Side note: The language and situational dialogue of this post is cis-heteronormative. This means it’s primarily focused on what’s normal for cisgender (a person whose gender identity matches the one assigned at birth) and heterosexual people. It’s not intentionally exclusionary, I just want to let those of LGBTQIA experience speak for themselves. So if that’s you, submit a piece today!
Why Hoes Ain’t Won…Still.
A lot of healthy debate ensued around part one of this post. In order to truly appreciate the contents of this part, you have to understand the context of the first part. The intent of the first part is pretty simple: sex, withholding or giving, is not the prize of any romantic relationship. I have been every single woman I’ve previously described. I have attempted to use withholding sex and controlled body counts as a means of positioning myself as a better partner than a woman who has made different choices. I was wrong and it was not only harmful to me but to the women I cut down with my words condemning their sexual choices. I know I’m not the only woman who thought or thinks like the women I described because there were many who upheld me as I talked down on the choices of other women.
We can agree that men with patriarchal ideals have contributed to the division of good girls versus hoes. Yet, we must acknowledge how we as women uphold this division amongst ourselves. Simply put: my task isn’t to gather men but to help my sisters. If men are freed from their long held ideas of what makes a good partner, fantastic. The fight isn’t against every single man but against patriarchal and misogynist standards that all genders perpetuate. With that, my primary goal is to begin to repair the ways in which we as women view ourselves and one another.
1. Think Like Yourself, Act Like Yourself
Believe it or not, I actually have a deep respect for Steve Harvey. His business acumen and the way he lives out his faith is quite admirable. I even think the relationship advice he doles out in his books and conversations do work for certain kinds of men and women — usually those who share age and moral values with him. However unless your ultimate desire in a relationship is to spend your time thinking like your partner so you can one up them in “the game,” advice that advises you to get inside the head of your partner should be widely discarded.
I don’t dismiss Harvey’s advice because he’s been married thrice (yes, thrice). His marriage with Marjorie, especially the way he constantly praises and honors her in the company of many, is swoon-worthy if you’re into that sort of thing. I recommend leaving this advice behind because playing all those games is freaking EXHAUSTING. You become so consumed in wondering if his actions align with what you’ve been told all men think that you can’t focus long enough to learn what this man thinks. The only person you need to think and act like is your authentic self. THIS is what compels or repels people to you. When you’re too busy thinking like him, you forget how to act like yourself. If you don’t act or think like yourself, you’ll never get a clear understanding of what makes you valuable. When we fall into this trap, our actions and thoughts become nothing more than learned behavior that has been shaped by what we think all men want. Just as we decry the dominant thought that all women are the same, we have to give the respect we desire by not assuming all men are the same.
2. Stop Confusing Virtuous with Virginal
I know it’s hard to believe but being or becoming a virtuous woman has absolutely nothing to do with being virginal. Proverbs 31, the favorite passage of the good (Christian) woman, speaks of a virtuous woman being worth more than rubies. Yet, have you truly examined what made this woman virtuous? By definition of this passage, a virtuous woman is:
- Trusted by her husband and greatly enriches his life by bringing him good, not harm, his entire life (Proverbs 31:11-12)
- Adept at managing a household (Proverbs 31:13-15; 21-22; 27)
- An astute businesswoman with a strong entrepreneurial spirit that doesn’t require male leadership (Proverbs 31:16-18; 24)
- She’s confident in who she is as a woman and her ability in every role she plays in life (Proverbs 31:25-26; 28)
You know what you don’t see? That’s right, there’s nothing there about “her body count is nonexistent.” Yet, often “good women” will posit themselves above “hoes” using this passage, especially “Charm is deceptive, and beauty does not last.” However, I want you to take a moment to recall what I said from Part 1:
“You’re losing because you’ve failed to realize that a woman must add value to her partner’s life outside the bedroom in order to be chosen as a long-term emotional, spiritual, and financial investment. Karrine’s [Steffans] value may not be much to you, but to the men who chose her she added something that couldn’t be replicated with another woman. Even if all that woman’s value to him is a boost of confidence to his ego to enable him to be his best self, it is value added.“ tweet
We shun more promiscuous women, especially those in the public eye, and are confused when men choose them. We wonder to ourselves how promiscuous women continue to be chosen as partners while sexually prudent women struggle to turn situationships into relationships. One answer is simple, albeit ironic: the hoe is more like the Proverbs 31 woman than the self-proclaimed good woman.
Be it Karrine Steffans, Blac Chyna, or your local Instagram Model/Weight Loss Tea ambassador, they all possess some or all of the traits expressed above. Even if they are currently unchose, they are or have been pursued and chosen at some point. They each have an entrepreneurial hustle (music video models, books, beauty products, multi-level marketing, etc.) and exude confidence in who they are as women in spite of the detractions of others. Ultimately it is being trustworthy, the ability to handle your own, and confidence in who you are that actually makes a virtuous woman who becomes added value to the life of her partner.
3. Stop Pathologizing Women’s Sexuality
There’s not a month that passes on #BlackTwitter without a conversation on $200 dates, your problematic fave, and what makes a woman a hoe. Stay-at-Home sons and daughters will have you believing that if a woman blinks a certain way, she’s a hoe. But it’s not an issue endemic to Twitter. This conversation is an extension of the beliefs surrounding women’s sexuality that we’ve been conditioned to accept. Can y’all do me a favor, though? Stop trying to rationalize why women have sex. Period.
We spend so much effort trying to uncover the why behind women’s sexual choices. We find it so important to discover some kinda root of sexual abuse in women’s childhood to explain their sexuality. We ask about the demise of her previous relationships and her pain; not to help her resolve it but to explain her sexual nature. Even if a woman has a history of abuse, we seem not to care until she’s having lots of sex. It’s a problematic behavior that is both invasive and depriving of women’s sexual agency.
We need to accept that not only do many women enjoy sex but that it’s perfectly healthy to enjoy sex. The teachings of the church and enforcement of cultural norms have wreaked havoc on women’s relationship with their eroticism. We’re not only tearing down other women when we shame them for enjoying sex but we destroy our own agency as well. We become so strict in our boundaries between good woman and whore that we become afraid to even voice our sexual desires. Women who do this not only distrust our sexuality but also distrust our partners by assuming they’ll think the worst of us because of what we want sexually. Make no mistake about it: good, healthy sex that is built on the foundation of trust is important to sustaining a partnership.
4. Don’t Measure Your Success by Another Woman’s Benchmark
As the adage says, “comparison is the thief of joy.” Many of us continue to uphold the divisive dichotomy of the Good Girl/Whore complex purely as a competition for romantic partnership and projection of our insecurities. Would you intentionally purchase a pair of luxury shoes for yourself that were incorrectly sized? Unless you’re in the business of wasting money, my guess is that you wouldn’t. So why then do we compare ourselves to another woman’s outward success in relationships? You’re only looking at her relationship status that you covet but, do you even know if the two of you have the same romantic goals? The woman whose relationship you envy may not even have an end goal of marriage like you do. The woman whose sexual behaviors you judge from your perch atop your high horse may have absolutely no desire to partner with a man long term, so you’re in a fruitless competition anyway while she’s getting what her heart desires. Even still there are polyamorous and LGBTQIA-identified women. Like the pair of luxury shoes, the desires of another woman are not created to fit or align with yours. Not every woman wants what you do and her ability to secure a relationship that meets her needs is not a sign of your personal failure. Whatever she is or is not isn’t a reflection on you or your fullest potential.
5. Forget Every Formula for How to Get a Relationship
Too often we approach the pursuit of romantic interest in the same way we approach starting a career, running a business, or earning a degree. We approach the playing field with an “if this then that” methodology. Our minds are saturated with relationship advice that amplify these ideas. If you dress like this, behave like that, sex like this, respect yourself like that then you’ll receive the partner of your dreams.Tough Love: The majority of the relationship advice geared towards women plays on their insecurities without attempting to heal those insecurities. We are drawn to the quick fix rather than the hard work involved in the deconstruction of ourselves. If you truly want to shift your mindset and approach towards relationships, throw out any advice that tells or implies that if you do steps 1 to whatever, you’ll be in a happy and successful relationship.
If it were that easy, more of us would have the relationships that we want in a much shorter time. Mathematically, a formula that is repeated with the same integers should always produce the same answers. The reason formulaic approaches do not work in romantic pursuits is that there are always unaccounted for variables. Simply put: because not everyone is the same you can’t expect the outcome to be guaranteed as the same. Each person is shaped by the unique life experiences of their childhood, previous relationships, life goals and personal development. This is why you can follow the instructions and find yourself frustrated because you’re trying to fit a new variable into a formula that wasn’t built to accommodate it.
Though it is hard to swallow, we have to accept that there is no magic formula. There is only risk and work in understanding yourself, your needs, and your wants and how they complement or conflict with your partner.