You Tell ‘Em Girl: A Letter to My Co-Worker the Misogynist

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You Tell 'Em Girl

This post gets the first induction into my “You Tell ‘Em Girl” hall of fame. (A hall of fame I just made up today when I saw this post. ;))

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From Punkgirl to Naughty librarian: Walking the Runway of Life

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 I share a special kinship with Madonna.

 Both of us are exhibitionists to a degree. Both of us are artists. Both of us feel strongly that sexuality can be a legitimate form of artistic expression (Only one of us has managed to become a millionaire as a result, bet you can’t guess which one).

 One thing I really admire about her is how she’s been able to reinvent herself so many times without losing who she is. I”m old enough to remember the “Like a Virgin” days of black-off-the-shoulder tees, capri leggings, and crosses, to the “True Blue” days of the short blond cut, to the Kabbalah days where she’s tamer, but still just as fierce.

 This came to mind recently because I love to reinvent myself. I change my look pretty often. I’ve read articles where people have said this means I’m unhappy with myself, but I disagree. Getting dressed and doing your hair is one opportunity we have all day to be artistic and creative. It’s the only opportunity some of us wage slaves get. To me it’s like getting to play dress up and assume different personalities every day. Its like being a supermodel on the runway of life every single day. You’ve got to strut it and work it out. Clothes should be fun not just functional. 🙂

 It also says that I’m not just a one-dimensional person. I’m a mulifaceted woman with many sides to me. What mood I’m in will determine what side of me you get to see today.

 My most recent fashion transformation went from a pretty extreme assymetic haircut (sort of pseudo-punk) to a long layers and a pair of ugly glasses. I was going for that whole sexy librarian look. I love the contrast of sexy and educated, because I definitely believe sexy is smart. So over the course of the past few months I went from punk to librarian chick with the change of a hairdo and some glasses.

 How about you? Are you a fashion chameleon or do you stick with good old tried and true? What are some of your favorite looks?

Diva and other words I freaking hate

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 I haven’t posted to this blog in a really long time. It took something near and dear to my heart to get me to stop watching “Real Housewives of Atlanta” and “Jersey Shore” reruns and actually write a post.

 I think I’ve officially got my fill of the use of the word diva. I have a real problem with the oversaturation of it. Even more annoying is that the people who use it don’t realize its true connotation. It drives me insane when a woman calls herself a diva and thinks she’s giving herself a compliment. A diva is not a good thing, its basically just a nice way of saying you’re a bitch. We’re perfectly fine with someone saying we’re a diva, but the minute they call you a bitch you’re ready to fight someone. I don’t understand it.

 Here’s the ugly truth ladies: divas are demanding, pretentious, hard-to-please, insufferable, and unpleasant. They’re narcissistic and and they dont’ really care about anyone other than themselves and what they want. It’s gone from its previous connotation of a regal woman of status to this ugly version. The most troubling part to me is that there really is no male equivalent for this. There is no special word that describes a man that is demanding, pretentious, and hard to please. It’s just yet another example of low-key sexism in our society.

  On a sidenote: when I had this discussion with someone it brought up the subject of other words we feel are oversaturating our lexicon. My cousin hates the word swag. (I actually kind of like it). What do you all think? Is it ok to call yourself a diva? Are there words that you personally can’t stand?

My New Favorite Thing: Black Feminist Writer Joan Morgan

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“I did not know that feminism is what you called it when black warrior women moved mountains and walked on water. Growing up in their company, I considered these things ordinary.” ~ Joan Morgan

I’ve been suspecting it for a little while now, but Joan Morgan’s “When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost” officially confirmed it for me.

I’m a black feminist.

I remember once in a job interview being asked “What am I passionate about? What motivates me? That was a year ago and I didn’t know. I remember BSing some answer that obviously didn’t work because I didn’t get the job.

In a year of unemployment, college, dating, loving, dumping, and being dumped by black men, I’ve learned a lot about myself.

I can finally say with certainty I know what I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about advancing my people. Particularly black women.  I find myself increasingly concerned with how black women are treated, how black women are depicted, and how black women are perceived. The older, wiser Brandy no longer hates on a young, black girl because she’s got a bigger ass than me, dresses a little more fly than me, or gets more male attention than me. I can’t hate on young black girls, because I’ve been a young black girl. I know how hard it is out there for us. We don’t need anything additional working against us. If anything we need more of us loving and supporting each other. We need to bond together, we need to create a network. And we need to love ourselves just as much, and in some cases, more than we love our black brothers. Only then, will we be able to get what we need from our brothers, our lovers, our communities, this country, and this world.

So Morgan’s addresses this issue in a passage from “Chickenheads.” She’s been ambushed by three black men upset by a pro-woman response to the racial implications of the raping of a white Central Park jogger allegedly by black teenage boys. Her defense, for me, addresses the dark secret of black relationships that is so rarely talked about:

“Whatcha really wanna know is how I feel about brothas.  It’s simple. I love black men like I love no other. And I’m not talking sex or aesthetics, I’m talking about loving y’all enough to be down for the drama — stomping anything that threatens your existence. Now only a fool loves that hard without asking the same in return. So yeah, I demand that black men fight sexism with the same passion they battle racism. I want you to annihilate anything that endangers sistas’ welfare — including violence against women — because my survival walks hand in hand with yours. So, my brotha, if loving y’all fiercely and wanting it back makes me a feminist than I’m a feminist. So be it.”

This sentiment is on point. It’s upsetting that black men sometimes look at black women as the enemy for expecting to be respected and loved the same way we respect and love them. I digress though.

The book is fantastic. Her writing is fantastic.Check it for yourself here, along with other works by Morgan.