“If black women may only choose between the subjectivity of the black queen or the whore, they will find themselves trapped in an identity that depends on the negation of other black women.” – Shanara Reid-Brinkley
I believe that the journey to defining your own womanhood is a rewarding, difficult, sacrificial, and turbulent journey. I’m understanding that there will be bumps in the road, times when you doubt yourself, and times where you fall victim to what everyone else wants you to be.
In this society, I feel that people want women to either act like a queen, or be a bitch, or be a whore. This way of thinking is extremely problematic for a number of reasons.
I question why women must be put into boxes in the first place? All women were created differently, with a variety of feelings, thoughts, and experiences. If a woman doesn’t fit the characteristics of a “queen” why is society quick to throw us into another box, such as a bitch or hoe?
Why do we think it’s okay label women in the first place? Usually, people with the most power, access, and privilege decide what goes, and they usually decide how to judge women. These people want a bunch of queens walking around with no crowns or thrones, while creating a false sense of hierarchy among other other women, i.e. the “bitches” or hoes”.
While I’m not exactly sure what you all consider a bitch, hoe, or queen these days, I will say that no one has the right to label a woman, unless she herself wants to be labeled.
The last, yet most important reason why it’s not okay to categorize women is that in doing so, it gives leeway for all types of violence to happen to women, specifically domestic violence and sexual assault. A person may feel that if a woman does not possess queen like qualities, then it is okay to project violence upon her, and that is wrong.
On Twitter recently, I had an exchange with a young man about my Girls In The Hood post. While he congratulated me for penning the article, he was quick to condemn the women who obliged to the street harassment by saying that street harassment exists because all females don’t have that much self respect.
First off… why do women have to be “respectable” in order to not get abused? The problem isn’t in how the woman carries herself, but how society decides to treat her, based on if THEY think she’s a queen, bitch, or hoe.
Not to mention, memes like the ones below further divide women into caste systems, deeming one’s life and experiences more valuable than the other’s.
I question what society does with the woman who doesn’t fit into the “queen” archetype. Ironically, I refer to myself as “Kween K” but I know sometimes I don’t have the mannerisms that many would call queen-like.
I’m not a bitch, but I’ve been called plenty of them. I’m not a whore either, but I’ve been referred to as that as well. So again I question, I wonder why people feel the need to classify me? To classify other women?
As complex as women are, (hell, all people are complex in general) I think it’s unfair to group women in those three categories, or any other categories ya’ll decide to make up.
So ladies… It’s okay not to be a queen, it’s okay not to be a bitch, it’s okay not to be a whore. It’s also okay to be any of these, or all three if you choose.
But if you don’t, just know it’s also okay just to be a woman, no categorization or boxes needed.