tbh i’m not really feeling the “imagine that she were your mother/sister/daughter” approach to teaching men how to respect women because women have value and dignity as human beings completely independent of some kinship to a man. and lets not act like a whole array of misogyny abuse and disrespect doesn’t occur within familial relationships so…
“I’m a paradox. I want to be happy, but I think of things that make me sad. I’m lazy, yet I’m ambitious. I don’t like myself, but I also love who I am. I say I don’t care, but I really do. I crave attention, but reject it when it comes my way. I’m a conflicted contradiction. If I can’t figure myself out, there’s no way anyone else has.”—Unknown (via mor-iarty)
If a woman is sexually overt is she still feminist? It’s a question that…obviously for me, the answer is yes. But also in a larger sense, I’m not interested in policing feminism either. I have such a problem with the idea of people saying things like, ‘Oh she’s not feminist because of blah blah blah.’
Whoever says they’re feminist is bloody feminist. And I just feel like we live in a world where more people need to be saying it and we shouldn’t be looking to pull people out of the feminist party. And I think the reason I find myself reacting so strongly to questions of female sexuality is…there’s something very disturbing to me about the idea that a woman’s sexuality somehow is not hers. So when certain feminists who will say, it’s about the male gaze, it’s for the man, there a kind of a self-censoring about that that’s similar to what they’re fighting.
So as long as women have the choice…why shouldn’t women own their sexuality? Why shouldn’t a woman who does whatever with her sexuality identify as feminist?
Some White women are using racism and unfortunately some fellow Black women are using the politics of respectability (which connects to performing acceptability for the White Gaze anyway) to determine who is feminist or not, where more than anything, sexuality is the rubric. Feminism is not a club where some women get to approve the membership of others, especially when this approval is based on the very same type of oppression that a feminist should seek to dismantle. This doesn’t make Beyoncé’s or even Chimamanda’s feminism perfect. But this right off the bat "X is not a feminist because they are Black or because they are not "respectable" thing is utter crap. Even Black female artists deemed “respectable” like Janelle Monáereject the politics of respectability altogether and have womanist messages in their music.
Owning sexuality means that presentation, experience, desire, and sexual orientation (includingasexual as a sexual orientation) is acceptable to that person and expressed or not expressed however they choose. It is not one-sided where whatever is deemed “respectable” is “feminist” or whatever is overtly sexual only in response to what is deemed “respectable” is “feminist.” It is rejecting reacting to binaries and a clear anti-oppressive stance on sexuality.
Now, I know the quote itself appears ”generic" so many Whites will be eager to erase my commentary so that Chimamanda’s words can center White women since "women" is always read as "White." Of course doing so will once again prove my point about racism and feminism. Such is the irony. Race cannot be erased from intersectionality.
“Sometimes in black communities we forget that black girls are girls, not little women. My friend then shared with me her own story of being sexually abused and ending up pregnant and in need of an abortion at age 12 because her family members irresponsibly left her with a male family friend. The first time a 12-year-old black girl ever told me she had been raped, I, too, was 12 and she was a friend. The second time, I was a 22-year-old teacher, and the 12-year-old was my student.
I realize now, having heard a version of this story, yet again, that as gut-wrenching as these stories are, among black girls they are not uncommon; they are not even remarkable. So many of the highly educated black women you see went to hell and back before reaching the age of 18. Education has become our drug of choice.
[…]For black girls, educational achievement is not always the best indicator of a stable, happy home life. For me, education offered a goal and reward structure that was predictable and that I could control, simply by doing what was asked of me. In the midst of so many things I could not control, school was attractive. I imagine that for many black girls the narrative is similar.”—Brittney Cooper, "A black girl’s constant fear: Why I thought I’d never live to see 33" (via wocinsolidarity)
U.S. attorneys declined 50 percent of the Native American cases deferred to them between 2005 and 2009, of which 67 percent were sexual abuse and rape related, according to the Native American Bar Association. [source]