All Articles Tagged "Females"
Last night, long after I should have been asleep, I was on Instagram’s explore page. There, I stumbled across this meme. It featured a picture very similar to the one above. Denise Huxtable, in her stylish yet loose-fitting clothes sitting cross-legged on the ground, was juxtaposed with a woman in a bikini, booty tooted.
The words beneath the pictures were the same.
On the one hand I understand that we are all different. Some of us are baggy-clothes babes and some of us prefer to “skin out.”
I don’t know why we need a meme for that though. People who know you or follow you on Instagram will be able to tell how much of your body you do and don’t reveal. Interestingly enough, the young lady whose post I saw last night, had plenty of pictures of herself in bikinis, halter tops and short shorts.
Today, the meme came up again when actress Tia Mowry posted it. Unlike the girl I saw last night, Tia provided a bit of a rationalization.
“Not that there’s anything wrong with the “other girls.” Get it girls!! But this is so ME! P.s Nobody is shamming [sic] anybody either! Please don’t read into it! GESH! “
With Nicki Minaj’s Barbz, you already know it wasn’t long before people were dragging Tia, to the point where she deleted the post all together.
And while I really like Tia and really don’t believe she meant any harm; I have to admit, the Barbz were right to tell her about herself in this instance, though I’m sure they could have been more polite about it.
Point is, this meme was clearly designed to pit women against each other, to elevate one while disgracing the other. It’s clear that there is value being assigned to Denise Huxtable while Nicki Minaj is derided for wearing an outfit many of us would wear to the beach, and might even pose in.
One of the biggest issues I notice in our society is that people believe a woman is only worthy of respect if she dresses, acts and carries herself a certain way. But why can’t a woman be worthy of respect simply because she’s a human being? Why does poking your booty out, or wearing a swimsuit make you less than?
And in case you don’t believe that Nicki Minaj was meant to be subordinate in this meme, you need look no further than the word “females.”
We had a discussion about this very word earlier today. It’s problematic. I know I’m not the only one who’s noticed it’s almost exclusively used in the pejorative. “These females out here be…” “You can’t trust these females…” “Females these days…” And the list goes on and on.
Furthermore, it’s just inaccurate. There’s a word for female human… it’s woman.
Call me dramatic if you want to but the consistent use of the word, particularly in the negative sense, whether intentional or not, subtly and subconsciously paints women who behave in ways deemed unacceptable, in an animalistic, less than human light. I don’t have to tell you that’s not right. And women should be the absolute last people perpetuating that cycle.
Particularly when most of us, as that Instagram girl proved, exist somewhere in the middle of Denise Huxtable and Nicki Minaj. Or we’re Denise one day and Nicki the next. Complexity is the nature of being human. Putting ourselves in these good girl, bad girl boxes is not only tired at this point, it’s unrealistic.
Lest we forget, Lisa Bonet is not even Denise Huxtable, she’s just a character. And if we want to be real, Nicki Minaj is often playing a bit of a role when we see her out publicly. Instead of trying to identify with characters and facades, we should be striving to be the most authentic versions of ourselves, and not bashing other women in the process.
On Oprah’s Next Chapter, Gabrielle Union made a confession: under her pretty face was a mean girl… now reformed. With acting titans Alfre Woodard, Viola Davis, and Phylicia Rashad looking on, Union admitted that she enjoyed tearing other Black actresses down until a friend gave her a reality check.
“’Okay, now, how did your life change?’” Union recalls her friend saying. “’Did you get the guy? Did you get the job? Is your house any bigger? Did money just magically get put in your pocket? What positive [event] happened in your life after you just tore that woman down?'”
Union identifies “ratchet culture” and society’s support of tearing one another down, as the reason mean girl culture is so prevalent. But ultimately it comes down to individual insecurity. In an industry like Hollywood’s, where fierce competition can bring out the worst in people, bringing others down is the easy way out to lifting yourself up. As Union admits, it’s not effective in the long run.
Hollywood doesn’t have a monopoly on this type of behavior. Whether your stage is a drive-thru window or a corner office, it can be easy to fall into the mental trap of dragging others down, limiting your own success in the process. Check out these nine mean girl habits and take a good look in the mirror. If you see yourself in the next few pages, it may be time for a reality check of your own.
My cousin, Malika*. My ex-bestie, Lorraina*. My sister’s ex-bestie Andrea*. What do all these young women have in common besides their race and the fact that their names end with an “A”? None of them could find it in their hearts to give another sista a straight-shooting compliment. Ever. If they did give out a compliment, it was either prefaced with a smug proclamation like, “I never compliment girls unless they deserve it,” or immediately followed with insults so backhanded that they might as well have kept the compliment to themselves in the first place. And sometimes if someone else is fawning over another young woman’s hair, shoes, pretty face, etc., they would offer the classic, teeth-suck and eye-roll combo followed by, “Yeah, whatever. She ain’t all that.”
None of the above women are unattractive by society’s standards. They are all sufficiently intelligent. So let me state the obvious: They are poster women for one of the most rampantly running diseases that has taken over the U.S. by leaps and bounds: Insecurity.
Now, let me preface this with my own admission. I been that girl (as Melanie Fiona would say), which is why I am qualified to poke, pry at and probe this topic. I know what insecurity looks like from an ugly, raw, up-close-and-personal view. I know what it is to see in someone else all the things I want to be but to secretly loathe them for it. I know what it is to rip apart pieces of other women’s personas and stitch them together to make a costume of what I considered beauty for myself, never realizing I was covering up the beauty in me to take on the beauty of someone else. It never quite fit. It was loose in some places and busting at the seams in others. So, in a subconscious attempt to deflect from my own awkward feelings, I would tear down others. I couldn’t give a compliment to save my own pitiful life. I wanted to find something wrong with everyone else because there was something so severely wrong inside me.
Sick, right? Welp, that’s the way it goes when you have no concept of how to love and accept yourself.
The catalyst that catapulted from that deteriorating state isn’t as complex as you might think. Although, by no means am I knocking therapy, I didn’t need to seek therapy. I didn’t have a “come-to-Jesus”/”Eureka!” moment. The catalyst was simply a series of conversations with myself on paper. I wrote out how I truly felt about anything and everything. That consistent exercise forced me to look at my insides and see all of the things I had been trying to get away from for years with no pretty filters. The funny thing is that no matter how much makeup you pile on, no matter how many fly outfits you don, no matter how many hot pictures you take – if you don’t love yourself, it will eventually show.
It started to show for me. I was snapping at people, looking for reasons to dislike even the most amazing young women. My friends and I were considered the “Mean Girls.” The crazy thing is that once I realized that people HATED me and who I had become, it hurt me so badly. But instead of deflecting and projecting, as I was SO used to doing, I started getting real with myself. That changed the game for me and ultimately thrust my ex-bestie and me apart and into two very different paths in life. I wanted to engage my higher nature. I wasn’t content to keep such a bitter outlook on life because of the bitterness I felt inside. So, I started getting to know the people I had once loathed. And just as my higher nature had first suspected, but my lower nature was quick to shun: They were beautiful souls. Some of the women who have made the biggest impact on my life were the ones I couldn’t stand and refused to say anything decent to in the beginning. Funny how life works, huh?
So, I can recognize insecurity in females when I see it, most especially in black women. We don’t have to feed into the stereotypical “Angry-Black-Woman” caricature, but too often we absolutely do. Too often, we allow ourselves to slip into the abyss of self-dissatisfaction, sometimes never to return. We will sit and talk smack about another young woman who is just going on about her business, enjoying a FREE life – a concept we can’t fathom because we’re too enslaved to our own insecurities. We’re shackled by our self-identified “flaws” when, in all honesty they could be sparkling gems of character if we would just learn how to be free in who we are. Another woman’s beauty, intelligence, raw style, sense of humor, gift of gab or overflowing purse of talent is not a THREAT to our own. We all have a lane in which no one else can cruise in as effectively and as coolly as we can. Affirming each other is not an admission of personal defeat or inferiority.
Now, if I am digging another sista’s personality, shoe game, hair or intelligence, I let her know and more often than not, we dig into each other and become great acquaintances, sometimes even close friends. Giving props where they are due never takes away shine from you, it only ever adds to your glow. Hopefully Malika, Lorraina and Andrea will learn how to get their shine on much sooner than later.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. Armed with the ability to purposefully poke fun at herself and a passion for young women’s empowerment, La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and her Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
LA Weekly recently spoke with Odd Future’s Syd the Kyd about her sexuality and what it’s like being a part of the musical group of singers, rappers, dancers, and producers which includes Frank Ocean and Tyler the Creator.
In speaking on her own sexual orientation, though, Syd decided to call out some well-known female entertainers who she says need to come clean about where their real sexual allegiance lays. She says:
“There’s Alicia Keys, who’s married to Swizz Beatz – we know that s*** ain’t real. You got Queen Latifah kissing Common in movies. Missy Elliott saying she don’t wanna hang with b****es. You know she loves her some b****es.”
Along those same lines, Syd explains why she decided to come out as a gay female in The Internet video, “Cocaine.”
“I decided to do it because I wish I had someone like that [an openly gay female artist] while I was coming up. People write on my Tumblr just thanking me for making the video, saying that I really inspire them, and they want to be like me. But I wasn’t always this way, this comfortable with myself, and I remember what that was like. So I figure, f*** it. Everyday people aren’t given this opportunity and I realize that.”
That may be all well and fine for Syd but I don’t think it’s her business to try to “out” women who she suspects are homosexual. From my limited knowledge of the whole idea of “coming out,” for some people, taking that step is like running up and down the street naked—you’re baring your sexual self in front of the world to be judged and the reaction you’ll get is never certain. Granted, most people these days don’t care so much whether someone is homosexual or heterosexual, but the decision to admit who you are sexually is still a very personal choice that people decide to disclose or keep to themselves for a number of reasons. Knowing that, and admitting that she wasn’t always comfortable enough to do so herself, I find it a little crazy that she’d try to put these women out there like that.
More importantly, why do these women need to admit anything? I understand that the whole coming out process signifies acceptance of who you are but I’ve personally never found it necessary. If heterosexual people don’t have to announce their orientation, why should homosexuals? Show up at the dinner party with your mate of the same sex and let people read between the lines just like they do with heterosexual couples.
I get wishing she had popular lesbian role models to look up to, but Syd’s just going to have to accept that Missy, Alicia, and Queen can’t be that for her and I don’t think that necessarily means they’re ashamed. We’ve seen pics of Queen Latifah with Jeanette Jenkins and it appears she’s already replaced her with another one—another one being a woman. Maybe these women don’t want their sexuality to overshadow their careers. If they are gay, the minute they admit it, that’s all anyone would want to talk about. Who wants to keep explaining what they do between the sheets at night? Maybe they don’t want to be the face of homosexual advocacy, which someone would surely expect them to be if they came out; and if they declined there would certainly be hell to pay. There’s also the possibility that these women just aren’t lesbians at all (except maybe the Queen).
In trying to speak up for gay artists, Syd marginalizes women in the same breath by suggesting it’s impossible for a woman to be heterosexual without showing T and A all day long. There’s more than one type of female MC and at the end of the day, no one has to explain their demeanor or orientation to anyone. I think Syd should take a lesson from her “lesbian” role model Missy Elliott and “Stop talkin’ ‘bout who [she’s] stickin’ and lickin,’ just mad it ain’t yours.”
What do you think about Syd’s comments on Queen Latifah, Missy Elliott, and Alicia Keys? Do you think lesbian entertainers have an obligation to come out with their sexual orientation? Is choosing to remain in the closet a sign of shame?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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