Why Are You Waiting For The New Year To Act Right? 10 Ratchet Behaviors We Should Leave Behind in 2012…Starting Now

December 28, 2012  |  
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A part of me is so happy to see 2012 leave, as long as it’s taking the “ChriannaRueche” love triangle,  Joseline Hernandez, the Romney family and the Twilight series franchise with it.  But seriously, something about 2012 made me completely disgusted with how African-American women are portrayed and more importantly what we prioritize.  This was the year of the booty shot fails, the stripper/sideline chick/baby mama, and the ratchet.  Sadly, it makes me wonder when we stopped wanting more for ourselves.  It’s like I looked up and one of the best things we had going for us was the cast and crew behind Scandal. Is that all we’ve got?  So not just for 2013, but starting right now, I propose our resolution be to stop engaging in the following ratchet behaviors:

1.  Knowing more about Basketball Wives than Obamacare.

If you can recite the names of all the characters on Basketball Wives, but can’t tell me any of the changes the Affordable Care Act made to U.S. health insurance, I’m going to need you to turn to CNN for at least five minutes a day.  When you become of age to vote, it’s definitely time to know how the economy, politics and world issues directly affect you.  You don’t have to break down the details of the fiscal cliff, but your knowledge of current events and economy should go beyond what you can write off come tax season.

2.  Thinking being a “bad girl” is cute and respectable.

There’s something about throwing cocktails at each other and cussing loudly in public that some women think is cute.  Somewhere along the way, we began to believe having an automatic attitude and making people feel small somehow garners respect. Although the cast of Love and Hip Hop will try to tell you differently, a little class and common sense will still take you far.  This doesn’t mean we have to dampen our diva personality down to demure, but keeping it real doesn’t have to equal keeping it rude.  Let’s make an attempt to be ladies again. Next time you’re out in public and contemplating getting crunk with the first person who rolls their eyes your way, ask yourself, “What would Michelle Obama do?”

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3.  Being held financially hostage by government checks.

I don’t knock public assistance because there are some us who need it when times get tough.  What I have a problem with is complacency and entitlement.  My pet peeve:  Young women walking around talking about how grown and independent they are when they can’t do anything until the postman says so.  The economy is tough, and this threatened “fiscal cliff” is no joke.  But if you are healthy and able to work, there is no reason you should be spending your days watching Maury Povich while waiting on a check or waiting on income tax time like it’s the second coming of Christ.  Real women work hard to maintain their lifestyles.

4.  Two words: Booty Shots.

Your behind should never look like a sideways sunrise on the horizon.  This, my ladies, is not realistic.  I’m all down for a little enhancement (or could you try some squats?), especially if all you have is crack in the back.  But if Black Chyna and Nicki Minaj’s disabled disproportionate derrieres are any indication, then it’s cute to look like you have a tumor growing from your waist.  I’m willing to bet a majority of Nicki Minaj’s fans are minors and that legion of little Barbies are being led to believe that rocking a paralyzed over-inflated posterior is hot.  In 2013, can we back up off the big booty infatuation as women and be truly happy with what our mommas gave us?

5. Long “Lamb Chop” eyelashes.

If you can blink and brush your baby hair at the same darn time, your eyelashes are too long and extra ridiculous.  A few of you manage to get it right, but most of you end up looking a mess. Your eyelids are exhausted and it’s not even attractive.  Life is not a music video and you are not auditioning for the next French Montana video.  This Lamb Chop eyelash epidemic is at an all-time high and I need it to stop…seriously.

6.  Spending more on hair and purses than you do on rent.

You may have heard the quote, “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.”  Since the late ’90s we’ve been complaining about all the “haters” we have, real or imagined, when the truth is we want haters; having haters makes us feel like we are doing something right, even if deep inside we know it’s foolishness.  Because of course someone can’t just plain disagree with you, they have to want what you have.  Let’s get our priorities straight in the new year.  If I tell you it makes absolutely no sense to spend more money on Brazilian Remy than your rent, it’s not because I’m jealous of your wavy unbuhweavable-ness, rather, it’s because we should want better for ourselves than to look like celebrities but live like ratchets.

7.  Facebook Beefing and Twitter Thugging

Even I am guilty of sending the occasional subliminal tweet or indirect status update.  Hey, sometimes you want to do some anonymous venting without anyone catching feelings beyond the “Is it me?”  paranoia. The problem comes when your wireless drama hits the real world.  It’s Facebook, y’all.  No matter how much the media tries to convince you it matters, at the end of the day, it’s a bunch of people typing and talking a good game but doing a whole lot of nothing. If social networking is raising your blood pressure that much, it’s time to log off.

8. Acting the fool for a follow.

And while we’re on the subject of social media, some of you are doing the most. If a majority of your time is spent making twerk videos for Youtube or if your Twitpics and Instagram feature your breasts or behind more than your face all so Trey Songz can retweet you, take this moment as an opportunity to get it together and post something that’s clever, or dare I say, even profound.  You don’t have to act like a bird to get some followers.

9.  Pro-creating just because you can.

Depending on your values, you may not think you have to walk down the aisle before becoming a mom, but can we not pro-create just because your favorite show that would keep you preoccupied is showing reruns?   Seriously, there are activities than you can become involved in that require less commitment than the whole “being responsible for someone else’s life” thing. We really have to start considering who we are parenting our children with and the situations we’re bringing them into.  And you most definitely can’t be confident in your boyfriend’s daddy abilities if you’ve only known him for a month.  Congrats on having healthy functioning ovaries, now how about we use them responsibly?

10.  Glorifying strippers, baby mothers and side chicks.

Everyone has a place in this world and we are all god’s children, BUT in 2013 I want to see more women like Gabby Douglas, Kerry Washington and Shonda Rimes making headlines and spreading positivity.  The occasional “Bandz A Make Her Dance” banger in the club is cool, but when every song on the radio is about popping it or ALL the blogs are about the “Chriannarueche” love triangle, and whoever else is dropping it low and busting it wide for the next rapper, it makes a sad statement about what our culture values.  They won’t play it if you don’t listen and they won’t write it if you don’t read it.  It’s entertaining, yes, but we need to hold some accountability in maintaining diversity in the images of ourselves we see and support.

What ratchet behavior are you desperate to see come to an end?

Toya Sharee is a community health   educator  and   parenting education coordinator who has a  passion  for helping  young women  build  their self-esteem  and make  well-informed choices  about their sexual  health.  She  also  advocates for women’s  reproductive rights and blogs  about  everything  from  beauty to love  and relationships.  Follow her on Twitter   @TheTrueTSharee or visit  her  blog Bullets  and   Blessings .

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