrh.
Like always, you are most important, and self-care is your top priority. If that means skipping out on a holiday party because you’re not feeling up to it, then that’s fine. If your friends ask you why you’re being such a Grinch, then you can tell them how you’re truly feeling. However, you don’t owe anyone an explanation. YOU DO YOU.
I know that this is a simple phrase you’ve probably said in passing almost a million times, but it’s a phrase you have to remember, especially during the holidays. During this season it’s so easy to give so much away without keeping anything for yourself. If you give and give without taking a moment to relax, then there’s going to be none of you left. And no you, is not a good look. So just in case, you’re tempted not treat yourself with some much-deserved self care, here are five ideas to help you out.
- Buy yourself something nice.
- You’ve earned it. That is all.
- Go escape the holidays!
- If you don’t want to be in the holiday spirit or near any holiday cheer, then find your own special place that’s away from everything.
- Remind yourself you’re amazing.
- One morning when you wake up, stare in the mirror and tell yourself five great things that you’ve done this year or five things that you plan to do in the New Year.
- Take some time to turn off your phone and just sit down and think.
- You don’t have to be on all day. It’s good to restart your batteries and get a fresh start.
- Don’t let anyone bring you down!
- If they’re not a part of your squad, then leave them behind in 2015.
When Shonda Rhimes proclaimed that she has no intentions of getting married, my mother gasped. Her like many other women, believe that the next important step after gaining a successful career is marriage. Meanwhile there are other women who cringe at the idea of marriage. The desires of mother and grandmother are not ours, and not wanting marriage is perfectly fine. For centuries, Black women were denied a home. If she was given one, it did not happen under the best circumstances. She was forced to embody the role of the Black mammy. So, when Black woman finally gained their home, it was sacred.
Fast forward to now. The histories of violence against Black women and their bodies remain with us. We have come far. We are strong. We are #blackgirlmagic. However, we don’t have to force ourselves to do things that we don’t want. It’s the 21st century, Shonda Rhimes rules ABC, and we have a Black president. Although, society wants to tell you that people of color are not wanted, it’s a lie. Like come on, Donald Trump is just a bad weave clumped on top of a rotting tomato.
Centuries of struggle have forced for women of color to forsake what they want. Some women dream about their wedding day while others don’t. You don’t have to know whether or not you want to get married. Yes, the biological clock is ticking, but don’t let that clock lead you to unhappiness. If everyone had a say on what to do with your body, then it wouldn’t be yours anymore.
The Internet was outraged after a picture of Meryl Streep circulated of her wearing a shirt that said, “I rather be a rebel than a slave.” Some believe that critics are being too harsh on Meryl Streep. She’s always been a feminist and this shirt just further proves the fact that she fights for gender equality. Others point out that this shirt is a representation of a lot of the problems with mainstream feminism. No one wants to be enslaved, but historically speaking Black people didn’t have a choice.
There’s a form of privilege that’s involved with being able to say that you would rather be a rebel than a slave. Some have a choice to fight against the oppressing systems. However, for those who are the ancestors of slaves, the shirt makes us want to give a Rihanna worthy side-eye. Our ancestors didn’t want to be enslaved. We were dragged from a different continent placed on a new continent that was not melanin friendly, forced to work for centuries while enduring the rape and massacre of our people, and then once freed were forced to learn how to function in the Plessy v. Ferguson world where institutionalized racism is the norm.
I too would love to be a rebel, but first I have overcome years of being enslaved. It’s moments like this that make you want to pull a Marcus Garvey and go back to Africa, but plane tickets these days are too expensive. Lately, it’s been a tell all tale of who’s accepted and not accepted in mainstream feminism. During these moments where Hollywood’s favorite feminist are caught in a moments of tone-deaf tomfoolery, you realize that it’s not just enough to say that you fight and always fight for the equality of women. If you’re going to say that you fight for the right of all women, become culturally aware. Remember that for generations of individuals, slavery was not a choice.
Hey Ms. Symoné, 20-something Black girl here. So, I heard some of your comments and read your apology and—oh snap. It’s great that you’re an equal opportunity employer. We are so relieved to hear that you wouldn’t discriminate someone because of his or her name. For a moment I was worried that you would’ve discriminated against me. My name is normal, but with me being a Black feminist and all, it could’ve made things a bit awkward.
Then again Ms. Symoné, I’m not sure that I want to work for you. After all, you did agree with the people who said our First Lady looked like a monkey. That was disrespectful and uncalled for. Perhaps, you did it to raise ratings on The View. Maybe, you thought the monkey joke would fuel your dying stardom, but it was a cruel and uncalled for joke. These days you keep rambling and spewing antics. It feels like you’re that drunk uncle at Christmas party who keeps touching people inappropriately and spewing racists rants.
We excuse the behavior because drunk uncle doesn’t know any better. Somehow, people were able to forget that you insulted our First Lady, and said that you don’t believe in there being a race. A few people were surprised at your nouveau noir tendencies; however, for the rest of us it was just another Raven day.
Not everyone has to be an advocate for fighting against discrimination. We get it—it’s not your thing. Raven, you might feel that you don’t need to talk about racism because it’s so passé. Plus, you have money and might feel that racism doesn’t affect you anymore. You have the right to keep thinking this way, but not addressing the issues circulating in the Black community is toxic and can reinforce modern day racism. Nowadays, racism is stronger than ever. Racism has moved from the overt to covert. We’re recruiting agents to stop it and if you don’t want to want to be down with the cause, that’s fine. I hear the ratings for The View are dropping.
Perhaps it’s the pumpkin spice lattes that’s causing cuffing season to start. With the start of cuffing season, questions about dating will start appearing again. Instead of planning your amazing Halloween costume, you’re left wondering whether or not you’re supposed to get drinks and if you get drinks what does that mean.
On top of all that, everybody and their mommas know that dating as a woman of color is hard. There are so many unseen expectations or rules that guide your hand with every Tinder swipe or settle wink at a party. Either you have to be as classy as the First Lady or as seksi as Amber Rose or Nicki Minaj combined. For some reason, people don’t want to give women of color the right to be bad, or different, or anything that we want. We have to exist in some cookie cutter form that makes it easy for others to understand us.
I have no intentions on waiting on someone who doesn’t understand who I am to tell me how I am supposed to be or behave. I can go from Rihanna to Annalise Keating in .25 seconds. Furthermore, cuffing season doesn’t mean that I’m going to start linking up with anything in sight and trying to make myself into someone’s Happy Homemaker. We’re not pieces of double sided tape. We don’t have to stick to anything that we don’t want to.
People need to stop waiting from some unforeseen force to give them the right to behave a certain way. This isn’t Star Wars—the force is not with you. At the end of the day is just you and your choices. No one can dictate what you do because they aren’t you.
Are you truly what you wear? If you walk around in a tube top and a short skirt, are you suddenly a hoochie mama in training? If you rock spenders and a tie, are you just a nerdy gal? Even though clothes are a fun way to express yourself, sometimes people are quick to assign your identity because of a piece of cloth.
Despite people trying to stop slut shaming, there are still those who feel that they have the right to comment on how you look. Perhaps the people in the peanut gallery are not slut shaming you, then there might be another group in the gallery trying to fat shame you. People in the world are allowed to have their opinions, but sometimes you wish that they would just shut up.
So what do we do? Shaming women because of their clothes and bodies seems as natural as breathing for our society. A part of me wants to just end this article by saying that you have to embrace your clothes and don’t even think about what you’re wearing. However, I know several women who been put in uncomfortable situations because of her clothing. Catcalling and slut shaming isn’t reserved only for women who wear dresses, it’s also for women who wear sweatpants, shoes, or even a t-shirt. The issue isn’t what the woman is wearing. The problem is that a woman is a woman.
What needs to happen is that society needs to have more respect for women. For centuries, we have been viewed as an object that is supposed to just sit next to a man and look pretty, but those days are over like Iggy’s career. There needs to be respectability from all parts of society. Furthermore, there needs to be acceptance of all women, including women of color. Allowing only one sector and color of feminism to enjoy the privilege of body-positivity, anti-fat shaming, and anti-slut shaming does a disservice to the rest of the women still trying to gain the same rights.