Black Feminism: A Black Male Sexism & Anti-Black Racism Detox

blackwomenmatter

By @Femininja4q
White supremacy is one hell of a drug. But couple white supremacy and patriarchy and you enter the world of a black woman. The effects of structural racism are covered extensively; from institutions who kill black people that they’re meant to protect and serve to black people being rejected from work.

Misogyny, a product of patriarchal culture, is the reason black women are erased out when names of black victims of police brutality are listed. Not too long ago a protest was held in San Francisco to name the women, trans and cis, who have died by the hands of police. The protesters stood topless, with names and messages written on their chest. What happened next on social media? Onslaught. Name calling, from whore to slut to black bitches. People decided to disregard the message behind the protest and focus on the fact that they stood topless.

The sexualisation of women’s breast has genuinely made people see nothing in a topless man parading the streets but let a woman do the same, and she becomes deserving of derision. It would be dishonest to not outline the fact that these women had insults rained on them more because they were black.

The hyper-sexualisation of black women’s bodies is what makes it easier for a man, of any race, to call a black woman a slut in comparison to white women. In general, women are expected to suppress their sexuality. We’re not meant to even entertain the idea of embracing sexuality.

But black women’s bodies, for decades, have been viewed as a commodity. Our bodies can be taken by others, copied by others (cc: Kardashian clan) and these women receive a whole load of praise. But God forbid we reclaim it for ourselves. We’re even told by black men that we may no longer be “needed” once a white woman manages to purchase a big butt. Unless you happen to be related to them, we’re mere walking and talking arses (or mules but that’s another topic).

Black women from all walks of life are subjected to this same scrutiny. In an attempt (a successful one, I believe) to reclaim her sexuality and body as a grown woman, Beyoncé released a digital album where she dances erotically for a man she loves; she talks about being “Drunk in Love” and “grinding on wood”. (White) Feminists used their media platform to berate her, “slut” shame her and talk about her doing it for the “male gaze”. Yet sweet little Miley Cyrus can twerk, co-opt black culture and be sexual because she’s just being a carefree white girl. Cute, isnt it?

Black feminism has helped me to understand just how well white supremacy and patriarchy go together. I have learned from amazing women on social media (e.g. @FeministaJones @YungSapGawd / @FrenchHeaux and @judeinlondon), unlearned (and still unlearning) internalised misogyny and continue to let people know that we are humans; multifaceted human beings at that. I do not choose between being black and being a woman because I cannot choose. My experiences will always be a result of both combined.

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Editor’s Note: A Black Feminist hero, is Brixton’s own Olive Morris. The Remembering Olive Morris Collective are staging rally to her memory today in Brixton, South London. Details here:olivemorris
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/839226729479837/

This is part of the new Black Friday series on ALL BLACK EVERYTHING section of Media Diversified. We will be publishing articles from a range of activists, poets, artists and writers which will culminate in a real-life discussion and meet-up in London in August. If you want to get involved email mediadiversityuk@gmail.com with the subject: ALL BLACK EVERYTHING

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10 replies

  1. Typical narrow minded bull crap. Miley was blasted for all the crap she pulled. Any woman who is overtly sexual gets media buzz and tons of criticism. I just don’t understand the victim mentality that causes people to blatantly ignore reality just to pretend their soap box they preach from isn’t broken and flat on the ground. Black people steal western culture all the time as does the rest of the world. The Kardashians are a joke and nobody actually cares about them. Are you just so uninformed about things to think that big butt and lips are just new things others copy from black women? Pay attention to reality a little closer and you’ll see women wore corsets to make their waists smaller and accentuate their hips and lip liner around their lips to make them bigger long before black culture and physiology were more accepted. Do your research and get your facts straight you sound like a whiney, race baiting, ignoramus desperate for attention and pity. I see through your thinly veiled racism. You want to talk about oppression and misogyny and racists? Try being a white woman. Every brown man thinks you’re racist of you don’t act overly sexual to him.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I knew I subscribed to the right page when I read this article. I am new to blogging and will attend college in a few months and in my late teens and early twenties. I agree with this post wholeheartedly because entering adulthood as a younger Black woman, I am aware of the racism in society and the misogynoir in Black communities across the nation and other Western societies. Black women bear the burden of being both Black and woman in a racist and patriarchal society that devalues both their Blackness and femininity.

    What truly bothers me is that women of other races can appropriate Black culture and style such as twerking, big butts, cornrows, box braids and more recently bantu knots and it is seen as beautiful on them. Yet if a Black woman does or has box braids, cornrows, big butts etc, it is seen as ghetto on them. I hate this double standard but it reminds me of how deeply entrenched the beauty standards, sexism and racism is in our society.

    As for Black male sexists, they aren’t much different from their oppressors. Watch the way many Black male colorists and misogynists shame Black women for the way that they dress, wear their hair, act etc. I don’t see any difference in their shaming of Black women from the way racists shame Black men for wearing a hoodie to justify why they got arrested, beaten down or even murdered. In fact, I even see Black males take the side of non Black women who appropriate our culture and call Black women, ”bitter Black bitches” for pointing out cultural appropriation. But it just shows how misogynoir is deeply entrenched in the minds of many in Black America particularly Black males.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I find it hard to believe that people couldn’t look past their breasts and see the issue they were trying to make people aware of. In fact, people’s reactions to their behaviour, in a way, is the issue these women are trying to address.

      And I agree with most of your comment; you’re on point. There is a huge double standard, but could you elaborate on when you say

      “Watch the way many Black male colorists [what do you mean by colorists?] and misogynists shame Black women for the way that they dress, wear their hair, act etc . . .”

      I’m a black man living in the UK, and I haven’t met a black man that shames black women for the way they dress, but I do hear many saying “black women are too rude” or something similar, so I agree with you there. The only time I, and other black males I know, shame a black woman’s hair is when she consistently wears weave in her hair – or straightens it – and doesn’t view African hair as good as any other type, or makes several excuses as to why she doesn’t deal with natural hair. Is it this type of hair-shaming you’re referring to?

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      • Well, I am a Black woman living in America and of Caribbean heritage. The misogyny and sexism towards Black women here in America is a bit more severe in terms of delivery and constancy. And I heard from many Black women that the misogyny and sexism against Black women from many Black men is widespread in Western countries including America and the UK.

        The way many Black American males shame Black women is just horrible. You have many Black male entertainers dating and marrying women of other races while putting down Black women in the process. I don’t have a problem with interracial dating and marrying but it isn’t right to put down others to justify dating outside of your race. Back on topic, many of these Black male entertainers put down Black women and say that they are ugly, ratchet, angry, bitches etc publically and even in their music too. It is ironic considering the fact that these same Black male entertainers who put down Black women rely on Black women’s support and money for the success that they enjoy today.

        Many of them even post memes and pictures that shames Black women based on the way that they dress, wear their hair and act. They post memes shaming Black women for dressing provocatively and calling her a whore while upholding Black women who supposedly dress ”modestly”. Also many of them post memes that shame Black women who wear weaves while uploading Black women who wear their natural hair. It is ironic considering the fact that most of these Black American males go out with the women who dress provocatively and wear weaves over ”modestly” dressed natural haired woman. I even saw a meme that this man posted shaming the natural hair of a Black woman as nappy while upholding the wavy hair of biracial women as the pinnacle of natural hair.

        Worst of all, many of these males post nasty comments about Black women and troll Black women just to put them down. I know this because I have experienced all of this. I know not all Black American males are like this but way too many of them are!

        Men in my family’s culture can be sexist and misogynist too but not to this extent. I have never seen Caribbean men put down their women the way many Black American males put down their women. The misogyny and sexism in Black America is getting out of hand.

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        • Im hispanic and white and I agree, black males are alot more sexist than white or even hispanic males. They are literally just as bad or worse than the white people who are racist against them. I have no problems with black women. In fact I like how they are not submissive to men. But black men I always avoid in my personal life. Even if i was black i dont think i would date a black man. Too many think very lowly of women, so let them stay thirsty and dont put yourself in danger. Not worth it.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Wow, it is interesting to see how you notice the rampant sexism and misogynoir in the so called Black Community. Collectively speaking, I find Black American men to very sexist, colorist, misogynistic and anti Black particularly towards women in their culture. Afro Caribbean and African Black men can be colorist and anti Black too but Black American men take it to another level with their hatred of all things Black especially Black woman. There are videos of many Black American men such as Tommy Sotomayor bashing Black women and trying to denigrate their image. Plus many of them publicly embarrass themselves and their race to fit into society. It is all so surreal.

            P.S. I have called out Black males’ sexism, mistreatment and misogynistic on my blog, Black Feminist Haven for almost two years. I stopped doing so due to the way Black American women’s lack of unity and not treating each other with respect. Though I do speak out against Black male misogyny, I also hold Black American women accountable for their role in this too. Too many Black American women don’t hold the likes of R Kelly accountable for their actions and throw other Black women under the bus for male validation. These male identified women are just as toxic or more so than the self hating, destructive and misogynistic men.

            So I find it interesting that a White/Hispanic woman can see all of this dysfunction that I am talking about yet get shut down by Black Americans. Your input was interesting to note.

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  3. “The sexualisation of women’s breast has genuinely made people see nothing in a topless man parading the streets but let a woman do the same, and she becomes deserving of derision. It would be dishonest to not outline the fact that these women had insults rained on them more because they were black.

    The hyper-sexualisation of black women’s bodies is what makes it easier for a man, of any race, to call a black woman a slut in comparison to white women. In general, women are expected to suppress their sexuality. We’re not meant to even entertain the idea of embracing sexuality.”

    Yes, let a man be proud of his body (attractive or not) but when a woman is confident with her body she is called conceited, slut, etc. Any other derogatory term. It sickens me.

    I also find it contradictory that feminists would criticize Beyonce for her album. She is an artist. What do they expect her to do in her music videos? A ballet? lol (no offense to ballet dancing, it is beautiful but not appropriate for Beyonce’s music if you catch my drift.)

    Lovely article. Really love this page! ❤ 🙂

    Like

  4. Captivating article touching on the dehumanisation of the western world, the muslim world, some African culture etc to women. Many cultures look down on women. many look at women as part of their properties. But have the women folks helped their cause? No… The answer is plain no. Women have so cheapened up by their conduct and dressing mode. No dignity. The feminist protest, women coming out topless is not new. In African society, where African Americans originate, women march in protest naked to show seriousness of a matter. And they are taken serious. The western world may not take them serious, the focus will certainly be on their nudity rather than the message the protest intended to convey.
    African American, the blacks are naturally well endured, being former slaves may not make any public impression on the white masters. In private … the black woman is a dish to be devoured.
    Remain focused.

    Liked by 2 people

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