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.
Is the era of fix-a-flat booties over? Well for K Michelle it is. It was revealed last week during an interview with B. Scott that she plans on getting a butt reduction. She says she wants a butt reduction because her derrière is stopping her from breaking into mainstream movies. In short, less butt=more roles. However, why is there a desire to have a giant butt and also a certain look for movie roles?
Ten years from now, the trend of a giant butt will be over. Countless women will run back to their surgeons and try to get their beautiful, natural shapes back. Some will be able to while others will not and will be stuck with a figure that they don’t want anymore. Until that time and ever after, women are caught in a cycle that tries to make them chase after a certain look.
As a Black woman, there is an immense amount of pressure and politics pushing down on us. Voices from all different forms of media are trying to tell us how to act or when it’s acceptable to look a certain way. Having a big butt is only in when Iggy or J.Lo has one, but when a woman or color has one, it has to be a caricature. Why do Black women get no in-between?
Normal women aren’t Kim Kardashian, K Michelle, or Nicki Minaj. We don’t have access to a handful of doctors who main job is making sure that you look good for the camera. Also, we aren’t living under the camera’s constant eye. We need to stop looking at these celebrities for unrealistic body goals. Instead, we have to embrace who we are. Once celebrities realize that they aren’t being praised for looking like Betty Boop, then they’ll stop trying to force a certain body image on us because at the end of the day, we are the ones who celebrities make money off of. Without us, they would still be that girl down the street trying to sell her mixtape.
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.
Amber Rose’s Slut Walk is happening on the 3rd. No matter the outcome of the event, it is a step in the right direction to stop gender inequality and slut shaming. The event will be exciting, spectacular, and I can’t wait to see the coverage. Even though it hasn’t happened yet, it’s time to start planning what we will do after the slut walk to continue fighting against gender inequality.
Just because Amber Rose was able to use her star power to get big names behind her walk doesn’t mean that you can’t do the same. Every movement has to start from somewhere. We can’t keep waiting on the stars to initiate all the change. In your sweatpants and messy bun, you can make a difference too.
Step one: burn all your bras. I’m kidding. They’re too expensive and I’m such a klutz that I would probably end up burning down my apartment. So put the lighter down and let’s keep brainstorming other ways to make difference. Like Amber Rose, you can start using your different social media platforms to express your outrage and start a movement. Call out the people in your life who try to slut shame you or mansplain life. Let people know that you’re fighting for the justice and equality that women have been denied for centuries.
You’re brilliant and powerful and you don’t have to tolerate any form of inequality or discrimination. If you can take a picture of your food and put it on Instagram, then I think that you can post a picture that fights against inequality and sexism. It doesn’t have to be radical. It can be as simple as a hashtag or as beautiful as your face proclaiming that you’re proud to be a woman.
Serena Williams is amazing. She’s gorgeous, talented, and dedicated. Even though Serena is a powerhouse of talent, people try to undermine her. First, a news anchor tried to shame her body. Now, she’s talking about the ridiculous pay disparity between her and Maria Sharapova. Despite having dominated the court on multiple occasions, Serena still has fewer endorsements than Sharapova.
During an interview with the New York Times, Serena Williams delivered the perfect response for one reason why Maria Sharapova had more endorsements. Serena stated what the media has been avoiding to explicitly say. Even in 2015, some companies prefer the image of blonde hair and blue eyes when marketing toward their audience.
Serena’s not worried. She’s making millions and is at the top of her career. However with Serena, we are reminded about what happens to our bodies when they are viewed as a threat. People will try to criticize, isolate, and terrorize you until you’re destroyed. What if Serena wasn’t as emotionally and mentally strong and succumbed to what the haters were saying about her body? She could’ve tried changing her body and possibly ruined her career.
As Black women, our bodies are continuously policed. We have to be aggressive, or the angry black woman, or the seductive Jezebel. If we don’t fit those categories, then the media doesn’t know what to do with our bodies or us. After so many centuries, it seems like the song about Black women is remaining the same.
However, nowadays we have control of which magazines and blogs that we want to consume. The best part about being young, black, beautiful, and talented in 2015 is that we no longer have to rely on the general media for representing Black women and other women of color. We are creating our own forms of representation.
Recently in the news, Donald Trump told a well-known reporter, Jorge Ramos to “go back to Univision.” For those who are unfamiliar with Univision, it is a television network, which is aimed at Hispanics Americans. When Ramos tried to stand up and ask his question, Trump told him to sit down. Ramos refused to sit down and remain silent. Trump then had him removed from the room. Later on, Ramos was able to return and ask his questions about immigration and Trump’s plans for deportation.
Trump has an extensive history of side-eye worthy comments about race. If I were to list all of his comments, we would be here all day. Seeing Trump’s foolishness in the news is no longer surprising. Breaking news: Trump is ranting, and water is wet. People believe that he’s going to drop out. However, he’s still going strong. There are people out there who believe in what Trump is saying. He’s a legitimate presidential nominee.
Past the jokes and his flurry red face, Trump is frightening. It’s scary that a person who obviously discriminates against people of color in America is allowed to have so many soapboxes to spew his antics. Meanwhile those who are actively trying to voice the concerns of minorities are silenced. Trump is an example the privilege that a certain skin color can get you in America. You can scream, shout, and say a number of racist comments, and still get airtime to say more.
It’s 2015 and the world is changing. The rise of social media has made snatching wigs or toupées much easier. We have to continue uniting and using our voices. Tolerating people like Trump and waiting for the brewing storm to disappear is a thing of the past. For centuries, people of color have been a powerful force in America, and it’s time for people to recognize.
Growing up black, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story was the book that all of us had to read. As a child, Ben Carson was a heroic figure. I imagined myself one day marrying a Carson. He’s an educated, handsome Black man who seemed straight out of the pages of your favorite Zane romance. Continue reading “Dr. Ben Carson: It’s not time”