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Body Count

One:

She carried the weight of the world

In her arms, stomach, and thighs,

Always alienated, but the size

Of her loneliness filled her

And words like daggers killed her.

Insults kept her company

Like the friends she never made,

All too afraid

That she might have buried

A heart under all the fat she carried.

The remedy they gave was simple;

Told her to just stop eating.

“Stop!” they kept repeating.

She took the pills so she could heal;

Satisfied them all with that final meal

 

Two:

The change of fifteen new years

Made a world of difference.

Took away her innocence;

Gave her body a woman style,

But she was really just a child.

The purity of her dreams played

In her head as she slept

And In her bed he crept

Waking her with an unholy proposition.

Forced the child into submission.

She could see the darkness of his deed

Appear all over her skin.

She let the darkness in.

Noosed her neck with the same sheets;

Too many years too soon deceased.

 

Three:

For years she was minstreled by the pronoun ‘he’;

Boys’ do’s and don’t’s; living life in shades of blue.

And boy, oh, boy, this girl knew

That no matter what, she could not hide

Who she was on the inside.

In youth, she waited impatiently until

The time came that she started her transition

To show the world who she’s always been

And met a boy and held his hand

And hoped that he would understand.

He fell in love prematurely

And found a puzzling childhood photo.

He beat her fatally, tears falling from his eyes, crying he wasn’t a “homo”.

Blood flowed from between her legs and she felt pain in her abdomen;

They always said that experience was what it meant to be a real woman

 

Four:

She would wear her heart on her sleeves

If her arms weren’t always bare.

She loved openly and freely, the way most girls wouldn’t dare.

Neck lines low, hem lines high, excess fabric would be cut.

They would call her a fashionista if they didn’t already call her a slut.

Her reputation preceded her

Everywhere she went,

Especially after he made viral, the pictures that she sent.

Then the whispers grew louder, so did the voices in her head,

Telling her that she was stained with sin and tainted.

She was never looked at with more disgust

Than by the men she just got done fucking;

And never hurt anyone else, by virtue, the way that she was hurting.

But the world was convinced that her christened name was “whore”;

In church she knelt, gun to her head, went forth and sinned no more.

 

Five:

The less she weighed, the more she gained

And she was on a roll.

The hunger was the only pain in her life she could control.

The world praised her emaciation as a victory.

Still, her weight loss methods remained a mystery.

Her mother always stressed to her

The importance of being thin.

Never had much in common but in self-loathing they were akin.

Though the love was conditional, she had to have it.

Vying for her approval triggered her bad habit.

She looked in the mirror enraged,

Used all her might to smash it to pieces,

Hospitalized when she collapsed from weakness.

“Black girls don’t have eating disorders” was her mother’s excuse for her diet.

If it weren’t for the fatal results, her mother would have tried it.

 

Six:

Girls “experiment” all the time, she thought,

But this was more than trial and error.

This girl was helplessly and hopelessly in love with her.

Best friends turned lovers, a teen movie cliché,

But rare were the hallmark movie endings for couples that were gay.

Closed doors raised no suspicion,

And what were shared sheets between friends?

Until their families discovered the young, curious lesbians.

Shunned, shamed, and left without a home,

They had no clue how to make it on their own.

In the park they slept,

Where they cuddled and kissed.

“’Til death do us part” they ironically promised.

One morning they found warm beds on gurneys;

Inhospitable conditions ended their love’s journey.

 

Seven:

Everyone always told her

That her father loved her best,

But she stiffened at the mere mention of daddy dearest.

From the tender age of four

He knocked like the devil at her door.

With her mother in the next room,

He was very discrete.

Swaddled her in secrets that he forced her to keep.

As an adult, she tried her best to forget,

But she cut her wrists and blood let,

She drank herself to sleep at night,

And got high every day,

But heroine didn’t take the pain away.

The day came that she overdosed

And at her wake, her father cried the most.

 

Eight:

It was the only true love that she had ever known,

Fairytale wedding fit for a Pinterest board.

He only had one flaw that was easily ignored.

She was always careful not to make him upset;

The love she had for him kept her emotions in check,

But sometimes she would make mistakes,

Sometimes she would slip,

She bore the bruises as reminders on her lips.

If she ever looked in the vicinity of another guy,

She wore the consequences, black and blue, around her eyes.

When she contemplated leaving, she was told by an elder

That a good wife stands by her man faithfully.

The rigor mortis around her ring made certain that she was buried with her fidelity.

She loved him more than air; his love replaced her oxygen.

His cell did not compare to the prison that she lived in.

 

Nine:

Seventeen minutes passed curfew;

Two seventeen year-olds.

Sirens blared in the darkness and they stood still as they were told.

They checked their eyes for drugs and searched them for guns.

They checked for affirmations of crime because of their complexions.

Police hands lingered too long

Over one girl’s body.

He went into the backseat of the car and said “Come with me”.

The other girl watched frightened,

Knowing that they were both underserving.

She wondered in that moment, just who they were protecting and serving.

Before she could think clearly about how to proceed,

She ran and banged the car window,

Demanding the pig let her friend go.

When the guns came out she knew the mercy that they lacked;

She ran for her life but lost it to seventeen bullets in her back.

 

Ten:

They preached that abstinence

Was the only option,

But they proceeded anyway, without caution.

He was her first love and she hoped he’d be her last,

So she paid no mind when they said they moved too fast.

She gave him everything she had

And he gave her something too.

The obstacles in their way narrowed their options down to two.

But neither choice solved the problem

Of her bible thumping parents finding out what they’d done.

She heard whispers through the grapevine

Of dark corners where she could hide from God.

She was laid on a wooden table and penetrated by a cold metal rod.

Now she was a cold body that they called a baby murderer.

As she lay dying they prayed that God would forgive her.

 

Everything is lighthearted and easy to make jokes about

When there are no names, no faces, no blood,

Or body counts.

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

 

Image Source

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

 

Image Source

#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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lily-allen-hard-out-here-twerking-video-still.jpg

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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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