Sunday, November 8, 2009

The word "whore" wasn't invented by a woman

In my quest to discover the roles of gender and sexuality in my communities and break down sexist, racist, homophobic, etc. ideologies within these communities, I've discovered that when it comes to the empowerment and agency of women, I receive the most resistance from other WOMEN! As a certified bad bitch I was horrified at this revelation! I was shocked at how many women I see on a daily basis participating in the exploitation of other women's sexuality and/or degrading the existence of another woman in general. To give you an example of what this looks like, I have selected 3 incidents I've observed and decided to break each one down to the best of my ability. I figured it would be better (and wouldn't remind me so much of my monotonous life as a student) than just writing an essay about internalized sexism, patriarchy, etc.

So the first incident... about a year ago at a program (about uniting women of color on campus) a female participant made this comment, "These girls walk around this campus like they are so high and mighty, but at night they do some scandalous things" (or something to that effect. NOTE: scandalous=sexual). I noticed all of the things wrong with this comment as soon as it was made but did not have the opportunity or time to address it the way I wanted to. So first things first... Is it really anyone else's business what these women are doing "at night"? It's not. Furthermore, the fact that, with regard to women, sex has become "scandalous" is a problem in and of itself. Among women, sexual liberation has always been taboo. And although things have changed drastically over the years, women who do not fit into the box of heterosexual, submissive sexual roles are still targeted for ostracism and discrimination. Additionally, sex is still used as a way to measure a woman's worth and/or character, a trend not found with men. And this comment is a perfect example of that and the ways in which women have adopted this as a method of condemning one another. The underlying message, considering the topic of the program, was that the sex that these women engage in behind closed doors makes them bad or undesirable people. If this is true, stone me. Bad Bitches have sex lives (even those practicing abstinence/celibacy). Sorry.

The second thing I'm about to address isn't an isolated incident, but a trend I always find on Facebook, some of you may have noticed this as well... When a guy (especially a popular, well respected, or "attractive" one) posts something negative about a woman, there is usually a BUS LOAD of other woman that come to back him up or show their support of "outing that bitch".. Sometimes they don't know the woman in question, the situation that sparked the post, or even the man. Women, their bodies, lives, and sexualities have always been oppressed and regulated by men (you didn't think a woman invented the term "whore" did you?). And anyone who acknowledges that should recognize incidents like those on Facebook as just one of the many ways men police women. And to see women rush to assist in this process, shows that we have internalized sexism just as people of color have internalized racism. Men set the rules against women, but other women enforce them. All of this leads me to the third thing (a common phrase heard from women)...

"I don't mess with females like that. They are too ...[insert petty, phony, fake, sneaky, dishonest, or any other negative adjective you can think of]" I hear this phrase from women of so many different backgrounds, some more hypocritical than the next, all unbelieveable. I've heard this from women who attend all girl schools, lesbians, women interested in sororities, women raised by single mothers, women who are attracted to misogynists (someone who hates/mistreats women), women who work on women's issues, women who have daughters, women who claim to love themselves. This is the frightening reality of the world we (women) live in. We have been so affected by sexism and patriarchy that we have indeed internalized it, ESPECIALLY within communities of color. And what is even scarier is that we don't even know it. In the social justice sphere there is a popular saying that "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" for those of you who dont get that (and just because I love her) I found a translation from Ms. Nicki Minaj...
"You see a bad bitch gettin shine you should love it. Cuz everytime a door opens for me that means you just got a better opportunity to do you..."
And I couldn't agree more.

So when I hear people say they don't mess with females I can't help but ask... How can you not??? That means you don't mess with yourself! Being a bad bitch is about uplifting and bringing out the bad bitch in others, not only for their benefit, but for your own!!!! Because everytime I put down another woman that makes it easier for a man, or another woman, to do the same to me. Audre Lorde said it best "The master's tools will never dismantle the master's house" therefore, until we stop bashing each other the bashing (from everyone) will not stop.

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