Category Archives: ON “X”

Fat Boi Diaries: New To The Chi!

Life as a transplant in a new city can be a little overwhelming. Moving from my suburb of St. Louis (and the comforts of mom & dad’s house, with its boundless pantries, stocked fridge, and space [Oh my god the space!]) to the urban pulse of Chicago has taken some getting used to (no boundless pantries or even boundless pantry, no stocked fridge, and fuck space hello friend’s sofa) and missing my parents has been palatable, but what has also been in the air: CHICAGO! These are the top ten things I have noticed about Chicago:

1) The smell(s): You see every city has a smell some smell a little like sewers, others like factories, others like sweat, but Chicago smells like everything. Sweat from people hustling home on a hot day; pizza wafts into your nose from the numerous pizzerias (all claiming to be the best), but depending on the corner you may smell hot dogs or pretzels and the lake has some sweet smell that I have yet to put my finger on.

2) The neighborhoods: Each has its own funky attitude. Key word “ATTITUDE”; everyone in Chicago is positive that their opinion is correct and they are quick to judge you by what neighborhood you are from, and if you are not from here they are quick to tell you which neighborhoods you should live in and which you should avoid (for the record I am partial to: Humboldt park, Hyde park (parts), Kenwood Park (parts), Albany Park, Edgewater, Rogers Park, Andersonville, Lakeview and Lincoln Park).

3) Take the train avoid the bus, but if you must, buses on the North Side trump South Side buses.

4) Summer Chi is really a thing! Like it should be its own season. People get off work and they can’t wait to stroll; it doesn’t matter your age, they are out there enjoying the sun and the breeze.

5) Rent is INSANE! 700 gives you like a 320 sqft studio in a good neighborhood. What is even more insane is that in other cities it is even higher.

6) It is possible for a fat guy to find love here.

7) Everyone in Chicago assumes you are from Chicago, but don’t mention to a South Side person that people assumed you were from the North Side or the burbs; I don’t know why but it seems like it triggers something.

8) Take Pics! (Chicago is BEAUTIFUL):

around my job

 

S Wabash

 

waiting on a South Side bus

 

the only good thing about a south side bus

 

Catching the Western Orange line on the south side; pretty view from here

 

Big ass ads that are not in STL; I am not sure if this is good or bad.

 

My Job (the short building)

 

Do you feel the vibe from these two? just über cool

 

Mariano’s Pizza (it is a grocery store)

 

waiters

 

hanging with my friends (here we were at Chicago’s Chicken & Waffles on King)

 

feeling happy

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On TV: Where Would You Be Without Me? Kurt Hummel

While everyone has gone gaga for Kurt Hummel on Glee let’s be honest, without these two there would be no Kurt:

Rickie Vasquez (My So Called Life and my everything!)

and

Justin Suarez (Ugly Betty)

yes the first awesome gay kids/teens on TV are POC, gag honies!

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ON: The Out “Power List 2013”: (Don’t) Have a Seat, Hunty

My friend Son of Baldwin said it best about this list: “Mostly male, mostly white. Same old patriarchy, slightly different orientation.”

OUT (full disclosure: I, usually, do not consume this magazine) has released their annual power list, and it is a telling list because of the most powerful gays and lesbians only about 4 (maybe 5) are POC, of which 3 are Black —what about the Asians, Latino/as (LaQueers), American Indians, the mestizos, the multiracial?— and only about 11 of the most powerful are women. What this tells us, us Brown and Black faces and minds and bodies, is that we are not at the table. That they made and published this list as celebratory, without analysis, and no pause tells us another thing: they—mostly male, almost entirely white, almost entirely  cisgendered—don’t care and they are not looking to pull out seatS for us anyway. What we need to do is demand our place. Or better yet, if the movement does not want us, our bodies, our minds, our stories, our truthS, let’s make another fucking table. And let’s make our table better; they can  join us, if they want—They wont; when the bullied is invited to the popular table, it is so hard to leave it— but it is not necessary, and we wont let them thrust upon us the labels of “difficult,”  “separatists,” or “hyper-sensitive”; we are not. We will be responding to what you tell us everyday from your chat room talks to your boardroom talks, that you—mostly male, mostly white, mostly cisgendered— have set up the game so that you have the advantage, you have the power and we have only a precious few magical negros. We will respond to it by saying “Fuck You, Fuck Whiteness, Fuck Your so-called Power, Fuck Your Table!” Because hunty, I have more power in my house sitting at the dinner table across from my Baptist pastor father, talking about the news while I am wearing black nail polish and mascara, than Anderson Cooper ever has any day of the week. The little sissy walking down the street in East Saint, or North St Louis, or on the rough neighborhoods on the Chicago’s South Side has more power to change minds and their world than any Ryan Murphy production or Neil Patrick Harris skit.

Hunty, when you talk about “power” define it accordingly and make explicit how narrow your scope it. Because honey, if you want to talk about power, let’s talk about powa, okay?
~Peaches

already in this pic you see two of the three

Continue reading

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ON: Why I Can’t Abide With Tyler Perry

The name Tyler Perry appearing above any move should, by now, be tantamount to a warning sign: This movie will at best be crap, possibly deeply problematic, or, most likely, both.

No matter how hard I try, I can’t abide Tyler Perry because:
1) He is a marginally “talented” who get’s results, meaning money, and because of this he gets press.

2) While employing a gay gaze—I mean seriously, have you seen the men he casts? And how often they are just shirtless candied objects? I am not sure any other director has so extensively and continuously feteshized the black male body—his films drip with homophobic jokes and messages. (Did anyone else see For Colored Girls? Not only is the DL man HIV positive and infects his successful black wife, his sexual liaisons is rather illicit and carry the hallmarks of a transaction, which, if someone thinks, could point to sexual exploitation, but we don’t know because there is no fleshing out of this; the only point of the gay sex act was to show another abhorrent Black male and introduce HIV).

3)  I have yet to hear of a positive gay character in any Tyler Perry film.

4) Though Tyler’s films are marketed mainly for Black women, he rarely features successful black women without demonizing them. If a positive successful Black woman does exist in his film then she is a counterpart for the main successful black woman who is somehow severely flawed. Actually, she is portrayed as either a “bitch,” “slut,” “emasculating,” and ultimately she is due a comeuppance.

5) He lacks talent.

6) He makes me agree with Spike Lee

7) He is only a success under capitalism.

8) He is the result of the Hollywood machine because due to their willful ignoring of communities of color and their underemployment of actors of color, he is able to employ actors of color, at cheaper rates, thus making his movies bottom line a little lower, and he can market his films to a starving community.

9) He and Oprah did this:

No, Miss Sophia’s struggle was against racism and sexism and physical violence; she was not a billionaire struggling to promote a mediocre network.  Miss Sophia was not Oprah’s, she was ours. Miss Sophia appeared in a pro-black women piece of art, Madea is the product of a man whose films make money off the backs of women he mocks.

10) He bastardized For Colored Girls Who Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf

11) Did I mention he has no talent?

12) He has money so he could easily buy rights to projects and hire directors and writers with more talent and vision than he, but he does not seem to.

13) HE LACKS TALENT!
 

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On: “Why my Facebook Picture is not the HRC in Red but a Black Fist”

Yesterday Facebook, from a glance, bled red. People picked their sides and fired shots with their mouse pads’ right click buttons and status updates. A red and pink HRC emblem and you were so obviously pro-marriage equality and gay rights, the absence of such a picture marked laziness, indifference, or anti-marriage equality and, supposedly, anti gay rights. But, that is part of the problem, to be anti-marriage equality is often equated with being anti-gay rights, but can’t one be anti-marriage equality, perhaps because they are simply anti-marriage, and still pro-gay rights, or can’t one be anti-marriage equality and anti-gay rights, but pro queer liberation? This brings me to the actual larger issue, what I find most fascinating: If one looked closely at Facebook they would see that yesterday revealed real deep divisions in the gay/queer community.

Some of us, in my feed, those who labeled themselves queer and many of the black lgbtq identified people (although to be honest, most of my lgbtq friends are black so that can create a skewed picture), did not replace our profile pictures with the red and pink HRC emblem because for us marriage-equality is not where our investment lies. On a purely selfish level, I am still struggling to fight for a world, a place, where my body and skin can be seen as desirable—not simply a fetishistic choice—to give me a real chance of being loved. That is more my fight, the right to be loved and wanted, but that is not easily solved and most certainly not via legal channels. I am still invested in the fight that makes being a femme sissy acceptable, and a world where I am not told by other gay people that I am simply a stereotype and “holding the movement back.” My worries are that it is statistically more likely that I or one of my friends will contract HIV than it is that we will marry or even be loved, and that it feels as if, now that the face of HIV and AIDS is mostly Black and Brown, the (white) gay community has turned its back on us; one of my friend’s called it “AIDS fatigue.” I am not trying to be facetious,; I get that marriage equality is important to many people, gay and straight, but mostly for personal reasons, and that is the point—the above reasons are personal for me, but, in my limited experience, whenever one raises these points, whenever one says that gaycism, gay related sexism and misogyny, effemiphobia, employment opportunity, housing opportunities, or any other issue is a larger issue for them than marriage, they become “that guy/girl/person/v.”  That is the other thing; I am tired of being “that guy”

 

So, while my straight brother has up the HRC sign, I changed my profile picture to another red picture, a fist with a quote from Michael Cavadias:

“I very much hope the Supreme Court will rule for marriage equality nationwide. Mostly because it might free up the LGBT movement to get back to pressing social justice issues like health care (remember “health care is a right” from ACT UP?), housing justice and empowering the most invisible and dispossessed in our community.”

 

I read this and shouted, “hallelujah!” I support marriage equality in the sense that if someone wants to be married then they should have the right to be married, but I am not necessarily pro-monogamy (or anti it), nor am I in general a pro-marriage person, nor do I think it will solve any of the problems that I care about and seem more pertinent to my particular community. And before you say it, I get that it people are, now, not claiming it will solve all our problems but, honestly that is the impression the mainstream (mostly white and relatively privileged) gay rights movement has given; it dominates our conversations and it often feels like a measuring stick for how “committed to the cause” one is. I wish that the conversations were framed differently but alas they weren’t, they are not; it should not be an either, or.  I wish that more gay people envisioned a different way of performing a marriage or being in a relationship, but alas that is not the case.

 

Basically, I am just ready for it to be over; I am tired of always having to say, “there are other things to talk about.” I am tired of saying how exhausted I am with the issue only to have a friend, or even someone I respect, write to me or talk to me about how, for them, “I am missing the issue,” or how we must make priorities—I am not five and I am not dumb; I get the importance, I get the issue, and I am still tired. I am tired of the unwritten rule that if you don’t make same-sex marriage the most important issue to you then you are somehow a “bad gay.” I am tired of having to continually say “what about this issue here or this issue that affects this not-so-acceptable not-just-like-everybody-else community.” I want to actually talk about those issues, address those issues. I am ready to see how many gay couples stick around and devote their pages and voices to these new issues, issues that may not affect them, the same way others, I included, supported the issue of marriage equality, which was/is close to their heart. I am ready to see the gay rights movement truly grow past equality and toward liberation. I am so invested in not just saying “it gets better” because for many of use that is a lie—we get better, it gets harder—but making it better for those of us at the very bottom of not only society but gay and queer society as will.  But, in general, in the most simplistic terms:
I am pro-marriage equality.
I am tired.

I am not a bad gay.

I am an okay queer.

I do not have a red HRC logo.

I have a red fist.

 

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(More) ON: After We Get to Legally Say “I Do” (If we do)

This is an excerpt from an exchange I had with a friend on Facebook about me noticing how most of my friends who label themselves queer are not changing their profile pictures to the red HRC emblems:

I mean I blogged about it, basically I support marriage equality in the sense that if someone wants to be married then they should have the right to be married, but I am not necessarily pro-monogamy (or anti it), nor am I in general a huge marriage person, nor do I think it will solve any of the problems that I care about and seem more pertinent to my particular community. I wish that the conversation(s) were framed differently but alas they weren’t; I wish that more gay people envisioned a different way of performing a marriage or being in a relationship, but alas that is not the case. So basically I just am ready for it to be over; I am tired of always having to say, “there are other things to talk about.” I am tired of saying how tired I am only to have a friend or even someone I respect write to me or talk to me about how, for them, “I am missing the issue,” or how we must make priorities; I am not five, I am not dumb; I get the importance, I get the issue, and I am still tired. I am tired of the unwritten rule that if you don’t make same-sex marriage the most important issue to you then you are somehow a “bad gay.” I am tired of having to continually say “what about this issue here or this issue that affects this not-so-acceptable not-just-like-everybody-else community ,” and instead, actually talk about the issues, address those issues. I am ready to see how many gay couples stick around and devote their pages and voices to these new issues, issues which may not affect them, the same way others have supported them. But ingeneral, in the most simplistic terms:I am pro-marriage equality and I am tired.

 

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ON: After We Get to Legally Say I DO (If we get too): LGBTQQIAA Rights Beyond Same-Sex Marriage

Let me start by stating that I am not saying that LG (not really the B,T,I, Qs, or As) movers and shakers are saying that same-sex marriage is the “be all and end all” of the gay rights movement BUT they sure make you feel like it is; for years (basically my entire “gay puberty” [ the time in your life after you come out and everything is full on boys, boys, boys; 24/7 gay and you bleed rainbow, but before everything is boys, queerness, and you just don’t bleed]) everything has been about either the right to marry or to serve in the military, and some gay god on high pronounced some commandment of Thou mayest not sayest anything against same sex marriage lest ye be shunned, banned from all parties, and never able to buy lube again. 

Today, in my room, lying in bed, with a Vicks Vaporsteam machine sputtering beside me (I am slightly terrified that my forearm will be popped with hot vicks liquid), I am wondering a simple thing: What happens if gay people get the verdict they want? (There are potentially numerous outcomes.) What happens if it is DOMA is declared unconstitutional? Do all the activists pack their bags and go home? Doubtful At least not those who are dedicated to activism and broader equality, but what about those who cast same-sex marriage in very personal terms? Once Adam marries Steve will he just go to the burbs or the gayborhood  and quietly raise their children and feed their dog and talk to their neighbors at the local WholeFoods about how the price of imported cheese has slightly increased? I mean this is what they are fighting for, yes, the chance to be like everyone else? But what about those of us who are not like everyone else?

You see I want the same-sex marriage thing to be decided and over because I am ready for this phase of the gay rights movement to be over. I guess the reality is I am still in the queer liberation phase. Beyond just the flat argument of “equality” (which is in truth a very vague concept Who are we equal to; who is becoming equal; what does this equality look like, feel like, sound like; how do we know we are equal?) I have no investment in SSM. No one loves me. I don’t say that for pity, it is just a fact; no one loves me (romantically) and there is nothing in my life that points to that changing anytime soon; so while gay activists have, rightfully, argued for the right to marry, many have not challenged the idea that couples, particularly monogamous couples, should receive special treatment and consideration and benefits. I am not aware of any movement to make it easier for queer singletons to adopt, or to make medical interventions to have children cheaper and affordable.  No one has spoken to life as a queer singleton, at least not to my knowledge.

Also, once Adam and Steve, Ida and Eve go home to their Cains and Abels there is still this HIV thing going on. The two should not be mutually exclusive but often it has felt that a focus on one issue comes at the expense of all others. Unfortunately the problem is, or seems to be, that right when HIV started looking more and more like a black and latino gay thang Same Sex Marriage became the gay thing; so once this is over are we going to start addressing the scary reality that 1 in 4 black MSMs are HIV positive, that many don’t know it, that there is a high possibility of me or one of my friends contracting the virus, and that while yes, you can live as HIV positive person, a full beautiful life, no, it is not just like diabetes, it is still a serious illness.  Can we talk about this again?

Or, can we talk about how in certain states you can still be fired for being queer? Can we talk about being queer? Can we talk about how we as a community do not address the misogyny in our community or the sexism? Can we talk about how despite all claims of the gay community being more accepting than the heterosexual community there are still black prides and latino prides in addition to (white) Pride, or how certain clubs have urban nights only on certain nights, or how some of us have to deal with disappointed white faces when we say we are not a top? Can we talk about gaycism? Can we talk about how rape is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how stop and frisk is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how it seems to get any attention in this community, whether it be for activist causes, love, poetry, film work, news story, or just a hello at a bar someone has to deem you fuckable? Can we address how for some of us it may get better but it also is harder? Can debate whether being loved is a right or a privilege?  Can we talk about how we discriminate in our own community, particularly against the fat obese body and the effeminate man? Unfortunately I can not speak to the lesbian performance of these discriminations. Can we talk about the divide between lesbians and gay men? Can we talk about the way we look sideways at bisexuals? Can we talk about how being trans and being gay are not the same? Can we talk about how so often we are not always there for our trans-siblings? Can we talk about how immigration is a gay rights issue? Can we talk about how poverty is a gay rights issue? Can we lay all our shit on the table? Can we admit that the fight is no where near over?

Can we talk?

Important update: A commenter mentioned something that bears repeating in this post; we also need to talk about the prison industrial complex as a queer liberation issue, and gender (and perceived gender) based violence and assault as lgbtqqiaa issues. 

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ON: Racism is So HOT: Davis Mallory, AfterElton, and that Hottest Real World Guys List

Okay; so it is not that I know Davis Mallory or anything, I don’t, and it is not that I never go on AfterElton.com, I do  (even if I would rather it be called AfterJames, or AfterOscar, or the WildeBunch, or a plethora of other names), it is not even that AfterElton’s “11 Hottest Real World Guys List” is ALL that important (in the grand scheme of things it isn’t), it is about what the inclusion of Davis Mallory on the list means or signifies.  Before being an AfterElton employee Davis Mallory was on the Real World Denver out to show how one could be gay, Southern, and Christian. His Southern charm, blonde locks, and football player next door looks was sure whip the boys into a frenzy, but he is rather memorable for an awful confrontation with a fellow cast member whom he called a “nigger.” Yes ma’am this boy (drunkenly) called someone a “nigger” calling forth another southern stereotype. Sure, Davis apologized, there was a (slightly pathetic) contrition tour, and for all I know he and Tyrie (who is not unproblematic) could be the best of friends. But the point is that it doesn’t matter; I don’t really care, but apparently neither does AfterElton but for different reasons.

You see, for me Davis Mallory’s coming to Black Jesus moments are well and all but since I am not in his life, nor does he have an affect on mine, I don’t much care; all I do know is that in 2006/7, on an episode filled with racial tension and absurdities, an intoxicated white boy and a hot-headed black boy got into it and that white boy tried to call his then-boyfriend over the phone because he was “going home” because  some “nigger” trying to “kill” him.  I lost all attraction. Apparently, for AfterElton, the fact that Davis called Tyrie a “nigger,” revealing how he, on some level, at the time, thought about at least certain types of Black people, doesn’t matter. In fact they state:

Denver! That was a caustic cast. Oh, Brooke! You have almost certainly killed someone before. Tyrie! You’re diagnosable. And Davis! You are gay and good-looking and that confrontation with Tyrie was scaaaaaary. Thank God you’re a part of the AfterElton family where I can be sure you’re safe. Phew.

Clearly they are team Davis and he gets to be HOT. And this is why you hear so many of us who are Black and Brown saying the same refrain over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, and over, again.

It is exhausting.

White gays are ALWAYS forgiven for their racist comments, thoughts, and ways. The way racism and whiteness permeates through beauty culture  the market place of desire, pornography, employment, the actual crafitng catering to and imaging of the gay rights message is an assault on the black (and here by black I mean in older english sense of nonwhite) conscious and body and spirit. It is so prevalent that a stupid list like this which included a guy who called a black person a “nigger” is enough to infuriate, annoy, and make one roll their eyes and sigh a sigh informed by years of treatment and that sigh say “why?” 

To put it in another way, lemme offer this: Can you imagine AfterElton making a list of the hottest X and including a black man who called a white guy a “faggot”? Say Isaiah Washington, can we picture AfterElton including Isaiah Washington on a list of the 4 or 5 hottest Grey’s Anatomy doctors even though he called T.R. Knight a “faggot”? I couldn’t either. 

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ON: No Queens Allowed?: The DL Chronicles Returns

Take a listen to the creators of The DL Chronicles give a long and in-depth interview on Discreet City promoting The DL Chronicles Returns

While I find much of what they speak of enlightening and on point, I would be remise if I did not cite the part of the interview that makes me cringe: The section about Fem Boys (about the 41 minute mark). They claim that most depictions of black gay male characters are of fem black gay males and this is laughably untrue, particularly within the last decade or so. The interviewer actually suggests 90-95% of gay characters are effeminante and flamboyant, and the creators say the reason for this is that the effeminante character is familiar.  Now, the reality is, no, people are not comfortable with effeminante gay men. Effeminante gay men are rarely, if ever, really allowed to be multidimensional and sexual and shown to be desirable. And, if we look historically, no, effeminate gay men originally existed to illicit horror and disgust and the failed male person. Now if we look at the vast majority of black gay stories, these stories tend to be  geographically are located in urban environments (Seriously when was the last time you saw a black gay story set in the suburbs or the country but not the South?)  and the characters are either relatively affluent or rather poor, the middle does not really seem to exist, and the vast majority of the male characters are decidedly masculine. There exists some need, an odd need, to disavow the existence of the fem gay boi and uphold the masculine gay guy who is able to be “just like others except for this one aspect.” Now admittedly this is a rather simplistic casting of the issue but at times getting to the bare facts of the matter is important.  Even in the DL Chronicles, there is not a single episode dedicated to a feminine gay male, and this is a decision right? When the interviewer says using feminine gay characters is creatively lazy, I agree if all you do is have the effeminante person just be flamboyant, but it is also creatively lazy if all you do is write masculine characters and act as if they have no femininity to them. Many of us have experiences with and know those men who are so masculine in the streets and feminine at home, and the drag queen who is one of the butchest mother fuckers around. If you really want to be creatively daring and challenging, show us a couple that is both masculine and feminine, or better yet, don’t waste your time falsely claiming that you “are not pushing a masculine versus feminine point of view” (you actually are; just because you tell me that you are not trying to hit my face, that does not mean my cheek is not stinging from the slap) instead give us a black gay effeminante man and make him complex and compelling and dare to show him and present him as desirable. A fem desirable black boi, now that is real danger.

But until then I guess I will just have to ignore this part of the interview and just wait eagerly for season 2.

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ON: My Back Won’t Bend: Beyoncé and Egocentric Pop Cultural Feminism

It is always, alwaysa nerve-wracking thing to be a male invested in feminism/womanism and female-presented (and at times produced) culture and then criticize a woman. I ask myself, “IS this my place?” “Am I just another voice telling a woman, particularly Black women, she is wrong?” Truthfully at times the answer is, No it is not my place, and though the tune to my song is different the lyrics sound the same (“you are wrong”), but at other times, what must trump is not ones biological sex but what causes and issues to which one is committed.  In that vein let us risk our lives, the Beyhive is real y’all, and turn our attentions to Queen, King Bey’s latest offering: “Bow Down/I Been On”:

Now I am not going to be catty and point out how this sounds more like refried Rihanna song and instead let us focus on the lyrics, particularly one stanza:

I know when you were little girls
You dreamt of being in my world
Don’t forget it , don’t forget it
Respect that, bow down bitches

I took some time to live my life
But don’t think I’m just his little wife
Don’t get it twisted, get it twisted
This my shit, bow down bitche
s

Now some are (rightfully thrown); this is not the Bey we are used to; we are used to Beyonce empowering women, but here she is letting some anonymous girls know that they will never “Run the World,” at best they can serve as ladies in waiting. And, she is firing at those of us who have scratched at her entire Mrs. Carter project; she is not just his little wife. Of course not; she is also a fulltime ruler of all things pop and apparently things that are hip and occasionally hop. Never-mind there is no acknowledgement of responsibility for why people felt that she was molding herself into “his little wife”; it was not ever because she took time off. (I for one was grateful for the break; it was part of why I was/am so hungry for new Bey material.) For some of us this started back when she (and DC) decided to begin to croon songs about how they will cater to their men (found soldiers), then she positioned herself as man’s sexual fantasy (which is of course fine), and then an independent woman in charge and looking for a good time but surrounded by men who constantly disappointed ( Green Light, Kitty Kat, anyone?), then we shifted into the Mrs Carter mode: songs espousing the need for claiming via marriage and rings; no longer were you upgrading your man (a dubious message on its own) because now you both had big egos,  and then on while we were told girls ran the world, much of their power was connected to their bodies. This is not really surprising, Beyonce has always been a rather body conscious artist, but it is to say, her “message” has been rather inconsistent. And it is not that she has to have a message but rather that she has chosen to present herself as having one.  Beyonce holds the label of  “feminist” but is she really one? Does making money, being a female in charge really make one a “feminist”? Can one still be a feminist if they trade on their body and sex appeal to men for success and media coverage? Can one be a feminist when they still play the post-baby-body game? Of course this requires also asking: “How much can one woman do?”


But let us circle back to the “bitches”

Over at The Root Akoto Ofori-Atta gives a defense of Beyonce’s song by rooting it in “hip hop” (it certainly is) and citing how much of hip hop  is about  bravado, and it does beg the question: if it is good enough for the boys then why not for the ladies? Isn’t this just Beyonce being complex? Women do not always have to be nice; that is a sexist expectation forced on women too please and apease. But, there is always danger in adhering to the “what is good for the goose is good for the gander” logic; for me, part of feminism, its goals and power, is not just equality but also CHANGE; changing society and culture for the better.

You see, more than hip hop bravado this song plays into the common media-fueled stereotype that women cannot get along; that one woman’s (or person of color’s) success must come at that expense of another. Perplexingly there is no real way to process this stance; if it is about old beef with Ciara and Kerri Hilson as some have suggested then that is rather dated and therefore petty and unnecessarily viscous. If it is about future songstresses then why should they ever pay respect to a woman who labels them “bitches”? If it is about neither of these then it seems to best then speak to an attitude permeating throughout current popular culture of people with inflated egos and senses of self that labels any and every critic a “hater” and cannot stand criticism  It is a fragile or false sense of self and entitlement buit at the cost of others. Say what I will about “Girls (Who Run the World),” it is factually inaccurate and irresponsible (as if pop music has to be responsible) and reduces women to essential bodily functions, it was at least an attempt, a striving toward, a version of female unity and empowerment.

Once again, let me reiterate, I understand that it is dicey that I, a male, am critiquing a woman, a black woman, on her performance of empowerment, but it is about what  I am invested in, feminism which lifts up rather than tear down. If I really wanted to hear someone say to women “bow down bitches” I guess I would just listen to…I don’t know what because I have no need to hear women be told to bow down as bitches for anyone.

 

For further reading check out :Beyoncé Takes A ‘Bow’ But Needs To Have A Seat”

 

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