Does This Picture Make You Feel A Way?

September 30, 2016  |  

There’s a picture of a newly married Black couple circulating the internet that has garnered quite a bit of attention. It’s not your average wedding photo. In it, the groom is palming, grabbing, squeezing, groping the hell out of his new wife’s behind.

I mean, this dude is so deeply concentrated on her booty, that his eyes are virtually closed. And then there’s the very sweet and romantic caption that accompanies it.

“I had this crush on this girl that sat behind me in biology 6 years ago, today I married her.”

As you might imagine, the image hasn’t received more than 26 thousand retweets because their love story is one for the ages. It’s the booty grab that has people in their feelings.

Here’s what some people had to say.

Not when my mother is alive
https://twitter.com/YvonnEledje/status/779409907867119616

https://twitter.com/bsewe01/status/779393949735813120

This harlot word is the one I want to discuss a bit. It’s so interesting to me that people’s expectations of women are so narrow and limited. Society likes to put women in one of two boxes, wholesome or whorish. And the cognitive dissonance that occurs when a woman represents herself or allows herself to be represented as both simultaneously, almost causes people’s minds to explode. And I say it’s interesting because the assumption is that most married couples have sex. In fact, wedding guests can almost guarantee that the very couple who they’re watching smile for pictures, cut the cake and slow dance; will, in a matter of hours, be having sex. Whether people want to acknowledge these facts doesn’t make them any more or less true. Perhaps folks don’t like being confronted with images they don’t like to consider. There’s the argument that by taking this picture he turned his wife into a sex object. As if, without his hand on her behind, she never had the potential to be that and so much more.

There are those who will argue that since she is a sex object for her particular man, they shouldn’t send this image out on social media. That’s a valid opinion but social media is all about sharing thoughts, opinions, and images of ourselves. And if she wanted to share just a tidbit of her sexuality with the world, I really don’t see the problem. Then again, what constitutes an overshare to me and what is an overshare to you is a matter of preference. Apparently, to this bride, this picture was not.

There are those who thought the sweet caption and the sexual picture didn’t exactly mesh. That thought, the fact that sentimental and sex don’t go hand in hand reminded me of a conversation I had with my mother and aunt. We were talking about sex in the confines of a marriage. I don’t know how the conversation took this particular turn; but I think I mentioned something about whores or feeling like a whore in reference to sexuality, and either my aunt or my mother said, “And sometimes you have to be that for your husband too.” And the other one cosigned.

Boom!

Here I was thinking that wife and whore were completely and utterly unrelated, opposites of one another. But these women, who I love and respect, who’d managed to make marriages work for decades, were telling me otherwise. I didn’t understand the full gravity of their words for years to come. But as I get older and older and realize the ways in which men/women/society tries to suppress women, the more I feel the truth in that statement. Women are “both and” not “either or.”

But more than a discussion on feminism or the sexualization of Black women, the smile on her face tells it all. There is no part of her expression or her body language that says she was uncomfortable with this, that she didn’t realize he was grabbing her booty. Nothing in her face says that by projecting herself or allowing herself to be projected as a sex object, she was somehow degrading herself or allowing her husband, with one gesture to remove her from the pedestaled position of wife. So regardless of what anyone else thinks about this, the fact that she was cool with it, should let us know we don’t have to be pressed either.

And to be clear, there were many more who were all for it.

 

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days.” You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter @VDubShrug.

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