Surviving Misogyny

The past two weeks have been rough for 2019. With only 16 days in, we have learned:

  • Pretty much all our faves have been trash/are trash
  • People STILL ain’t listening to nor giving a fuck about black girls and women
  • People would rather advocate for a rapist cuz he makes great music… and the WHOLE city of Chicago knew it

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Regardless of his proven history, it is grown ass women out here still willing to buss it open for this man because… he’s still sexy to them????

Whew chile. We are truly living in some dark and ghetto times.

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Y’all President has shut the government down due to a wall he can’t get built.

More or less tho, this post isn’t about Rapist Kelly. In fact, I never watched the documentary. I don’t need to and I don’t want to. However, I will say this:

Furthermore:

• Just because you’ve been abused, doesn’t give you the right to abuse others.

• I can’t be friends with those who have no empathy for the sexually abused. So many people are deleted off my social media and I could not be happier. 

• While yes, the outrage should have been in place 30 years ago, it simply wasn’t. Or maybe it was but again… y’all do NOT give a fuck about black women anyway cus anytime we try and speak up, y’all try to silence us! So it’s like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

• This shit isn’t an attack on Black men. Everybody should be held accountable regardless of race. Just say y’all wanna be white men and get away with everything… even if it’s sexual abuse. 🙃

• I was told that there were women in that doc who know of Rapist Kelly’s history, saw that child porn, etc but still consented to go with him… while they are indeed BIRDS, they still did NOT deserve what happened to them. Hopefully moving forward they will have better discernment but yeah. That nigga is bat shit crazy.

• Also… for you people who keep bringing up age differences between say.. your own parents etc please understand that there was likely no manipulation taking place AND they were able to CONSENT. Not coerced, preyed on, manipulated, kidnapped etc BUT enthusiastically consented.

• Finally, to you niggas who keep bringing up girls who got picked up in high school by grown niggas or who were messing around with security guards… you make a moot point because a) Girls wouldn’t be getting into cars with grown niggas if the niggas wouldn’t of been pulling up in the first place. And b) Can’t mess with a security guard if he wasn’t trying to mess with you in the first place. Adults should always be held accountable, so stop trying to dissolve people of it.

Anyways, I say all this to say: Fuck Rapist Kelly. *cues Boondocks episode*

Again though, this isn’t about him. I just got one question: how are we gonna survive misogyny? Cuz truthfully y’all, misogyny and patriarchy have done a number on us all. It’s something we ALL have to unlearn.

Misogyny is the reason why we believe 50 men calling one girl a hoe but if 50 women say that she has been assaulted by that man, we question it or say she’s lying.

Misogyny is the reason why it was deemed acceptable for young boys as young as 9, 10, 11 years old getting sucked and fucked on by grown ass women as if that’s not sexual abuse too.

Misogyny is the reason why girls have strict dress codes in school, and get penalized for showing something as simple as a shoulder.

Misogyny is the reason why we only allow boys and men to show anger and rage because to show any other emotion makes him a bitch.

Misogyny is the reason why women are deemed the weaker between the sexes, and we know that ain’t true.

Misogyny is the reason why niggas feel entitled to our time, space, numbers, bodies, etc and if we DON’T give it to them, then we gotta fear if they’ll react violently 🙃.

Misogyny is the reason why women get pressured into taking back their emotionally and maybe even physically abusive partners back, but if she cheats you gotta drop her like a bad habit..

Misogyny is the reason why trans women are getting killed at alarming rates.

Misogyny is the reason y’all don’t respect sex workers of any kind.

Misogyny is the reason why politicians can debate when and how we can get pregnant, get access to birth control, and how much we get paid.

Misogyny is the reason why Rapist Kelly and other people like him were allowed to roam free for so long.

Y’all get the gist now, or should I keep going?

While that’s not an exhaustive list, bitch I am exhausted. But imagine how exhausting it is trying to survive all this shit on a day to day.

Then it’s like… with all this news coming out about your faves and people just refusing to be silent anymore, it leaves me to question: Where do we go from here? How do we start the process of unlearning? Is there exactly one answer? Do we just cancel people left and right but leave our own internal misogyny unchecked?

Feminism ain’t always the answer (because #WhiteWomen and their shenanigans will literally throw the rest of us under a bus.) but I will say this:

I think people hate feminism or simply women feeling empowered enough to speak up about things that they once kept buried and locked away because it puts a mirror on them.

It forces themselves to be held accountable.

To ask and answer those hard questions: Am I creepy?

Have I done some creep shit?

Have my guys done some creep shit and I sat back and said/did nothing?

And you know what G? Most of us have.

Like Chance said in his interview with Jameliah Lemieux, regardless of your proximity to black women, we tend to dismiss the trauma and pain of our day to day interactions with misogyny.

Unfortunately, some of us have had to parade our own trauma just for niggas to not only humanize women, but to fucking get it.

It sucks. Truly. Because we should respect women just off GP but unfortunately, that’s not how this world is set up… until we started speaking up.

Demanding respect.

Amplifying our voices and educating not only ourselves, but those that are willing to learn too.

And unlearning our own internalized misogyny, because that’s the hardest part.

Unlearning is not an overnight process, nor is it easy. You basically gotta ask yourself the hard questions and analyze what messages about certain people were communicated to you and then based off those messages, how did you interact with those certain groups of people?

Truth be told we are all socialized in some type of way. Are your thoughts truly your own or are you simply a product of your environment?

As of late, I have vowed to stop arguing on the internet with people about sensitive topics because tone is everything and Chile… you just can’t talk to people who ain’t willing to listen or learn. Plus, healing is more effective when it’s done off the internet in my opinion.

So what I’ve personally done is I started having conversations with my male friends and while we don’t always agree, I WILL say that they leave conversations with me with a new perspective and I’m hoping a willingness to just do better.

So where do we go from here?

⁃ Create a space (preferably offline) with a community of folks who really want to learn and do better..

Even if it’s just 1 person that’s a start.

Never stop speaking up.

I commend everybody I’ve seen over the past couple weeks use their platforms to amplify the voices of survivors. People try to silence black women ALL THE TIME but per usual, we ain’t going.

Nip shit in the bud as soon as it happens.

You don’t have to live in fear anymore. There’s no reason why celebrities and non-celebrities are allowed to roam this earth so freely after knowing about the atrocities committed against women and children. We gotta do better and it starts by being non-complacent.

Go volunteer somewhere.

I came across this list of places in Chicago that provide services and help those who have experienced sexual assault. If you’re not in Chicago, well…. Google IS your friend. Use it and take action.

Surviving misogyny isn’t easy and I’m ready to live in a world without it. But we can’t do that until we unlearn, heal, and create a better tomorrow.

Are you up for the challenge? Is that something you want to commit yourself to?

Or do you wanna stay complacent, because misogyny is so deeply embedded in us that we really can’t imagine/ don’t want to have a world without it?

Thanks for reading my story.

Love,

Kia

In 1913

1913 was such a pivotal year for Black women…. Here’s my spin on my favorite piece of history.

The year is 1931 and I am dying. However, it is nothing to be surprised about, because that is what old people do. Luckily, I have lived a fulfilling life. I worked hard, took care of my husband and children, and worked endlessly to provide justice for others. As I lay in my bed waiting to take my last breath, I reflect back to my proudest moment, when I and other Negro women participated in the Women’s Suffrage March more than 20 years earlier.

The morning of March 3, 1913 was cold. Colder than I imagined, though it is early March. I awoke feeling melancholy. For weeks, there has been talk around the town about women protesting in the streets to urge politicians to give us the right to vote.

Being a woman in these times is one thing, but to be Negro and woman is another. Racism is something that is often ignored in the face of fighting sexism. White women will force Negro women to do all the ground work while they receive the glory. They want our bodies physically there, but our thoughts and feelings are not validated, because in their eyes, we are not important enough to speak for ourselves.

I admit, I was suspicious when members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association approached me to participate in their protest. I was settling in from my anti-lynching legislation tour, which took me around the states and overseas to London. However, I agreed until I received another visit that forever changed me.

How are you Mrs. Wells?” a member from NAWSA asked me. She sat awkwardly in my parlor room chair, and kept diverting her eyes from me, choosing instead to look at the painting of my family and me, hung above the mantel piece.

I’m doing well,” I replied coyly, sipping my tea. My husband was away on business and my children were away at school. The member was a tall and slender woman, which blondish colored hair and bright blue eyes. She sounded as if she was from the Boston area, because every word she spoke was nasally sounding.

She looked young, about 22 or so, and I learned that she had just graduated from college. The dress she had on was a nice green color, and she wore no makeup on her cheeks, unlike most girls her age. I noticed she had no rings on her finger, so I assumed she wasn’t married.

The reason I am here is to discuss the march with you that is taking place on Saturday” she said. Once again, her eyes diverted from me as she spoke.

Go ahead child!” I said with authority. One of my deepest annoyances is when people speak to me too low or don’t look at me at all. I expect anyone I come in contact with, whether black or white to award me the same respect I award them.

The young white woman, who I will call Sarah looked slightly frightened at my tone. I have a large voice, and most who know me understand that. However, this was her first time meeting me, so I made a mental note to control my tone, though I knew that I would be annoyed some more in the duration of our conversation.

Well, as you know, the march is in a couple days,” she started.

I’m aware. My group and I are grateful for the invitation” I said, and smiled sweetly. We weren’t exactly grateful, but it sounded good. I just wanted her to get on with this conversation because I had so many things to do.

Well yes, we are glad to have you but there is just one small change we need you to make..” she said, as her voice trailed off.

I sat straight up and slightly leaned forward and encouraged her to go on.

We have many women from all over coming down to support us, but many of them are southern women who are married to certain politicians and law makers. While we appreciate you and the other Negro women for marching with us, we are going to have to ask you all to march in the back” she said.

As soon as the words escaped her mouth, my mind went blank. In my activist work, I had met many types of white women who wanted to help end lynching. Many of these women were the children of abolitionists, and understood why Negroes needed rights. However, once this women’s rights stuff started, it was as if the true colors of many came out. To be frank, many did not want black women to be a part of anything. It’s like the only women who were allowed any type of rights were white women. It was frustrating fighting both racism and sexism within a movement that was meant to liberate all women.

I peered over my bifocals at Sarah, disgusted. “I’m sorry, but what did you say?” I asked.

Well it’s just that these women may feel upset that they may be marching next to women like you, and we really don’t want them pulling out this protest, because we need their support” she explained.

I stared at her, my mind going blank once again. Black women were forced to be at the back of everything since I’ve been alive. We have worked hard for this country, cared for children that weren’t ours, neglected the ones that actually were ours, and yet we are still treated like second class citizens.

I sighed deeply and silently counted to ten before I spoke again.

If we cannot march in the front with everyone else, then we do not wish to participate at all” I stated with venom in my voice.

Sarah looked mortified and said, “Oh no, we cannot have that! Don’t you understand?”

No, you all seem to be the ones who don’t understand. We are not cattle. We are women and we deserve to be visibly apart of that march just like any other woman” I said.

While of course I agree with you, I am just doing what I was asked to do. Please do consider,” Sarah said.

I think it’s time you leave” I replied.

Sarah and I stared each other down for thirty seconds before she got her coat and left my home.

I laid in bed that night, consumed in my thoughts, drained by the ever-going acts of racism. I was frustrated to think that just for once, Negro women would actually be considered important. The more I thought, the more I began to form a plan of action.

Two days later, I awoke bright and early. My husband sat up in bed and watched me brisk around our bedroom, getting dressed. I was filled with a large amount of vigorous energy, ready to stand up for what I believed in. I had decided to go to the march despite what NAWSA felt.

Are you sure about this honey?” my husband asked. I kissed him on the forhead, gave his hand a squeeze and said, “As ready as I’ll ever be” and marched out the door.

It was cold that morning, but you could tell that early signs of spring were approaching. Thousands of people were gathered in downtown Washington, all bustling about. I saw the NAWSA women and looked at them stone-faced. They were still under the impression that I dropped out of the march. Most members avoided eye contact with me, Sarah especially.

The march began. Women held banners and signs and yelled “GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE! GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE!” over and over. It was a captivating sight. When the Illinois Delegation passed I signaled for my members to push forward, and we landed right in step with that group, chanting “GIVE WOMEN THE VOTE!” as if nothing happened. I made eye contact with no one, because my heart was beating extremely fast, I can even admit I was filled with nervous energy.

Photo via biography.com

 

 

The white women around looked shocked, possibly because they have never seen a group of Negro women so bold. But I didn’t care. If women were to one day get the vote, I wanted to make sure ALL women were included in that.

I smiled at the memory.

7 years later, women finally won the right to vote. It wasn’t easy, and I knew that the fight for women’s rights still had a long way to go, but for once I knew I had done my race a service…

I died a happy woman that night, hoping that my legacy would carry on.

Yes, Men Can Be Feminists BUT…

My fairy feminist Godmother bell hooks said it best: Feminism is for everybody, including males. But……

Any male that recognizes and commits himself to the fight of ending inequality between the sexes, speaks out against street harassment, domestic and sexual violence and does not support rape culture all while being a gentlemen is okay is my book.

When practiced positively, feminism indeed can be for everybody.

Thus, this leads me to the subject of male feminists, which are quite interesting to me.

While I am here for them, for all the reasons I described above, I am not here for them trying to dictate or determine what is or is not offensive to women.

Using my my own personal example, I can recall a conversation I had with this guy who identifies as a feminist. He’s an awesome person overall, but sometimes his new feminist awakening irks me.

For clarity, I was telling him about how this one female was annoying me, and he acted like I slapped his mother or something. The conversation went like this:

Me: So yeah, this female… *voice trails off*

Him: Don’t say female.

Me: Why not? It’s either that or I call her a bitch so.. *voice trails off*

Him: The word ‘female’ is offensive because it reduces women down to nothing but their biological sex.

Me: 

 

As a Black Feminist, *I’m personally not offended by the word ‘female’. I’m usually offended by what comes along after it, such as “All these females are hoes” or “All these females ain’t shit.” Despite me not being offended by the word, I recognize that some women are truly offended by the word female, and if I am aware of that, I respectfully refer to them as whatever they prefer.

Anyways, my issue wasn’t in him correcting me per se. My issue is with him trying to tell me what women should find offensive.

In my opinion, he can’t do that. Not only because he is a male, but also because all women are different, therefore one solitary person cannot determine what is or is not offensive for one gender.

Another way male feminists irk my nerves is when they try to control lady feminists’ narratives about women-related issues.

For example, the topic of street harassment is heavy these days, and while I am aware that it happens to both women and men, I don’t care to have my narratives about it diminished or erased. I know quite a few male feminists who will make it a point to mention their street harassment from women, or will emphasize: “Not all men do this”

B R U H.

While I am perfectly aware of that, I would rather male feminists actually listen to what I have to say, instead of interjecting their unwanted and unnecessary opinions all the time.

That being said, make no mistake about it, but I respect male feminists, and they are really appreciated. However, if you are a male feminist, you must realize a few things:

1) You cannot determine what women should find offensive.

2) Unless specifically asked, your experiences about issues that more commonly happen to women are not always needed. There is a time and place for everything, and to interject unnecessarily can lead to erasing the narrative of the women, and that is some shit to get offended about.

3) We don’t need you to mention that “not all men” do certain things. WE. GET. IT. Try to things less personally, and work on holding all men accountable so they can stop making all men look bad.

And lastly,

The most *I* as feminist needs you, the male feminist to do is listen. And support. No you didn’t create the gender inequality, rape culture, etc, but you sure as hell benefit from it. Try listening, and understanding us too while you’re at it. After all, feminism is for everybody.

So, what do you all think about men’s place in feminism?