Coffee Rhetoric: esteem
Showing posts with label esteem. Show all posts
Showing posts with label esteem. Show all posts

May 08, 2012

Documentary Short: 'Shadeism' - A Global Look at Colorism



Bleached Kwaito singer, Mshoza 
"Shadeism" is a short 2010 documentary, written and directed by up-and-coming Canadian filmmaker Nayani Thiyagarajah (a young woman of South East Asian descent), and it details intra-racial discrimination experienced by young women of the Caribbean, South East Asian, and African Diasporas, as they navigate the trials and tribulations of having dark skin and the Colorism they face within their respective communities.

We often hear narratives from people who've experienced Colorism within Black-American communities, but Shadeism takes a more global look at the issue and its impact on young women of color. Intra-racial discrimination tends to be a hot-button issue whenever the topic is broached. It ruffles people's feathers because, speaking within the context of my own (Black-American) community, folks deny the prevalence of the issue, and the dialogue never extends beyond the superficial claim of it merely being a self-esteem issue. Colorism is institutional and it's structural. Darker-skinned people (women especially) are denied jobs, are subject to erroneous racial stereotypes, and are railroaded by the prison industrial complex.  

It's a destructive message that's notoriously perpetuated by the media, fashion and entertainment industries, and the cult of celebrity. Even casting calls for car commercials require that
only light-skinned Blacks need apply.

In India and various parts of the Caribbean and Africa, the skin-lightening cream industry continues to thrive, as people seek quick-and-easy ways to become the fairest one of all. 


Shadeism from refuge productions on Vimeo.

December 30, 2011

R.I.P., Officially

As a Black woman who happens to be single, was once exasperated but is now bored to tears with the: Tragic Successful But Still Single Black Woman Who Can't Find A Husband and Isn't Light Enough To Be In A Rap Video or Measure Up to Kim Kardashian And So Should Find Solace in Advice Dispensed by Steve Harvey/Tyler Perry/(insert ill-equipped pseudo-Relationship expert here) meme, I endorse this message. I'm sick of reading about it and I'm tired of sites whose purpose is to supposedly uplift Black women, pandering to the foolio information and quasi-sociological studies about my dating life. Especially since my current purpose (as I see it), is to continue trying to be the best at what I love doing and exploring making a full-time career of it, as well as to ensure that my rights as a woman  (to do, say, believe in what I choose to believe in, and to maintain control over my body) aren't threatened. So without further ado, I bid this meme adieu.



January 28, 2010

Me Talk Pretty One Day

Snow fall, plus minimal sleep, coupled with grumpiness, divided by exasperation, multiplied by, "Wait, I'm flummoxed," plus "Bastard(s) please!"- minus zero booze equals my mind is on a marathon run, and it has a case of the disappointeds. 


"Sex only goes so far — then you want to be able to talk to the person..." -creator of that sex robot, talking, woman thing.
  • Smile! 
  • Slim down! 
  • Just nod! 
  • Go easy on the intellect, will you!
  • You're way too sophisticated for me (read: your brain is too high maintanence).
  • Only weigh-in when deferred to. 
  • You look angry. 
  • Bitch! 
  • I've created you in *my* image. Live up to it dammit!
  • Be infallible, pwetty pweeeease!
  • You're aging. Stop it at once before I upgrade!
  • I'll stalk you until you *do* give in! 
  • You're comfy with your sexuality? Then you're a slut, WHORE!
  • You can turn on the smart now. I'm ready for you. Bring it!
  • You should like this list of preferences, cuz it makes me happy and secure ... 
So many demands. The list seems endless. It becomes even more asinine and disturbing it its growth. Perhaps now that the latest and greatest in technological minds has created a sex robot (fresh off the AVN Porn Expo's showroom floor)  that focuses on "appealing to the mind." Real, living, and breathing women born of flesh and blood can exhale a little bit and get somewhat of a reprieve from living up to so many standards. Even if it seems to aim to make us obsolete (or to appeal to the socially inept male mind, who can't mesh well or deal with real female interaction anyway). Alas, an inanimate object, masquerading as a woman, reminiscent of a corpse can listen intently, as its human lover reads it passages out of David Levy's 'Love And Sex With Robots.' Ladies, hold tight to your vibrators. It doesn't judge or criticize, and will never demand that you "smile!" while walking past it.

January 06, 2010

I Wish You ILL

It's official--
The mechanics of dating and its games has made me cynical. I never thought I would say the dreaded 'C' word out loud, but I am Coffey So Finicky, evermore. The advice books by men geared toward single women (ahem, Steve Harvey) with dubious track records of their own. The bullshit, the nonsense, the flakiness, the obvious lying and disingenuous behavior... It seems to know no bounds. If I hear one more man whine about how his last experience... or how his best friend's friend got hustled by a golddigger, who needed $50,000 transferred to her account, before she peeled of her panties- as a way to justify is jerkery, I may need to sharpen my nails into angular points, and claw my(or his) eyes out. I've no sympathy for men who get "took" as it were. Because many of you have laid the groundwork for and choreographed this sort of shady adagio dance, between the sexes. Don't project your insecurities and obvious shallowness-gone-wrong, onto other women with good intentions.
Perhaps some women of my ilk are destined to stay single and live a life riddled with carpal tunnel syndrome and AA batteries. But sometimes, I think that alternative is well worth it... if only to side-step the nonsense and fuckery associated with dating... and all the "messy unnecessaries" it entails. And anyway, I'll always still have great hair and skin. That is all.

November 05, 2009

Save Your Own-damn-self

There's a certain type of man that agitates my gut, and causes it to gurgle with unpleasantness... making the pressure build up and hold my colon in its clutches with a vice-like grip. This type of guy orgasms and messes his drawers with creme de la man, when he thinks a woman is in great distress. He just can't bear to know that she'll be okay, and really doesn't want, desire, or need to confide in him, despite his constant pleas for her to do so...
This manly man has self-esteem issues of his own, and lest he obsesses over some woman who could care less about his prying, he can't thrive and feel good about himself. "I'm fine. My personal affairs are none of your business" usually generates a smug chuckle, and he interprets the response as combative and frustrated behavior. This type of character exists on different levels of the spectrum. Sometimes he relishes the thought of a woman having a bad day or a difficult spell and will shiver with pleasure... so he antagonizes and doles out unsolicited advice... patronizes because he's unhappy with himself, and thinks he's some sort of big shot who knows everything. He becomes even more antagonistic and self-satisfied in a desperate attempt to feel needed.. to feel superior. My theory is this type of guy was a big shot in high school and college, and is used to women giving a damn about his douchey behavior. Or that he may, quite possibly for certain, be a premature ejaculator and needs to feel adequate in some way.
He'll nibble, poke, and prod away like some mouse o'er top a hunk of cheese... a feeble attempt to break her resolve, until she crumbles into a crying heap, in his arms... as he rocks her and whispers know-it-all witticisms in her ear. This is what he's hoping will happen anyway. A regular limerent type, that one. With delusions of grandeur ... Might I suggest getting a life? It's not that serious. Regardless of how much you antagonize, patronize, and flex... you will remain insignificant in a universe known as Just Don't Give A Damn. You can be a tiny little satellite that orbits outside perimeter though.

September 27, 2009

Deadgirl

It's well past 10PM, rendered speechless, I'm sitting here steeping tea but wishing I had something a bit stronger. I just finished watching a horror flick that has left an indelible stomp-print on my psyche. Not since the movie 'Teeth' have I seen such a controversial, feminist essay (of sorts) on male sexuality, the twisted and brutal ways in which misogyny plays out, and the dark recesses of a young man's imagination... told from a male perspective.
The movie Deadgirl (directed by Marcel Sarmiento and Gadi Harel) will continue to haunt me this evening, so I may as well read my book into the wee hours to cleanse my mental palate. I won't launch into a long winded film review, but the synopsis basically details how two high school burnouts (Ricky and JT) from dysfunctional homes and at the lower echelons of their high school's hierarchy, ditch school to hang out in an abandoned mental hospital to wreck some teen havoc. They go exploring deep into the depths of the building where JT, the more obnoxious and stronger of the two friends, stumbles upon the body of a naked and seemingly dead woman chained to a table and draped with plastic. Breath against plastic seems to indicate the woman may not be entirely dead, so Ricky suggests they take off immediately and alert the fuzz, much to JT's chagrin... he immediately has other, more sinister plans for the body. He basically demands that they keep her as a sex slave.
The woman, for all intents and purposes, is a zombie. JT (and eventually another accomplice, and then later other perps) do unimaginable things to this woman's orifices... defiling her every which way but loose. They've no interest in knowing who she is or how she got there. One or two inquiries, angrily brushed off by JT, hopped up on the power he wields within the confines of the basement. He becomes darker and more depraved in his actions toward the decomposing body, essentially acting as pimp and master perpetrator. The nameless woman twitches, she snarls, she lashes out and bites her tormentors in a feral attempt to maintain some semblance of dignity... but she never utters a word. JT and a dimwitted third accomplice, have the bright idea to try to make another zombie sex slave, and so try to kidnap a woman at the gas station, who wails on both of them, beating them down in the parking lot.
So much happens in this flick and none of it is good. This is probably one of the most original and daring zombie movies I've ever seen. It's akin to "River's Edge" maybe with a dash (just a dash) of Jennifer Lynch's disaster "Boxing Helena," in that a woman's body is over-sexualized and exploited for enjoyment. Deadgirl is scary, because it speaks volumes about male sexuality, budding male sexuality, a culture in which piggish behavior towards women is celebrated, and how women should be merely seen, poked, vacant in the eyes, dominated, and prodded. Former video model Karrine Steffans, for instance. A former zombie girl, Celebrated in a medium dominated by men, for her willingness to go limp and vacant... to be objectified and dominated while incapacitated (in the figurative sense), and then later crucified for flailing out at her tormentors once she got loose, because she wrote and spoke out loud about it, prompting her former play partners to turn into bumbling, name calling idiots. I'm still wondering why the famous men she allegedly bedded aren't held accountable for wallowing with her ... Why aren't they considered to be just as vile as Karrine's protesters consider her to be? As the aunt of two nephews, I shudder a little bit, thinking of young males coming-of-age today, and the visuals they may potentially use as a model for masculinity. Recent cases, such as the one in Pennsylvania this summer, where a lonely, middle aged man shot up an all female aerobics class before turning the gun on himself... all because he couldn't get a date with any young, attractive or prospective paramours is startling. In this cult of personality, women are nothing more than expendable jump-offs. Aging pimps are catapulted to fame, endorsed with book deals and cameos in films and rap videos.
Watching Deadgirl, I was equally struck by the zombie woman in the flick... and how wild and ferine she was... how she had to literally bite, rip, and tear herself through the sheer baseness of what was being done to her, to free herself from the humiliation... Unbelievable, yet believable because it's metaphorical for how young men view female sexuality, and how they respond or relate to it. Definitely worth watching if one can get past the controversial theme and images. Sometimes images have to be ugly in their impact.
Interesting flick. The ending even darker...

July 31, 2009

This Much I Know Is True: 30+

Born Days are no huge deal for me. I'm not one to make a whole big production over that matter... I'm just thankful to the goddesses that I reached another year. In the cult of personality we currently live in, there are some who aren't so fortunate. Which is why I cannot stand listening to people sullenly bemoan the fact that they're getting older. In any event, next month I will be 32 years old. After I hit the age 30, several things occurred to me, these are some of them ...
  • I'm no skinny bird, however I can honestly say I'm comfortable (for real) in my skin, and am okay with maintaining the body I have now.
  • It's not that serious.
  • I'm not altering my appearance, personality, attitude, body to placate anyone.
  • I like to eat, and am not ashamed about it.
  • I like wine and an occasional cocktail and am NOT an alcoholic so eff you.
  • Thanks, but no thanks.
  • Excessive tree-hugging and hippiedom get on my nerves.
  • I like anti-perspirant and will continue to shave.
  • I don't want to hear about your sexploits or your bowel movements.
  • I can be attracted to, date, or like whoever the hell I want.
  • I don't have to like you, especially since you're such an a*hole.
  • No, I don't want to hold your baby.
  • I don't want your pet jumping all over me.
  • Twitter is fun, who cares if you don't understand it, get over it.
  • No means 'NO.'
  • Flaws are extraordinary.
  • I don't have to explain how I go about me and mine to you, her, him, or them.
  • I'm still single, and your point?
  • Desperation is reckless and unbecoming.
  • So WHAT I don't have a car.
  • I didn't ask you for your advice you self-righteous so and so.
  • I don't give a damn how much money you have, you're still a jerk.
  • I don't have to smile, YOU smile.
  • I like saying "menstrual cramps" out loud. No need to whisper it, esp. since you just told me about your sexploits and your bowel movement.
  • I'm not a slender, flexible instrument that's inserted into the urethra, therefore I'm not "bougie."
  • I suppose I do have BOURGEOIS tendencies when it comes to specific things, however.
  • It's okay that I'm NOT sexually repressed.
  • I like simplicity.
  • I can't stand unnecessary noise and drama.
  • Don't like being around sullen, ill-humored folks.
  • I don't have to make small talk with strangers early in the morning, if I don't feel like it. I wanna listen to my music.
  • No, I'm not straightening my hair, but I appreciate (or not) your suggestion.
  • My uterus and or reproductive organs are none of your damn business.

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.

April 04, 2009

Hormones and Obsessive Love

Friday was one of my worst, dark days. I haven't had one of those in a long time. Hormones. They were all over the place. Rampant mood swinging. I was extremely hot. Bloat, bloat, bloat. And on top of that, I had a horrible dry cough of meth head proportions My sinsuses were (and still are but not as much anymore) bothering me. Is this what happens when we (women) age? Do our hormones act ugly and randomly decide to shake us up for shits and giggles? A co-worker (after I expressed to him that I wasn't in the mood) leaned over and started singing Tomorrow, from Annie. That was the nail in the coffin for him. I went stone cold. My look sent in slinking away. I later sent an email apologizing, but reminding him that patronzing a woman while she is in the throes of hormonal shape shifting is a big no-no, especially after he'd been warned earlier. He realized his mistake and said he was only trying to make me laugh, but that he definitely understood that was NOT the time. Case closed.
I'm unapologetically human. I may seem otherworldly, but I'm not. I'm a human being whose emotions span a wide spectrum. Just so happened, I was caught off guard while a work, and not feeling well.
Been keeping a low profile this weekend. Relaxing, will probably luxuriate and have another Spa Day if I could peel myself off of this chaise lounger, and do something fun and exciting... like ummm... laundry. Oh goody gum drops! It's piling up. I hate doing laundry, but I need clean panties for tomorrow. Perhaps I'll make turkey bacon and eggs first though... as soon as I get up.
On a completely unrelated note, a few days ago while dusting, I came across a VHS tape of 9 1/2 Weeks which starred Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger. It has been a while since I've seen that flick. Even longer since I popped a VHS tape in a VCR. A highly charged erotic drama about obsessive love. How one man meets one woman, and instead of courting her in the traditional sense, and getting to know her, and caressing her tenderly... completely pushes her to her limit by exerting control over her through emotional emotional abuse, coercing her to engage in a series sexy, and eventually dubious and at times dangerous, sexual situations, and then he caresses her gently. Kim's character finally reaches her breaking point and dips.

Mickey professes his love, only after she decides she has had enough of his psychological games and quits him. His character starts going into an abridged discourse about his life and where he grew up as Kim's character packs her things, but it's too late. Kim wanted to know that stuff in the beginning of the relationship... before the sadomasochism.

I'm reminded of the book, The Story of O by Paula Reage and published in 1954, which explores the very same themes... obsessive love, dominance and submission. Themes that have always piqued my curiosity (not in a way that makes me want to partake). I've always wondered what prompted someone to become so lost in another person, that it manifests itself in an unhealthy compulsion. More importantly, what makes a person to submit his or her will, or to engage someone who is so infatuated with them or who essentially hurts them, and breaks them down psychologically? Kim Basinger didn't really submit to being dominated, not in the traditional sense of S&M relationships where it's usually consensual, and both parties understand the rules of that type of courtship.

She was sort of, bullied into submitting to Mickey's whims. Unlike many other women, Kim's character finally found her derring-do and extricated herself from the situation, when things got unhealthy. Healthy Love vs Obsession. Why, if he loved her so, did Mickey's character manipulate and play games, instead of simply making love to her and taking her as she was? I suppose Kim's character, recently divorced, was feeling vulnerable, just getting back into the dating world, and was somewhat subsceptible. Why do people manipulate and hurt their paramour if they love them so? I know women, who seemingly have their act together, but who are wittingly, well, unwitting participants in this type of obsessive, sadomasochistic relationship. No amount of encouragement seems to make them leave. While they complain about how unhappy they are, they seem comfortable wallowing in that sort of misery, despite how much they say they want to move on. Co-dependency plays a large part, I'm sure. I'm just curious about obsessive love... the takers and the willing participants. What's going on here?
Thoughts?

November 08, 2008

The Story of (What I Did for) O

Tuesday, November 4th was undoubtedly, one of the most important days in the history of important days. Its aftermath would make or break the United States as we know it, and considering what we know, the vast majority of this country's citizens were looking to make history and break-up with the current White House administration. Election day. Monumental, nail-biting, extraordinary because of the response this year's voting process evoked. I got up, determined to project my voice with some measure of success this time around. Election day was particularly mild and sunny, perfect for waiting outside for hours. This is how I spent November 4th.
7:55AM - I arrived at my old polling station hoping to put one over because A) voting downtown was sooo convenient since I work down there plus there was NO line to speak of! and B) my old downtown address was listed on my ID, and I was worried voting at my new district without current address info would present a problem. Needless to say, my efforts were to no avail because I wasn't on the registration list and District 19 was not having it, so they politely told me where my new polling district was located when I told them I'd moved. "Make sure you go vote! You HAVE to do it!" one of the volunteers yelled after me. A little dejected, I decided I'd use my lunch hour to do just that.
12:30PM- I arrive at my new voting district and groaned when I saw the long line. I saw a small group heading in the same direction and so walked at a clip, taking a shortcut through some hedges, jumping right in front of them before they closed the gap. I took my place. And I waited, and waited, and waited. The facility was hot and stuffy. I smelled some sort of stench coming from inside. The more the line inched forward, the stronger and more putrid the funk got. My olfactory glands hung on for dear life, struggling not to collapse my nose. The young man in front of me started fanning his and pinching his nostrils together. The line inched forward some more. I'd been holding my breath the whole time, and made the mistake of inhaling to take in some air. The perfume was undeniable: rank breath, unwashed body, strong week old piss with a hot helping of fresh pee, dirty socks and mildew. I was awash in its aroma.
The line inched forward. I was standing directly in front of a bathroom door at this point. A volunteer made his way through the crowd, and went in. He opened the door and the smell of eau de TOILET added to the already pungent perfume swirling through and around the line. I slowly turned my head and stood with my back to the door so as not to smell or HEAR what was going on in the restroom. Fortunately the line began to move further up.
I looked at the time on my mobile phone:
12:45- I noticed an animated Latino family standing in front of the young guy fanning his nose. They pushed their elderly daddy in a wheelchair as the line moved forward. At this point, Fanning His Nose Guy started holding his nostrils and fanning at a feverish pace. I sighed and started texting my best friend Cat.
12:50- It still stinks and I'm still texting.
1:15- I finally make it in front of a middle-aged man checking photo IDs and the voting register. The Latino family left their old daddy parked right next to the election volunteer. They were nowhere to be seen. The man reeled back and away from the daddy in the wheelchair, turned up his nose and said, "Is someone helping you SIR??" Daddy pulled out a crumpled up Kleenex and began blowing his nose in response. A random voice yelled out, "I think his family is voting!" the man leaned further way from the daddy. I shrugged, assuming he was put off by the nose blowing.
I moved closer and opened my mouth to tell the volunteer that I'd just moved when the pissy aroma reeled up and bitch slapped me in the face hard, like an angry spirit. It was then that I realized the abuelito in the wheelchair was wearing the bulk of the pungent perfume of STANK. Breathless, I told the volunteer that I was new to the district and he directed me to another line. Annoyed over having to stand in another line, but glad to be away from the unwashed papá, I took my place.
1:20- Two elderly Black ladies sat behind a table. One drew lines on a blank piece of paper with the help of a ruler while the other was on the phone to City Hall... squinting at a piece of paper. Apparently trying to determine which district a perplexed gentleman was supposed to be at. I sighed.
1:25- It was clear I wasn't going to make it back from lunch at 1:30, so I placed a call to work.
1:27- The woman continued to draw her lines. "I don't know if this gon' work" she muttered to herself, as she struggled to line up her ruler. The other granny continued to squint at the paper with the phone cradled between her ear and shoulder. An Ethiopian man in front of me grew impatient, "I need to be at work een 9 meenutes! I deedn't even eat yet!" he said in an agitated voice. "We doin' the best we can" granny on the phone said. I rolled my eyes.Then glowered at the woman drawing the lines. She never looked up.
1:30- "Can I help you?" granny on the phone (now off the phone) finally said to me. I told her that I was new to that particular voting district and I may not be on the list, and that my old polling district assured me I only needed to fill out a form, updating my info. "Oh no honey. THIS your voting district, you gotta go to 500 Main Street." She showed me where I was, in fact, listed on the registration form, pointing to district 19 with a pen. "NO!" I said impatiently, "that's my OLD district. I just moved near HERE. I need to fill out one of those pink forms and update my address. I'm at the right place." "Ohhh." she said, finally understanding. "The administrator needs to approve this info." I sighed, and followed her to yet another table.
1:34- "You're all set!" the woman behind the table said. FINALLY. "Just fill out this voter registration card with your new address and mail it to City Hall. The rest of your info is up to date. You're registered already." Relieved, I went to retrieve a ballad so that I can place my vote!
1:38- I slip my ballad in the machine. A man, another volunteer peeled the backing off of an I Voted sticker and stood poised. I reached for it, he pulled back. I held out my red pashmina scarf, he shamelessly stuck it on my right bosom instead, and pushed it down to make sure it stuck. Then he patted my arm. I rolled my eyes and walked toward the EXIT, anxious to get the hell out of there.
I made it back to work at around 1:45!
Wednesday would restore my faith in our judgement as a nation, as I'm hopeful about its future. I'm also relieved to know that we as a community don't have to find Halle Berry and Denzel Washington's Oscar wins good enough to placate us, regarding how far we can get in this country.
The discussions instigated by some well-meaning? White people... strangers... so far, have already begun to agitate me. Annoy me in that-
"HaveyouseenthenewMalcolmXpostagestamp didyouvoteforObamaIsupportyourpeople'cause IhaveBlackfriendsdidyoucryIdid?IsawtheAmistadfivetimes didyoulikeit??IvotedforMcCainHopefully Obamaknowswhathe'sdoingbecause I'mindenialoverwhattheBushAdministrationdid!"
way. "We have four years to put up with this shit" I opined to a Black co-worker. She snickered and nodded in understanding, after an animated conversation by said type of person and proud McCain supporter. Considering this momentous occassion, I'm willing to suck it up.

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 23, 2008

No Love

Amidst all the chaos, the trials and tribs, my fall and subsequent rise. In the crux of my moving, job hunting, cursing my bad luck, finally starting and now settling into a new job, apartment hunting, contemplation, absorption, ups and downs... In the midst of this egomaniacal reverie... I haven't, not once, entertained the thought of dating, men, signiffy others, sex or lack thereof, or the joys of digital manipulation, even. It has been awhile since I've lamented over my solitary confinement. I haven't thought about ghosts from my pasts at all. They've all become nameless, insubstantial phantoms. I don't wonder what they're doing, I don't care where they are. I don't remember how they look, smell, how much they got on my nerves. What they did to make me sigh with resignation. No dating... away with the online dating profiles, peer to peer contact, considering dating prospects, making eye contact and averting my gaze right before something clicks... all of these things have become my current reality. Because I haven't thought about it until this second, none of it has really mattered or made me feel any self-loathing and self-pity. Oh, I've become quite used to my aloof and cold nature and have settled into my chilly exterior (my interior is quite warm). I honestly don't know what to make of it really. I'm neither pleased with myself or unhappy about how self contained and focused I am. Once things have quieted down, only time will tell what the dating future will conjure up. What creatures will come slithering out from under their moist rock, which normal, sane, handsome gentlemen will take me off guard in spite of myself or what embarrassing yet salacious fodder I'll feed to the masses (or perhaps keep to myself). ... Only time will tell. I am ready for another adventure abroad... this much I know is true.

January 05, 2008

La Guerre des Soeurs

When you consider who your adversaries are, depending on your situation, none cut like a sharp ginzu knife or are as compelling than antagonists from your immediate family. Situations brew, they fester, they percolate, and seethe. When they finally reach a fever pitch and culminate in an all out war of words purged and wild gesticulating... it makes for a nasty and uncomfortable situation. It also makes for some interesting revelations and necessary moments of clarity.
How does one navigate the complexities of family ties when you are disliked by a sibling... have known for years a close family member holds disdain for you and hate your guts, despite strained efforts to play "nice," or are (yourself) harboring distrust, mutual disdain, and dislike for a sib? The answer is, despite what you know is right... at a certain point in your life you don't anymore. You stop zig zagging. You end your journey, cut your unfortunate losses and reluctantly move on, because none of us have the luxury of choosing what type of family members we want or how we want them to relate to us. While some people have a great rapport with their siblings, others have strained ones that eventually crack and then break from the weight. All that's left to do is to remove yourself as far away from the person and situation as soon as time and resources will allow. And that's exactly what I'm aggressively attempting to do. A sad state of affairs, but considering the rough year I've had and my knack for catching a mean case of bad luck, I've grown numb to anything else negative that has happened or may potentially happen in my life. I feel and emote for those few seconds and then I glaze over... hot water turning into ice. Stoicism has become a code of conduct I've grown adept at. It's my armor and shield, if you will.
I never understood the concept of estrangement, of people separating themselves from immediate family members... moms, dads, brothers, sisters... until today. The next couple of months will probably be awkward, but c'est la vie. Such are the breaks for those who are "first born second." The world doesn't end. It may choke, sputter, and gasp for breath... but it doesn't end. ;-( ...

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...

December 30, 2007

Sunday Horoscope...

Today, the last weekend of this year... 2007, my horoscope read:
As the year draws to an end, you are more serious than the typical playful Lion, yet even difficult experiences won't likely destroy your hope. It could be hard to balance your optimistic goals with your current situation, but you shouldn't be surprised. You have been preparing for what's happening now in many ways. Hold tight to your truth and let it guide you through the upcoming uncertainties.

December 13, 2007

First Born Second

"I was born as a second child. All I got was hand-me-downs. All that is what was left..." Bilal, from his debut album, First Born Second
Psychiatrist and theorist, Alfred Adler has surmised that the order in which one is born, influences their personality. That order can have leave an indelible impression on that sibling's quality of life and the way in which they cope with life's trials and tribulations. Of course many psychologists of yore and today dispute Adler's suggestions on birth order. I was born right smack-dab in the midst of the madness. A middle child. Introspective, mercurial, passionate, self absorbed, creative, sensitive, aloof, stoic, an aversion to being told what to do by my mother sometimes/but clinging and crying to her other times (preferably in the absence of my sisters). I've been spending a lot more time with my immediate family amidst my transitional phase, and I've never been more aware of where I fall in the triad my mother has created, as I have been recently. Middle Child Syndrome, it has been christened. Regardless of how people cope with being the second born, the syndrome feels very real to many of us middlers. A feeling of being somewhat solitary and misunderstood. Alone in my philosophies and ways of thinking and living, a sense of feeling undermined or disputed, fighting to be heard over competing voices, wanting to be left alone, creative, artistic, caught between a rock and a hard place, sometimes wanting to slip under the radar, a bit eccentric and self contained ... While theories abound on Middle Child Syndrome and we all cope differently with being wedged in between two siblings, it is a rather interesting and complex situation to deal with sometimes. I suddenly feel compelled to delve deeper into the order of such things in order to figure out some things about myself. I suddenly feel a deep empathy for Jan Brady.