Saturday, November 26, 2011

Women on Women Crime (How Twitter Made Me A Feminist)

All things considered, the morning of Saturday, November 26th, 2011 was an interesting day for entertainment news. The NBA announced a tentative end to the lockout and a rumor sprouted that Lauren London, actress best known for her role in ATL, would be welcoming her second child, fathered by producer/R&B artist The-Dream. Sounds innocuous right?

Almost immediately, my Twitter timeline was overwhelmed with a barrage of tweets and tongue-in-cheek, mean-spirited commentary on the "hoes/groupies/bitches" that were rejoicing at the resurrection of the NBA. Many heads shook with pursed lips in Lauren London's direction, because in their opinion, she was a "hoe" for having a child with both Wayne Carter (Lil Wayne) and Terius Nash (The-Dream). 

This morning, via Twitter, someone I really respect and consider an intelligent, kind woman of substance referred to one woman as a bitch and another as a hoe, all within the space of about 15 minutes. It hurt my soul! As my boy @JeffTrouble says, "I want better for me. I want better for you."

I'm used to reading nonsense on Twitter, but something about today's brand of judgment/nastiness was especially nauseating. The source of my discomfort was that most of the comments were not from misogynistic, Neanderthal looking/Geico promoting men; they were from women. I realize this may seem like a double standard. I am certainly not desensitized to sexist comments from men; that's a problem too (and another blog post). Nevertheless, a woman's desecration of another woman pierces more deeply and here's why:

We know better. Any woman who has ever been dancing at a club, walking down a street in a seedy neighborhood or actually... just walked into a classroom in a flattering ensemble can recall a moment where she was objectified. We know what it's like for a man to focus on our parts versus our whole. And yet... we who have been a resident of the Pit of Degradation, choose to embrace it (Spelman women in 04 were a great exception). We embrace the terminology, the music, and unarguably most detrimentally, we embrace the attitude that some women's decisions make them not worthy of our respect, sisterhood, and a hug. Instead of Juvenile lewdly demanding that we "Back that Ass Up", somebody's daughter is singing the hook to Travis Porter's "Make It Rain." (Most recognizable lyrics are from the 2nd soprano chanting, "You wanna see some ass; I wanna see sum cash; keep dem dollas coming, and das gonna make me dance.")

In the interest of being 100% transparent, I'll admit I'm guilty. I've dropped down and got my eagle on. I've worn a dress that highlighted my frame in a way that draws attention from the mens-es (As my girl @Kenya_D calls them.. lol). We all contribute in small or big ways; it's hard not to when mainstream culture guides you in that direction. But at some point, we have to take responsibility. 

  • We can't completely blame hip-hop for sexist attitudes when Nicki Minaj pens the lyrics herself. 
  • We can't completely blame the media for showing off our body parts when we designed the dress.
  • We can't completely blame "diva dudes" and manwhores when we sign up to be on their roster.
  • We can't completely blame The-Dream for his fallout with Christina Milian, when we run to judge Lauren London for her rumored pregnancy and no one says ANYTHING about The-Dream fathering a child when he's not married to the mother. 

And we can't be surprised when someone questions the lack of a sense of community when we verbally assault women who seek out professionally athletes instead of addressing what may be a mental health issue like poor self-esteem or the notorious problem of "daddy issues." 

Does this mean that we can't hold celebrities accountable for their decisions? Does this mean that we can't criticize folks? Does this mean that we can't value planned parenthood over seemingly accidental pregnancies? Does this mean that we can't wear sexy clothes or step foot in the club? Nah, of course not. But...

I do challenge us to think a little more sensitively and critically before we speak/tweet/snub our noses. 
I challenge us to consider the effect on our subconscious and others' perception of us before we drop it like it's hot on any and everyone with a drink for you. 
I challenge us to address each other with words befitting a sister, mother, or daughter. 
I challenge us to use words and actions that evoke an attitude of respect from others. 

Don't be mad at me, sisters. I said it because I've dropped the ball before and I want to be able to turn to you to pick it up for me. I also said it because I love you and I respect you and I want that love and respect to be reciprocated.

Oh and BTW, the most rewarding tweet of the morning after all the hoopla was this one:

Morning Rumors. Blah blah blah. No I'm not pregnant or Nor do I even know the Dream like that. Now back to real life. God Bless.

I'll wait for the apologies.