All Articles Tagged "white women"
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.
Sex: We all like to believe that there are signs that can guarantee that we’ll get some and the getting will be good. I thought sex stereotypes for most people died in their undergrad dorms, but apparently there are still fully functional adults that believe race and gender somehow place you at an advantage or disadvantage when it comes to what you’re working with in bed.
At one point or another, I’m sure you’ve overheard someone make some generalization on sex based on one or two experiences they’ve had, or more likely, what someone else has told them, but in all honesty they usually just don’t apply. Take a look at some common sex stereotypes people like to throw around that have no factual basis whatsoever:
Just as some ladies love to tote around their Michael Kors bag as a status symbol, quite a few folks are of the belief that some men of color pursue white women for the same reasons. Playing around with the concept, Black artist Nate Hill pinched a few nerves by wearing unclothed white women around his neck — literally!
His photographic project is called “Trophy Scarves,” according to a Vice interview, and the Brooklynite artist has been traveling around town draping unclothed white women over his shoulders. Hill wanted to tackle the notion of non-White males using Caucasian women to elevate their own social statuses. He told Vice:
“There are people who see certain races as status symbols, and someone had to comment on that.”
While the Vice interview didn’t delve into the true essence and meaning of “Trophy Scarves”, the internet gobbled it up and used the artist’s work as a platform for a discussion on race.
“Marrying/having a relationship with a white woman seems to be something many successful black men do immediately upon gaining success and they do it for a number of reasons: because white women are the beauty standard, because of internalized racism, because they want children with lighter skin than their own so that their children don’t have to go through as much discrimination as their black parent. That’s what this art piece is criticizing,” commenter Iman Carol Fears said.
One commenter on The Root, who identified herself as a white woman, said she was offended by Hill’s art project — at first. But then as she continued reading about “Trophy Scarves”, she supported the overall symbolism behind the controversial photos:
“I have been on several (first and last) dates with black men who will for some reason think that it is ok to disclose to me that they don’t date black women. At that moment it becomes clear to me that this person is not the least bit interested in me as a person, they are merely using me as an accessory because they believe that my pearly white skin makes them appear more affluent,” she said.
While some people grasp what Hill is attempting to convey through his art, some critics are calling “Trophy Scarves” contradicting:
“Your project (since you’re a MAN of color) reinforces patriarchy. Despite what you said right there about “white women being people” and not trophies, your art systematically reduces them to objects just like the men you are intending to criticize,” a Tumblr blogger said, simply referring to himself as a MoC(Man of Color).
In Hill’s photos, he’s dressed in an urbane fashion: tuxedo, bow tie, and large glasses. The white models, on the other hand, wear their birthday suits mostly. The Tumblr blogger highlights that while the artist is subjugated by White supremacy and the subliminal pressure to marry non-Black women, he is, at the same time, uplifted by sexism — and he further supports misogyny by wearing unclothed women as scarves.
As Hill mentioned in Vice, he plans to continue toting unclothed white women for this “Trophy Scarves” project into the next year. “I don’t know how many is enough. I think maybe like 100 trophy scarves. And then after 100, maybe go to 200,” he said.
Along with a bit of outrage on the outside, Hill says that he also gets the side-eye from his wife for some of his risque art projects. But the Brooklyn native simply joked that he blocks her from his social networks. “I blocked her on Twitter, so she can’t see what I’m doing. She just followed me on Instagram, so I’m probably going to block her on there too.”
Sounds like risqué business in more ways than one.
What are your thoughts on Hill’s project?
According to the Huffington Post, our favorite famous-for-being-the-sister-of-a-woman-who-is-largely-famous-for-nothing-in-particular, Khloe Kardashian has channeled the innovative spirit of the late, great tech-god Steve Jobs, and has sent forth to the world a new hair trend called braids. All hail the power of the Kardashian name!
From the Huffington Post
“The Kardashian sis debuted her own version of the half-braided head on Wednesday evening, showing off her ‘do at an event for her family’s new line of self-tanner. Khloe drew attention with her sheer shirt (hello, bra!) but even more so with her braids, which reminded us of Jennifer Aniston’s hair at the Spike Guys’ Choice Awards last week. Carmen Electra has also rocked lopsided braids several times over the past few months, giving us the creeping feeling that this fancy update to the Skrillex-inspired hairstyle is becoming a trend.”
If ever there was a proof that we live in a WASP-focused culture, it’s that. Black girls have been putting braids in a variations and patterns since likely the inception of time – no one declares it a trend. White women come along and slap a couple of half-hearted braids in their hair and, with the wave of a wand, which could only be mimicked by the color-cueing commands of the great and powerful Wiz (the Black version), it’s considered not only a trend but also representative for all.
It’s no wonder so many people of non-WASP descent subscribe to the many philosophies of ‘white is always right’ and dark skin as nothing more than a synonyms of crime, poverty, immortality and all other pathologies. A couple of months ago, I drew the ire of a lot of readers to a piece I wrote in which I dared suggest that two black teenage girls did not deserve to be beat mercifully on camera by their father for twerking, especially considering that twerking is not as perverse as folks in the community want to believe. But rather follows a long tradition of cultural dances movements centered on the behind, which too have a long history throughout the Black Diaspora. People thought I was mad – among other things – for the mere suggestion. And some even went to great intellectual lengths to disassociate themselves from the immoral or bad behavior.
But that was a couple of months ago. Today, many of those same folks are raging mad again; this time about Miley Cyrus, her twerking across mainstream America and how everyone is loving it – well mostly everyone. You would think that folks would be happy she has taken this “ratchet” perversion of everything “virtuously black” off of our hands. But nope, folks are still pissed. Now it’s appropriation, they say. Now she is making a mockery of our culture, they shouted. Now she is a selective thief, stealing the fun parts of the black experience, in hopes of appearing cool and rebellious, but not bearing the brunt of the responsibility, they argue. All true however, how can we blame others from picking up the cultural baton when we give it away so cheaply and freely?
Since before our ancestors reached the shores of the original 13 colonies, folks of largely darker skin tones (as well as other non-WASPy differences), had their cultures demonized, removed or altered, in some instances violently, and were forced to adopt the culture of their colonizers – included religion, education and history and language – for the purpose of exploitation. That was colonialism. Yet as we have progressed onwards, hundreds of years into a future, mostly free of the sort of White oversight and exploitation, which ruled and basically developed the Western world, the beliefs of these ideologies still linger on in the hearts, minds and deeds of many of the same oppressed folks, who have conditioned themselves to believe that by internalizing many of the values and principles, it will provide them some leverage in this WASP-centered, thus inherently exclusionary, racist system. When in reality, all it does is reinforce the original oppression. That is called neo-colonialism.
Tia Norfleet made her mark in black history by becoming the first black race car driver. But then she made us all look bad when she was kicked out of NASCAR for lying about her identity to cover up a few drug and theft charges and faking her NASCAR racing license.
Tia also had a criminal past she tried to apologize for, saying:
“People make mistakes in their life and move forward and make a better way. I think things that I’ve done, people make mistakes, as a child, as a teen, and basically, it’s things that you may not be proud of but you move forward and you help others. And they may be in the same situation and you can relate and they can relate to you, and you help them as much as possible.”
But we still feel bad for all of the little black girls who looked up to Tia before they found out that she was a criminal and a liar.
My man keeps calling me a “n***er b***h” during sex and I hate it.
I have been married for a year and I am at my wit’s end. My investment banker husband is from a White old money family. I am a first generation Black-American woman whose family is from the island of Jamaica. We met at a reunion for the ivy league school we both attended, and he proposed in six months.
We have the picture perfect fantasy life. He wines and dines me and we travel and shop the globe. Unlike all of the Black men I dated in the past, my husband is generous, loyal, committed and considerate. He courted me and I never have to pay for anything. He said I could quit my job and I did. He makes me feel like a woman.
I am a little embarrassed to share our problem. The first time he let the n-word drop was during sex on our honeymoon. When I reacted negatively, he explained that a Black woman he dated in the past enjoyed being called racial slurs. Another time he joked that he had purchased my freedom. He also speculated about whether his family could have owned mine because I have “good hair.” Then he made jokes about my pubic hair. He called it my “negro bush” and referred to himself as a “n***er lover.” He says I am being overly sensitive because he loves me to death and should get a “Black pass” for marrying me.
I told him that I don’t appreciate these comments and he says that my friends and family probably use the n-word all the time. He also asked why Black people can use the word and he cannot. I don’t use the word or believe in the n***a/n***er differentiation. Neither does my family. I am too embarrassed to tell anyone about this because I know they might say: “That’s what she gets for marrying a White man.”
Continue reading this letter at Essence.com.
If there was ever a study about black women that I’m inclined to believe, it’s the one about us being more confident in our appearance than other groups of women. Last month, Kate Fridkis, wrote a piece called “Why can’t women think they’re pretty?” I read the title and thought oh, that’s tragic. Let me read. And while Fridkis brought up some salient points about how women often downplay and apologize for highlighting their flattering physical features; by the end of the article I thought to myself, thank God I don’t have this problem. You can call me vain or incorrect if you want, but I’ve always thought I was pretty. And even said it, out loud, in front of people a couple of times. Now, I don’t know if it’s because I’ve consistently heard this from others, because my parents promoted self confidence or because I’m just vain. I’m sure it’s a combination of all of these things; but whatever the reason(s), I’m grateful for this ability to be content, and dare I say very pleased, with what I see in the mirror.
I knew I was good- so I started thinking about other women in my circle. I had to start with the source. My mom. My mother, who I and others regard as beautiful, doesn’t meet European or mainstream beauty standards. She’s short, overweight, has dark skin and natural hair. But I’ve never heard her speak ill of her beauty. She might have talked about wanting to lose weight or wear her hair a different way; but when it came to her natural, physical beauty, there have been times when she’s been downright cocky. The same is true for my aunts, cousins and sister on both sides of the family. Hell, even the men talk about knowing they look good. I realize it may sound like we’re a bunch of self-obsessed jerks, but we’ll just have to be that. After all, in a world where people are constantly insulting folks based on their appearance I’d prefer we be overly confident in our looks, so we can shoulder that criticism than underestimate our beauty and let the naysayers break us down.
But I want to be careful not to dismiss anyone’s experience. I know I’ve had friends on both sides of the spectrum. I’ve had the “can’t tell me nothin’” friends and the friends who would say outright, to my shock and surprise, that they didn’t think they were pretty. I get how one could come to feel this way; but really I don’t understand it. (If that makes sense.) If beauty is subjective and increased exposure increases attractiveness how could you not at least be good with the face you’ve been living with all your life?
Maybe people have just had too many critics. Maybe they’ve internalized too many beauty standards that didn’t match their own. Maybe insecurity is stronger than we could ever imagine. I can’t call it. I’m just always surprised when I hear this type of talk from black women. Unfortunately, I’ve seen and heard far too many white women say they want Jennifer Anniston’s hair, Charlize Theron’s body and Pipa Middleton’s booty. All the while completely trashing their own, perfectly attractive beauty. If there was anything positive to come from a lack of minority representation in media, it’s that black women were less likely to compare ourselves to shapes and figures we could never achieve…naturally. Maybe white women, who’ve been watching their likeness on tv, seeing it plastered on billboards and magazine spreads have come to think that these are the only examples of hotness. While black women who didn’t see themselves represented at all but had the love, affection and attention of men, black and otherwise, knew that the media couldn’t be telling the whole story and decided to be good with themselves anyway.
Again, I can’t call it. What I do know is that every woman, every person really, regardless of what others may say about him or her, should strive to be able to look in the mirror and like what they see. None of us will ever be beautiful to everyone but the least we should try to do is be drop dead gorgeous to ourselves.
Do you think you’re pretty? Do you have problems claiming this either to yourself or others?
According to ABC News,
“Real Housewives of Atlanta newbie Porsha Stewart is the consummate housewife, or “black trophy wife” as she likes to call herself. For her husband of barely two years, Kordell Stewart, Porsha cooks, cleans and hosts charity events for Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless, a charity started by her grandfather civil rights activist Hosea Williams.
Being a trophy wife per se is not just about your outer looks. It’s about the man who has put you on the pedestal and him admiring you and thinking well enough of you to put you up there,” Porsha told ABC News Radio. “And I think it’s important for our little girls to know that they can be a princesses and they can have it all…So I feel proud to represent — and I use the word lightly — the black trophy wife.”
Of course, all of this was probably said prior to Kordell giving Porsha her walking (also known as divorce) papers…
Foreseeable conclusions aside, Porsha does raise an interesting point. While most women might see her extolling of the trophy life as some sort of setback for the women’s movement, there is no denying that in spite of all our advancements in a capitalist and patriarchal society, beauty still has a real currency. As such being a trophy wife can conceivable be seen as another viable option as any of the other sex-positive career choices women today have. I mean, after all, it is about selling a lifestyle. And while definition on views a trophy wife is a status symbol in reality a trophy wife knows how to trade off her beauty as capital for economic gains. Despite the less than respectable reputation the term receives, there is a lot of time, energy and money that goes into maintaining the image of a trophy wife. There are the work-outs, cosmetic surgery, having to endure daily attention from a glam squad and spending tons of money on the best and correct outfits. Additionally a trophy wife also has to be the beacon of grace, virtue and submission; knowing when to fall back and keeping your opinions to yourself, smile pretty and let her man shine, which is basically all the time. She also is likely charged with keeping up appearances for the entire home front. That means making sure the estate is in order, clean and comfortable; making sure the house staff is doing their jobs; throwing the best soirees and maintaining the facade of respectability. In essence, a career as a trophy wife can afford a woman lots of positive and rewarding outcomes including financial security and access to other means of financial security – just in case your job as a trophy doesn’t work out.
Unfortunately it still appears to be a white woman’s only club. The long standing joke is that when black men get money, black women are nowhere to be found. Of course, there are many prominent black men who have been able to enjoy their success while married to a black woman. Chief among them is President Barack Obama. But generally when you see rich and powerful men like Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and Kanye West, it is not uncommon to see a woman of another race grace their arms. Sure, some marry for love however there are some men, who marry for status. And within this group is a sizable portion of black men, who abide by Eurocentric standards of beauty, which places whiteness at the top and blackness, which on women is viewed as unfeminine, at the bottom. Therefore by obtaining a white trophy partner, these men can feel themselves closer to endowing a status, which would enable him to acquire all the privileges that come with whiteness in American society.
It may seem like a terrible nuance to nitpick who gets to sit up on the pedestal and be subjected to the male gaze but it says something when white women can be valued just alone by their physical appearance and lineage whereas a black woman has to obtain education, have a good career and basically work like a damn mule in order to be considered a viable spouse. Some may actually prefer it this way especially considering that Porsha’s situation as a trophy didn’t work out for her. However all may not be lost: Luckily for her, she didn’t sign a pre-nuptial agreement. Maybe she is not that dumb after all.
Hair. It’s a four-letter word with so much “stuff” behind it you could barely scratch the surface in a two-hour documentary by the same name.
Or is it?
Just how deep is hair for Black women and who made it that way? Plus, do White women have some of the very same hangups we do when it comes to our manes? Check out this final episode of “I Always Wanted To Ask” as we peel back the layers on what hair means to women — Black and White alike.
KEEP THE DISCUSSION GOING WITH MORE EPISODES OF I ALWAYS WANTED TO ASK.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH!
ABOUT THIS EPISODE
Black people certainly know white privilege exists because we live with the reality every day. But the question we’ve always wondered is do white people realize the position of privilege they’ve inherited or are they oblivious to the constructed reality and all the benefits that come with it? That’s what we asked the ladies of The Frisky in this candid discussion on race and the choice to acknowledge privilege.
Check it out and weigh in below.
KEEP THE DISCUSSION GOING WITH MORE EPISODES OF I ALWAYS WANTED TO ASK.
CLICK HERE TO WATCH!