Monday, May 31, 2010

Well, Ain't I a Woman

I completed my reading of "Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism" by the ever-powerful bell hooks. Brilliant. Okay. In speaking about the Black feminist movement that his its roots in the 19th century with women such as Sojourner truth who gave this gut-wrenching, spirit-lifting speech with this extract:

That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman? 

Reading it called me to question the underlying message behind images such as these (by the fiercely bold and original David LaChappelle who I admiringly paid tribute to in an earlier post).We have Outkast surrounded by a pool of Black completely naked women lying them in positions of worship and submission to their "male power" in the first one and in full sexual servitude as each of them lies on the floor, on all fours (as an animal) with their asses up to the ceiling.
I have to ask, does it get any more misogynistic than this? This is the worst kind of depiction of black women and it continues to the point that it raises no sufficient protest in the mind's of viewers. We are all accustomed to portrayals of black women as lascivious, wanton, immoral, sexual tools i.e. hoes. No wonder black women clearly encounter problems in their interactions in daily-life. It is difficult to establish yourself as an intellectual and thinker when the media wants to reduce you down to nothing more than your genitalia. Your purpose for breathing - nothing more than to serve men sexually.

Hey, hey, hey with a history like America has in which black women were their to bear the brunt of white European males psychosexual confusion and misogyny through continuous rapes and utilisation of the black woman's womb for the economic gain (slave-labour) which only reinforced the ideas about black women that society currently embraces. I find it tragic that black men have sought to imitate this very exploitation of the black female form as did white men during the era before Reconstruction. Yes, those days are over but have the practices ended. Clearly not. Statistics will tell you that. Some think it's all fun and games. Yey, let's sexualize black women in images - afterall "sex sells" right. Yep - it sells darling. At the expense of other people's dignity. What a rotten system of capitalism we operate under that serves only the interests of the individual crushing the dignity and humanity of those needed to be exploited for the other person's upliftment.

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