Coffee Rhetoric: body-image
Showing posts with label body-image. Show all posts
Showing posts with label body-image. Show all posts

June 06, 2012

No Disrespect: In Which Erykah Badu Falls Victim to 'The Male Gaze'

Last week an experimental music video (which has since been yanked from the web, per Erykah's management folk) featuring a collaborative effort from singer/performance artist extraordinaire, Erykah Badu and alternative rock band, The Flaming Lips for their project "Western Esotericism"... was released on the internet.  The video, which featured Erykah’s sister Nayrok in all her full-frontal ‘nakeditity', rubbing various substances— blood-like... stuff and a sticky white mixture that looked like male ejaculate— and glitter all over her body, drizzling the white stuff about her mouth and face, with occasional cut-away shots of Erykah (also naked in a tub of water) singing a staccato rendition of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" while Wayne Coyne waved some… foil thing around.  The visuals stupefying to say the least, and even outdid Erykah’s other naked, controversial video for her song “Window Seat”… which appeared less opaque once she explained the social message she was trying to convey. 

Her latest effort with The Flaming Lips however, left some fans scrambling for an explanation… while others were put off entirely, vowing never to watch it again. Some folks across the Twitter-verse and Facebook commended Erykah for being fearless and waxed poetic about what Nayrok’s sensual expression symbolized. Granted, some folks sounded as if they were blowing hot, putrid air, but boy did they speculate and try to tie it all together into a cohesive meaning.   
Erykah herself, commended her sister Nayrok for being a good sport for sacrificing her body in the name of artistic expression. While I didn’t even attempt to formulate my own interpretation of the video, I did find it interesting and chalked it up to Erykah and Nayrok embracing their bodies on their termsThose with a keener eye, saw it for what it was and didn’t buy it as art; and so refused to whip out their checkbooks to co-sign for the meat that was being sold. The video was deemed another exploitative piece of work showing Black female bodies on display for male profit and for the male gaze (a notion Black feminist Bell Hooks challenges in her essay “The Oppositional Gaze”). I left the video open to interpretation because I assumed Erykah would eventually offer an explanation. 

According to Black cinema blog Shadow and Act, Erykah has since reached out to her fans via Twitter and asked what they thought about the video. After receiving a wide range of responses, Badu then posed another puzzling question: “What if the video has no meaning at all? Now how do u feel?” 

In a far more interesting chain of events, Erykah's professional relationship with The Flaming Lips' lead singer Wayne Coyne, publicly imploded due to what appeared to be a sinister example of exploitation. In an official statement, Coyne more or less admitted to releasing an unfinished and unedited version of the controversial video to the public, before getting the input of Erykah and her sister and before green-screening away the nudity like he allegedly promised to do, according to the singer. Erykah explained her agitation after Wayne aired her grievance on Twitter. He also released the following statement...
The video link that was erroneously posted on Pitchfork by the Flaming Lips of the Music Video 'The First Time I Ever Saw Your Face', which features Erykah Badu, is unedited and unapproved... Sorry!! We, the Flaming Lips, accept full responsibility for prematurely having Pitchfork post it. It has outraged and upset a segment of fans and we apologize if we offended any viewers!!! This is a Flaming Lips video which features Erykah Badu and her sister Nayrok and is not meant to be considered an Erykah Badu or Nayrok statement, creation, or approved version.
Erykah was none too pleased and fired off a litany of angry words of her own, expressing her dismay and regret for not listening to her initial feelings of apprehension about Wayne's idea...
@waynecoyne then... perhaps, next time u get an occasion to work with an artist who respects your mind/art, you should send at least a ROUGh version of the video u PLAN to release b4 u manipulate or compromise the artist's brand by desperately releasing a poor excuse for shock and nudity that sends a convoluted message that passes as art( to some).Even with Window Seat there was a method and thought process involved. I have not one need for publicity . I just love artistic dialogue . And just because an image is shocking does not make it art. You obviously have a misconception of who I am artistically. I don't mind that but...By the way you are an ass. Yu did everything wrong from the on set .  
First: You showed me a concept of beautiful tasteful imagery( by way of vid text messages) .  
I trusted that. I was mistaken. Then u release an unedited, unapproved version within the next few days.  
That all spells 1 thing , Self Serving . When asked what the concept meant after u explained it , u replied ,"it doesn't mean anything , I just want to make a great video that everyone is going to watch. " I understood , because as an artist we all desire that. But we don't all do it at another artist's expense . I attempted to resolve this respectfully by having conversations with u after the release but that too proved to be a poor excuse for art. From jump, You begged me to sit in a tub of that other shit and I said naw. I refused to sit in any liquid that was not water. But Out of RESPECT for you and the artist you 'appear' to be, I Didn't wanna kill your concept , wanted u to at least get it out of your head . After all, u spent your dough on studio , trip to Dallas etc.. Sooo, I invited Nayrok , my lil sis and artist, who is much more liberal ,to be subject of those other disturbing (to me) scenes. (Read the rest here). 
Needless to say, the video went against all the tenets of 'Baduizm': it harbored no real meaning like people wanted it to, it wasn’t Erykah’s full vision like many of us assumed it to be, contrary to the usual proprietary authority Erykah has over her art, it appears as if she (and her sister) got bamboozled and used… which is unfortunate: “As a sociologist I understand your type. As your fellow artist I am uninspired. As a woman I feel violated and underestimated.”

There are many lessons to be gleaned from these sorts of situations, particularly when you're a Black woman trying to maintain ownership and respect over your image and body within the realm of the arts and media. And while Badu seems philosophical about the jarring experience...  "He’s got a record coming out, so you do what you do. But as artists we don’t do it at each other’s expense. I  adore his art. But not at my expense.”  

... I think Maya Angelou's warning very concisely sums it all up: “The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

May 11, 2012

NY Times Writer, "Black Women Want to be Fat"


In case you’ve been napping from the fatigue beating a dead horse induces and haven't heard, brace yourselves, because yet another article has surfaced, throwing Black women under the bus. Black women are not only the Face(s) of Spinster-hood apparently. Now this country's obesity problem is being framed to be an affliction suffered solely by that demographic.  In a growing list of articles and blog posts seemingly aimed at acquiring a paycheck and garnering blog hits as opposed to informing, thinking critically, and helping resolve; writer Alice Randall penned a “Black Women are Proud Fatties; Proud Fatties are Black Women” piece that ran in this past Sunday’s New York Times op-ed section. Through a couple of personal anecdotes and random stories about acquaintances, Randall surmised that most Black women are fat, because they want to be that way. And you do know that Black women are a monolith sans the capability of acting and thinking singly, right? (This is asked with the utmost sarcasm, of course).
“What we need is a body-culture revolution in black America. Why? Because too many experts who are involved in the discussion of obesity don’t understand something crucial about black women and fat: many black women are fat because we want to be."  Randall writes in her op-ed piece.
She goes on to opine…
“How many white girls in the ’60s grew up praying for fat thighs? I know I did. I asked God to give me big thighs like my dancing teacher, Diane. There was no way I wanted to look like Twiggy, the white model whose boy-like build was the dream of white girls. Not with Joe Tex ringing in my ears.”
Needless to say, Randall’s article sparked a flood of rebuttals via New Media, mostly penned by Black women, fed up with being publicly dissected and made to shoulder a burden that should be shared by Black men and actually a good portion of this country.  Go ahead and add this post to the 'exasperated' list of folks who eye-rolled at Randall's article.

While I've gleaned that Randall is attempting to advocate for health and wellness, I can’t help but take her to task for using her own personal experiences to speak for and judge everyone else. Across my social media platforms and/or timelines, I read nothing but updates by Black women (including and especially women of size) checking-in at the gym and touting the benefits of “cleaner eating”. A lot of us are in fact, taking our health seriously. As a relatively healthy, fuller-figured Black woman myself-- (full-disclosure, I did have a brief stint with an eating disorder when I was a teen and again as a young adult, in an attempt to will my body slimmer) --  and contrary to what Randall suggests; I don’t walk around fist-pumping in the name of fat nor do I have an aversion to healthy eating habits-- (up until about five years ago, I’d been a long-time vegetarian)-- or being active. More importantly, I’m not fuller-figured via some man’s request and my experiences don't mirror every other plus size woman's. While I admittedly grapple with my body's fluctuating weight, I don't wrestle with the idea of being mostly comfortable with myself like many people would prefer... at least not beyond the norm of any woman who fusses over her looks. And it took a bit of work to learn to accept maintaining my body in its fullness, while shirking the opinions and judgement of others who haven't a clue about my well-being or social life. 

Randall also makes the foolish (and common) mistake of generalizing the preferences of Black men (once again, due to her own personal experiences), suggesting that most of them prefer a woman with a fuller-figure and will express dismay at their partner’s weight loss…
“How many middle-aged white women fear their husbands will find them less attractive if their weight drops to less than 200 pounds? I have yet to meet one.
But I know many black women whose sane, handsome, successful husbands worry when their women start losing weight.”
The backlash from Randall's article has been palpable, and she has felt the impact and responded to it:
“My statement was that many black women are fat because they want to be. I said the word, “many,” there was no “all.” When I talk about, “want to be,” I use an example of husbands. Let me use an example that’s even more profound to me—grandmothers. My grandmother was big as three houses. She was a brilliant, strong woman who ended up having grandchildren and great-grandchildren that went to Harvard and MIT and the like, to do big things.

When I think of what it is to be powerful and beautiful, I think of her. That’s something I wanted to be. In the heart of my hearts, when I think of strength and beauty, the first thought I have is of her. I am acknowledging her influence on me. I wrote and published four novels in 10 years. That’s doing a lot of work. The way I get that work done is not sleeping much or taking time to exercise and take care of myself. Those are choices I’ve made.

I haven’t gotten fat because of eating horrible foods, but by overwork. That’s a choice that most blacks make—going out and working the job as a domestic servant."  (source)
And there she goes once more... Alice Randall has made a blanket assumption about Black men, based on her experiences. Even when she attempts to personalize the article in her follow-up statement by asserting her own internal issues with her body, she seemingly projects it onto other Black woman.

This brand of writing, which analyzes Black women’s bodies, rarely ever features anything particularly revelatory we aren't already aware of or haven't read lately. The emphasis is always put on Black women and is often written by other women (who are just as culpable for trying to police female bodies).
Living our best lives is important. Indulging a sedentary and excessive lifestyle is detrimental to anyone's health, so enough with the "Fat Black Women Represent Obesity in America" trope; last year it was "Single, Educated but Sad and Unattractive Black Women” -- and that one gets resurrected every now and again.  When it comes to Black female bodies and obesity,  there’s an amalgamation of factors at play and it’s not as cut-and-dry as Alice Randall -- (who has a agenda book to promote, apparently) -- and other people would like it to be, whether you like and/or agree with it, or not.

For once I’d like to read an analysis about the issue of Black people's (not just women) health and wellness, which advocates healthful lifestyles, but is supportive in its exploration while presenting carefully documented reasons and solutions. I’d like to read more commentary from licensed experts, who’ve done the field work and painstaking research. Because honestly, these Bloggers, quasi-social scientists, and journalists playing couch-Physician while wagging their fingers at Black women for not “fitting-in” or to try to shame them into submission, is not the way.

October 12, 2011

Supple



Anyone who knows me personally has come to understand my passion for skin. In fact, I wish I were an African Goddess skin-fairy, gifted with the rare ability to exfoliate and moisturize the ashy and flaky masses as I see fit, with the wave of wand. Caring for my skin isn't merely a seasonal thing. I pamper my skin with fatty (read: thick) crèmes and butters and swear by raw, unfiltered African Shea butter (Raw shea butter is usually beige or yellow, with a nutty scent). I lubricate, exfoliate, and moisturize the hell out of my skin.  People will painstakingly treat their favorite leather jackets and shoes... taking care to treat the cow hides with leather oils and treatments... but will adopt a certain laissez faire attitude with their own. Skin is similar to leather hide... If you don't lubricate it, it doesn't endure or retain its elasticity. It dries out and cracks over time, and and it starts looking aged and worn. It never ceases to amaze me, when people merely step out of the shower or bath without having moisturized or exfoliated in some way, shape, or form. Also like leather, when skin gets wet, it dries and develops cracks; especially if it remains unconditioned for an extended period of time. If I'm being frank, the reason why so many people of color tend to have unmarred, seemingly ageless skin that snaps back into place when poked, prodded, and pinched is because it has been steamed of impurities, exfoliated, and moisturized

I've always been intrigued by age-old, Do-It-Yourself beauty methods; and so don't believe in spending a fortune just retain great skin. During my research, I've broken down primary ingredients in some purported "miracle creams" and have realized some of the elements that truly work. I've been asked numerous times, what exactly is it I use to retain my youthful glow, and have even been jokingly accused of having "work" done. Aside from not emoting often ... the secret of The Butters, kitchen remedies, slathering myself from neck-to-toe in oils as if I'm an Egyptian goddess, in addition to cheap tried-and-true pharmacy brands have helped sustain me in my quest to sustain relatively supple skin- especially during the cold and sometimes harsh winter months. I’ve decided to share a series of easy-peasy recipes and suggestions, to help protect skin during the fall and winter. 



 Here's a quick and recipe I whipped up in five minutes! 



Ingredients:

  • Raw/unfiltered African Shea Butter
  • Coffee Butter (optional) 
  • Cocoa Butter, Almond, and/or Olive Oil(s)
  • Scented perfume/Essential oil
  • Recycled/Plastic Container(s)
  • I scooped 4-5 heaping tablespoons of raw Shea Butter into a container I recycled and set it in hot water until it either melted or softened... 
  • I added 2 teaspoons of Coffee Butter (or your favorite butter... Manoi, Mango, etc
  • Swiftly stirring the Shea Butter and Cocoa Butter oil with a spoon (the easiest method) or using a handheld whip, I stirred in a few drops of Cocoa Butter and Olive Oils respectively; whipping until smooth. 
  • I then added a few blended drops of Black Coconut & Black Woman perfume oils to scent
  •  Refrigerate for about fifteen minutes until crème solidifies. 
I personally like to use Raw Shea and melted Cocoa Butter or Palmers Cocoa Butter Oil, due to their effective healing benefits for the skin. Also, Coffee Butter (because of its caffeine) aids in firming and tightening the skin and reducing cellulite. Coffee Butter also reduces wrinkles. 

The skin crème I concocted, melts immediately upon contact with the skin and is so rich, that a little goes a long way and is perfect to use on damp skin, immediately after a shower or bath. I use just a little after washing my face at night, as well! 

Here's another, extended version of my butter if you have a few extra minutes (I made mine in less than ten minutes and it's still as effective)... 







January 11, 2011

Monstrous

Urged on by friends who seemed overly excited by Nicki Minaj's fervid verse, I listened to Kanye West's all-star collaboration on the track, "Monster." Notoriously particular about the music and artists I listen and pay attention to,  I found myself nodding along in spite of my reluctance.  I'm not a hardcore Kanye West fan (I'll never forgive him for bestowing fame and fortune on the mute femme-bot known as Amber Rose)- or detractor (I think he's talented, enjoy some of his work, and even defended him during Taylor Swift-gate, when he Mic-snatched the annoying and saccharine country singer and did the infamous shrug seen 'round the world, elevating his douchery to epic proportions)- but in keeping with his current Avant-garde projects, controversial album art for his latest (and awesome) offering, My Dark Twisted Fantasy, and modernistic fashion choices, I found the dark, macabre lyrical quips right on track in keeping with this re-branded,  douchier more artistic than usual version of Kanye. I also found myself more impressed by Nicki Minaj's contribution to the song as well. She proved to be more than a one-trick pony with a dubiously luscious ass. She held her own, and then some, on an all-male track, and seemed to deviate from her whole "Harajuku Barbie" schtick, showing the breadth of her lyrical skills. Plus Jay-Z helped bring up the rear with his talk of vanquishing bitter vampires, ungrateful interlopers and such. In fact, Monster is heavy with horror movie tropes. I was in. I couldn't wait see the video... 
Um, so then I saw the video... *insert blank stare here* ... While I'm not sure what the inspiration was, I was a bit taken aback by the visuals. The video begins with a dead-eyed, limp model hanging by her neck, from a chain... Then the subsequent wide shot shows several other dead models hanging from chains in little else but their underwear, flanking rapper Rick Ross as he casually sits amongst their dead carcasses, puffing on a cigar... Next up? Kanye West... lying in bed... next to two dead models with broken necks, their eyes open but vacantly staring off... The video just goes downhill for me from that point on... 

Listen, I'm no prude. I'm known for seeking out obscure, off the cuff Art House/Experimental films that would cause the vast majority of the population to doubt my mental stability. I'm a fan of Richard Kern and Catherine Breillat. I've watched and grimaced my way through several films from the Torture Porn genre, so this is not a holier-than-thou rant arguing about the perverse nature of pop-art and rap videos. I'm all for seeing a little cutting edge perversion in art, and any rumblings disclaiming that admission would be b.s. because I suspect we all harbor curiosities when it comes to exploring perverse behaviors that're within some semblance of reason. However, there's imagery and ideas that are even twisted enough to make me squirm... which is a difficult feat...
During many aspects of the video, there seemed to be no discernible message connecting the dead, decapitated women with the crux of the song other than for shock value... and therein lies my issue. While I still enjoy listening to Monster, watching Kanye West lying in bed with two dead, broken necked models, as he re-positions them to touch one another reeks of necrophilia and it just makes it difficult for me to remember that I enjoy the song. There is a LOT going on in this video and none of it is particularly enjoyable to watch... including Jay-Z rapping his verse as yet another dead model lays splayed on a leather couch behind him. The visions of decapitated model heads and entrails offered no further hope or high expectations for the duration of the music video. I was over it by the time the Nicki Minaj, Dominatrix vs Nicki Minaj, Barbie (tied up in a chair) scene came up. 
Duncan Quinn ad
This video expounds on this disturbing trend of women featured in compromising situations... namely dead and dismembered ... or as zombies. It sort of reminded me of this movie I wrote about a while ago, that shook my core and prompted me to make haste and return it to Netflix. And in likening Monster's video to Dead Girl, perhaps the most chilling aspect or the one thing that bothers me about it rather, is the apathetic way in which Kanye, Jay-Z, & Rick Ross drift amongst the carnage of limp and dismembered female parts. While I understand the nature of the song itself and perhaps the video is a metaphor for... for... something... It always unnerves me when the female aesthetic goes beyond the usual titillating pictorial of T & A (which can also become problematic when done horribly wrong) - and manifests into something way more sinister and malevolent. And so enter the birth of films like this, this, and videos like this to counteract that victimization, much to the chagrin of many men, who are quick to deem it man-hating propaganda ... I'm just speculating.  Seeing women as tortured, mutilated corpses within the context of a music video is unusual and dare I say trumps the disturbing nature of Eminem's Stan video, where its antagonist places his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk of his car. Are women, hanging by their broken necks from a ceiling not hateful, misogynistic visuals? I suppose dousing some video vixen with a bottle of high-end champagne or swiping a credit card down the crack of her gyrating ass isn't humiliating enough.  Please weigh in.

May 21, 2010

Fat Ass!

As if slut, skank, ho,' and skeezer doesn't undermine femalehood enough, women have to contend with having yet another epithet hurled at them; an oldie, but still go-to, trusted, tried, and true goodie. These days, calling a woman 'fat' seems to be the insult du jour. Log onto any celebrity gossip site featuring posts including Kim Kardashian, Beyonce, Christina Hendricks and even pop singer Rihanna; and commenters (mostly female) are incited to chorus... "I'm sick of Beyonce... FAT, no talent bitch!" "OMG, all of you people calling Christina Hendricks beautiful are probably fat ass cows!" "I hate Rihanna. Her thighs are HUGE and look like tree-stumps!" "How can anybody find Kim Kardashian hot?? She's fucking gross. Maybe if she lost like 30 pounds I'd bang her..." so forth and so on. The Infallible (I mean they must be straddling the line between perfection and 5 alarm hotness, right?); hiding behind their computer screens... intimidated by any semblance of curvature on a woman's body and ignorant of what overweight and unhealthy truly is.
Women can be the most biting and hateful when spitting the fat insult toward other women. Automatically assuming that anyone not sporting a meth-chic physique lives a sedentary life filled with junk food and Häagen-Dazs . "Get to the gym bitch!"  is generally the norm, dare you be curvy and having a disagreement with a thin(ner) woman. While I understand our current cult of personality is driven by image and that health and exercise are extremely important; since when are women who don't fit someone else's norm or ideals, fat and or lazy?? While the insult seems to be perpetuated by women toward women, men are definitely guilty of using fat to scorn their female counterparts as well, especially if his romantic advances are rejected.  
Many of them, despite being overweight and/or unattractive themselves, play on the insecurities of women, noting that our body image is at the core of what makes many of us tick. I recall a former co-worker who, divorced for many years, shared the fact that he happened upon his ex-wife's Facebook page and noted how much weight she'd gained. Bitter grapes... considering she initiated their divorce and probably looked to be the picture of happiness in the Facebook visuals... without him. And who can forget (provided you watched it) the episode of MTV's guilty reality TV pleasure Jersey Shore, when Mike 'The Situation' took a cheap shot at the quirky and lovable (albeit annoying and gaudy looking) Snookie (please don't ask for any further background on these people, you just had to've viewed the trash) - during an argument at a group dinner, where after she asked the waiter for more rolls he quipped, "You already have a few rolls yourself," much to her chagrin sending her running and crying to the toilets (she later revealed that she struggled with an eating disorder), and the anger of the other cast mates, "Dude, you just don't talk about a woman's weight! That's not cool" one angry male cast member griped. I'm also reminded of the New York Times writer (a woman) who bitingly referred to Mad Men actress, Christina Hendricks as a 'big girl' in a 'big dress,' citing it is a fashion faux-pas.
When a woman is full-figured/plus-size (or however we're referred to these days), and visibly striking or attractive, she better not dare have any confidence in the fact that she carries herself well, is a fashionista, and has no issues finding a date... otherwise it's likened to the perpetuation of an unhealthy lifestyle! "What a fat bitch! She's so unhealthy! How can she be happy??"  Notwithstanding the fact that healthy, active lifestyles aren't exclusive to one particular look.
Listen, as an attractive woman who just happens to be full-figured, I'm no fat or BBW advocate, because I choose not to define myself based on my body's proportions, not to mention, I don't live my life juxtaposing my hips to some other woman's. In fact I loathe the term 'BBW,' and am OK with the fact that I may not appeal to everyone's personal aesthetic,  and will probably fall victim to being called 'fattieeee' during a disagreement that'll undoubtedly regress to school yard antics... actually some years ago, upon telling a prospective paramour I wasn't into him, he tried to hit below the belt commenting during our last phone call, "Well, good luck with your search. You have a sensuous look and most guys aren't into that." To which I replied, "Hm, well you obviously are, otherwise you wouldn't be calling me making one last desperate appeal to date you." Burn! But I digress...
Basically, I am bored with people hurling the term fat around when in most cases, it doesn't even apply to the intended victim. And so what if someone isn't whip thin? Is it really that dire to your life?  The perps seemingly so quick to call someone else a fat ass should probably re-evaluate their own self-loathing and the reasons why they resent someone's confidence and self-acceptance in who they are.

May 02, 2009

Casual Encounter

I love these random, casual encounters I come up against. Now, my friend says that I'm a"maneater" and a "temptress," who has left a trail of broken men leading from my door, but her opinion is born out of bitterness because she can no longer eat delicious cupcakes and cream sauces and I can. So her opinion is pretty much moot at this point and time and nothing can be further from the truth, but I digress.
I always find myself in the midst of foolishness. Whether it be a strange man wanting to take photos of my shoes to another insisting on removing his prosthetic foot at a trendy wine bar... I am a magnet when it comes to the bizarre.
This Friday was no exception. While leaving a diner, clutching a tasty pepperoni grinder, with peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, black olives, cheese, and mustard (former vegetarianism be damned)- a Mailman stepped back out of the way to let me pass (the aisle is narrow and my hips span across many nations and universes) however, I didn't think I needed that much space... but I thanked him anyway for letting me through.
"That's okay. I wanted to see how you looked anyway."
he said smugly. Both amused and annoyed, I hurried past and across the street back to work. Amazing. I am back on meat (for the past 3 years now) and am also a PIECE of meat to be appraised, judged, poked, and prodded. What clownery! Here's a thought... Instead of sidewalks and aisles, why not just make the landscape one, long catwalk for women to walk down... just to make things more convenient for you all? What a novel idea! (insert side-eye here). Men-beasts... you never cease to amaze this simple woman. The grinder was tasty by the way.

December 29, 2008

Start the New Year Off Right...

As I stated two posts below, I'm not one to compose an extensive list of New Year's Resolutions, but I do try to start the new year right, as best as I can. I hope you all do the same. Please, don't be a "Jump Off Bitch Trick Freaky Dick Suckin' Cum Drinkin' Dick In the Booty Ass Young Bitch." Seriously.
To each his and her own, but it's just not a particularly sophisticated or classy way to act. You can't really expect to meet a man of worth or value displaying such overt and gratuitous sexuality in this way. It's not pleasurable and it's painful and disrespectful. Trust this. I try to keep it classy at all times. I suppose this is why I'm okay with being 31 and still single. So start 2009 off with some class. Don't be a "Jump Off Bitch Trick"... oh read the rest above and more importantly listen to Alexyss K. Tylor! She's raw and uncut, but her messages are oh so right. In fact, her words are pure poetry (see "jump off bitch trick..."). Take care of and respect your body, cervix uteri, vaginal cavity, uvula, and intestines. If you don't, no one will. Allow and demand that a man acquaint himself with your intellect and your true visage, not your "pussy face."

September 01, 2008

Dante's Inferno

There's a new book out. Yet another manifesto that feasts and nibbles on the fleshy insecurities and perceived shortcomings of women. Because Tariq "K-Flex" Nasheed's Art of Mackin' and The Mack Within' needed a supplement. Because men are infallible masters who hold all the answers to life's complexities and one of their primary purposes is to guide us wayward women into a magick fairyland where we would gladly submit ourselves to a life of passivity and servitude.
In any event, this latest fuckery is entitled, The Re-Education of the Female and it's written ever so eloquently by computer engineer and first time author, Dante Moore. Moore-- described by Washington Post writer Laura Yao as a well groomed, heavyset, baby-faced, 33-year old with neatly twisted dreadlocks-- professes to love women, and that he wrote this book to help us along .
Moore was also raised in a matriarchal household, and his father was mostly absent. His mother insisted that he treat women like, "queens." But as Dante aged, he came to the realization that his mother was oh so very wrong. See, he discovered that acting like a douchetard toward insecure and needy women, made the phone ring off the hook, much to his delight-
"My mother used to say, walk them home from school, grab their books, give them gifts, blah blah blah, yada yada yada. I went like that for maybe two years, and I probably lost every girlfriend that came along- Once I started being myself and saying, 'look, I'm not going to do this, this, or that for women,' the phone didn't stop ringing, "
The kicker is that Moore was able to train his girlfriend of two years, into dressing sexy on the daily and even prompted her to clean the house looking like a femme-fatale.
"He's wonderful. He's one of the good ones." She coos lovingly (I assume she cooed lovingly). Despite succeeding in brainwashing gaining the adulation of his girlfriend, Dante still claims to not have found "true love" as yet, which would explain why he's not hitched, even though he has an impressionable 11-year-old son to doucheify. Yao neatly summarized the crux of Dante's literary point: Women need to Cook, clean in sexy-hot attire, bow down to a man's every command, put out, and stay skinny if they want to snag and keep a man's interest.
"I like someone of a certain size," Dante rambles on. "My preference would be African American, size 10 or under, conscious about her history and culture."
Miseducation Re-Education of the Female reinforces Dante's preference in this excerpt in which he charmingly compares women to rotten fruit--
"The fatter you get, the more you decrease your potential single-man pool. Let me give you an example. When you go to the grocery store to shop, do you pick out the nastiest-looking, most rotten, smelliest fruit or meat you can find? Oh, you don't? Why not? . . . It's the same with men when they see baby elephant-sized, out-of-shape women."
If Dante Moore's douchery still doesn't illuminate, read this excerpt from Yao's interview with him, in which he fumbles an attempt at being evasive about his dating history--

Though generally reluctant to discuss the specifics of his dating life, Moore does talk unabashedly of a time he broke up with a woman over the fact that he inadvertently almost stole $15 from her.

He took her on a date to Maggie Moo's, and she gave him a $20 bill to order for her. He pocketed the bill and, distracted by the menu board, claims he never saw the value of the bill and just assumed it was $5. When his date later asked why he hadn't given her change, he thought she was accusing him of not treating women well, and dumped her on the spot.

"If I would've just paid for it, had she not given me the money at all, we'd probably still be dating," he says.

This incident, he recalls, happened about two months ago. But weren't he and Tuitt (the trained girlfriend) "exclusive" during this time? Moore quickly revises it to "several months ago," he can't really remember, but probably before he and Tuitt "became exclusive."

Dante's bottom bitch girlfriend later covers for him, saying he probably made a mistake with the time frame, for he's "open with everything he does."--- (queue the collective Bitch PLEASE! and eye-rolls). Laura Yao concludes her expose by mentioning that a 14-year-old girl enthusiastically purchased the book promising to lend it to her mom when she's done reading it, and that a "large stack" still remained during Dante's underwhelmingly attended book signing, that particular day.

Unfortunately, this is what relationship advice has been reduced to. Insecure and bitter men doling out wordz of wizdom to other insecure, bitter men seeking validation and this overwhelming need to rate or condescend to women, not to mention the naive women who will undoubtedly fall for this hype, because they are sick of waiting by the phone (when they should be doing something far more productive).

I've extricated myself (unofficially yet gladly) from the market sans regret, and must admit that while annoyed, I can't be angry over books (or ideas) like this. All one has to do is find the comic relief and entertainment in its message. To read between the lines and wonder why yet another man, would go out of his way to write such a bittersweet symphony about the evils of womankind.
I'll bet Moore almost exploded into a million teeny tiny douche pieces when his book got picked up. All the more reason to gloat and pound his chest. Why not just enter into a legitimate BDSM relationship, complete with a signed contract and willing participant, if he is that intent on dominating and subjugating a woman?? At least it'd be a lot more honest and less bullshitty. I also just LOVE how he considers us FEMALES and not WOMEN. Makes me all shivery. If Dante Moore is indeed, considered "one of the good ones" as his loyal girlfriend claimed, then I'd rather find some Aggressive to do the scissor with. Look, everyone is entitled to having preferences when it comes to what they consider aesthetically appealing. I'd be lying if I said certain physical traits on a man didn't attract me. And admittedly, Dante Moore appears to be an attractive looking man. And while I believe I can pass for being quite attractive despite my flaws, I don't walk around pretending to be perfect looking or that everyone should want me because I think I'm goddess's gift. I'm realistic, and while my expectations are up there, they're within reason... with the bulk of the emphasis being on intellect and whether or not a man is respectable and respectFUL.
I am sick of dudes lumping ALL women in the same categories due to their own personal experiences:
  • Golddiggers,
  • Unappreciative,
  • Hyper-sensitive,
  • Gullible,
  • Not attractive or mindful of her appearance due to having some meat on the bones,
  • Expecting the world to revolve around her
  • Uncooperative.
We're automatically uncooperative and high-maintenance because we want to be treated respectfully? I'll be the first to admit that many women may be conflicted over that concept and will send mixed signals... and blow off a genuinely nice guy, no matter what he does for her, but the majority aren't. Trust. I mean, I could neatly classify ALL MEN under the same categories and write them ALL off for the following reasons:
  • Jackass
  • Douche
  • Disingenuous
  • Unreliable
  • Too Dumb
  • Not packing in the meat department
  • Fug
  • Blathery
  • Uneducated
  • Boring
  • Poor
  • Old
  • Impotent
  • Sloppy
  • Unstylish
  • Misshapen
  • Dogs
  • Liars
  • Cheaters
But I don't, because I realize one's personal experience with a few isn't indicative of the sum total of a whole lot. And more importantly, most of those labels and rating men based on bullshit standards are unfair. It's a shame that a few bad dating experiences from seemingly ungrateful women resulted in Dante becoming crass, bitter, and cynical enough to pen this book. Rather than suggesting that women need to be "re-educated", perhaps he should get some therapy and explore the things that may very well be wrong with him as well. Women who fall for men who treat them poorly have deep rooted issues they need to work out. i.e. the women who seemed to call Dante once he started treating them like yesterday's bowel movement. Or the groupies Dante met during his signings and whispered their phone numbers in his ear. I'm tired of guys of Dante's ilk thinking perfection is their due, when they have a looooog way to come themselves ... physically and especially intellectually. These distorted and unrealistic perspectives regarding what womanhood entails. Par for the course as far as the patriarchy is concerned. I am a LADY who would not give this type of base chauvinism the time of day. Get a fucking uterus, a pair of tits, some culture, and a clue and I just might engage you.

I shall certify Dante with Massengill's stamp of approval for exerting the effort, for having a great smile, and more importantly- for successfully conning his girlfriend.

May 14, 2008

Sensual Seduction

Tyra Banks's best and most rational lace front wig had a major pow-wow with her, and this time she finally listened... for Whitney Thompson, deemed the 'plus size' model contender for cycle 10 of America's Next Top Model, not only made it abroad (to Rome, Italy during the competition's final round), but she clawed and argued her way to the top three (in all her annoying glory), eventually becoming one of the final two before being crowned this year's winner by the model competition franchise.
While Whitney wasn't my favorite personality on the show this season, she has definitely set a precedent in a culture seemingly afraid and dismayed by a little extra flesh and sexy softness. The thickness prevailed.
It took 10 seasons, but voluptuosity finally triumphed. Most of the aspiring contenders of sensual body, seem to never make it to the top five let alone become one of the contenders that eventually get to travel to an exotic locale, let alone to the final two. The prelude to Whitney's triumphant moment included her sashaying down the runway, in a dress designed by Donatella VERSACE (unheard of!), putting her skinny, stiff competitor with the robotronic gait and thick Hawaiian pidgeon accent, to shame.
Is the world ready for a voluptuous woman to be America's NEXT top model? Probably not considering any frame that's above a size 6 is considered obese and unhealthy. I assure you however, that there's certainly nothing wrong with a shapely, healthy, active, and Fellini-esque frame bouncing its way into the psyche and hearts of a diet-conscious American public. It definitely encourages this cult of personality to open up its notion of what it considers as beautiful and sexy. While encouraging and inspiring young girls, hating themselves for not having Paris Hilton's flat pancake ass, Victoria Beckham's barely there silhouette, or Thandie Newton's prominent collar bone. The young girls living on 300 calories a day, killing themselves to look trollish and emaciated in order to fit into a pair of skinny jeans.
Whitney's winning moment dictates that it's okay (despite this latest study)- to be fleshy, sensual, and YES, active and healthy! That accepting and appreciating a comely frame is NOT advocating an unhealthy lifestyle full of saturated and trans fat and fast foods, as some people may suggest or are being led to believe. Because a healthy, fit, and sound body comes in a variety of forms. And, psst... a skinny body is not always the picture of perfect health. After Whitney's glorious moment, Tyra exclaimed, "The correct term is FULL FIGURED model, not PLUS SIZE" to which former model and panel judge, Paulina Poriskova answered, "It's not full figured or plus size. It's just beautiful!" And kiddies, it's not just THE FACE, but the whole package in its entirety. Because as Whitney opined, I too, also know the annoyance of a backhanded but well meaning comment ... "Oh you have such a pretty/striking face..." Now let's hope Whitney doesn't somehow, find herself on a season of Celebrity Fit Club, screaming hungrily and angrily at the judges when they chastise her for not meeting her weight goal.

April 20, 2008

Hair Raising Tale

Recently, while browsing in a store at the mall, an attractive, young Black woman and sales associate (she worked at the store) around my age approached me. "Excuse me, are you from around here?" she asked me. A bit perplexed I answered, "Yes. I am."
She said, "Like reaally from around here or from somewhere else?" "I dont' know how you mean," I answered. "Do you want to know if I'm from this particular town, or if I'm from this state??" "Well, I'm asking you, because I think your hair is BEAUTIFUL and I love it!" she exclaimed. "Wow, thank you!" I answered sheepishly. "No really!" she said. "I think your hair looks great. See, I'm not from around here. I just relocated from Minnesota. I live in Middletown, CT. I've been here for six months, and the towns I've frequented so far haven't been that receptive to my hair." Confused, my gazed found the top of her head... "Oh, I'm wearing a wig." She said, shyly. "My hair is natural underneath here, and I usually wear it in a style similar to yours. Since I've moved here, I haven't worn it that way though." "Oh why??" I asked her. "I don't know," she started. "but I get this weird feeling when I'm out shopping at organic food markets or if I'm out and about running errands, people stare at me disapprovingly. Like they don't like my hair! And the job interviews I've gone on since moving here... I since that they find my hair inappropriate... plus I'm a full-figured woman so I feel..." At this juncture in the conversation, an older White sales associate happened upon the conversation and listened with interest. "Well what towns are you going to? I know Middletown is known as a relatively artsy town." I conversed. "Well, towns like Glastonbury..." she started. I rolled my eyes knowingly, as did the White sales associate. "Firstly, Glastonbury??" I smirked. "Look girl, I think you should not hide your hair underneath that wig. I get nothing but positive feedback from people. I've been on numerous job interviews with my hair just like this! Perhaps it's my attitude and demeanor. But I've never had that issues. And if someone doesn't like it, I could care less. My hair is neat, I keep it combed and it's not unruly and unkempt when I venture out in public. I completely understand that 'feeling' you get, however. And it's certainly valid. I don't understand why someone would demand that we wear our hair a certain way that isn't natural to who we are ethnically!" She nodded appreciatively. The white sales associate (who's hair was dark, somewhat course, and curly) opined that she doesn't understand why someone would discriminate against the texture of someone's hair. She also pointed out that people in the major cities and towns (in Connecticut) could care less! I agreed and told her the black hair issue is a complicated and multilayered situation. And that it'd be hard to explain and chop up in just fifteen minutes. "Look, wear your natural hair." I told the young sales associate. "Don't hide behind the wig." "I just want to thank you!" she said. "You've inspired me to do just that! You really have. I'd like for you to return so that you can see it! Perhaps we can become friends and you can suggest other places and towns I can roam freely, without feeling insecure!" I told her it was a done deal. And that I'd return to the store, when time permitted me to.
The issue of Black hair is indeed a touchy one for the Black community. Many of us have a difficult enough time coming to terms with specific aspects of our ethnicity, but when you have White people weighing it, it makes it all the more difficult to navigate! While the situation is a little more tolerable now, Corporate America has, for years, made it taboo and uncomfortable for Black professionals (especially women) to sport braids, dreadlocks, and naturals to work. Preferring that we chemically process our hair or sport hair extensions to properly "fit in" with what 'the majority' considers to be the norm. I highly doubt White-American women would be asked to tan and perm their hair, to add texture if they want to be hired or considered as a candidate for employment. So why are Black women, Black people expected to change those parts of ourselves, we can't help being. Natural hair dictates just that! Something that's natural to our ethnicity and race. Glamour Magazine came under fire last year when an editor accepted an invitation from a New York law firm, to present a slide show on the "Do's and Don'ts of Corporate Fashion."
The first slide allegedly featured a Black woman wearing a stylish afro. "A real no-no" scoffed the Glamour editor. Who followed up by stating that dreadlocks were "truly dreadful!" She continued that it was ’shocking’ that some people still think it ‘appropriate’ to wear those hairstyles at the office. ‘No offense,’ she sniffed, but those ‘political’ hairstyles really have to go. I'd be willing to wager that the offending editor pissed off several African-American lawyers, who were undoubtedly present during her presentation.
Glamour Magazine found itself doing major damage control, by hosting a panel discussion in November, dedicated to Women, Race, and Beauty. The March issue featured a transcript of said discussion. Not good enough, because the fashion industry and society, no matter how many panel discussions (a seemingly common solution to flagrant bigotry)- are hastily thrown together, Black beauty will forever come under fire. And quite frankly, I'm sick to death of it. Period. I find it appalling that a woman who makes no apologies for her "blackness" is accused of trying to make a "political statement." Or is described as a "nappy-headed ho' "
Perhaps if I bleached my skin along with over processing, beweaving, and damaging my hair, I can avoid offending racist and self-hating zealots who refuse to acknowledge that blond, skinny, and spray-tanned is not the sole criteria for beauty. I'm sorry (not) if my brown self and kinky hair offends. But then again, that's not MY problem. It's White and Corporate America's hurdle to get over. Black people... Black women specifically need to get over it and stop allowing society, people, Black men, other Black women, White men, purported White "fashion mavens" and the media dictate and define how our beauty should register, just so they can feel comfortable.

February 16, 2008

Arn't I A Woman Pt II

I happened upon this article entitled, "Not Woman Enough" over at racialicious, written by a contributing guest writer who calls herself Tami. Tami, a Black woman, questions her femininity and ponders the inner workings of White privilege (particularly of the white, patriarchal variety ofttimes with very narrow views of beauty and intellect)- after a White male colleague (unconsciously?) makes her feel inferior and less alluring than her White female counter-part and co-worker. The writer hit on a number of very relevant points and raises some interesting questions about the de-sexualization and fetishization of Black women... How we can't be beautiful (to them... as if it matters) sans a long list of prerequisites or unless they're trying to meet their "I've never had sex with a (insert race) girl before" ethnic quota. So we fall under their "to do" list. Some Black women may try to assimilate completely, by engaging in damaging behaviors such as, pouring bleach on their heads, slathering on the wrong type of make-up, wearing painful and cheap looking weaves and wigs that contradict their ethnicity, and rubbing dangerous skin lighteners on their persons. I don't think the writer is seeking validation from her white male counter-parts nor is she speaking from a particularly vain view point. I think she is simply tired of being invisible and seen as less than. Sometimes that experience has nothing to do with aesthetics, but can be on an intellectual level as well. One would have to be living at the opposite end of the spectrum, to truly understand where she is coming from. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Today I was reminded of my place in the female hierarchy.

I was in an impromptu meeting with a 50-something white man and a white woman who is my age, when this exchange occurred:

White male: The only people who liked that design were under 28.

White female: Under 37…I loved it.

Me: Yeah. Me too.

White male: (to white female, pointedly) Well, YOU don’t look older than 28.

White female: (to me–maybe attempting to soften white male’s comment) You don’t either.

White male: (eyeing me) Mmmm…I don’t know about that.

It is peculiar–in my experience, some white men don’t relate to black women as women. On more than one occaision, at more than one job, a white male co-worker has made comments to me that violate society’s codes of chivalry. What gentleman comments on how old a woman looks? This is not the first time the man in question has made a subtly derogatory comment about my appearance. I have also noticed how his eyes slide distastefully over my natural hair.

When I began typing this post, I worried that I was overreacting. In the re-telling, the offense seems so petty and maybe subject to interpretation. Maybe it wasn’t about race at all, maybe my co-worker simply finds me haggard looking and is surprisingly untactful. So, I called up a good friend–another black woman–that I can always count on for wise counsel. She understood exactly what I meant about the peculiar state of non-femaleness black women sometimes occupy in the mainstream. It is the weird flip side to the stereotype of the wanton black sexual temptress.

Read the rest of the article here and visit Tami's Blog and PLEASE read this post (something Black people do, and is at the top of my list of pet peeves!), while you're over there...

January 02, 2008

Brrr...

I'd type something profound and witty, but my finger tips are still thawing out. I also need confirmation that my nipples still exist and I've yet to feel any sensation. So I'm still waiting. Gives new meaning to it being "colder than a witch's tit." My brain was also on freeze because apparently, I walked right by my mother in the supermarket this evening and failed to notice her presence or her gesticulating in vain, to get my attention. This brisk, bitingly cold winter has also prompted my fat ass to swell even rounder and bigger. To massive proportions (as if that were possible). I purchased a pair of jeans today and almost broke a couple of ribs trying to fasten them. Hearty soups, breads, and desserts have a hold over me, apparently. I wont beat myself up over it though. I refuse to go there. Nope. I wont do it. Fughettaboutit! But I may do a black coffee detox (don't ask, I came up with this method all on me own. It's a very complex system and I'm unwilling to relay the details). My current wardrobe still feels familiar. It's the new clothes that are inhospitable, unforgiving, and complete strangers to me. Perhaps it's because the denim is "Rigid"? Excuses, excuses. I'd rather just suck it up, and buy the next size up than berate myself. They're great looking jeans. The weight fluctuates. I wish it and bloat weren't part of my reality, but they are. Nothing left to do other than pop another caramel, make some tea, and psyche myself up for venturing out in the even colder 17 degree weather tomorrow! Oh yes, and the dry cleaners effed up my warmest, Kenneth Cole goose down coat, so I have to add that to my list of random, insignificant, yet significant things to purchase anew. January, February, Maarch, April... pardon me... I'm counting down til Spring... Maay...

January 21, 2007

Redux

I was feeling particularly bloated and the waist of my jeans a little tight, today... so I figured I'd re-post one of my favorite blog entries from June 2005.

I'm just a girl... With Heavyweight Curves/ or L'anatomie de convoitise

This morning, I woke from an early bed, rubbing the previous night's fatigue from my eyes. I stood, stretching languorously... stiff joints popping gratefully with each pull. I did my usual yogic postures for morning stiffness. As I raised my arms high above my head, I suddenly stopped... taking a moment to look down at myself. This sudden appreciation for my full-form rushed me like a tidal wave. It came and hit me all at once. I took renewed interest in the span of my hips... wide, round, curvaceous, and full. Hips that can sway slowly, round and about, as hypnotic as a fine dispersion of incense smoke; or as quick as a Brazilian Samba beat. An underappreciated species of hips that've carried young African babes and Zulu nations. Hips that have spawned many bouts of self-love and self-hate. A schizophrenic state of mind that will find me full of confidence one month, and empty with narrow hopes the next. Ana never an option as a friend, however. These hips that whole countries have been known to dote on. A fleshed-out, voluptuous form looked upon as a properous and fortunate one. hips that make men consider infinite possibilties and others with infinitesimal minds, to scoff at the thought. Full, firm breasts that inspire poetry rather than truth, for the truth would force lascivious and inquiring minds to answer questions they would soon not know the answers to. Truth that would cause their faces to burn hot with shame. Thighs... firm from walking miles... thick with luscious waves, strong enough to crush myths of what the female form should look like. Enough strength to lift any paramour to places far and exotic, but with the ability to crush another's ego with ferocity and cunning. My derriere, large and round. Full with the wonder that Italians call Bella Forma! with glee and gusto as they watch it stride down cobble-stoned Sicilian streets. Full of the wondernment that cause Moorish American princes to mutter "damn" as they twist their heads in purient appreciation. For they can fully appreciate it better than any other type of man. I slowly bent down... exhaling... head touching my toes, all the while noting thick calves. Easily defined with the arch of a heel. With the ability to choke the life from any cad who deems it necessary to make me second guess my esteem for myself. Like a former paramour I flung with, who remarked,"You have a sensuous look, some men may be into that, and some might not be." I scoffed at his suggestion, for it was my big secret that kept him coming, and coming, and cumming... Refusing to struggle in my web, because it was his intention to be tangled in it. Prey to the same sensuousness that he then questioned. Certain male types have never been able to discern this particular brand of feminity thus, making them nervous with every orgasmic shudder, as I received them. Me, aloof-with-a hint-of- smug, as I politely bid them farewell at the end of the night. They never forgot me. They don't forget me. Memories built on unspoken words, them realizing that full is not nearly as heavy as an empty mind. My sensuous essence haunts them, like a spicy Moroccan scent, blowing in the Mediterranean breeze. They are shocked that they're enthralled by thick, honey-like feminity, so they backpeddal like a sinner ... just saved mere moments before. These are the men who are weak and cowardly... and so they go forgotten... never to be looked upon with regard. Looked at with disdain for their perpetuation of emaciated trophies. Inhaling, I slowly come up from my toes. I touched a full, shapely belly. Ripe with soft secrets. Discovered only via seances and gentle prodding from an admiring lover. Lust ridden and wanting to taste nectar from a peach, ripe with juices as moist as a humid, summer rain. Only real Men need apply. Start the chase with ravenous flirts. Woo with high regard and appreciation for Bella Forma. I may just let you make it to the finish line.