Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Being A Black Male Does Not Give You License To Be Sexist

As a black woman it really warms my heart to hear black men express solidarity with us.  To hear them come to our defence when we are attacked or validate our worth as equal human beings is a truly wonderful thing.  Some men have confused supporting black women with making sexist commentary or reducing us to sexual beings in the guise of recognizing our fuckability beauty.  Guess what, you're not fooling anyone.

They wax on, all smooth about how beautiful black women are rarely taking the time to mention that we are intelligent, or that we have goals.  Some even state openly they prefer black women to white women...yeah searching for brownie points there.  Why do they "prefer" us?  They prefer us because they think that we suffer from such low self esteem because of the race and gender hierarchy, that they can dominate us without resistance.  Black women are expected to just be grateful that we have been noticed and appreciated.  Oh look I get to be his Nubian slave queen. Now where did I put my push up bra?

I don't know how many times I have run across ranking lists of black women done by black men that are supposed to signify that we are desirable.  Abagond is famous for letting us know how much he appreciates us by ranking and posting pictures of black women as a sign of his undying devotion.image image image image

Are you feeling appreciated yet?  Posting pictures of women dressed like this and then ranking them according to how desirable he finds them to be is supposedly not sexist.  Of course I called him out and his response was the following.

This list is neither sexist nor a case of male privilege.

In most cases you can tell if something is wrong or unfair by turning it around. This case fails that test.

After all, if you wrote about your favourite hunks and then ranked them according to how many hits those posts got, I would not be one bit offended. Why should I? In fact, I would find it interesting - because of what it would tell me about women and what they like.

 

Right because women exist with the same power to objectify men.  Another totally irrational justification but hey since it is a "brother" doing this it is supposedly okay. 

Lest Abagond whine and think I am singling him out, he is certainly not the only one to be guilty of such behaviour.

image Yet another black male displaying his love of black women BlackPerspective.net.  This photo is part of his "appreciate" black women monthly montage.

Nice to know that appreciation has nothing to do with the sacrifices that black women make on a daily basis.  It doesn't speak about the difficulties we face in employment, housing, education, economic marginalization...OH NO....It's all about tits, ass and titillation.   Then you get sites like Bossip who are more than happy to confer banger status on women, while reminding them to keep their legs closed unless they are married.  The worst offender by far is Crunk and Disorderly that spends its time disciplining black women when we don't fall in line and show tits and ass on demand or our bodies don't meet with media generated images of women. 

I feel so loved and appreciated.  All I have to do to keep earning that loving is  spread my legs when ordered, put on a push up bra, and smile pretty.  Hey maybe if I'm really lucky I can be fodder for masturbatory pleasures.  Doesn't every little girl just dream of growing up to be the ultimate gizz magnate? 

 

 

 


25 comments:

Ebony Intuition said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ebony Intuition said...

"Then you get sites like Bossip who are more than happy to confer banger status on women, while reminding them to keep their legs closed unless they are married. "

I've noticed this also on those gossip/celeb blogs

Yobachi said...

Hmmm, you quote my use of the photo as part of my ""appreciate" black women monthly montage", yet I do not bill the series as anything other than one that takes a look at beauty; not one that is about general appreciation. I don’t even think the word “appreciate”, as you have quoted, even appears anywhere in the post.

Nonetheless, I did make a point to note Ms. Unions current work on literacy; even though getting into such things was beside the purpose of the post.

Ms. Union is a grown woman. She’s by no means some poor exploited thing with no options. Yet, she chose to pose as such for all pictures used. It’s not a crouch shot, nor anything sexually explicit. Suggestive, perhaps? But again, the whole point was physical beauty. And that was not simply the only picture posted, I posted an array.

If continuing to scream how sexist I am once a month makes you feel good though, then so be it. What’s this, the third time I’ve been negatively profiled at your blog? Who needs white folks to tear you down when you’ve got your own?

What’s nice to know is that you never profiled the many times I’ve posted about the plight of various Black women, my calls to action on their behalf, my source reporting on such incidents as missing women in Florida and Mississippi over the past year, my beating the drum early and often on Dunbar Village, my going directly after the NAACP (even contacting Julian Bond’s office) when they backed the rapist instead of the victims, etc.

But of course all of that would get in the way of your all men (especially those particularly evil Black men) hate all women “montage”.

We all have sex hormones (male and female), and we all enjoy viewing what we find attractive. I don't cry foul when I see body shots of Black men posted at Black women's blogs, I'm just disinterested and keep it moving.

Boom said...

Abagond is white. Of course his white male privilege is going allow him to see his sexism.

elle said...

The comment from louise at abagond's? Good grief!

Angel H. said...

If continuing to scream how sexist I am once a month makes you feel good though, then so be it. What’s this, the third time I’ve been negatively profiled at your blog? Who needs white folks to tear you down when you’ve got your own?

What’s nice to know is that you never profiled the many times I’ve posted about the plight of various Black women, my calls to action on their behalf, my source reporting on such incidents as missing women in Florida and Mississippi over the past year, my beating the drum early and often on Dunbar Village, my going directly after the NAACP (even contacting Julian Bond’s office) when they backed the rapist instead of the victims, etc.


Congratulations; you're only a part-time sexist.

What do want, a cookie?

Yobachi said...

Angela, is that the best you've got; childish taunts?

Anonymous said...

Yobachi:

All childish taunts aside, by highlighting the photos you do on your blog, you really are reinforcing what Renee is saying here (also, selecting whom you did seems like such a "safe" choice, keeping within the boundaries of White cultural narratives of what beauty is and should be in our popular culture), even if that wasn't your intent. It is very unfortunate, given your sincere protestations in your comment, that you can't see this.

I will give you the benefit of the doubt and hope your future picks will truly represent all types of beauty (and achievement, most of all), as you promise. I think you are a reasonable man - please think about why some of us may not find this display flattering, to say the least, to Black women or any women, for that matter.

Angel H. said...

Yobachi:

First of all, spell my name correctly.

Secondly, it seems as though your holding up your reporting on Dunbar Village, etc., in order to mitigate your sexist actions regarding that post.

This situation reminds me of fathers who like to talk about how they always pay child support and buy diapers and clothes for those kids. So what? As a father, that's the right thing to do.

As a man, as a person with decency, [my calls to action on their behalf, my source reporting on such incidents as missing women in Florida and Mississippi over the past year, my beating the drum early and often on Dunbar Village, my going directly after the NAACP (even contacting Julian Bond’s office) when they backed the rapist instead of the victims, etc] that's what you should be doing.

Ouyang Dan said...

Ranks right up there w/ "hey, sexual assault and catcalling are compliments, you dumb uptight bitchez".

I love your blog, Renee.

Yobachi said...

Anonymous, thank you for your response.

“please think about why some of us may not find this display flattering, to say the least, to Black women or any women, for that matter.”

I’ve spent a good amount of time think about it over the last few years and have come to the conclusion that the notion that we have to pretend and deny that as matter of pure human nature, that physicality attracts and excites us; or that if I enjoy viewing anything as beauty that is below a woman’s face that I’m a rapist-lite, as many feminist imply; is preposterous.

I certainly have learned and taken as a part of my personal moral that a projection of women as simply sexual is destructive and objectifying; but that any mere recognition of sexual attractiveness, particularly in balance with other recognitions of their full humanity simply is not.

I’m almost up to 600 posts. I’ve posted about Black women many a time, and this is the first “picture post” as it were. So I’m more than confident that the balance of my representation is well on the side of the other recognitions of full humanity.

Though I’ll consider leaving out lingerie pics from here on out.

“selecting whom you did seems like such a "safe" choice, keeping within the boundaries of White cultural narratives of what beauty is and should be in our popular culture”

Though I don’t suspect this is what you’re saying, that reads to me a lot like ‘ Gabrielle Union is not really a Black woman’.

Having come up in the ideological school of the “real sista” I anticipated this charge; but having the overstanding that I do, I knew that Gabrielle was still a perfectly fine choice as she is indeed a Black woman the same as any other.

Further, the simple fact that she inspired the ideal for the series in the first place, it only then made sense that she was first pick. If I’d been dealing with Jenifer Hudson at the time the ideal came to me, then she’d have been first; but since not, she’ll come later.

And while I’m a brother that prefers most ideally bigger hips and a natural; I got over the dark sister with certain features are the “real sistas” thing a long time ago, back when I was around 15.

Black is Black and is beautiful in all its hues and in various dimensions.

If one personally does not find Ms. Union up to par, that’s fine for that individual; but I did not declare her or her type to be THE beauty standard. I actually noted in the introduction of the post that “Beauty comes in many forms, an we will highlight some various different types of beauties.:”

Renee said...

@Yobachi...when you did your DNC coverage I made a point of linking to your blog for coverage. The list of good works that you mention are good however, you seem to be expecting some sort of special recognition. Is this why you advocated for the list of causes that you mentioned, because you want to be recognized for doing the right thing?

Here is the thing, I bothered to call you out because you are better than that. You are better than the sexism that you resort to from time to time. I have commented on your blog when you have called women honeys with no response from you. It does not matter what good acts you perform if you continue to do things that reify the sexism that you claim to be decrying.

Seriously I look forward to the day when black men and black women can truly partner as equals but until the day comes when black men acknowledge the sexism that they participate in that will never happen. I resent your commentary about who needs white people when there are people like myself willing to engage you in this manner. It seems to me that you expect me to give you a free pass when you perform sexist behavior because of racial solidarity. Why should I give you a pass? Give me one good reason why I should accept exploitation because it is coming from a black man instead of a white man? Deciding that black women matter means not reaffirming white patriarchal sexist culture in any of its manifestations.

I read your blog regularly so you don't need to tell me what you do and do not write about but when you make a misstep just like everyone else you deserve to be called out. When I make a mistake believe you me people are quick to tell me about it. I don't see it as an attack upon myself, I look upon it as an opportunity to grow. No one is perfect and you should look at it from that point of view.

Anonymous said...

Aww, Yobachi wants a cookie.

Yobachi said...

Angel: "that's what you should be doing."

No, that’s what I choose to do out of my own personal conviction, sense of responsibility to my fellow human, and desire to help.

I haven't farthered anybody, so I don't owe anyone any of my effort. I'm glad all the felons who's voting rights I helped restore the last month didn't have the attitude that I owed them my time, effort, lack of sleep, and money. Such ingratitude doesn't hearten the weary who put aside their own interest to do for others.

But I’ll keep an ear open for all the wonderful things you’re doing around our fair city of Nashville. I couldn’t find any evidence at your blog that you’re doing all the things you claim that I should do, just PMS letters to our Mayor; but I’m sure that means you’re doing it all off line. You being the arch example of an activist that you are, we’ve probably already met since I’m pretty acquainted with most of the local activist community.

And yeah, I want a cookie; I've earned it and more.

Anonymous said...

"And yeah, I want a cookie; I've earned it and more."

Cookies are awarded at a 0% sexist rate. You're over the quota.

Renee said...

@Yobachi
I haven't farthered anybody, so I don't owe anyone any of my effort.

Okay, that is a twisted argument. You live in the west and therefore daily your actions are exploitative. None of us lives outside of privilege. You should be doing what you do as acts of mitigation period. The very life you lead is predicated on exploiting someone for your own personal gain.

Such ingratitude doesn't hearten the weary who put aside their own interest to do for others.

Right they should be grateful because you treat them like human beings?? Please. How about just acknowledging the fact that despite their incarceration by the patriarchal, sexist, racist, capitalist state that they are still human beings that deserve the same respect as anyone else. Treating them that way does not earn you a cookie because that is how we are supposed to relate to one another.

And yeah, I want a cookie; I've earned it and more.
Here we go again with the cookie. Comments like this are exactly why we are undergoing such a high rate of anomie. Humans are social creatures and therefore what happens across town matters. It should matter to you whether your neighbour has enough food, it should matter to you whether or not a child is being abused and it should matter if someone is being exploited. This is all about recognizing our common humanity with others. You don't get a cookie for being a decent human being. It's like saying I have never raped a woman and therefore I am good guy. It's ridiculous, either you believe in the cause of justice or you don't.

Angel H. said...

~~ But I’ll keep an ear open for all the wonderful things you’re doing around our fair city of Nashville. I couldn’t find any evidence at your blog that you’re doing all the things you claim that I should do, just PMS letters to our Mayor; but I’m sure that means you’re doing it all off line. You being the arch example of an activist that you are, we’ve probably already met since I’m pretty acquainted with most of the local activist community.

And yeah, I want a cookie; I've earned it and more. ~~


Maybe I've decided to use my blog for whatever reasons I so choose, instead of people telling me what to do with it.

Maybe I was raised that a person should do good things for the sake of doing good, not because you want a reward or a pat on the back.

And just MAYBE, you should get over yourself.

Yobachi said...

Felons rights don't get restored because you respect them; it happens because money, time and effort was spent to make it happen. I can respect people without putting forth effort, taxing myself to do for them. I doubt you do such work, or you wouldn't make such a ridiculous claim.

But I'll let you saints who do without even the heartening of base appreciation continue your great work without neary a thank you. You are wonderful people to whom I could never measure up to. Your perfect in all thine ways.

Activist and humanitarians don't require a reward; but they all prefer a little appreciation; and not to be told by self-righteous saints that there work isn't shit because they owe you.

melloncollieclo said...

This is the best blog post I've read in ages.

Anonymous said...

Dear Yobachi:

Anonymous #1 here.

And please don't get defensive.

I just want to address what you specifically said in reply to me.

Here is why I think your first pick (and why was she your first pick, if not for these reasons? I am being serious here, not facetious) was a "safe" choice. And no, I was absolutely NOT insinuating Ms. Union is somehow not Black (I think you are throwing in a red herring here, as a way to dismiss what I wrote, and is not conducive to constructive dialogue. This was uncalled for).

Like the vast majority of what passes for standard portrayals of "beautiful" women in our Western, white, hetero popular culture, Ms. Union is:

1. Young, of course
2. Sexualized to an extreme; pictures selected by you scream, "I'm available" to the male gaze (Surely there must be other pictures of her besides these, that would still show her as the obviously beautiful woman she is)
3. Overly made up and airbrushed to achieve "perfection"
4. Thin, but curvy in the "right" places (this seems to be more "acceptable" for WOC, which goes back to White male sexualization of their bodies)
5. Straight hair
6. Just "exotic" enough, but not too "ethnic", to appeal to a white male (and female) audience. This holds true for all models, actresses and performers of non-white ethnicities.

Look - there is nothing inherently wrong with admiring superficial beauty. We all do it all the time, consciously or not. But it is something to be struggled against because of this: we have developed impossible "standards" of beauty for women by which your very humanity must be judged, and we then engage in lookism, SEXISM (even when it is not your stated intent), ageism, prejudice, discrimination and/or racism against those who do not conform to the standards of beauty set by the dominant culture. And before you or anyone else protest that there is standard for men, too - agreed, to some extent, but it is not nearly the same. Not even close, nor with the same consequences.

We all know how too often Women of Color in the fashion industry are blatantly and willfully ignored (they just don't sell magazines, we are bluntly told) or, when they are allowed a presence at all, it is as an exotic Other, who must silently conform to the standard of beauty dictated by the dominant culture in at least some way. (Must be thin, must be tall, must have angular features, etc.) And don't get me started on the porcelain skin business...Look at the preponderance of pale, ultra-thin, ultra-young models from East Europe and Russia in vogue right now. That is what is largely passing for diversity these days in the modeling industry.

In our popular culture, if your body doesn't fit this standard of beauty, you are relegated to the role of comedian, backup singer, foil, old grump, object of snorting derision and mockery, sassy bitch, shat-upon BFF, maid, dumped woman, the first-to-killed-off in a mystery, etc. This applies to all women, but especially WOC.

There are some notable exceptions, of course, but they prove the rule, again, especially for WOC. And god help you if you are an Arab or Muslim woman, we in the West will use your bodies as an excuse to blow you and your menfolk and your children up in order to "liberate" you.

Seriously, I look forward to seeing who you feature and profile in future posts after the reaming out you got here today. And yes to Renee - nobody should get a cookie (or a crumb) for being a decent human being. It is the LEAST we can do on this planet.

Angel H. said...

Arrogant AND sexist! Bravo, asshole! Bravo!

I doubt you do such work, or you wouldn't make such a ridiculous claim.

Nah. I just spend 8 hours a day with juvenile offenders and assisting case managers to impliment programs in order to rehabilate, find safe environments, and assist their needy families so the child can become a productive member of society.

Y'know. No big deal.

You are wonderful people to whom I could never measure up to. Your perfect in all thine ways.

'Bout damn time you noticed.

nia said...

So I am guessing that Yobachi's blog will also showcase photos of black women who are differently-abled, homosexual, physically altered (breasts lost to cancer etc.) and over the age of sixty as "objects of beauty and desirability?" You know, since he has such a full-rounded appreciation of black women's humanity and all.

Anonymous said...

Hey Renee.

What you say above kinda hits home for me. I think most of the women you posted pictures of are extremely attractive. Does that make me a bad person.
If so, then what do I do once I've established my attraction to women is wrong?

Renee said...

@ANON Being a heterosexual male and being attracted to women is not wrong. The problem with these images is that they are meant to objectify women and reduce them to fuckable objects. The idea is to realize that yes we are sexual beings but we are also more than that. Ranking women in the way that these blogs did is wrong because it implies that there is nothing more about them that worthy of being commented on.

Anonymous said...

I think it's more than that there is "nothing more about [these particular women]" than their beauty. It's that, for women as a general group, there are very few websites or places where women are ranked or applauded for their accomplishments OTHER THAN fuckability. When you post pictures and rank women on fuckability you reinforce the notion to your readership that fuckability is the only real standard that women are judged on. And yes, people like being APPRECIATED. And women (young women) (young women who read your blog) learn that the way to be "appreciated" is to be fuckable. And that is bad and sexist.