Jonelle Monae snatched the words out of my mouth.
Here I am, entering my 20s and I've noticed that as a black woman, in the eyes of my male counterpart, I can't do anything right. Whether it is the way that I dress, walk, talk, pose or dance, it's all for attention. I've heard things like “you must have low self esteem” and " you need someone's attention”.As if that isn’t enough , we are constantly told who we are to be on social media and everytime we turn on the television. I continue to ask myself, why can’t I just be free to be me? It’s amazing to me, the things that people come up with to challenge your individuality. Telling you that being you is too much of this or too much of that. In no way am I insinuating that I enjoy fetishism or being over-sexualized or even hurting feelings. What I am saying is that I am not for the faint at heart or the male consumption.
People are uncomfortable with sexuality as long as man can take part. So many times I’ve been catcalled, and having it been blamed on the way that I dress. Other times, I’ve sat in on forums where people (men and women) have expressed that clothing can provoke a man. I thought this was particularly disgusting, as it suggests that rape can be justified. .. The way that I dress can either be “too much “or “sexy” for a man who is interested .Never complimentary for my body or “just right” for me.
I clearly recall wearing a dress to church one day without tights and being told that I shouldn’t do so because there are men there and they “can’t help” but look. What the What?
Now I always believe in time and place but as I got older, I cringed at the memory of over hearing someone speak about another woman saying, “She acts like there aren’t married men here”. Sure, as a woman who is married or in a relationship, I would be concerned about such things, but then again for what? Can a married woman not hold the attention of her husband’s eyes? Is his “nature” an excuse for the wandering eye? Questions I wished I’d asked years ago.
I was always taught (not be my mother) that a lady should be seen and never heard.
Why? Is my tongue so sharp that you are afraid to bleed a little?
All my life I’ve had questions I could never ask and Ideas I could never share out of fear that I might challenge authority. Why are we so conditioned to “staying in our place” that we’ve denied ourselves the right to expression?
Oppressive Gender Double Standards. I’m not here for that.
Please, don’t be here for that .
I’ve grown to learn that this issue has very little to do with my feminist beliefs and everything to do with societies “ norms” , norms that were bred to belittle , discredit , and cripple the power within me..Within you …within us.