Note: This post is littered with expletives. I’ve warned y’all that I Luh God & I Cuss. So, read at your discretion
I almost titled this piece “Y’all Got Black Women FUCKED UP!” but thought better of it for the sake of SEO. Honestly, truly, I’ve had it up to here with the constant attack on Black womanhood. At any given time, we are never good enough. We are unlovable. We are impossible to get along with. We’re angry, we’re loud, we’re brazenly ghetto. We are your Mammies, Jezebels, and Sapphires AT THE SAME DAMN TIME. And let it be told by y’all, we’re constantly in need of intervention to save us from ourselves.
If you’d like to better understand how twisted the perception of Black womanhood is, just do a Google search for the title of this post. SIX of the NINE results of the first page are about why Black MEN don’t date Black Women. Searches related to this include “never date a Black woman” and “no one wants to date a Black woman.” Well isn’t that just damned peachy.
Between Ro Élori Cutno hustling “Wife School” as a “femininity expert”, Heather Lindsey selling similar pipe dreams packaged as ministry, and Tyrese or Steve Harvey offering us their uncredentialed relationship advice, there is no shortage of people trying to “fix” Black women. No matter how it is packaged, Black women don’t need to be offered your misogynoir as a solution to any of our problems.
We Don’t Need Our Appearance Policed
Last night, in response to a fairly innocuous tweet, alleged rapper French Montana proceeded to berate the woman. Among his litany of insults was a reference to her hair, calling it “nappy ass Poetic Justice braids.” It is an incredibly loaded statement and his use of the word “nappy” was intentional for its weighty history.
Despite reclamation attempts for the word, nappy still strikes a chord for Black women. In most contexts, defining a woman’s hair as nappy is just another way to say she doesn’t meet the Eurocentric markers of beauty. It’s anti-black AF and those who use it as an insult are wholly aware of that. You do not help us by using rhetoric that you know pours salt in old wounds.
Sadly, French Montana was given country with the many Stay-at-Home-Sons of Twitter. They laughed, retweeted, and favorited Montana’s venomous diatribe. Let’s keep it a hunnit, though. French Montana was able to say that because it’s neither uncommon or shunned by our community to disrespect Black women. So it is no surprise that Kendrick Lamar’s well-intended-but-problematic “Humble” was so easily accepted as a step in the right direction for visible Black men being visibly here for Black women.
Speaking of Kendrick: Sir, maybe Black women just fuckin’ like makeup, okay? Maybe she likes to switch up her hair from weave, to natural, to a perm, and back to a big chop, aiight? Contrary to popular belief, not everything women do is for the sake of male gaze. Bruh, I know you have masterful knowledge of intersectional oppression inasmuch as it affects Black men, but “bitch sit down, be humble” and recognize that your liberation ain’t gon’ come at our expense.
We Don’t Need Our Dating Lives Fixed
Listen, I done got so sick and filthy with “Black women are single because” discourses I can’t even no mo. Remember how I told you in the beginning about the Google search results? It doesn’t get much better. Google “Black women single” and of the 9 results on the first page only one or two tries its hand at giving solutions for Black women. The others? All citing statistical figures and “it’s your own damned fault” narratives in an attempt to demonize Black women’s singleness. Ain’t life grand?
Tyrese, crooner and struggle reader, is a resident peddler of basura juice relationship wisdom. Despite knowing that Tyrese is nothing more than a Facebook relationship meme expert with a wider platform, we’re still out here giving country to his half-baked ideas. A few weeks ago, Tyrese attempted to educate Black women on how wearing weave keeps them from being chosen by “real men.” Wearing. Weave.
Sorry, Tyrese, but a real man would understand that the choices I make for my appearance are primarily for my pleasure and benefit, not his. An even realer man would understand that women are subject to near impossible beauty standards on a daily. A bit of irony that Tyrese went out to marry a woman (for the second time) who represents the same standard of beauty that Black women feel they must achieve in order to be coupled.
But Y’all Still Trying to Fix Us Anyway
Tyrese isn’t alone in his unsolicited advice on Black women’s love life. There’s Tyrese’s partner in sexist crimes, Rev. Run. Then there’s thrice-married best-selling media magnate Steve Harvey, known as much for his misogyny as he is for his suits. And of course there’s the litany of Facebook/Instagram relationship experts like Mr. ex-Letoya Luckett that your homegirl loves to share much to your chagrin.
Has anyone considered this novel idea that perhaps many Black women are single simply because they choose to be? Did you know that there are slightly more Black men than Black women who’ve never been married? But ain’t nobody outchea blaming Black men for their singleness (except astute Black women). Some women would rather focus on themselves, their careers, and their own dreams before partnering with someone else. On the contrary, there are no such results when searching “white women single” on Google. No one is out here trying their hand at armchair psychologist to figure out how to blame white women for their singleness. Oh what a feeling that must be.
We Damn Sure Don’t Need Internalized Misogynoir from Women
Ohhh did you think only men were guilty of this? Tuh! The Pick Mes of the world would never suffer such a thing to happen. As frustrating as it is, women can be better gatekeepers for misogyny than men.
Don’t believe me? Perhaps you haven’t heard of Ro Élori Cutno, self-proclaimed Femininity Expert. She’s one in a long list of people who’ve built their social presence and subsequent empire off the presumed inherent inferiority of Black women. She hits so many spots on the Misogynoir Bingo card. According to her, we are hard and unfeminine and this is as a result of being raised by single mothers (who are also hard and unfeminine). She places the blame of illegitimate (according to western standards) families squarely on the shoulders of Black women. Delicious.
Her hustle? The Institute of Feminine Grace, a charm school from hell of sorts. She also hustles her book that teaches women to firmly plant themselves into rigid gender roles and they too can achieve a husband! When she’s not conning women out of hundreds of dollars to receive training, certification, and no spouse in a Parisian finishing school, she’s asserting such wonderful ideas that femininity, not rapists, and stop rape. In her spare time, she can be found cultivating a cesspool of sexist iniquity in her Facebook community. She’s like the secular version of Heather Lindsey, my favorite sexually repressed purity leader.
When in season, we’re treated to a weekly dose of Iyanla (Can’t) Fix My Life. We’ve likened Iyanla Vanzant to a tell the truth, shame the devil church mother but a fixer she is not. Every episode, Iyanla manages to not fix anyone’s life but offers healthy doses of insults as to why their lives are broken. Do we not remember the Karreuche Tran episode? In case you don’t, Karreuche Tran (ex-girlfriend of Chris Brown) sought out Ill na na’s help and healing only to be told that Chris treated her bad because she didn’t think enough of herself. Iya-NAWL blamed a woman for the poor behavior of a man on primetime television. Karreuche got no healing and Black women got no damned break. And if we had any hope that she planned to do some fixing this season, they were quickly dashed when Iyanla called Neffe (Keyshia Cole’s sister) “a nasty, vile, guttersnipe right up out the hood.” Oh boy.
If You Wanna Help, Get Out of the Way
Honestly. The greatest help y’all can be to Black women is to sit down and stop trying to diagnose our every move. Y’all gotta help yourselves with your misogynoir before you try to fix us. It is not that we’re necessarily broken, it is that the lens you view our lives through is clouded by supremacist ideas rooted in both sexism and racism. In other words, sweep ‘round your own backdoor before worryin’ bout ours.