All Articles Tagged "feminism"
Warning: This is not another (eyeroll) Tyler Perry review so please if you came here to say that TP is ‘getting money’ so therefore ‘stop hating,’ save that for the next TP production. I’m sure there will be a Madea in Africa or something like that coming this Christmas we can trade TP jabs over. Also there are spoilers all up in this bish so if you haven’t seen “Temptation,” and don’t want it ruined for you, you know what to do…”
So I saw the new Tyler Perry flick.
There is lots to say about this film however there is one scene in the film, which has perked my interest: It’s the kitchen scene with Judith (played by my girl Jurnee Smollett-Bell) and Brice (played by Lance Gross). Sexual excited from the tales of wild, animal-like sex in strange places from a client (later identified as the devil) at her job, Judith grabs her husband, who is obliviously munching down on a sandwich, and tries to jump up on it. Her husband, who looks confused as to why his wife has her6 legs wrapped around him, pleading with him to give it to her Ol’ Dirty Bastard-style on the kitchen counter, is basically like, ‘Nawh, Judith stop! What has gotten into you woman. Can’t you see I’m eating a sandwich. A SANDWICH! So this is what’s going to happen: let me eat this sandwich first and we can go in the bedroom and do this the RIGHT way.’ Then he leaves her there on the kitchen counter, looking shell-shocked and rejected as he goes back to his delicious sandwich.
The fact that he wanted to finish his meal prior to sex means of little consequence to me. Sometimes you are just that hungry or the meal is just that good. Plus men are not animals therefore can, should and do exercise their rights to say ‘no’ to sex as well. But here is an instance where a woman is trying to assert herself sexually and is rejected, not because of a hunger or because he doesn’t feel like it but because her approach to sex was deemed not-right. The implication here was that there is something unnatural and perverse about her desire to want to get freaky with her husband outside the bedroom.
As I am watching the film, I notice that it is not just her sexual appetite, which is being neglected. Judith tells her husband about how she feels about her job and how she feels she is ready to start a business of her own. Most people nowadays wants to applaud women for taking ownership of their professional lives. Instead, Brice again dismisses her feelings and tells Judith to wait for like 10-15 years. Because nothing says “ambitious in life” like waiting for it to happen. This sort of neglect isn’t just with her husband; Sarah, her own mother (played by Elle Joyce), too had a problem with Judith asserting some independence. Going as far as to smack her in the face for “sassin” her. Clearly, this Judith character was disenchanted from jump of this film (and for good reason, if you ask me) and she made several attempts to express as much to the people in her life. Yet they just kind of ignored her concerns or were blatantly dismissive of ways in which she sought to make herself happy. After a while, I kind of felt sad for Judith because it totally felt like she was in a no win situation here.
“You can’t wear the pants and the skirt too,” my guy friend said to me one day during one of our routine conversations. “Why?” I asked, half jokingly, half serious.
Most guys that I’ve dated have told me that I have a dominant personality. I am not afraid to speak up or stand up for myself and not too quick to back down either. This was something I was proud of and wore like a badge of honor, until recently.
I will admit, I am a borderline feminist and strongly believe in women being independent. We should be able to pay our own bills, travel alone if we have to, enjoy life and feel complete sans a man; but over the years I’ve realized that even the independent woman knows that at times it’s okay to not be so independent, especially in a relationship.
My guy friend often jokes with me. He says, “If a guy wants someone to wear the pants, he may as well date another man.” Maybe that holds some truth, maybe not (I’m still trying to decide if it even makes sense); but I don’t believe that any secure man wants a ‘yes-girl’, like Vanessa Bell Calloway’s character in Coming to America (whatever you like). So, where does the independent woman find the balance of not losing herself while still pleasing her man? As with any relationship it comes with compromise, something that a super-independent girl, like myself, finds somewhat difficult.
Submit. Wow. Six letters, one word, that seem to degrade all that an independent woman stands for. At least that’s how I used to feel; but as I’ve matured, the word doesn’t seem like a death sentence but surprisingly somewhat inviting. Maybe I’m tired of being so independent that I am secretly looking for an outlet or maybe I’ve learned that there is a level of independence in submitting. I would like to think it’s the latter.
It almost seems like a contradiction to use independence and submitting in the same sentence; but hear me out. To submit means to yield or surrender; it doesn’t suggest that you’re yielding or surrendering forever. And to yield doesn’t necessarily mean you’re compromising your morals or even your independence. I like to think that it means picking your battles wisely. In many ways, men submit to women as well. It only holds a negative connotation to some of us super-independent women when we’re asked to do so.
Maybe it’s the word submit that rubs many of us the wrong way; but I’d like to think of it as simply compromising. Let’s face it, men and women are different; and certain things that matter to men don’t matter as much to women and vice versa. While all men are different, in relationships many of them possess many of the same traits when it comes to ‘wearing the pants.’
No man, or really any person for that matter, wants to feel as if they have no say-so or control in a situation. And with men especially, it’s a big thing. So while I don’t ever think I’ll be able to constantly cater to a man’s ego, or feel that I should have to, I’m learning how to let a man ‘wear the pants’; and so far my relationships have been so much better.
I don’t think it’s my level of independence that caused trouble in many of my past relationships. In fact, I think most of the men were drawn to it. I’m convinced the issue was my inability or unwillingness to occasionally submit. I once thought that showing any sign of vulnerability or giving in to a man meant I was throwing away my independent-girl-card. Now, I’m happy to know that it doesn’t. And while it’s still a struggle to be the sometimes, submissive girl who remains self-sufficient, I’m realizing it can be done. I may not know exactly how to do it, but slowly but surely this independent girl is learning.
This is a man’s world!
James was wailing passionately. My dad, like most men with soul, is a James Brown fan. And he was putting me on to some of his classics this day during one of our many road trips. Immediately, my junior feminist radar kicked in. This is a man’s world?! Then as if James knew I didn’t hear him the firs time, he hollered it again.
This is a man’s world!
That was it! I bolted up in the backseat as I said, politely, yet with authority, “I don’t think I like this song.” My dad smiled, a knowing and prideful smile and said, “Keep listening baby.” And that’s when James brought it home.
“But it wouldn’t be nothing, without a woman or a girl.”
I know that’s right James! I nodded in acceptance and understanding as I sat back and settled into the groove.
From an early age, though society was hellbent on telling me otherwise, I always knew it was a great honor to be a girl and later a woman. While boys and men were constantly boasting about their physical strength and superior intelligence; I always had an inkling and then an assurance, that it was all a farce. That really, at the end of the day, men weren’t all that much better than women. In fact, they weren’t better at all.
Men may have been able to lift things and complete other physical tasks; but a woman’s strength was emotional, psychological and in many instances practical.
My sophomore year of college, a bill came back from my University saying that I owed some thousands of dollars. I showed the letter to my parents but they couldn’t help me. They didn’t have it. I’ll never forget the difference in the way my father handled the situation and the way my mother handled it. My dad, whether out of embarrassment or frustration, kind of shut down and pretended like it wasn’t happening. While my mom was the one who talked to me about how I should go about collecting financial aid from other places. That’s when I learned that what they say about men and their need to problem solve is true. My dad couldn’t provide the solution to my problem; and instead of directing me to someone or something that could, it was better for his pride to pretend like it wasn’t happening. That was the day my mother told me that while both of them would always be there to support me and do what they could; at the end of the day, there were certain things I just had to make happen for myself. There are certain things men cannot do for you, even if that man is your father.
All of our lives as girls and eventually women, we’re told to be seen and not heard. Keep your mouth shut. You talk too much. There’s always someone who wants to silence you, whether that person is in the world or in your own family, men and women alike. At around 10 years old, annoyed with me and my sister’s constant giggles, my grandfather told us, rather sternly, “Be quiet, you know you all laugh too much!” For a minute I thought to be embarrassed, ashamed or offended; but then I remembered my grandmother telling me that laughing was both good exercise and good medicine, so instead I just laughed at the ridiculousness of his comment and kept it moving. My sister followed suit. There’s no such thing as laughing too much.
And there’s no such thing as crying too much either. I’ll never understand why men, and subsequently women, get so freaked out by tears and the act of crying. Remember how Hillary’s tears made front page news in 2008? Instead of recognizing her tears as a sign of passion for her country, many took it to mean she was incapable of running it. Tears are not a sign of weakness. They’re physical evidence of a strength of feeling, conviction or passion.
Well, it looks like the TLC movie is definitely ready to go.
It was announced a couple of weeks ago that Lil Mama would play the role of Left Eye in VH1′s TLC biopic. They’d already cast former The Game cast member Drew Sidora as T-Boz, so the only thing left was to find Miss Chilli.
The search is over as VH1 revealed that Chilli would be played by actress and singer KeKe Palmer, according to Necole Bitchie.
Production will begin in Atlanta, where it all began for TLC, next month.
T-Boz and Chilli expressed concerns about having big names play them in a movie and preferring virtual unknowns to play the role; however, when it comes down to it, you need names that at least a few people know to create some interest in the movie. Besides, all three of these actresses are on three very different levels of success so we can’t imagine that they’re totally disappointed in the choices.
According to the press release, the film should be out in time to celebrate TLC’s 20th anniversary. Wow, time flies, doesn’t it?
Will you be watching?
Is it possible for stripping (also known as exotic dancing) to be seen as an empowering profession for women? Or is it just flat out exploitation?
It is a provocative question that author and commentator Marc Lamont Hill raised and discussed recently on a segment on Huffington Post Live. Joined by Sheila Hageman, author of Stripping Down: A Memoir, Steve D**k an owner of New York City nightclubs and two full-time strippers and/or sex professionals, Hill explored if everything we thought about working as Cleopatra at the Pyramid (shout out to Frank Ocean), particularly the rampant misogyny, sexual abuse and exploitation, is an accurate description of the world of exotic dancing.
According to one of his guests, Quiana Colbert, aka Ms. Dimples, an exotic dancer of two years, while stripping has a negative connotation, she has never felt oppressed by her choice to dance naked for a living. In fact, Colbert asserts that she has never been sexually assaulted and feels like she receives the utmost respect in both of the clubs she currently is employed by (including The Diamond Club in Atlanta). Said Colbert,
“It is all about your mindset as a young adult. You know what you are getting into when you sign up for this. You know what type of people you’re going to be surrounding yourself around – pimps, drug dealers, all types of different people. But it is about what you actually decide to put yourself into.”
She also stated that there is definitely an element to self-empowerment in the business, particularly the ability to help establish a woman’s financial independence. And it is up to women to take advantage. “I’m a stripper, I’m not a victim. I am a woman and I can stand up and say, hey well I put on heels at night but I take my baby to daycare in the morning time and I’m proud of myself.”
Every stripper isn’t a w***e. And if a stripper just so happens to be a “w***e,” it doesn’t mean that every “w***e” is oppressed or being exploited. That is an important distinction to be made as it is a widely believed misnomer that any woman with a liberated sense of sexuality is considered to have some deep rooted issues with their fathers or have been a victim of sexual abuse. Chris Rock once joked about as much when he said that a dad’s only role is to keep his daughter off the pole, which gives credence to the idea that women who strip for a living have some unresolved emotional issues.
What Colbert and others on the panel speak to is the empowering feeling, which comes from being able to walk into a strip club of your free will for work as opposed to being lured off the streets by a pimp and having your decision dictated to you. Control and having a choice are both major aspects of being empowered. Financial independence is a major factor as well. While it is true that in both situations – the chooser and those who had the profession of stripping chosen for them – the women are the object of someone’s gaze, thus making them objectified, as Hill noted during the program, men are disempowered in these situations, as they are burning through paychecks at the bequest of a beauty dancing naked who usually has no interest in them for anything else. And once the rain-making stops, so does the dancing of these naked women.
With that said, it is hard to fully consider stripping empowering when there is a financial interest as motivation. People regularly do strange things for change. Reality television shows, particularly the ones involving people doing stupid stunts for cash prizes, is the best evidence of this phenomenon. With that said, there is still for many women the very real nuance that stripping is something that they do when they feel they have no other options for gainful employment in more traditional areas.
Human sex trafficking is a real thing. Some places around the globe, most notably Canada, have recognized the link between escort human-trafficking and sexual-exploitation cases and have gone as far as to ban foreign workers in strip clubs. And as Sheila Hageman pointed out, there are women with deeply rooted issues, which they bring into their job as exotic dancers, who find themselves caught up in the seedier side of the business – although Hageman would later reiterate that the possibility of sexploitation alone is not enough reason to assume that all women in the industry are being taken advantage of.
What was also interesting about this discussion is how even in this seedy world, there still exist a need to create and abide by a moral code, which in essence, creates the standard distinction between good girls and bad girls. For instance, during the discussion, Tara Reign, an Adult Video star and occasionally featured exotic dancer at “higher end” strip clubs, took exception to being lumped in with the stereotypical Gentlemen Club scene of pimps and drugs. Said Reign,
“I’ve never been in a situation of any kind where I’ve been surrounded by…I think you used the word “pimps and drugs… All of my girlfriends are either Adult Video stars or strippers and I don’t feel like any of them have that particular experience. I’m not saying that it is not valid or not true I just thinking that sociology, I feel like you need to look at more of a generalization. And I don’t think that is the whole or the general, I think that is very specific to your environment, maybe to your particular strip club but more so to your lifestyle.”
At first I thought she said this because she was a white girl being lumped in with Colbert (aka Ms. Dimples), who is an African American dancer. However, even Colbert routinely during the discussion would reference her children and husband. In one part of the program, Colbert reminds us that while the adage, “can’t turn a hoe into a housewife” makes it hard for some women in the sex industry to have long-term relationships, we shouldn’t think that everybody is a h*e. It just goes to show you that even in an environment where it appears that women are the most uninhibited, there still is this need to protect one’s virtue by traditional standards of womanhood as set by society.
Now that some time has passed, I’ve been able to wrestle with and digest more completely much of the discourse that Lupe Fiasco’s “B***h Bad” sparked this summer. The song, whose hook repeats “B***h bad, woman good, lady better,” had many a tongue wagging—particularly in the feminist community. The reality is that not many feminists aspire to be the stereotypical “lady.” I respect that choice. Further, I certainly have great respect and appreciation for anyone who vehemently challenges the system of male dominance and advocates for the equality of women. But here’s the thing, I am unapologetically a lady and while you may choose not to be, a lack of respect regarding my choice to be is kinda not cool.
I am a woman who takes care of herself, thinks for herself, and who looks for a partner rather than a master in men. I am independent and progressive and very much a lady. I reject the notion that my pursuit of ladyhood is an attempt to fit into antiquated ideals constructed to make men comfortable. I leave some things to the imagination when I get dressed. I don’t speak vulgarly. I cook; I clean; I decorate; I’m demure and unabashedly submissive when a worthy man is involved. I don’t do these things to make men comfortable—I do them because I like the way they make ME feel.
I feel swexy and empowered and womanly when I walk into a clean home with a soft décor that reflects my personality and a fragrance that excites the nose like perfume that lingers on flesh at the end of a long day. I get an exhilarating rush when I am in the kitchen experimenting with spices that titillate various areas of the tongue. While playing with and pairing different textures and tastes I am often caught up in ecstatic fits. And when there is a man who meets my needs, hears me, sees me, honors me, treats me like an equal and makes me feel safe, I want to cook his meals, rub his bald head, listen to his dreams and make him feel the way he makes me feel every day. I want to be gentle and not crass, to possess a quiet strength and a soft power; I’d rather purr than roar any day. These things make me feel the way I love to feel—they make ME comfortable.
To each its own. You may never want to be a “lady,” and that’s cool…for you. However, my deliberate actions to be don’t make me a Stepford Wife and don’t advance the agenda of patriarchy, and your rejection and denouncement of ladyhood doesn’t make you any more enlightened than me. I believe in the equality of women and have a vested interest in the annihilation of systems that seek to keep them subjugated, but at the end of the day how I choose to live out my womanliness is my business. I respect your choice, now respect mine, especially in the one space where all women should feel safe and accepted. As women, sometimes we have a way of tearing each other down…even when we aren’t consciously trying to.
We must do better. Shall we?
Sheena Bryant is a writer and blogger in Chicago. Follow her on twitter at @song_of_herself.
To some, Helen Gurley Brown, who died two Mondays ago at the age of 90, was the patron saint of the single girl. Though you may not have known her name before, you likely know her work. As the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine from 1965 to 1997, Brown brought conversations about single womanhood and sex to waiting rooms, newsstands and coffee tables everywhere.
Her 1962 title, Sex and the Single Girl, made her a prescient precursor to Carrie Bradshaw, who once aimed to have sex with as much gusto and abandon as a man. Brown was a purveyor of the sex-smart, powerful woman, one who presided over her professional life with as much zeal as she did her romantic rendezvouses. In 1965, Brown, who had experience in the advertising world but not as a magazine editor, was sought to revamp Cosmopolitan Magazine. As Margalit Fox noted in the New York Times’ obituary on Brown: “[Before Brown, Cosmopolitan’s] target reader was a married suburbanite, preoccupied with maintaining the perfect figure, raising the prefect child and making the perfect Jell-O salad.”
Under Brown’s editorial direction, Cosmopolitan went from a monthly for apron-bearing housewives to a page-turner for the fun, fearless female, one with a voracious appetite for sex and an eye on a formidable career. As David Plotz wrote for Slate Magazine in 2000:
Brown was not teaching girls to be geishas. She was teaching them to be bosses…Brown barraged them with sound advice: Work hard, be punctual, be tough, don’t fear competition, save your money.
Brown, it seemed, was her own best example, known to clock no fewer than twelve hours a day while at the helm of Cosmopolitan, from which she stepped down in 1997, but continued to edit its international editions. She catapulted the US magazine’s circulation from 800,000 to 3 million during her tenure. She argued that for Cosmo girls, an appetite for sex, money and power should be indulged and not quelled to appease the leering eyes of polite society. If sex was not only about pleasure, it was also a means to an end, as Brown believed that amid all of that punnany power, a woman would still need to snag a man for keeps. As Margalit Fox writes:
Yes, readers would need to land Mr. Right someday – the magazine left little doubt that he was still every woman’s grail. But in an era in which an unmarried woman was called an old maid at 23, the new Cosmopolitan have readers license not to settle for settling down with just anyone, and to enjoy the search with blissful abandon for however long it took.
While many heralded Brown as a first-wave feminist icon among the ranks of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, some rejected Brown’s sex-as-currency stance. Brown was not one to shun the inappropriate advances of a male supervisor or colleague, once defending Justice Clarence Thomas when he faced sexual harassment charges in the 1990s, citing that sexual attention from men was “almost always flattering.”
Women’s liberation advocates spoke ill of what they considered Brown’s regressive brand of feminism, a man-centric breed of sexual politics, which appeared to typify the theory of the male gaze. As it turns out, during her 32 years as Cosmopolitan’s editor, Brown’s husband, film producer David Brown, wrote the magazine’s cover lines, which often focused on snagging and pleasing a man.
While some detractors denounced the onslaught of “do-me feminism” and what Helaine Olen called its “logical end game” (which Olen cites as a modern-day birth rate of 40 percent for single mothers, economic inequality, the gender wage gap, and the attack on reproductive rights in an article for Forbes), Brown is regaled for ushering an era in which woman could shirk the prevailing conventions of twentieth-century womanhood, both in the bedroom and in the board room.
Helen Gurley Brown sought to create a space for a new kind of woman during an era in which women’s voices and ambitions were all but stifled. By undoing the prevailing narrative on femininity, she widened the scope for the acceptance of Cosmo girls who had made different choices than their predecessors. Plotz’s profile of Brown (who was married to her husband for 51 years before his death in 2010) ended with this: “Brown’s own life reflects a sin that is much more modern – and, in self-help America, much more forgivable – than the one she is accused of…She is too interested in pleasing herself.”
Today’s Cosmopolitan readers are often between the age of 18 and 34, generations removed from the first-wave and early second wave of women’s liberation. Even for women of color, the moves made by Brown and her successors created an impact on concepts of femininity at large. Are today’s Cosmogirls of all colors the beneficiaries of Brown’s stewardship, or are they bearing the brunt of Helaine Olen’s aforementioned end game?
Sound off, readers: Was Helen Gurley Brown’s Cosmopolitan approach to redefining womanhood problematic? Or has the era of the Cosmogirl been good for women?
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My poor parents. They just didn’t get what they wanted. My mother told me a long time ago that she just knew she was going to have a son. Instead she and my dad got two daughters. I knew they loved us, so I never seriously considered all of the “boy-stuff” my dad missed out on, raising two daughters. Sure, there were indications that he would have liked a male heir, like the race cars we got for Christmas one year; but I never thought about my dad wanting a son… until I noticed all the time he was spending with my younger cousin.
Every time I’d talk to my dad or my cousin, they’d each have something to say about each other. My cousin Djimon, who is fourteen, would say “Yeah, me and Uncle Edward hang out.” Or my dad would recount stories about how he was there to see Djimon off for his first school dance or the conversations they’d had in the car on their way to school, “You know, that Djimon has some interesting thoughts on current events.” It was precious. Djimon already has a very active father but it was cool he was able to share this closeness with my dad and my dad got a little preview into all the “boy stuff” he never got to do and experience with us.
I was totally cool with their “boys club” until they started talking about wrestling. My dad, who wrestled in high school, took an interest in going to my little cousin’s matches, recording them and posting them on Facebook. It was sweet. It wasn’t until recently, on a family vacation that I started to notice some exclusion. We were lounging in our hotel room when my cousin knocked on the door. He came in and before long the conversation turned to wrestling. Somewhere in the midst of it my dad started talking about the girl on my cousin’s team. That piqued my interest.
“Oh, there’s a girl on your team?”
They went on to describe how she had to wrestle boys in her weight class because there were no other girls on the schools they competed against. She hadn’t been that successful but there was one match she should’ve won.
“She pinned that boy! The ref just wouldn’t call it.” My dad was animated about the story, so I took this to mean that he supported this girl and her Title IX victory. But I had to be sure, so I asked him, “If we (my sister and I) wanted to wrestle, would you let us?”
I had barely gotten the question out of my mouth before my father said no and my cousin silently cosigned by shaking his head. I was completely thrown off. Living in a house with nothing but women, I didn’t understand how my father could be so insensitive.
“Really, Dad you would tell us we couldn’t wrestle?”
He comprised with a,”I wouldn’t tell you no, but I’d do everything in my power to convince you not to.”
Well that sounded like pissing on a dream to me. I was starting to get a little peeved.
Both he and my cousin took turns trying to explain. My dad informed me that the girl on my cousin’s team often looked like a rag doll out there because her physical strength just wasn’t on the same level as her male competitors. Then he talked about how much verbal abuse and even ostracism she received for being the only girl in a male dominated sport. That’s when my cousin chimed in. Talking about how boys from other schools made other types of jokes, claiming that they wanted to wrestle her. I’m a bit slow so I didn’t get it right away.
“Why would they want to wrestle her?”
My fourteen year old cousin just looked at me, waiting for me to catch up.
Oh, these boys wanted to wrestle with her because in wrestling anything goes. For a couple of minutes they could lay on top or underneath her, grab body parts that would be considered harassment in any other setting and nobody would say anything about it.
Now, that was something to consider.
I still don’t think I would tell my daughter she couldn’t wrestle though; simply because as a young girl, I know I wouldn’t want to hear that from my parents. But I certainly understand not being “okay” with horny little boys using the rules of a sport as an opportunity to cop a feel. At the same time, I’m assuming this girl knew the rules of the game. After all, her father was a wrestler. Wrestling was something she and her dad had bonded over, it was a tradition she wanted to be a part of. Is this something he should have denied her simply because some of her less mature peers might try to sexualize it?
So, readers (especially parents) here’s where you come in. Would you let your daughter wrestle? Why or why not?
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It’s a man’s world. A valid statement, which is precisely what makes it so darn controversial. Fair? Absolutely not, but it’s no secret that many societal structures, traditions and practices are stacked in favor of men over women.
But like the godfather of soul, James Brown sang about a man’s world, he made sure to acknowledge that, “it would be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl.” So while it may be a “man’s world,” it’s pretty clear when and where women rule.
Here are 7 ways women come out on top:
Otherwise known as, “show up and get free stuff girls,” ladies night is a nightlife staple men hate to love. Girls get in free, but he has to pay to enter. Then he’ll also pay for a girl’s drink. And although it doesn’t seem fair, he doesn’t complain, because when it’s ladies night he has plenty of options.
So allegedly Seal is looking for an even split in the marriage.
According to Bossip;
“HEIDI KLUM’s divorce from SEAL is erupting into an ugly battle as the “Kiss From a Rose” singer prepares to go after a huge chunk of her $70 million fortune, say sources. The 38-year-old supermodel filed for divorce April 6, stating they have a post-nuptial agreement, which means they agreed to keep their assets completely separate during their marriage. But Seal has struck back, filing his own documents that make no mention of their post-nup, yet note that California is a community property state — which could entitle him to half of the beauty’s megabucks. “Even though they may have had a post-nuptial agreement, it appears that Seal is going to challenge it,” said a legal strategist. “If he is successful, it could mean big bucks for him in their divorce.
Man, it sure does suck to be married in California.
I kid of course (but then I don’t) however whenever a celebrity divorce makes the pages of a gossip magazines, the discussion that immediately follows involves debate over spousal support and alimony and who deserves what and how much. Interestingly enough, the debate usually centers on some high-profiled celebrity man and his low-profile wife. Public discussion about what should become of communal property generally splits among gender lines: men folk will say, “Why does Kobe’s wife get half? She didn’t win any championships!” Whereas the women will strike back, “Vanessa is entitled to half because she raised the children, held the household down and spent years standing by his side through all his extra-martial affairs.”
All legitimate points but what happens when the breadwinner of the celebrity couple happens to be a woman? Well than that is a whole different story there. Most of the reaction I’ve seen centered on women calling Seal a dirt bag loser for wanting his slice of the matrimony pie. While the men folk, who once were so adamant against spousal support, suddenly have a change of heart and sympathy for the plight of the househusband.
Aside from the Kiss from a Rose song, which I only know from the Batman movie, I can’t recall another song from Seal -but I heard/read he has sold more than 20 million albums. And I, and perhaps a few others, haven’t really heard anything professional from the Nigerian/Brazilian singer besides being the arm piece to his much more famous and financially astute wife, who has managed to flip her modeling career into a successful reality TV show, among other things. According to Forbes, Klum has earned $20 million in the last year alone, making her the second-highest paid model. So it would make sense that is spousal support is coming, Seal would be the recipient, yet folks still have a hard time accepting it.
Westernized, traditionally speaking, men have been the prime breadwinner in the household, therefore the ruler of the family. He was responsible for management of all marital property including his wife, who depended on him to provide her sustenance. Therefore alimony came about to ensure that the wife was taken care of after divorce. Remember in the old times, women could not own property outside of a Singer sewing machine.
So if a woman’s husband left her, there was a strong possibility that she would be destined to extreme poverty and be literally penniless in the streets.
But times have indeed changed and as we enter the second or third wave of feminism, we are beginning to see a significant number of women, not only reaching financial equality with men, but in some cases, surpassing the opposite gender on the salary scale. According to a study by the Pew Charitable Trust, 22 percent of men made less money than their wives in 2010 – an 18 percent increase since the 1970s. In some instances, these new financial achievements for women have also been accompanied by gender role reversals in marriages where the woman is outside the home, grinding for the bacon, while the man rears the children and takes care of the homestead.
But like most marriages in the United States, there is a high chance that they will head to divorce. And with that comes more men seeking alimony from their much wealthier spouses. Consider former 98 Degree singer, Nick Lachey, who sought – and was eventually denied – spousal support from ex-wife pop singer Jessica Simpson. And then there was Janet Jackson, who had to pay her ex hubby Rene Elizondo $15 million, give him the couple’s Mercedes and their five-bedroom Malibu beachfront home. Not to mention Kirstie Alley, Madonna and Britney Spears all were court-ordered to cough up money each month to…ahem…maintain their ex-hubby’s lavish lifestyles.
As many women in America can go to college, own our own homes and earn big bucks in the corporate world just like men, they can also end up paying their partners hundreds to even thousands of dollars a month in alimony, just like men. Unfortunately it’s the gift and the curse of independence and equality. I,for one, am not in favor of ending spousal support. Despite the advancement in gender equality (at least the ability of a woman to live independently), there are some women – and men – who really need it and had a previous agreement with their spouse that they would stay home and raise the children/tend house. But as we all know, not everyone who gets spousal support necessarily deserves it. Some folks are just looking for a meal ticket. But that’s why it is important that folks, especially folks of means, understand that when you take the vows to spend your entire life with someone, it means the house, the car and the bank accounts too. If not, well you better learn from Klum’s mistake and get a pre-nup. Oh yeah, women qualify for those too.
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