All Articles Tagged "double standards"

Where Is The Sexually Liberated Black Woman In Film And Television?

June 17th, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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Source: HBO

Source: HBO

Television has been pretty “ratchet” for years, it’s just that some of the supposed ratchetness gets called out and others get Emmy nominations…

What I’m talking about is the fact that recently I lifted my ban on HBO’s “Girls,” which was instituted because of Lena Dunham. (I detailed my concerns a while ago here.) During season three, I watched somebody ejaculate on somebody else. On television. More specifically Lena Dunham’s ex-boyfriend Adam made his new girlfriend Natalia, crawl to his bedroom on all fours before aggressively having sex with her and relieving himself on her chest. While we didn’t see any peen, we definitely saw its handiwork. The entire scene was awkward and, considering that the girlfriend didn’t seem to enjoy it, slightly degrading.

With that said it wasn’t pointless. Any former and current sexually active woman probably can tell you that it ain’t all great sex. Once in a while, particularly when you are younger and exploring boundaries, there are some really awkward and flat-out sexually humiliating moments, which makes us feel bad afterwards. Therefore being honest about what women experience during sex in itself is not inherently bad and can present itself as a learning (or unpacking) opportunity. My question though that knowing how prudish we sometimes tend to be about these sorts of discussions, how did it even make it on television?

According to this Slate piece from last year entitled, A Seminal Moment, Aisha Harris writes that it almost didn’t make it. In fact:

“The biggest fight we’ve ever gotten in with HBO was about a cum shot, a money shot. They thought it was really gratuitous,”Jenni Konner tells The Hollywood Reporter. “They begged us not to do it. We said, ‘OK, fine.’ Then the next year, we had a story-motivated, emotional money shot, and they let us keep it. It really felt like we all grew together.”

In the same piece, Harris also writes about how the “money shot” has been performed on television before, albeit it’s still quite rare. The short list includes: a late 90s, BBC documentary; HBO’s other hit show about sexually active women in New York City called “Sex and the City”; and on the Showtime series “Californication.” So in retrospect, the “Girls'” sex scene is not the groundbreaking television we might have thought it to be. At least not for white women.

Black women have yet to experience a true sexual awakening in film and in television. There I said it.

And it’s not like there hasn’t been a black woman in the history of black people, who hasn’t tasted semen? I mean, sex (if done right) is pretty out there. But in film and television, our sex lives are pretty conservative, if they exist at all. Sure, we may allude to it; and we may even have a scene or two where we see our ebony lovers intertwined and rolling around together in the sheets. But there are always sheets – you know, to hide all the secret parts. And the closest the viewers actually get to their actual love making is the follow-up scene where they awakened the next morning with hair tussled.

On television and in film, we are only supposed to be respectable people. At all times. Even in those instances when the show itself is produced by a black person, we are only supposed to show black relationships, which resemble Claire and Bill Huxtable, who never had sex even though they had a gang of children. Even with the majority of real life dark skinned consenting adults engaging in sexual relationships outside of the confines of marriage and/or procreation, on television the most we allow is a kiss with mouths closed and the family lip syncing about taboo topics around the Thanksgiving table. That’s what “Reed Between the Lines” was. That what “For Better or Worse” was supposed to be too. And then there was “The First Family.” You get no more Cosby-esque than that. And for the most part, those shows are boring, and they don’t last long. Mainly because the real The Cosby show is on Netflix…

And while the vast majority of television is swimming in large vats of debauchery and mayhem (also known as shows with plots and drama, which is normal of television), black folks’ scripted cinematically are still trying to maintain a morally righteous image of ourselves. Of course the exception are reality shows. But we shun those for the very reasons that many of us tune in to watch shows like HBO’s “Girls.”

And at whose expense does this happen? And how do we limit ourselves creatively if we shy away from images of ourselves, which are slightly perverse and subversive?

Often times it means that black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness and diversity meanwhile our mainstream counterparts’ with their vast expression of real life experiences become television shows, which everybody enjoys including black folks. Then we lament how black centered film and television lacks the same level of openness about human behavior. And realness. As such black folks can’t be “Breaking Bad” because that is just promoting crack. We couldn’t be “The Sopranos.” Nope that’s like promoting gang culture and y’all know we have that bad incarceration rate. We can’t do “Game of Thrones” either because…well don’t be disrespecting the ancestors like that. Even our beloved “The Wire” was created and scripted from outside of the community. It’s no wonder those shows, written and produced for mainly non-black audiences, become the stand-in for all, meanwhile our stuff becomes more niched to the after-church service crowds.

And it is not necessarily the fault our black filmmakers and writers, although folks could be a little braver in their own storytelling. But in spite of our political and social advancements including the election of the first black president, and proclamations by this younger generation of colorblindness, culturally “we” still care very much about how white folks see us – even when the odds are they can’t tell most of us apart. Even with the odds that since slavery, black women had to endure contradictory stereotypes like Mammy and Jezebel and no matter what we do, they still persist. To me that sucks and it is not how we should be forced to live.

Not just for film but because why are white girls the only ones who can f**k and suck on television while also maintaining legitimacy as feminine, good mothers and virtuous women? Why did we cheer for Carrie Bradshaw and Mr. Big in ways that we can’t for Mary Jane or Olivia Pope? Why must normal and healthy sex on black skin be seen as depraved?

And this is not a matter of doing something because white people do it. This is acknowledging that there is a remote possibility that someone black might do those things too. And white folks don’t have the monopoly on freaky sex. And this is also about the resentment, even envy, which comes from other women being able to publicly talk about all the joy and confusing proclivities around sex without having to worry about how such representation would affect her credibility, professional or romantic prospects. At some point we have to realize how much we (yes, including other black women) have become the guardians and gatekeepers of some of our own oppression.

 

‘Men Are Free And Women Are Not:’ Beyoncé Talks Sexual Liberation & Gender Equality With Out Magazine

April 8th, 2014 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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When Beyoncé released her fifth studio album this past summer, fans were exposed to a more sensual side of the singer. On one hand, some people like Grammy Award-winning producer Pharrell praised the singer for setting mother and wives free with her sexual lyrics.

“Only a momma can talk like that. Only a wife can talk like that. That is your strength,” he told her. “You just ran through jail and let all the women out cuz. You set women free!”

On the other hand, the married mother has also been criticized for her risqué lyrics. She recently covered the Power issue of Out magazine. During her interview she addressed the double standard when it comes to genders and sexuality and why she was so determined that make her latest album her most honest one. Check out some of her interview highlights below.

On double standards in regard to sexuality:

“There is unbelievable power in ownership, and women should own their sexuality,” she explains. “There is a double standard when it comes to sexuality that still persists. Men are free and women are not. That is crazy. The old lessons of submissiveness and fragility made us victims. Women are so much more than that. You can be a businesswoman, a mother, an artist, and a feminist—whatever you want to be—and still be a sexual being. It’s not mutually exclusive.”

On wanting her fifth studio album to be honest:

“While I am definitely conscious of all the different types of people who listen to my music, I really set out to make the most personal, honest, and best album I could make. I needed to free myself from the pressures and expectations of what I thought I should say or be, and just speak from the heart.”

On advocating for human rights and equality:

“Being that I am a woman in a male-dominated society, the feminist mentality rang true to me and became a way to personalize that struggle…But what I’m really referring to, and hoping for, is human rights and equality, not just that between a woman and a man. So I’m very happy if my words can ever inspire or empower someone who considers themselves an oppressed minority…We are all the same and we all want the same things: the right to be happy, to be just who we want to be and to love who we want to love.”

On being extremely ambitious about putting out the new album:

“I was recording, shooting videos, and performing on the tour every night, all at the same time. At some point I felt like, ‘What am I doing? Is this too ambitious?’ Even the day the record was to be released I was scared to death. But I also knew if I was that scared, something big was about to happen.”

“When I recorded ‘XO’ I was sick with a bad sinus infection. I recorded it in a few minutes just as a demo and decided to keep the vocals. I lived with most of the songs for a year and never re-recorded the demo vocals. I really loved the imperfections, so I kept the original demos. I spent the time I’d normally spend on backgrounds and vocal production on getting the music perfect. There were days I spend solely on getting the perfect mix of sounds for the snare alone. Discipline, patience, control, truth, risk, and effortlessness were all things I thought about while I was putting this album together.”

Thoughts?

14 Things Men Can Get Away With In Public That Women Can’t

October 11th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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14 Things Men Can Get Away With In Public That Women Can't

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After our recent post on things that women can get away with in public, we didn’t want the men to feel left out. Expected to be a little gruffer and louder, men can usually pull off these acts without being judged.

It Pays To Be A Woman: Things We Can Get Away With In Public That Men Can’t

October 8th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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Things Women Can Get Away

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People may call us quirky, or a little eccentric, but doing these things will never jeopardize a woman’s reputation as a woman. Men, however, would be ridiculed to no end for trying to pull any of these acts off.

Drake, Amanda Bynes, And When The “Weird And Disturbing” Behavior Is On The Other Foot

August 9th, 2013 - By Charing Ball
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Drake Amanda Bynes

Drake, king of the wheelchair-rolling, light skinned rapping Emos, has finally opened up about the traumatic experience of being threatened with Amanda Bynes’ nether regions.

In an blurb from the 16th anniversary issue of XXL Magazine, which goes on sale August 20, Drake finally broke his silence about being uncomfortable when the former Disney starlet began tweeting to him disparaging remarks about his looks, including a request that he “murder her v*gina:”

“I don’t even know who that is doing that or what that’s about. If that is her, I guess it’s a little weird and disturbing. It’s obviously a behavioral pattern that is way bigger than me. Whoever is behind it, whether it’s her or somebody else, they know people are paying attention so they keep it going.”

There is no doubt that Bynes, who was recently (and finally) hospitalized after months of crazy talk about a whole host of folks, is suffering from some sort of mental issue. And in all seriousness (because mental illness is real out here, folks) I hope she gets the help she needs. But much to my chagrin, is the irony of Drake, a rapper, labeling Bynes vulgar objectification of him as “weird” and “disturbing” and completely dismissing it as an obvious “behavioral pattern that is way bigger” than him.

I know he isn’t talking. Are we, or are we not talking about smooth crooning Drake, whose “I’m-not-afraid-to-be-in-touch-with-my-emotions” style of lyricism largely exists out of aggression and hyper masculinity of what we normally associate with hip-hop? But even through his Mr. Sensitivity, lady-swooning rap, Drake still manages to treat women like objects as opposed to actual human beings. Like in the song, “Lord Knows,” when he said:

I know that they tryin’ to push me/I know that showin’ emotion don’t ever mean I’m a p*ssy/Know that I don’t make music for niggas that don’t get p*ssy/So those are the ones I count on to dis me or overlook me.”

Because while he is rubbing your back and dabbing your tears away, he is still trading your v*gina as a commodity for street cred and “real” manhood. And that is pretty much the theme in most of Drake’s music. While he is telling you how you make him proud, he is saying it to you while you are giving him a lap dance. And while he is telling you to not get confused, that you are the best he ever had, he’s also saying it with a basketball team of big-breasted women bouncing around him. Basically, Drake is just the verbal manifestation of the one patronizing guy, who has basically mastered the art of treating you like a “b***h” without actually calling you one (even though occasionally he’ll do just that, especially if you fail to show up in the gym for practice).

That’s why I always find it amusing when the fellas find themselves on the other end of the objectification lens. Far too often, it is women, who have been reduced and compartmentalized down to a few body parts to be bragged about or disparaged. And far too often, we are told to take it as flattery. But here we have Drake, a person who makes a pretty good living off of fun and lyrically good songs about objectifying women, being reduced by Bynes down to his single organ. And guess what?  He doesn’t like it very much. Talk about a double standard.

 

So Bob Johnson Wanted His Daughter To Marry A ‘Gentleman,’ But Glorified Thugs And Drug Dealers To Everyone Else’s Kids?

May 9th, 2013 - By Jazmine Denise Rogers
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Source: The YBF

Source: TWP

Last weekend Paige Johnson, the daughter of BET co-founders Bob and Sheila Johnson exchanged vows with Dudley Payne III in front of over 200 guests, during a lavish wedding ceremony at the Ocean Club in the Bahamas. Bob told the Washington Post that he approves of his daughter’s new husband and even referred to him as “perfect.”

“This guy is the perfect guy for Paige. He’s a true gentleman,” Bob said.

Although most would perceive a father offering his nod of approval regarding his daughter’s husband to be a good thing, his comment about Dudley being a “gentleman” stirred up a bit of controversy in the Black community. Many are wondering how he could be so adamant about passing his daughter off to “one of the good guys” even though his television network served as the ultimate vehicle in the glorification of thugs for years.

In a blog post titled “BET Heiress Marries Rainbeau! Just Goes to Show Rich Folks Want Ratchet for Everyone Else Except Their Own,” Swirling author Chrtistelyn Karazin pulls no punches as she tackles the subject. An excerpt from her post reads:

“Wait. Did she marry Lil Wayne? Ludacris? Drake? Common?

Oh no?

This is the ultimate irony. Bob Johnson, co-founder of BET, a vehicle that has single-handedly tarnished the name of black American women all over the world, wants a “gentleman” for his daughter. Funny, because he’s made his fortune convincing black women that thugs, drug dealers, and gold teeth should be the standard of sexiness and allure for us mere-mortal regular black chicks.”

 

“Mr. Johnson said that this WHITE INSURANCE BROKER IS THE PERFECT GUY FOR HIS DAUGHTER. I’ve said this before on other issues but it bears repeating like a broken record on a Victrola: Be careful of those who advocate a lifestyle on others that they would never desire for themselves. Do you think Jay-Z is going to want his precious little Blu Ivy gallivanting with the progeny of his homeboys?  Doubt it.

Why are we so effing blind? So many of us are being fed a pile of horse-pucky about a lifestyle that nobody with any damn sense wants for themselves or their own. Has the precious Paige been in any of the ratchet BET videos that parade half-unclothed black women in front of men who call them bi***es, hoes, and c*m dumpsters? No? Maybe it’s time you ask yourself why.”

Karazin went on to say that she’s happy for Paige and that she simply desired to note the irony of the situation and provoke thought in the Black community.

What are your thoughts on this?

Double Standards Men Just Have To Deal With (*Kanye Shrug*)

February 19th, 2013 - By Julia Austin
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shutterstuck

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Somewhere along the line the term “double standard” became accepted as only applicable to women. But there are plenty of, “Wait a minute…that’s not fair!” moments that men experience. They may not tell women because women would feel offended —even though women can point out double standards against them left and right. Consider that double standard #1. And here are the rest.

Double Standards And Stereotypes: Are You Dating Outside Of Your Race For The Wrong Reasons?

November 29th, 2012 - By Ashley Brumeh
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There are double standards in life. Always has been and always will be. That’s why men get props for having multiple sexual partners while some women get dogged out for it. Somehow, double standards have also crossed over to interracial relationships and with them come lowered expectations, flawed thinking, and poor dating decisions.

Once upon a time, people used to choose mates based on their overall attractiveness, their personality, what they brought to a relationship, and the qualities they deemed acceptable. In today’s world, for some people, race is becoming the lone factor when choosing companions. Some very nice looking, successful, and intelligent men and women are increasingly finding themselves in ratchet relationships with people of the opposite race who have nothing to offer. Why? Because they actually have a beef with men and women from their own race that they don’t want to be honest about.

Time after time, people display their disdain for those within their own race that are too dumpy, too frumpy, too fat, too lean, too angry, too unambitious, too trifling, too hateful, too independent, too this, too that.  Yet when those same characteristics appear on someone of the opposite race they become acceptable.  When a black woman ditches black men altogether because of one terrible relationship and then puts up with just about anything from a white man because she thinks the end results will be better, it makes no sense. When a black man says he doesn’t think a weave wearing black woman is attractive but then parades a heavy makeup wearing white girlfriend around with the same love for extensions, his double standards become painfully obvious. When this hypothetical scenario made its way into reality for me, that was when I realized how common double standards are in interracial dating.

I have a black male friend that has an affinity for white women.  He’s a great person, always treats me with respect, and we always have a lot of fun. One of the best qualities my friend has is the fact that although he exclusively dates white women, he’s never really bad-mouthed black women.  His fondness for white women was a non-issue with me until the fateful day he reached the point of no return.

We were having a discussion about our preferences in potential partners when he jokingly said he could never date a woman with fake hair, bad credit, and no job. When he stated these reasons were what kept him away from black women, I couldn’t help but be bothered by the stereotype he tried to use to justify his appreciation for women of other races. I mentioned that some of his white former girlfriends were uneducated, unemployed, and wore excessive makeup and extensions on the regular.  In response, he explained that his former girlfriends wore makeup because they had bad skin and that they didn’t work because they were trying to pursue their passions, so it was all good. I tried to tell him that I didn’t understand his stance, but he continued to make ridiculous statements supporting his views.  His asinine, stereotype-based explanations for his basis of eliminating black women from his dating life made me think it wouldn’t matter what a white woman had going on: as long as she was white, she was all right.

My friend is not alone in his line of thinking.  There are black women, white women, and white men, Asian women and Asian men, basically people of all backgrounds, who also fall prey to the double standards of dating interracially–what they claim they can’t take about one group of people, they’ll ignore for another. Like who you like and do what you want when it comes to your dating life. One of the best aspects of the freedom we get in this country is the opportunity to date whomever we choose.  However, it would be wise to fairly apply the same standards to everyone without regard to race. All I ask is that people be more honest about what they like, and why they like it, as opposed to using stereotypes and a few bad experiences with a certain kind of individual to blacklist and bash a whole group of them.

Ladies, Do You Watch Your Mouth Around The Menfolk?

October 19th, 2012 - By Veronica Wells
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Source: Thinkstock,com

Thankfully, I work in a very lax, very creative environment. Pretty much anything goes. Between Maury – show watching, celebrity shade throwing (looking at you Wyclef) and impromptu jam sessions, clowning is expected on any given day. Now, let me first explain that our office is mostly comprised of women, with 2-3 men in the mix. So it can be assumed that with the spirited conversations that take place, there is some equally colorful language from the men and women alike.

Usually, it’s not an issue for either party. Or it wasn’t until a couple of days ago.

We were talking about the plausibility of certain celebrities being gay. Somewhere in the middle of the conversation my boss, who is a woman, said “…but he sucked his d!ck.” Then someone else said it and then I said it. In the span of 40 seconds, at least three women had said the word d!ck. Finally, one of my male co-workers had had enough. He interrupted the whole conversation, face all twisted up: “Language, Language!”

Oh, that was interesting. Every cuss word under the sun has been uttered in this office at one point or another; but d!ck was a non-negotiable, huh? Apparently so. I didn’t take offense, in fact I strongly believe in avoiding words that offend others. I’ll just use them in front of people who don’t mind. Plus, how many times during the work day do you need to say d!ck?

It was surprising but the more I thought about it, I’d heard another man say something to that effect. Once my sister and I were having a private conversation and my father just so happened to overhear us use the word d!ck. Naturally, he was not having it. I could understand that. For him, hearing his little girls say that word probably elicited images he was certainly uncomfortable with. After all, that word, d!ck is almost only used in a sexual/demeaning context.

So maybe my coworker doesn’t want to think about us in that context, which was interesting. In fact, the whole concept of some words just being uncouth has always interested me. Back in sixth grade, I remember cussing in front of my lockermate/friend and in true sincerity, he told me that wasn’t very ladylike and subsequently not very attractive. *Clutches pearls* Well!

In retrospect, it’s amazing that a boy at 12 or 13 was so adamant and clear about his dislikes at such a profanity-filled time of uncertainty and insecurity.

I mean, I’m fully aware of double standards, I’m just always surprised when they’re so blatantly thrust in my face.

This whole incident made me ask myself, are there any words I can’t stand to hear men say? I definitely have a couple. As much as it dominates mainstream music, I can’t stand to hear the word bicth too much in a song or from the lips of a real life man in a real life context. But I don’t know if I would have gone out of my way to correct one of my male coworkers for using it. (Not that I minded him, feeling comfortable enough to “check” us.)  I’d just resign to judge them silently.

What about you, ladies, has a man ever told you your language wasn’t very ladylike? Did you take offense to that warning or did you take his words to heart?

 

Debates in Dating: Does the 90 Day Rule Apply To Men Too?

June 20th, 2012 - By Liz Lampkin
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Do men have the same rules in the dating game as women? If so, are men allowed to break those rules, or do certain rules only apply to men?

There are a number of rules people play by and get played by in the game of dating and courtship. For instance; wait three days to call after a date, don’t rush things, pay attention to red flags, so on and so on. These three rules apply to both men and women when it comes to dating, however, there is one recent rule that has surfaced that applies strictly to women…or does it.

The infamous ’90 Day’ Rule. This rule encourages women to hold off on giving a man any benefits, particularly sexual benefits, for ninety days. This is a pretty straight forward and common sense rule for most women; in fact a substantial amount of women apply this rule very well in their dating lives. But does this rule apply to men too?Should it apply to them? The answer: absolutely.

There are so many benefits for men waiting to have sex with women, and there are benefits for the women who date men who are willing to wait for sex. One benefit is that a man can get to know a woman for who she really is, and be attracted to the beauty that lies within her. It’ll also give him time to see if he wants to be strictly friends with her or if he wants to pursue a relationship with her that will serve a purpose without the sex factor clouding his judgment.

Another benefit of men applying the 90 Day Rule to their dating lives is the prevention of unwanted, or unexpected pregnancies that may come with a lifetime of unnecessary drama. Now let’s not get things twisted, children are a blessing, but without taking the time to get to know someone before having sex with them, then realizing you made a mistake in sleeping with them and ‘slipping up’ may make you resentful towards the child who didn’t ask to be conceived, and deserves two nurturing parents who are on the same path and page.

Without taking the proper steps in getting to know someone first, you won’t know if you are on the same path and the same page; all you’ll know is the feeling of sexual gratification…maybe. For women, a man who is willing to wait to have sex means that he values you for who you are as a person, and does not view you as just a sexual being. It also shows that he is sexually responsible, and he has set standards for himself. Before having sex with a woman, a man should think about his long-term intentions with her, rather than seizing the short-term moment of physical gratification, because short-term moments can breed long-term effects.

If men decide to start applying the 90 Day Rule to their dating lives, it shouldn’t just be limited to sexual benefits, but it should also be applied to other major and some minor benefits, i.e. lavish dinners on the first date, elaborate gifts before six months, calling a woman more than twice a day, etc. If men held out on giving a woman any type of benefit other than the benefit of getting to know him for who he is rather than what he has, it will reveal the woman’s true intentions for being with him. This is not to say that a man should not work at getting and keeping a woman’s attention, but his focus for getting and keeping a woman’s attention should be to keep her focus on who he truly is.

While the 90 Day Rule is a simplistic rule of common sense for women, it should also be a simplistic rule of common sense that applies to men as well, because a man’s body should be valued and treasured the same as a woman’s.  If the 90 Day rule does not apply to men, it creates yet another entity to the double standards of dating that says men are allowed to do certain things, but women aren’t. And if this cycle continues then both men and women will continue to lose at the game of dating. Men who decide to wait to have sex are aware of their bodies, and the responsibility they hold with the jewels they possess that help spring forth life and replenish the earth. They are conscious of the purpose for having sex, they value the intimacy that sex can bring, and they hold that responsibility near and dear to their heads and hearts. Ladies, let’s support those men who are willing to wait for sex by learning how to withhold sex from them and start building meaningful relationships.

Should the 90 Day Rule apply to men? Would you date a man who was withholding sex?

Liz Lampkin is the Author of Are You a Reflection of the Man You Pray For? Follow her on Twitter @Liz_Lampkin

 

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