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Misogynoir

To be a black girl like me

We’re all connected –

Black girls of my generation,

Like coiled hair in box braids,

Like the stars in a constellation,

Like we’re in on a secret

They’ve tried to bury,

But when we unearthed it

They started to worry.

Told us it doesn’t matter.

Told us it’s worthless.

Told us it was of no consequence

Because that secret was us.

And possessing this truth

Even though it’s no privilege,

It’s another obligation

We have to learn how to deal with;

To protect each other

Like the buried treasure we’ve always been,

To make sure the secret gets out,

To make sure we don’t fall back in.

We’re precious jewels,

We’re diamonds in the rough,

We’re under pressure to conform,

Because we’re more than enough.

We don’t fit the mold of

Eurocentricity;

Our jagged edges

Can cut through anything.

We’re not angry, we’re sharp

And being silenced cuts deep.

The kind of power black girls hold

Is not a secret anyone can keep.

We’ve got dirt in our lungs,

We’ve got bruises on our skin,

We’ve got blood in our teeth,

You see, there’s pain in melanin.

Bruises are our heritage,

We’re hurt and we’re scarred,

But the ugliness of the world

Does not reflect who we are.

We are stars,

Burning bright, unheard

And untouchable,

We’re precious stones

Never left unturned

And unbreakable.

Black girls struggle.

Black girls rock.

Black girls are magic,

But black girls are not.

Black girls laugh.

Black girls cry.

Black girls go missing

And no one asks why.

Black girls are suffocating,

In ways no one understands.

Did anyone try to #BringBackOurGirls?

And #WhatHappenedToSandraBland?

It’s a big deal

To be born in this skin.

It’s not a club

To let Rachel Dolezal in.

There’s no instruction manual,

Just a lot of terms and conditions.

Rebellion is the biggest risk;

Freedom is the mission.

Black girls are Amandla, Zendaya

Keke, Solange, and Nicki;

Black girls are Laverne, Lupita

Quvenzhané, Willow, and Gabourey.

And you might think

In all your outgroup bias

That we’re all jealous of Kylie,

But she’ll never ever know

How awful and wonderful it is

To be a black girl like me.

-Chido

 

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B.I.T.C.H. part 5

Because

Inevitably, bitterness

Took over and

Consumed me the way

Hypocrites consumed church offerings

 

Because

I urged

To rebel against everything

Created to

Hinder me from saying these things

 

Because

It’s all

Too taboo, too

Cliché and

Heresy

 

Because

Insincerity is

Truth and

Cluelessness is safety and the manifestation of both

Harbors a relentless thirst for transparency

 

Because

Injustice

Turns softness into

Coarseness and lewdness into

Holiness

 

Because

Ignorance is a survival

Tactic

Carrying away women’s words and killing us

Haphazardly

 

Because

Inside me

The

Cracks are still

Healing

 

Because

Independence

Takes

Continuous

Hurt and bravery

 

Because all

I’m doing is

Toughening myself up and

Climbing out of the

Hole you buried me in

 

Because

In every language

There’s a word for ‘bitch’, but too long have we

Confused the word ‘bitch’ with

Heroine

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

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B.I.T.C.H. part 1

Because

I

Thought that

Circumstance

Hated me

 

Because

I had

Thick thighs, a round stomach,

Cellulite, brown skin, and locks that coil relentlessly and

Hate the fine tooth combs they used to straighten out girls like me

 

Because even on my best days

I could never be

The kind of pretty that

Could redeem me from my self-

Hatred

 

Because

If he doesn’t

Think you’re fuckable, you

Change yourself

However you need to

 

Because men know best, what

It means

To be a desirable woman:

Coy, quiet, and gentle, with

Heavenly smiles that caused men to sin

 

Because

I was

Taught I

Couldn’t be whole without

Him

 

Because

I

Thought I

Could use pretense as makeup and

Hide from the expectations

 

Because

I knew

The only life that would make a mother proud was

Circumscribed for me with

Hereditary lies

 

Because

Innocence was

Too easily revoked before I

Could even

Have 10 years of naïveté

 

Because, all of a sudden,

Impurity was

Tattooed all over my

Careful skin,

Highlighting my every move as potentially deviant

 

Because

I had never been

Touched with my

Consent nor

Have I ever been still

 

Because

I had

To learn that my body tells people things that

Could send me straight to

Hell

 

Because other women

I know also have bodies

That say things they’re unable to

Control, things that only men are able to

Hear

 

Because

I knew

Too many

Close to me who’ve been bruised and battered by forceful

Hands

 

Because

It’s always our fault, but we’re supposed

To welcome the unwarranted

Caress and calamity

He gives

 

Because what she called

Invasion, he called persuasion,

Till he

Clipped

Her wings and she showed me her scars

 

Because

It’s always her fault even if

The

Crime was

His

 

Because

It’s still not ok

To

Confess what

He did

 

Because

It’s never ok for girls

To be

Confused for

Helpless kids

 

Because a bitch

Isn’t

The worst thing that you

Can call me,

Honestly

-Chido

 

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The best dating advice I’ve ever gotten…

The best dating advice I’ve ever gotten was to not come on too strong.

Unlike a tea bag

Helplessly sinking in a mug of torrid water

Oozing out its essence and

Altering its surroundings to become akin to its own sensibilities,

My nature is not at all welcome,

Much less desirable.

At least that is what I understand,

“One day you’ll find someone who tolerates you,” to mean.

“Don’t come on too strong”

In my brown ears,

Hidden beneath my Kanekelon twists,

Means don’t be strong at all.

Everyone already expects me to be ‘strong’,

Which is why most men are wary of me from the get-go.

“Don’t come on too strong,” means that

Any man who distrusts his initial better judgment and decides to approach me,

Is looking for something out of the ordinary.

He wants to find a docile heart underneath these

Ombré high-yellow breasts.

He wants to find room to plant, sow, and reap underneath this

Shining copper five-head.

He wants to find trembling hands at the ends of these two-tone wrists,

Not a black power fist.

He wants to find a tender apathy inside my soft belly,

Not a tenacious intensity.

He doesn’t want to find that respect is a prerequisite

Between my ghostly stretch-marked thighs

Much less than he wants to find hair there.

He doesn’t want to see anything but his own reflection

In my lined mascara eyes,

So I should act like I don’t care.

He doesn’t want to find a weapon of self-defense

Inside my black lipstick mouth.

He wants to tell his friends that I’m not like the other black girls

Who have the audacity to speak out.

He wants the black girl equivalent

To the one he feels he doesn’t stand a chance with.

He wants the black girl antithesis

With the black girl ass and lips.

He’s just another fuckboy looking for a fuck toy,

But letting him know you can’t be fucked with

Won’t help you, so here’s a tip:

Don’t come on too strong, you angry black woman.

That’s the best – and only – dating advice I’ve ever gotten.

-Chido

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#WhiteGirlsDoItBetter: White Feminism, Black Twitter, & Misogynoir

Just last week, the Twitter-sphere was invaded by the trending tag, #whitegirlsdoitbetter. Many of the pictures featured were of white women with “fat asses” twerking, or trying to at least, or posing haughtily with captions like “RT to ruin a black girl’s day” or “White girls winning” along with the infamous tag. The premise behind it is that black women are only good for their bodies, mainly having bigger butts than other races typically, but if white women also have large asses, there’s no longer use for black women. I’m pretty sure that thought process is what ruins our day more than white girls in butt pads.

Not soon after this blatant act of misogynoir started, Black Twitter swooped in to remedy the situation by serving the tea scalding hot and busting a few guts while they were at it. Many tweets focused on hot topics like cultural appropriation and the exclusion of women of color in mainstream feminism, otherwise known as white feminism. My favorite were tweets concerning Serena Williams’ recent win, leaving Maria Sharapova to humbly be gifted second place, because her win set off a chain of racialized body-shaming in the media that has actually been going on for the duration of her career, attempting to overshadow her tremendous accomplishments. Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 5.06.54 PM

Where are the lies?

 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-56-20-1 Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-55-32-1 Black Instagram didn’t do so bad either. Screenshot_2015-07-14-13-35-25-1 Needless to say, Black Twitter was not happy. This is also not the first instance of rampant misogynoir on social media and misogynoir has been in existence for just as long as anti-Black racism has. Many instances happen, sadly, within the Black community, most specifically by cisgender straight black men who somehow manage to promote themselves as “pro-Black” while simultaneously upholding white supremacist respectability politics, praising Eurocentric beauty standards, and refusing to acknowledge the multitude of black people who identify with the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and therefore alienating the majority of black people in the world; however, this time we’re talking about white women.

Even though straight, white, cisgender men hold the most privilege in society, when white women fail to check their privilege or demonstrate acts of shameless racism, it can be a touchier subject. The reason being is that straight cisgender white women’s privilege is affected by one factor: sexism. The shared experiences of sexism and misogyny in patriarchal societies is what brings together women of all races, classes, sexual orientations, abilities or disabilities, and so forth, under the umbrella movement of feminism — or at least it’s supposed to. Things go awry when WCS (white cisgender straight)  women fail to check their privilege. Not all women’s struggles are the same: women of color experience racism and sexism simultaneously, the same way that lesbian/bisexual/pansexual/etc. women experience sexism and homophobia together and trans women experience sexism and transphobia, also known as transmisogyny. An example is the gender/race wage gap. wagegapbrokenupbyrace-011 We’ve often heard how women make .77 cents to a man’s dollar; meanwhile, only white women make that amount. Latina and Hispanic women make the least of all women and the only race of women who make more on average than white women are Asian women. White women even make more than all men of color. gr-race-earnings-624 This “oversight” or, the way I see it, purposeful omission, should completely change the way we talk about the wage gap, that’s if we don’t want to be done dirty like we were during the fight for women’s suffrage. Long story short, feminism has had a long history of white women claiming that “We’re all in this together” and then in the same breath, silence women of color and use our support to only benefit themselves.

So now along with the privelege and the persisting white feminism, we have a new generation of white women who are envious of the hyper-sexualization of black women and the lack of agency it affords us — yeah.Screen Shot 2015-07-14 at 4.59.23 PM

It’s a twisted and tangled web of inferiority from internalized misogyny that actually almost has me feeling bad for white women — almost. In order to appease the male gaze and satisfy fickle male-dictated beauty standards, white women have resorted to tearing down black women for possessing the only things that black women have that white women don’t, according to society. Black women are often “praised” for their bodies: having big lips, big butts, tan skin (mostly where light-skinned black women are concerned), and curvy figures in general. My guess is that all white women have been in a coma since the beginning of colonization where they have been the standard of beauty that has been imposed on women of all races all over the world. Black women were ridiculed and shamed for their bodies, even put in human zoos, while white women were concurrently taking steps to imitate and appropriate those very same features (i.e. bustles). I’m sorry, did I say were? I mean are.

Then…

7_Human-zoo

Now…

 

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All the above are examples of the objectification of black women by none other than white women.

Black women, especially those who posses these features that are so sought after by white women are systematically shamed and ridiculed in society, especially with racialized slut-shaming terms like hoe and thot, that assist the view that black women’s sexuality is dangerous and must be controlled while the media simultaneously exploits it. Yet, white women (and sometimes non-Black women of color), who either naturally have these features or acquire them artificially, are praised and are allowed to maintain sexual agency and bodily autonomy over themselves while being recognized as the epitome of beauty and feminine allure, both having the assumed purity and humanity of whiteness with the sexual allure of typically black features (i.e. Kylie Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Iggy Azalea).

Alright, so let’s recap shall we? White women are pretty much the most protected of all women,  society’s beauty standards are made to reflect them (big butts, big lips, and tan skin only “came into fashion” once they were achievable by white women), people of color, women of color especially, have less privelege than them, women of color have literally fought for their rights time and time again in the name of “feminism”, and yet, they feel the need to remind us of how they’re “winning” when women of color have been losing for centuries. Nice. #whitegirlsdoitbetter Screenshot_2015-07-12-09-34-28

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