Category: Gender


Not My Flag, Not a Chance

There’s been so much chatter since the election, mainly about how terrible Trump is going to be (usually said by practically everyone who isn’t White, Straight, cis, etc) and how we should still give him and his folks a chance (usually said by anyone White and usually Liberal (conservatives just froth at the mouth over admiring swastikas now, imagining the next four years in glee, I’m guessing)).

Frankly, anyone who says we as a nation should give Trump a chance is quite historically challenged and a total ditz. Trump’s troupe blew whatever chance they could have potentially had when they were on the campaign trail talking about walls and mocking disabled reporters…oh and doing covert sieg heils* at the RNC gathering.

Yeah, this happened

Yeah, this happened

Those were big opportunities to show that they simply wanted to repair the country from it’s economic sluggishness, dismissive political attitudes to rural Americans, etc etc. I mean, Trump did offer several solutions…it’s just practically all of them came from a book probably titled How To: Second Coming of the Third Reich, Special 14th edition with a teeny cover sticker that says “Now with 88% more hate! Ruin your country beyond repair or your money back! See inside for details”. Meaning: none of these solutions actually work. The only thing the Final Solution did the last time was give Germany a huge luggage crate full of baggage to cart about, because the first thing that comes to anyone’s mind about Germanic history is mainly the terrible stuff they did in the ’30s and ’40s. More like a final solution for murdering a good reputation, if anything. Going Nazi wasn’t a great payoff to them, just like it won’t be for us.

I, nor anyone who have been historically affected by messages of hate and mass disparagement, should give anyone a chance if that’s pretty much all they’ve came out the gate with. I even tried to research Trump’s stances on actual issues during the election season, and about all I got that was pretty solid was “I don’t know…but we will just pour in a chunk of hate and see where that gets us.” That’s basically it: build a wall, get rid of non-Whites and more police. This is not a solution to anything. It’s just a recipe to make America not “Great” again but to make America White again. And Trump’s people have actually said that, word for word: That they believe America should be White only and White succeeding, that they hate anyone not Christian, not White and not Male. They’ve done openly displayed sieg heils at Alt-Right/Neo-Nazis gatherings.

Yeah, this happened, too

Yeah, this happened, too

Give this a chance? For what? It’s been shown countless times in even the past one hundred years that just giving hate a chance doesn’t magically transform into peace, it just becomes more virulent hatred that’s just been given a head start. Granted, no one not on the business end of that would definitely say, “Let’s give them a chance.” Since they have nothing to lose, the idea of fighting or being actively despondent or even cracking someone’s elbow in the middle of their Nazi salute seems “violent” and “not how peace works”. Because Americans always have politely asked for things like rights and country and politely discussed things over. Totes exactly what we did with the British and the Native Americans**. We’re such a peaceful nation, we don’t even have mass shootings.

Unfortunately, this is not reality. My family members don’t remember our ancestors being able to walk up to the Overseer or Master and say, “Hey, I’ve already put in my eight hours so I’m heading out. I’ve even kept track of it on this here scrap of paper – oh! and we’re running low on ink, I like the iron blue one from that guy down the street, it’s really nice and last for pages – See? That’s 40 hours, I took an hour off for lunch and everything. Also, it’s, like, super hot in the middle of the day and you made us work…that’s not cool, you always do that. Everyone around here thinks you better shape up or we’re leaving. Especially since you don’t pay us…which, I’m preeeeeeeeeeeetty sure is illegal. Like, super illegal. And I cut myself on a sickle, where’s my employee healthcare? One of my friends a few rows over heard over in Korea, they have a king named Sejong and he – a king, mind you – put in stuff like maternity leave. We should try some of that, or we’re leaving for good! You can find some new pickers and they’ll say the same. What say you?”

Yeaaaaaaaaaah, that’s not what would have happened. Would have been nice but very much didn’t happen. Instead, slave rebellions happened. Fighting happened. Dying happened (by the payload). Lynchings happened. Escapes happened. Suicides happened. Talking is great for some things but not when the person you’re talking to doesn’t even think you’re human. Even Schindler didn’t say to his fellow Nazis, “Hey, about this ‘kill all Jews’ thing. Ever wonder how this will help our country – like, actually help Germany? I mean, I’m just saying! Just saying. Y’know, for kicks and giggles, think about it. I mean, this is a lot of work to murder useful people like doctors and teachers. Just seems a bit dumb – I’m just saying, though! Just saying. I mean, we even killed a gay carpenter and we’ve had a crappy chair and tilting table for weeks. No carpenter, but we stick with the sh*tty table. Yes, Aust handles carpentry but, c’mon, everyone knows he’s bad at it, that’s how we got the table. We had a master carpenter and just killed him. Does that scream ‘smart’ to you? Think about it.” That would have been nice, imagining Schindler doing thoughtful roundtables with fellow Nazis at night, even with a rabbi present, because representation. But that’s not what happened. You can’t talk people out of hate so easily. That would be totally awesome but, as shown by history, totally not realistic.

Hoping that the current batch of fascist douchebags are going to be somehow different and totally open to conversation is intensely delusional. And increasingly so with each and every new pick Trump makes for cabinet. Even the minorities (the extreme, token few) he eyes are poster definitions of “internalized racism”. Everyone in Trump’s camp plans to roll back the clock like mad. And that makes Americans such as myself very, very concerned. Because I’m Pagan, I’m Black, I’m female, I was raised poor and in the inner city and, frankly, this is not my flag:

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

This would be better used as kindling, not as a method to run a nation.

We are too diverse for this bullsh*t. But frankly, not everyone feels this way. Especially those who felt “othered” when mentions of diversity are said. Even those who swear up and down they’re allies but are actually in it for the saviorism. Even those who say they don’t see color but get offended when a Person of Color gets ahead in real life or even introduced in a comic book, sputtering, “We’re all one race, the human race. Why is Spiderman Black? Like, isn’t that racist? Why can’t he be White? He has to be White!” Even those who reblogs the #noDAPL Water Protectors on Tumblr and goes to the tribal land – not because clean water means anything to them but because they want to have a winter Coachella, complete with disruptive drum circles and asking Natives insanely dumb questions like “What’s my indian name?” instead of “Where do I put the crate of Milk of Magnesia and portable heaters?” Apparently, to those folks, we’re just too diverse a country that doesn’t benefit them, period. And now they want everyone to give Trump a chance since Hillary Clinton didn’t get in. (Is Clinton perfect? Heck no. Just isn’t that level of hateful) That maybe everything will be all right with the Alt Right, if given the opportunity. Just like it was all right during the ’40s when Japanese Americans had to go to Manzanar, USA. Or when anyone Jewish, Black, disabled, whatever, had to go to the death camps (the holocaust killed more than Jews, remember that. The first to go were political opponents, actually. Germany was a diverse nation, too. Just like now). What absolute insanity.

Even media that tilts intensely liberal like Mother Jones, CNN and MSNBC now falls over itself in trying to romanticize the Alt Right and distance them from the Neo-Nazi rhetoric they constantly spew, even the triple parentheses that they use to signify anyone who is Jewish or “Anti-White”. Simply because hatred got a makeover, it’s time to play nice with them. That’s ridiculous. And these are some of the same folks who won’t shy from saying “Feminazi” or “Grammar Nazi” (even joke about the Soup Nazi from Seinfield!) but have a hard time calling an actual Nazi a “Nazi”. Or “White Nationalist”. Even if the bigot does the salute and all! What is needed? The Hugo Boss uniform, heel clicking and goose stepping?

I don’t think anyone needs a chance to get to that point. That’s much too far.

 

* Sieg Heils: The hand/arm motion that Hitler is commonly associated with. The Nazi salute

** We told the British where to shove their tea and massacred Natives (even now, American police are trying to literally freeze out (water cannons and everything) the Sioux over the tribe wanting to defend clean water. By the way, Flint, MI is still happening)

Yep, first post back and I’m down with a headcold. Been fighting a head cold all this week. However, even without a headcold, this week still sucked for a lot of folks. Trump won the election. The part that sucked the most for me is that I called it.

When folks would ask me who I thought would win, I would respond, “Unfortunately, I think it might be Trump. The country has gone too left so we’re due for a conservative snap – which this gump-faced, fake-haired cheeto is part of. In addition, he’s a great salesperson, he could sell water to a fish, it just would unfortunately be clear blue gel. In terms of dupin’ the stupid, he’s good at that. And Americans aren’t known to be the smartest people in the world. Far from it.”

I’m an Independent (meaning I am not part of any party, they all suck) and I identify as a socialist (meaning I strongly believe that institutions like healthcare, education and social/fiscal safety nets should not be for just the rich and wealthy but for everyone). But also as a Black, female, Pagan person, I was kinda looking forward to basking in all the folks who were going to say how wrong I was.

 

faceq1478879794217.png

So wrong, so nice

 

Instead, this was me when I checked Google for the Electoral vote count:

 

faceq1478880231321.png

You can’t be serious

The US has really elected a moron that is very much planning to be a grade-A fascist. Of course, only White folks (also known as, “the voter bloc that mainly voted Trump in”), don’t see how Trump could bring a lot of bad news to a lot of people. Granted, this is the same group that said tried to say racism was over when Obama was elected…then voted in Trump based on his super racist platform.

There are already protests against Trump winning because, frankly, folks who aren’t White, straight, etc. are pretty concerned. It isn’t that Hillary would have been the daughter of God superceding Obama in everything he’s ever done, but at least folks who generally are targeted by the Ku Klux Klan would have not been as worried. She would have screwed up the nation as well but without the potential reality of political camps and a major spike in hate crimes. Instead, a sexist, racist rapist got elected and will be taking all those disparaging beliefs (and near 100 of lawsuits, let’s hope one of them will get him impeached) to the oval office with him. If it were some other Republican besides Trump, I’d probably be ok. Buuuuuut it’s not.

In addition to protests, there are also folks online who want to assemble for future protests and disruptions using encrypted networks and short range communications, such as Tor and Signal. I wouldn’t recommend this because Tor, for example, was made by the government (no, really, it was) and Signal can be intercepted. It’s really difficult to find a good network to assemble and help folks organize but, trust, they exist.

This is a very unfortunate election. It was a long time coming but that doesn’t change how terrible things are about to be. I expect a lot of civil right laws getting rolled back extensively. We’re a nation that has put whole groups of people into camps and prisons out of fear, disdain and/or hate (why people think these things can’t happen is beyond me). There’s actually no telling what will happen with this upcoming presidency. I definitely know Trump has a vendetta list and media folks (just the ones that depicted him honestly, or as he considers it, “badly”) are very close to the top. And given how Bush was during 9/11, it’s not hard to imagine limitations to freedoms of the press because that’s exactly what happened.

If you’re going to protest, that’s fine and dandy. The more important thing you can do is inform yourself about government, how it works, how it doesn’t work and what you actually want to solve because simply getting Trump out won’t solve all the emotions and feelings that got him elected in the first place. Nor the problems that people thought the current administration ignored or were too slow to fix. He didn’t get elected in a vaccuum.

I was just perusing my social media and I came across this:

2016-05-31-20-54-30.png

This was me:

Nonono_cat

Alright, here’s why you shouldn’t be turning your punami into a humidifier. Actually, no, let’s start from the basics: what is vaginal steaming? Well, according to website naturalnews.com, penned by Lisa S. Lawless, Ph.D:

“For those not familiar with what vaginal steaming is, think of it like a medicinal, herbal, steam facial for the vagina.

Typically, they are done a day or two after a woman has had her period in order to detox and heal any imbalances in the vagina, cervix and uterus. Vaginal steaming has also been known to ease anxiety in women as well as tackle several other health issues-

• Irregular and painful periods
• Vaginal cysts
• Infertility
• Bladder and yeast infections
• Hemorrhoids
• Uterine fibroids
• Scarring from childbirth, hysterectomies and laparoscopies”

You don’t have to go far in this entry to find the Orientalism in the article:

“Vaginal steaming in Chinese medicine is used to relieve stagnation and coldness in the body, and in Eastern medicine in general it is used to dilate the blood vessels, increase blood circulation, provide oxygenation and relax the pelvic floor muscles. Other ways it improves health depends on the herbs that are used and the healing properties each herb brings to the table. The most commonly used herbs for vaginal steaming are mugwort, basil, calendula, oregano, marshmallow root, wormwood and rosemary.”

Ah, there it is! And notice, those are primarily Western herbs you see that are being used with a Chinese (funny, there’s no ethnic pinpoint because China’s a pretty big nation with a pretty extensive history and various groups, can’t lump them all together) method…that eventually switches to “Korean” later. Because somehow that’s not a recipe for disaster. This is why stealing cultural ideas is bad, women’s health addition. Especially if it didn’t come from the Far East…more like “Los Angeles in 2010” and as a bastardization of moxibustion, which is an authentic healing method.

Alright, we got the basics, now let’s get back to why you shouldn’t be turning your punami into a humidifier.

The vagina is self-cleaning
Doctors (smart ones) would usually tell women to not shove, spurt or steam anything up main street for cleaning purposes because the vaginal canal is actually self cleaning. Douching is bad. Very bad. Like, “there’s a reason why it’s an insult” bad. The vagina naturally regulates itself and pushes out any bad bacteria, germs, dead cells, etc etc. What douching of any sort does is forces all that back in. It’s like the natural fluids in the vagina are showing bad elements the door, and the human it’s connected to just wants to shove everyone back in the house. Which causes infections.
Actually, let me let a real doctor talk, Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of ob-gyn at Yale School of Medicine. She was interviewed by Women’s Health magazine and this is what she had to say:

1. It Burns

“My first concern is that someone would burn themselves because steam is hot,” says Minkin. “And I certainly wouldn’t want someone to get a burn in their vagina.” Fun fact: Your hoo­ha sits right next to the bladder and rectum, so a bad burn could damage the lining between the two of them and cause a lot of issues. “That would be a worst­case scenario,” says Minkin”

Remember, if you’re getting worked done on the vaginal region by steaming it, it is most likely not being done by a someone with a medicinal background. And with so many how-to home guides floating around on the internet, it’s a recipe for trouble. During steaming, the whole area (the vulva) is getting steamed, the major and minor labias, the urethral entrance, the vaginal opening. That means the herbal concoction is going to affect everywhere. Then there’s the rectum, as the doctor has mentioned. Basically, these are sensitive parts that you do not want to damage through poor research and misguided health suggestions.

2. It Can Mess With Your Vagina’s Good Bacteria

Just like regular douching, trying to “cleanse” your vag with steam can be drying and disrupt the natural bacteria that lives up in there, says Minkin. And since the vagina is a self ­cleaning machine, you don’t need to take any action to keep it that way, she says. However, one thing you could do to boost your vagina’s natural cleaning abilities is to eat more yogurt, which contains the good bacteria that keep your vag fresh yeast infection ­free.

The doctor also wonders in the article if the steam can even go up that far. The vaginal canal isn’t Route 66 but it’s not a cavernous hall, either. Either way, steaming could mess with your body’s natural ability to keep and maintain its own defenses because it’s a super delicate ecosystem down there. I mean, if you’re not wearing the right underoos and if you under enough stress, then you may risk getting a yeast infection. It already has an ability to get rid of the germs that grow in and around the body, the vagina. There’s no need to modify that.

3. It Won’t Balance Any Hormones

First off, Minkin says, there are no hormones produced by the uterus or the vagina. “The hormone factory is in the ovaries, and there’s no reason why steam would affect the hormones produced there,” she says. And again, it’s hard to say if the steam even makes it that far.

Welp, usually I would add something here but there you have it. And no, you can directly inject steam into your vaginal canal (please don’t do that) and still, it probably won’t even slip past the cervix, at best.

Frankly, steam cleaning is great for drapes and clothing. Steamers are great for when you’re suffering from head colds. Saunas are nice. Herbal saunas are nice. Steam can be used to power machines. These are all nice things. Steam treatments on the body can be great, up the vaginal canal is not one of them.

Basically, don’t do it.

And it’s almost a week away from the Black Witch live stream, June 9th. I think I should update the time to 7 PM EST if I haven’t already. The reason for this livestream is because Black Witch will be in its sixth year, it’s the Black Witch 6th Anniversary. W00t. The livestream will be via the Black Witch Fan Page on Facebook, so get in on that.

Alrighty then, let’s talk about a subject that I don’t usually broach: hair. I don’t really care about it but as it has come up a lot in recent days, let’s get down to it and all its nonsense politics.

As of recent, Beyonce put out a visual album called “Lemonade”. It definitely seems the whole world wound up watching it. I usually don’t care for anything Beyonce since I grew up with Destiny’s Child, as well as countless other acts such as 702 and Total, therefore it’s all just background sounds but I definitely saw the artistic visuals (I’m a sucker for short films) so I gave it a go. I never thought people would hyperfocus on the phrase “better call Becky with the good hair”…but then again, I’m Black and I forgot that Beyonce has a multitude of White fans, who took this and ran with it like a Klansman with a people-hunting license.

Ok, if you’re White (mainly White girls) and you’re saying “I’m Becky with the good hair”, to a Black person’s ears, you just said, “Segregation now, intergration never. Trump for president. Why don’t Black people bleach their skin and straighten their hair if they want to be accepted? Ugh, dirty porch monkeys.”

No, seriously, all that in one teeny phrase. This is why blindly stealing cultural terminology, idioms and phrases are a bad idea.

If you’re thinking, “Beyonce said all this about herself! I thought she liked being Black!” She does. When a Black person talks about a “Becky with the good hair”, she’s saying: “I am culturally disrespected time and time again because my skin is dark, my hair is nappy. I’m forever devalued, regardless what I do because I have ‘bad’ hair. Everyone likes you more if you have that ‘good’, straight hair like White girls do. What bullsh*t.” It’s mainly racist when a White person says it, an expression of the existence of racism when a Black person says it, and I’ll be going into the why below.

Let’s break it down in two compartments: “Becky” and “Good Hair” because I think if you’re going to be a mentally dense White girl (a ‘Becky’), you may want to get it straight, especially if you’re the feminist type – doubly so if you have a Tumblr because frankly, this is really stupid.

“Becky”
We’re going to start here with some history. Actually, no, we’re going to start here with a reference from the extremely well-written column from Damon Young of Very Smart Brothas, titled “Where ‘Becky’ Comes From, and Why It’s Not Racist, Explained“:

“For years, ‘Becky’ has been used as a general reference for a particular type of White woman….It’s actually easier for me to say whether a White woman would be considered a Becky than it is to explain the criteria. Hillary Clinton? Not a Becky. Natalie Portman? Not really a Becky. Taylor Swift? The Beckiest. Iggy Azelea? Darth Becky. There are several theories on its etymology, but the one that makes the most sense is that it stems from the first line of ‘Baby Got Back.’

“Oh, my, god. Becky, look at her butt”

And cue to the video in reference! “Baby Got Back” by Sir Mix ALot, everyone. Pay suuuuuuuuuuuper close attention to the intro.

In the intro, the unnamed girl is talking to her friend Becky and this is what she says:

“Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt. It is so big. She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends. Who understands those rap guys, ugh? They only talk to her because she looks like a total prostitute, okay? I mean, her butt. It’s just so…big…ugh, I can’t believe it’s so round – it’s like, out there – I mean, ugh, gross. Look! She’s just so…Black.”

And then we go into the song that is worth its own race x gender deconstruction but here ya have it, the whole kit and kaboodle. This name, Becky, is what stuck. (I can already hear some apologist going, “technically, Becky never said any of that, so it isn’t her to blame so [blah blah blah bs]”, dude…no one cares. Also, it isn’t like Becky ever says, “Chill it, Sarah. She’s ok the way she is, gawd. You’re, like, so racist. No wonder Chad cheated on you at the Spring Formal.”) Now, this first line was an ear catcher then and, trust, it is now. Nicki Minaj sampled that exact line “Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt,” for her pop song “Anaconda”. Actually, I believe Sir Mix ALot added to it with the hook “My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t/My anaconda don’t want none unless you got buns, hon.”

This, in academia, is what you actually would call “cultural intertexuality”. It’s nifty and all over the place in hip hop…because it’s a creative art form, like any other art form.

Alright, back to the racist duo, featuring Jank and Silent Becky. This is what White girls unknowingly are refering to, time and time over when they’re referencing Beyonce in “Lemonade”. Not smart. Actually, Young references what a “Becky” stereotype is:

“Admittedly, referring to White women as “Becky” isn’t particularly nice, but it’s ultimately a reaction to a certain type of privileged young White woman who exists in a state of racial obliviousness that shifts from intentionally clueless to intentionally condescending. “

I agree. And if any White girl thinks “Becky” is a slur…uhhhhhh, and “Shaniqua/Pedro/Ping-Ping/Ahmed” isn’t? White folks have been dragging us by our names for centuries. The difference is, “Becky” can still get hired, “Shaniqua” has to work twice as hard to get half as much as “Becky”. If anything at all. “Becky” doesn’t make people talk down to you like “Shaniqua” does, even if you’re decorated with degrees. “Becky” doesn’t get the worst assume of her, “Shaniqua” is treated like a criminal from the start. “Becky” isn’t a slur because it’s literally just a name to the rest of society, no baggage. “Shaniqua” has the opposite effect. And if a White girl thinks “Becky” is still a slur, how come it isn’t used against her in common media? How come no one asks her “Why did your parents name you that?” or told “I can’t pronounce that”? “Becky” isn’t a slur, “Becky” is how Black folks, primarily Black women, can commiserate with other Black folks, primarily Black women, about the fact that dealing with Whiteness as the ideal, especially gendered Whiteness, is a real downer.

Even when White girls think that they’re being tongue-in-cheek cute by calling themselves “Becky”, they’re kinda saying “I’m White and proud of it” without throwing up the “Heil Hitler” salute. (Same for “basic”, they’re just saying they’re “worthless, White and proud of it”. That’s just pathetic.) Basically, to the ears and eyes of Black folks – primarily Black women – this is how it comes off:

2016-05-05-22-21-49.png

But hey, they do have what is culturally defined as “good hair”. And there’s a chance one of them may actually be named “Becky”. They’re just *really* proud of that fact.

Remember, Black girls have a massive hill to climb because of misogynoir (the combo hatred of race and gender). We’re always ragged on by everyone, from mainstream society to even in Black culture, about Whiteness and how we don’t add up. Bottom of the totem pole, last one picked, you get the idea. In Black culture, there’s even an idea of “marrying up” when you have a White partner, especially for a Black guy. Because of that ideal, that means the most basic Becky can show up, and she’s a hot commodity (think about the rise of Iggy Azelea) but a Black girl means nothing until she does something about her skin, body features and that hair….Oooh, that nappy, headed hair has got to go! ‘Cuz she ain’t gonna find herself no man until she got some good hair he can run his fingers through.

Speaking of ingrained cultural bullsh*t, let’s get to the second part:

“Good Hair”
Ahh, the hair debacle. If you’re a White girl, you’ll never have to go through this. Black? It’s a load of misery, regardless of texture.

It was an absolute pain for me when I went natural (stopped straightening my hair) because, maaaaaan, is Black hair politicized to the point I felt like I needed a Post Doc just to buy shampoo and a comb. It’s the first thing everyone will pick on in regards to success in life for a Black woman/girl. Wanna get a job? “You’re not gonna straighten your hair? They won’t hire you.” Wanna get a date? “No one is gonna love you with that Angela Davis nonsense you got on your head. Men don’t care about that, they like straight hair.” Wanna be seen as not threatening? “You look like a Black Panther. Lolz, why do you hate White people? All I said was it was ‘All Lives Matter’ makes more sense than ‘Black Lives Matter’.” Wanna have your humanity respected? “I just had to pet you, you remind me of my dog! So fluffeh! I just wanna shave it all off, stuff it all in my pillow and sleep on it” Wanna buy shampoo that’s for your hair texture? “Try the ‘ethnic’ aisle. It will be an arm and a leg. But there are perm kits there, too! Get all that ‘jungle’ out your hair and look cute.”

Now, let’s get into the Bad Hair/Good Hair debate.

Thankfully, there’s India Arie “I Am Not My Hair” music video to give us all a great starting point.

To pinpoint, her description is “Good hair means curls and waves/Bad hair means you look like a slave”.

Y’see, “good” hair emulates mainly European hair, which is a “nice” curly to an “ideal” straight. “Bad” hair basically means you have African ancestry because no one has hair like us. In its natural state, Black hair can break combs, be absolutely huge, and – when not cared for correctly – be a big pain in the rear for the person who decided to go natural.

Good hair/Blac- I mean, Bad hair has been ingrained in Black folks since we were first dragged here. Ditto with skin bleaches and “fixing” your nose. To get straight hair, you have to chemically alter it or use plain fire-like heat. You’ll have chemical burns on your scalp (just google the ingredients on a Black hair perm kit…try the brand “African Pride”. (Yes, the name. The internalized racism)) or third degree burns on your ears and scalp. But society will like you better for it, though! Just yells “Less dangerous” and “not angry” and “totes believe racism died when Obama went into office.” Don’t like using harsh science to fry your scalp? How about shelling out major cheddar for weaves, wigs and braids? Think you won’t need it? Fine, go see if you can land a job.

Actually, T-Pain said it best (yes, guys got their hair conked as well. What, you thought European ideals of beauty only affected Black Women?):

At this point in history, the present, Black girls are kiiiiiiiiinda tired of the “straight hair is good hair” chicanery. Especially with the waves of women going natural, the prejudice is still buried deep. Good hair should mean “hair that is well cared for, regardless of texture”, not “hair similar to White girls”. But still, it doesn’t. And it still can make Black women and girls feel like crap about themselves. Even Beyonce. Her hair is not naturally straight. If you’ve seen a picture of Solange Knowles, her sister, then you basically have a pretty accurate picture of what Beyonce’s hair would look like in a totally natural state. Why it isn’t in the natural state is perfectly up to Beyonce. Because it’s her hair. Because that’s how personhood works.

Luckily for everyone, there’s a documentary about this, called “Good Hair”, made by comedian Chris Rock. That’s where the T-Pain and co. clip came from. Here’s some more!

That’s a playlist of varied snippets. I really recommend watching the whole documentary. It is as comedic as it is informative.

And here’s a last bit from Tatyana Ali in her interview with VladTv, it’s really good.

Basically, considering yourself a “Becky with the good hair” is pretty insulting to Black people because of all the issue it’s brought us. Oh, and if you think you’re clever, Nivea thought the same with this ad:

2016-05-05-22-27-22.png

Yeah, not cool. It’s ok to say, “I have nice hair”, but don’t recite Beyonce on a socio-cultural and racially gendered struggle you literally have no idea about. It just sounds so…basic.

Firstly, sorry the blog was stagnant for two weeks, had to deal with real life stuff that also involves preparing to move. Annnnd the ads should be gone by now, usually I have a “no-ads” feature. Moving on with the rest of the column.

Recently, I was contacted by a person for a death spell. Basically, they wanted me to kill someone out the blue for literally no apparent reason. First of all: I don’t do spells for others. Second of all: I’m not a hitman, get a gun and do it yourself like practically everyone else does. Third of all: Please remember I have friends in the police, up to lieutenant rank. Fourth of all: Please just do your research so I don’t have to make fun of you and initially dismiss the severity of your situation.

After several emails of half information, basically what had happened was I got contacted by a teenager who decided to send nudes to a random person over Kik because person B said “here are poses/games to prove that you are bi” (which is a bs request, just saying) and now the teen is regretting this very decision a bit too late now that person B, also possibly a teen, is extorting for more explicit acts and so on and so forth. The thing here as well is that the teen is over around the Middle East/Fertile Crescent and Person B is in Illinois. This teen was really hard to help because, wow, they really wanted to be spoon-fed info (look, there’s “What’s the number to 911?” panicking and, “What will/does [FBI/Interpol/etc] do?” after being linked to info pages) so, here it is for everyone because I’m a firm believer in “Don’t put yourself in a situation you aren’t capable of getting out of” and “information is everything” (or I wouldn’t have a career in libraries and a high IQ).

Firstly: If you are a teenager, DO NOT send explicit pictures of yourself. If you are considered a minor in the eyes of the law (usually hovering around 18-ish, depending on national laws), it counts as child pornography automatically. The law is like your parents, they don’t care if you think you are an adult, you’re still a kid, comparatively. This is for your protection. Here’s a site with a fantastic rundown of sexting laws and punishments (for both sender and receiver) by state in the United States. For example, the person in Illinois, if they’re honest about being a teenager and receiving this stuff, they’ll get hit with being arrested and tried in juvie court where, if convicted, they have to do counselling, community service and be supervised by the court. If they lied and turns out they’re an adult they’re pretty much screwed because they will be prosecuted under the state pornography laws and, if convicted, required to register as a sex offender, as well as whatever else the court can happily pile on, which is 2 to 15 years, depending on the severity and how the judge feels. If the teen that contacted me was also in Illinois, they would have been punished as well for producing child pornography with the penalty of counselling, supervision and community service. Take a look at the site yourself, if isn’t worth it. Already, you can’t control what someone does with your picture (or if their phone gets hacked), risking the very serious penalties of producing child pornography as well as other charges because the courts haven’t fully caught up to the digital age? That small .02 second pic is seriously going to cost you. As in, it’ll be on your record for colleges and jobs to see and if you think trying to get work and get into school is hard enough, try having that mark on your record. Find other ways to bond with people that isn’t so risky.

Secondly: If someone is pressuring you to do it, they actually don’t care about you or love you or else they wouldn’t risk your safety and well-being. Period. Sending a nude is not a testament of how in control you are or how much you love them, and they actually know that – even when they’re saying otherwise. Don’t do it. And if they’re a stranger on the internet, just assume they have nefarious reasons to ask a young person they practically just met to send pornographic material of themselves. Good people don’t do that, only pedo, ephebophiles (pedos but targeting teens), and other very destructive, abusive people do that. I would say “hey, here is how to report” buuuuut honestly, most – if not all – social media sites mainly do lip service but nothing constructive to thwart this from happening and to resolve occurrences that actually have happened. Actually, I researched all the ways to report to FBI, Interpol*, and Kik but then looked a little deeper and saw that, for the people perpetrated against, they really aren’t anything but painted plywood fronts of security theatre unless the victim screencaps everything, is quick to alert authorities and the social sites and basically speak up for themselves.

Thirdly: If this already happened, tell your parents and the feds. Yeah, they’re going to freak out on you because they care and they’re perfectly in their right to go Pompeii about it at the start. The teen that talked to me said her dad didn’t care, just to ignore it. This means either she didn’t actually tell him because, wow, talk about tone deaf, or he seriously doesn’t care about his daughter at all. Most parents would be hitting the roof if they found out that a) their child has been sending nude pictures of themselves to strangers on the internet and b) the stranger they sent it to is extorting them for more.

Basically, practice safe texting, the repercussions aren’t worth it.

*How are things on the West coast? – I had to do it, I’m sorry XD

It is nearly banana’s how logic bending happens.

Just on absolute random, I saw this picture via my FB feed, it was from the African American Wiccan Society FB group

wpid-2015-01-02-20.20.46.png.png

That’s not deep, that’s stupid and misogynoir race policing as all get out using internalized racism methodologies. Also known as the Afriboo* calling card because if it ain’t stupid and backwards, they’re not toting it. I only censored the commenter and not the original poster because it the OP that introduced the stupid that is this picture.

We all know that I’m not a fan of these folks and let me break down the picture of why these bullsh*t ideas is not helpful to anyone.

Pseudo-scientific jargon: Before I go on, whenever an Afriboo talks, they sound almost effortlessly like the Booked on Phonics skit from In Living Color, also known as “One of Black Witch’s favorite running skits on the show.” Here’s a vid, surely you’ll see the similarities:

The skit cracks me up because it’s idiocy trying to parade as intelligence – pseudo-intelligence, is the definitive term – which is what this guy is trying to do by saying the “the highest level of Neanderthal gene is related to straight hair, which is in Asia and India”. Here’s why that is a stupid thing to say:

– It’s a nonsense feature: the relation of the Neanderthal to straight hair is most irrational because the Neanderthal, being on the human family tree, had a diversity of hair types. Because evolution.

– Asian folks are diverse: Someone from Cambodia is going to look different from someone on the faaaaaaar western end of China, who is going to look different from someone on the faaaaaar eastern end of China, who is going to look different from someone in Sri Lanka, who is going … you get the picture. Lumping them all together is insulting. And racist. They have different genetic histories. End of story.

– It’s a sneak diss: Possibly fueled by the usual dimwitted idea Afriboos have about Asian folks being held in better regard to White people and therefore should be treated with the same disdain because…we’re not in as high favor to White people comparatively? These folks tend to grade in relation to Whiteness, which upholds the “Whiteness is standard/White opinions have highest value” idea that the Afriboos claim they don’t like to support. But treat them as their main measuring stick anyways. Referencing someone as a Neanderthal is also another way to call someone knuckle-dragging stupid, which is more akin to the OP than the people he’s comparing the poster child of the caveman to (I wonder if he grow that 35″ Ombre out his scalp if that’s the case). It’s like he’s trying to say, “Oh this group of people is beneath us, we must demonize them. For ‘da Bwack womminz folk. Powwa to the Black [male] people.”

All this from that one line alone. The dude goes on to identify that – oh noes – this hair from teh Yellow Peril is in fake hair such as Remi and Yaki (which also can come in non-human hair varieties but I guess he wouldn’t know because he probably would think that knowing secretly would make him gay and then oh noes, gay pplz). And that – le gasp – Black women wear it! Everyone stop the presses! Here’s a really interesting fact about fake hair and history – It’s been worn since the dawn of human kind. It doesn’t take a genius to see a horse or another animal with long hair, lop that off and go “Look at me! So pwetty. I’ma strut and stunt on the other village folk” Both men and women wore hair extensions and wigs since forever and in countless cultures. Besides, this dude didn’t write on what to say about toupees, hair plugs or the slick, black stuff guys use to fill in their hairlines or really make their hair pop. I wonder why? That stuff can’t possibly be organic or be 100% coming from materials that originally stemmed from Africa. I mean, why not be equal opportunity douchin’ on folks? At least I would have given him more leeway with that and just focused on the racist stuff.

I still can’t get over about how racist that line “The highest level of the Neanderthal gene is in …the Asian[,] which would include some [of] [I]ndia.” Brah, go join the Klan. Seriously, be like the blind dude in Chappelle’s skit or don’t complain when White folks say the same about you. They got openings and trying to recruit minorities, just don’t be surprised if they ask you if you’re good at tying ropes on yourself, preferably around the neck area.

Now for the fake magic dude was trying to preach. Seriously, folk magick and stupid people don’t go well together. No one who is even remotely intelligent would say, “If you can take off the Neanderthal hair for sixty days, then we can overturn slavery.”

Lol, wut?

macrocat

First of all, again, Asian folks aren’t Neanderthal, that’s really heartless to say. And again, if you want to spew this, don’t ever whinge or complain for even a second when you catch White folks or any anti-Black minority saying the saaaaaaaaaaaaame thing about you. I am so dead serious. There’s not even a picometer of room to complain because you can’t say jank stuff like this and then get upset when others say jank stuff about you because ‘ey, not like you were being that fair to start with. Secondly, why sixty days? Even if you thought that the hair worked like the one short on The Simpsons where hardened criminal Snake’s hair was turned into a toupee for Homer Simpson, it still wouldn’t make sense. Sixty days for what? The hair follicles aren’t prickling into the scalp and again, why sixty days? That sounds like a number pulled out from the air just to sound remotely (and I mean very remotely) scientific as if this is tried and proven. It’s idiotic. Thirdly, “overturn slavery”? That sounds super dramatic. Dude, enslavement from what? From fake hair? From hyper-Eurocentric standards of beauty? Making girls and women not wear tracks and wigs anymore wouldn’t solve a siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiingle thing. Not one. Their lives won’t get magically better, their existences won’t be all of a sudden validated. Changing a hairstyle won’t change the world. At all. You can have your hair a myriad of ways, still going to be the same person underneath it. Won’t get magically smarter, won’t run magically faster. Nothing. So again, what is being overturned? Also, why just preach to women, why not guys as well about what they should do with their hair. There’s a lot missing on the stance for beard cutting. Like, is it ok or are the ancestors somehow going to get pissed?

There isn’t any slavery that could be fixed abstaining from wearing fake hair can fix. Try starting with inner city school systems, media and jails.

“You can beat the beast wearing beast hair”

Sooooooooooooooooooooo, my natural hair is much akin to being beast-like? What is with Afriboos and always lowkey upholding Whiteness? Beast hair? Might as well just say “gorilla” or something, pretty much there. I don’t really know – or care – exactly for what beast you are referring to in terms of beating but yeah, way to talk down to your own people – Black women in particular because, to mention again, nothing for guys is being mentioned. At all.

“It destroys your power.”

Is this Star Wars or Harry Potter? This makes no sense. Just from wearing fake hair? That’s really stupid. Look, even if the fake hair came from another person, you probably don’t complain about leather clothing, ivory pendants (Afriboos tend to own at least one or have thought about it) or eating meat. Or organ transplants, is dude against that as well? Blood transfusions? Skin grafts? I’m sure if he was in an accident or situation that requires a new kidney, he wouldn’t just go, “No way, I’d lose my power with another person’s organ in me,” or reject a blood transfusion the same way? This logic makes little sense. Hair is dead protein, that’s why it doesn’t hurt to cut it. However, even if someone was suspect of the energy the hair they bought had, there are herbal shampoos and waters they can wash the hair in. Dude, you could dunk the hair in a mixture of Florida water and Rose water to get the best effect. Throw in a few orange oil drops as extra if so. Totally solvable. This is just scare tactics for dummies as well as gender policing of Black women.

“It makes you into a human voodoo doll[,] which is an American invention using associative magic”

So, first we were slagging off Asia and how they’re so evil and controlling everyone with their hair…to Black diasporic folk culture and magick? Woooooooooow, for someone who wants to uplift his people, he sure don’t like his people. Or at least the female sector of it, which is roughly half if not a wee bit over. And more importantly, why rip on voodoo and magic and post this in a facebook group called the African American Wiccan Society?  That’s ridiculously stupid. Not even short sighted, just stupid. Voodoo isn’t even bad in and of itself, it’s characterized as bad in media because it’s African associated annnnnnnd Western movies and media has never really given Black folks or their heritage a positive spin if they can help it. It’s partially why Africa is seen as an all-over poor country when really it’s a diverse continent filled with a multitude of people. Or a Black person can point at something or throw up the peace sign and everyone screams “GANG SIGN”. And why Exodus was casted with White folks but District 9 and Blackhawk Down was happy to throw in as many Black faces as possible (let’s not forget the movie with the Somali pirates, either). Positive depiction: show a White person, negative depiction: show a Black person. So, again, this dimwit is trying to police Black women by upholding White standards – one more time, exactly how does that help Black people? And Voodoo is not just American, it is also Haitian, Columbian, Dominican and more.  And it’s not an invention. It’s folk magick, not a steam engine. Do your research instead of trying to sound scientifically aware. At least he could spell “associative” right, didn’t think he could pull that off. But then again, internet browsers can correct spelling as well.

And fake hair won’t turn you into a freakin poppet by itself. That makes no sense. And besides, what would it control the wearer to do? Kill and murder? Glorify Whiteness? This guy already lowkey does that so no need to have the hair to help. And what about hair that was stolen from someone’s head (because that does happen), what would that make the wearer do? Get a plane ticket and try to get justice on the thieves? And again, this all demonizes magick and Voodoo, whhhhhhhhhhhhy post it on a Facebook group that actively works with magick, some practitioners with actual Voodoo? Why try to use “Oooooooh spoooooOOOooOOoOopy magic, take over your miiiiiIIiIIIiind,” as a way to try to scare women into not wearing fake hair (again, nothing is being said about guys and how they should do their hair. At all.)

“Sixty days. No more slaves”

Are you trying to run for president? I almost wondered if he thought about adding a “Yes, We Can” at the end. Again, sixty days makes no sense and “enslavement” doesn’t come from spooooooky Voodoo/Asian magic. (I really stopped trying to make the connection long ago, how are the Asians doing voodoo to control people again? Like, that’s an African belief, why are folks in Asia – with their own rich history in folk magick, ceremonial magick and all things esoteric – doing voodoo to control unwitting individuals?) Why call Black folks slaves? Nice try going for the emotional angle but everyone tries that angle, how about just saying, “Upholding Whiteness is bad, I mean…look at me. It’s made me sound like an idiot while talking down to half of all the people who share my heritage. Upholding Whiteness turns you stupid, for real. Don’t be like me.” Besides, have you seen how people get human hair from scalp to store? If they could control someone, I’m sure it would be to notify UN officals and Human Rights watchdog groups because skeevy stuff and trafficking. (For UN officals and Human Rights watchdog groups, a footnote**). This is ridiculous.

This guy is just insulting beyond a doubt. Afriboo nonsense like this simply shouldn’t be tolerated. It’s outright respectability policing (as if that’s done anything for Black folks – wearing suits didn’t stop Malcom X or Dr. King from getting murdered for their beliefs) and race policing using internalized racism as guideline. Seriously, how is this supposed to uplift Black people anywhere by just chewing out Black women…and by being racist to other races almost as bad as White people are. Basically, all who are spared from this whinging are basically Black guys who staunchly uphold Western hypermasculinity (y’know, the narrow-sighted, toxic, usually self-destructive kind). The rest of the world apparently has to change evvvvvvvverything about themselves. Starting with the Black women, as if that will fix anything.

Frankly, this guy is a racist, misogynist idiot that only pretends to care for the concerns of women he shares his race with. Maybe focus on real Black women problems such as cat calling, the greatly limited spectrum of emotion Black women are allowed in media and culture to express, the social silence when we’re killed by police or via domestic partners (or in general), the disrespectful framing of Black women in even Black media, the limited resources for Black women (well, Black people in general) who are in need of competent mental health care, Black women who are in Women healthcare deserts – including childcare, abortion services and birth control – and are surrounded with rampant misinformation about their personhood and bodies, which creates cyclical and rampant issues.

Those subjects would be of better use than going, “Wearing fake hair brings down the race. Because oriental people who practice Voodoo. Somehow. Totes scientific.” At least the guy is gone.

*Afriboos: They’re like weaboos but for Africa and Black folks, usually Black themselves, their logic much resembles a dead hamster on a spinning wheel

**If there are any UN officials and Human Rights watchdog groups – firstly, hiiii, I heard there’s a great burger joint in Ferguson, it’s Black owned and everything. A bakery, too. The names slip me but they were featured, I’m sure google can help. Can’t take down structural and institutionalized racism and murderers on an empty stomach. Second, there’s skeevy stuff happening in hair trafficking, please look into it (though I’m sure you’re all aware). Third, you’re welcomed to the Library of Congress for info, Gov Docs is in the basement of the Madison building, Blue core (or look for the big globe, can’t miss it) , new stuff comes daily :3 And pulp bins are across the hall, in case some get mistakenly chucked in, those don’t really get emptied out but once in a while. And visit the Library gift shop in Jefferson! We have Sojourner Truth and Obama finger puppets! And blue, eighth note tea infusers. And book motif infinity scarves that are stylish and super soft.

So here is The Arts!, let’s get right to it.

Find an Event (Pagan Pride Project)
Want to find a Pagan event in your area? Discovered via the African American Wiccan Society group on Facebook, this site, the Pagan Pride Project, can help you. These seemed to be primarily focused on Pagan Pride events but it is just as useful to know about those events as well.

The site works easily, you just put in your zipcode and there you have it. Look at what is in my area when I put in my info.

Pagan Pride Project

What convenience!

Tropes vs. Women
This is one of my favorite online series. Anita Sarkeesian, who is the creator of Feminist Frequency, created this series which deconstructs video games through the lens of feminist theory. From this deconstruction comes the identification of tropes that are so strongly prevalent in so many games, especially popular titles such as Mario, God of War, Pac-Man/Ms.PacMan, Hitman and Grand Theft Auto.

Here is the first episode, which breaks down the concept of a trope and starts with deconstructing the idea of the Damsel in Distress.

The latest episode, which I will admit, gets a bit grisly so if you can’t bear seeing images of violence and brutality, skip to 23:30. This episode is Part 2 of using women as background decoration (Part 1). Remember, if you can’t stand bloody brutality, skip ahead to 23:30, where Sarkeesian sums it all up.

And, yes, the series does get a lot of hate and crap flung at it by wildly misogynist and anti-feminist gamers. Here is a write up on Dr. Nerdlove about the whole debacle here annnnnnd here.

Actually, she talks about it here at TEDxWomen about cyber harassment and online mobs, which she has to routinely – even to today – put up with. Since I’ve told guys I’ve worked with at the Library of Congress how bad gender harassment can get online – as well as how it can eventually trickle offline – just to write a well-formed opinion about games and they were completely floored in disbelief, lemme slap this video up here.

And of telling dudes at the LoC about gender and gaming, I really remember the one dude who was from the Performing Arts Division collecting Prima guides in my area and I saw he picked up one for Remember Me. I recommended it strongly since I’ve played it and it had a Black girl as the lead. That started a conversation of gender and video games and he mentioned he had a 9 year old son and wanted me to recommend women-starring games (that were age appropriate) because he literally said “I don’t want my son to grow up and he’s hitting women on an elevator”.* This dude actually cared that his son wouldn’t become some future harasser/rapist-in-training/douchebag and knew part of how was by playing games that would let the kiddo see that women are people, not simply things to be acted upon and in brutish fashion at that. So I recommended a series of games that were appropriate for his kid to play now at 9 and when he gets older as well as what to look for in games that star women so his kid can have tons of fun (because games should be fun) and continue to develop healthy ideas about women.

And remember, next week is Ask Black Witch. Send in your questions! Good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

*This is in reference to what Ray Rice did. It was awful.

Not Always Right

First and foremost, check out this podcast from Pagan Musings! I was apparently snark-tastic! And then get the book Shades of Ritual, I’m in it.

So there was a post on the Root a about three weeks ago titled “Street Harassment; What Men Can Learn”  and it was a doozer. At first, I automatically though a girl had penned the piece but as I read on, it was clearly a dude and one that didn’t really have a full grasp on this subject.

I responded to the piece via twitter to the writer, Jozen Cummings, who pens the Until I Get Married blog. This was my critique (compiled from various tweets):

“The piece started out okay with the listing (Tho #2 confused me b/c I thought that was said after sneezes). When you mentioned “considers himself a gentleman”, I thought the piece would go the Fedora route. It sorta didn’t so yay to that. However, women more focused on the fact we’re being bothered like our time and space is not ours, not whether or not a dude has game. In ref. to dudes going “But Idris Elba!”/”It’s not creepy when he’s handsome”, lemme link to Dr. Nerdlove before con’t on. Here it is: “Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between ‘Attractive’ and ‘Attracted'” Highly recommended read doctornerdlove.com/2012/09/creepy…. Meaning if Elba started acting like Robin Thicke with a side of Too Short, his beauty won’t save him from the “creeper” label. Moving on, if women have told you that your approach puts them off, it means you’ve wound up in the muddy area of street harassment. Granted, you kinda acknowledge this later on in the piece so huzzah for some self awareness but still, can’t say “Nev’ happen to me”. You put down some good examples of street harassment responses but you had an opportunity to discuss enforced notions of masculinity. That would have been nifty because, no, guys don’t have to be the aggressor, it’s taught. Women do it less because societal blowback. You mention “I also know what it means to be a misogynist or a male chauvinist” but it might be in a detached sense. Kinda like how folks called out on their racism goes “I’m not racist! I love [group they just insulted]” b/c they only know the idea. It can take forms in subvert and overt ways. So you can still say “I’m not a misogynist” & then do something misogynist. There’s various forms of street harassment but no hard or soft version. A little/a lot, yea but not exactly soft/hard. I agree men should be part of the convo because it’s their problem but you gotta remind guys to not take the convo *over*. Because we already have guys like that, they’re called MRA’s. It has to be stressed that convo needs dudes to *listen* more than say[…] Pickin up where I left off, it’s great you mentioned men should be in convo, just stress that they gotta listen too. It’s a big issue and that means dismantling ideas about masculinity (and esp. hypermasculinity) so there’s a lot for dudes to learn. Thompkins is right in that just like a White person can’t tell us what is racist, a guy can’t tell a woman what should be offensive. Using “stop & frisk” as comparison is actually really good, I often employ the idea myself in teaching why harassing others is wrong. For “I laugh at the mens attempts….” Brah, that’s a super WTF right there because as a woman, it lightens the problem. By laughing, it makes the woman feel helpless because instead of anyone stepping in, it’s like they’re watching a joke unfold. To be brief, it’s humiliating for the woman and the harasser learns nothing, he’s gonna do it again. It would be smarter to just go, “Hey, man, leave her alone. She ain’t trying to talk to you.” So, to the woman, you don’t look like you side with the harasser. It’s a bit of a cultural enabling of “It’s alright. It’s bad but hey, her woe is my comedy!” It’s also good to tell guys to get into the habit of telling harassing dudes off because it’s creates a safer environment [b]ut also remind dudes they don’t deserve special cookies for just being a decent human being. Nice Guy syndrome is just as bad. For “Is it offensive for women to label as street harassment every unwelcome but respectful attempt at engagement?” Nope b/c there is a difference between “actually respectful” & “unwelcome but respectful”. The latter ain’t respectful at all b/c what is respected? Not the time for the woman or her right to privacy in public spaces. (If it is unwelcomed, it’s unwelcomed. Like telemarketers). Also, what is/isn’t offensive to women isn’t that much of a mystery. Listening can clue one in on “what to say, what not to say”. And for the NPR bit, I think it is a bit mangled up she is trying to end cat-calling because it is bad. Talking to random ppl is ok [b]ut harassing, making sexist comments, gestures and physically attacking folks (mostly women) is not. Basically, there is a way to talk to women & it’s fine as long as the woman is still spoken to like she’s human and not an object. to be acted upon. Which is the point of street harassment. Treating women like objects to be acted upon, that’s bad. Talking to women like they’re regular people, that’s perfectly fine and dandy. Preferable, even. The ending was derpy. There is *already* a solid consensus of what street harassment is. There’s no mystery, trust me. At all. And that’s my feedback. It was a billion and three tweets, yeah, but I tried to keep it as brief as possible.”

Yeah, I probably should have sent an email. Billion and three tweets indeed and I truly was trying to be brief.

It probably was the sheer the amount of tweets (hey, he said it was cool to give feedback) but yeah, dude never responded. I’m not gonna say I didn’t expect that because I kinda did. I have spent years discussing and dissecting gender issues and one thing I know about dude participation, unless it’s a pat on the back, they’re not keen on being bothered with it. At least he didn’t pull a Talib Kweli and say some misogynist stuff but when called out on it, start declaring himself an ally of women and thus should be excused from all gender-interaction criticism because he’s on the side of women… despite saying stuff which robs them of agency.  At least the dude didn’t quote Too $hort, who gave out a rape manual passed off as “How to express to a girl you like her” (Guys, it’s should be renamed “How to get arrested and labeled a “sex offender” for the rest of your life”). At least he didn’t say Robin Thicke was just expressing love to women (despite getting divorced by one because of those expressions and how he’s acted on those expressions). So yeah, this piece could have been worse. But the piece still wasn’t good, it just could have been worse but still doesn’t excuse how crappy it actually was.

Thing is, when it comes to guys talking about gender issues – especially when it is something like Street Harassment where they think it is perfectly fine and everyone else is being sour grapes – they tend to be more miss than hit. Apparently the idea of women’s agency to wear what they want and that it doesn’t imply consent to bother them in any way, shape or form is lost on them buuuuuut the second someone mention hoodies as police-magnets, here comes an uproar of “We’re not thugs because of our clothes! Don’t tread on us!” even though the ideas are pretty much borne from the same concept (clothes does not equate consent to be controlled/harmed by others, particularly privileged groups). I agree guys need to talk to each other to keep Street Harassment from breeding by basically snuffing it at the source but Cummings seems to either not know or conveniently forgot that when privileged folks (male privilege, here) get together to talk about their issue with the problem, it turns from a potentially useful forum to an echo chamber of “why are we the bad guys?” Which is pretty much how MRA’s got started.

I understand The Root was trying to bring in a guy’s voice on the matter but dude, this guy was an awful choice. Was Deep Cotton busy?* The guy needs to be more informed about Street Harassment, why it is a problem, what actually constitutes it, the culture behind it and why. There is so much out there about the subject. Dude, if he wanted a dude’s perspective because he clearly had selective hearing with women anytime he says “What women consider street harassment is a mystery”, that exists too. Hence why I linked Dr. Nerdlove’s piece “Creepy Behavior and the Difference Between ‘Attractive’ and ‘Attracted” because he nails it in text form. If he wants to hear it from someone else who is also Black and still a guy. There’s The 1Janitor’s vid that breaks it down as well:

One on “Nice Guys”

And one on Street Harassment called “Dudes, Stop Being Creeps. Seriously.”

And another called “Sexualization vs. Objectification”

Brah, there’s a well-made, completely intricate and informative comic from Robot Hugs in case holmes needs a cartoon strip to further explain to him how this stuff works and why it is toxic.

What else is needed? Sock puppets and animation?

Thankfully, The Root seemed to go, “Yooooooooooo, this was not at all what we expected” and found some dude who had some sense. Aaron Randle penned a piece titled “Dear Men: It’s Not Hip Hop’s Body, It’s Nicki Minaj’s Body”. He understood slut-shaming perfectly and right to personal agency perfectly. It wasn’t a “I’m a guy therefore I will treat Minaj’s body like I own it but guys shouldn’t do that [tho we will, because we’re guys and wanna uphold the ‘men are animals’ stereotype… until it gets us murdered by neighborhood watchmen and cops, then we don’t like it]” piece. The dude actually understood his subject matter and exactly why it was problematic. If Cummings wrote like that, I wouldn’t have given my whole diatribe. It does take guys help to dismantle sexism but they gotta know what they’re doing first. Randle clearly shows he knows his kit, there need to be more dude-penned pieces like his.

*Inb4 fandroid whinging: While Deep Cotton are fantastic musicians who’s music I highly and strongly recommend, they showed with their initial music video and the sock puppet characters, the Scum Warriors, that they are waaaaaaaaaay out their league when it comes to talking about gender issues. They’re musicians, not activists. That was excruciatingly crystal clear when they butchered a Radical Feminist manifesto and morphed it into a male power fantasy. I still recommend their music immensely because it is great but that video should have never happened. Evar. I still think they should have just lengthened out what they did in the Sonos commercial (everyone at Wondaland Arts Society was just jamming and having fun to the song) and all would have been good in the world.

Before we start, remember that on June 9th, there is going to be a Black Witch livestream on Ustream for the 4th anniversary of this site at NEW TIME: 10:00 PM EST

Moving on!

Neko no Shuukai
This short film is so cute! It’s called “Neko no Shuukai”, which means “A Gathering of Cats”. It’s about a kitty named Chobi that’s tired of being stepped on day in and day out and he’s not the only one. Time for a kitty revolution! Maybe.

Dr. Nerdlove
I have been referred to very few relationship blogs and dating columns. To be honest, I usually read Dan Savage and listen to Loveline but it seems Dr. Nerdlove is very good at creating materials specifically for nerds, geeks and everyone in between because if anyone needs to know how to be social and interact with others, especially in dating, it’s them.

Granted the website is fairly directed at the usual White, straight nerd guy, I have found that the pieces are fairly well written. I like his writings on Creep Week, how to interact with women and even goes as far as deconstructing misogynist ideas most commonly held in nerd circles so nerd dudes can go from fedora-wearing douchebag neckbeards to decent guys.

I really liked these posts most:

Socially Awkward isn’t an Excuse
On Labeling Men ‘Creepy’”/”On Labeling Women ‘Crazy’
How Not to be Creepy
Coerced Consent: When ‘Yes’ Really Means ‘No’

I know so many guys who could benefit from this site a lot more than whatever they’re currently reading. Dr. Nerdlove breaks down gender issues in a way that’s actually understandable for guys so they can develop the empathy necessary to develop relationships with. That and they can do away with the “Women are evil/mean/skanks/such catty b*tches/crazy” thinking since Dr. Nerdlove successfully deconstructs such problematic (and sexist) thinking. I really like it and thus, highly recommend it.

The advice is fairly sound when it comes to picking up folks. Dr. Nerdlove breaks it down bit by bit so everyone can easily follow along and apply it to their lives. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaad eeeeeeeeett.

Learn more about Dr. Nerdlove:
Dr. Nerdlove Twitter (@DrNerdLove)
Dr. Nerdlove Facebook
Dr. Nerdlove Tumblr

Musicogyny
It’s no surprise that the music industry is rife with misogyny. It has 3% women in the industry, which most certainly is not because of lack of talent from women in both the music side and the business side of the music business but of the douchiness of the guys in the music industry creating hostile environments that unnecessarily oust women, creating a near sausage-fest.

Of course, you will still have some random dude saying that he doesn’t see any misogyny in the music industry – in fact, it’s somehow easier to be a girl in the industry because there’s so little competition and they can use their womanly wiles to get what they want…even if they didn’t ask for it. (Read Dr. Nerdlove for an explanation of why this is such a dumb and myopic perspective). This blog is to document all the times women have encountered sexism in their respective fields in the music industry. I highly recommending giving this site a look because it is indeed ridiculous how difficult it is for women to make it in the music industry because they’re framed in the lens of “Is she hot or not?” lens which is mostly placed and enforced by guys.

Here’s a few stories collected from Musicogyny:

Musicogyny example post 1

Musicogyny example post 2

Musicogyny example post 3

The one thing I constantly think about is when a friend of mine told me she once went to a band’s hotel room because she and a friend really wanted an autograph and managed to find the manager, who led her to the hotel room and how she was nearly sexually assaulted by the six guys because they apparently were planning to do something to her in one language and talking plainly to her in English and thankfully she knew the other language. It wasn’t easy to leave because the manager was standing in the way of the hotel door and she was on the other side of the room so it wouldn’t be easy to get out. She tried to pin the blame on herself but I spent around 10 or so years dealing with fans, it wasn’t her fault at all. All she wanted was an autograph, something that is in and out. That’s what she and her friend wanted, that’s what she explicitly said, that’s exactly what she expected. Not having a band she likes get the really wrong idea and even attempt to use an assumed language barrier to premeditate how they’re going to act on their really wrong idea.

Then, I think about how my other friend, Lupe Fiasco, got his career started. It also started in a hotel room. When he was 19 or so, he wanted to meet Jay-Z bad. Got a chance to go to Jay-Z’s hotel room, spit a few lines and, boom, a fruitful career is born. Never once did Lu have to worry about rape, one of the acts trying to take his clothes off. If anything, sexual assault would have been the furthest from his mind. He’s more worried about the fact he’s about to meet a favorite rapper, hope he doesn’t say or do anything stupid, forget his lines, that this was his chance. He was a fan getting an ultimate opportunity to meet his favorites well past meet & greet time.

This is very much biased. One got to be treated with respect to himself as a person, the other was treated like a call girl and they both wanted the same thing: to meet and interact with their favorites. Hell, asking for an autograph is much easier than asking for a minute of their time to spit some random lyrics but the fact that Lu got that time without so much as a hyper creepy and rapey comment about his body, his stance, the fact he came alone (Oh man, if Lu was a girl, he’d have a much different story on that premise alone) or anything that my other friend encountered.

Misogyny sucks, especially when paired with music. Or comics. Or society.

 

Alright, that’s all for The Arts!, next week is Ask Black Witch. Get your questions in. Remember, good questions are appreciated, bad questions are eviscerated!

Running Black Witch, I’m certain that I would get odd questions now and again. However, as of recent I’ve gotten a rash of “tell me if this girl like me” questions. This has been coming from nothing but guys, only guys have been sending me questions – or demands because manners are lost on them – to do divination or whatever voodoo that I do to figure out something that should not need divine questioning for. I always give my copy and paste answer of “Have you tried asking her?”

I find these questions annoying for two reasons:

1) If they did a little more than the most basic skimming of my site’s name, they would know that I don’t do divination readings on here until Samhain Pickers close to Halloween and even with that, you have to win the reading via random drawing

2) Why ask a random stranger on the internet if someone you actually knows likes you? Just ask!

The reason why I always respond “Have you tried asking her?” to their “Does she like me?” question is because that’s really just it. The best way to find out if someone likes you is if you actually suck it up and ask “Do you like me? Y’know, more than a friend?” I’m not saying it’s not nerve wracking to ask someone you have a crush on if they feel the same way you do about them but it is a better step than simply bothering me. Even my personal friends don’t come to me asking this question.

I do find it interesting that I’ve gotten absolutely nothing but guys asking me this. And they don’t go into detail, just basically go, “There’s this girl. Does she like me?” Dude, just ask her. I don’t think I can say that enough. One even decided to play stupid and thought that because I wasn’t psychically confirming whether or not the girl he was too scared to approach in honesty liked him, that it would be best to basically call me a fraud. Not smart. No need to get moody at me for not having the courage to ask for yourself.

These questions are so unnecessary and annoying because, to be frank, if the guy is too scared to make the first step on their own (or if anyone is afraid to make the first step on their own, regardless of gender) then what will they do when things get harder? The sucky part about love is that there’s not really any arbitrary checking scale. Not to mention, if I did do a reading for these guys (who bothered to ask with absolutely zero manners), that means they most likely would bother me every time they had an issue with girls in opposed to actually using logic and social skills to work it out for themselves. Yeah, no.

I really don’t like questions like these because they’re not questions you should be asking me, a random person on the internet. This is beyond dancing around the mulberry bush, this is avoiding the whole block that one bush sits on. It’s one thing if it were someone I knew asking and even then I wouldn’t pull out the cards initially but just ask the basic questions of “How do you know?” and “So, when are you going to talk to them about it?” Being direct, even when it is scary, is the best way to go about it all. You get your answer, everyone is on the same page, it’s a lot better than simply asking me. As long as the guys don’t take on creepy ways to confess to the girls or to ask them simply, they should be fine. Just be sincere and direct.

Of course, there a good reason the guys are asking me instead of the girls first: fear of rejection.

Getting rejected sucks but it happens. These guys gotta understand that. They also have to understand that talking (rudely and abruptly) to a diviner is not going to save them from rejection either. I’ve been rejected, my friends have been rejected, everyone’s been rejected before. It’s not fun but it’s part of life. It could go along well with the girl, it might not. It all depends on a) if the girl actually does like the guy back, b) the guy does not approach the girl in a creepy/domineering manner and c) the guy doesn’t respond to the potential rejection in a scary way. I hope the guys understand that no one owes them a date or a relationship and that if the person doesn’t reciprocate, they don’t reciprocate.

You know what else I’m thinking? It’s possible the guy doesn’t really like the girl in question but wants to know if she still likes him in a romantic fashion. If that be the case, how derpy, ha! Given my interaction with guys, it could be a case of the girl is genuinely nice and the dude misread that as romantic interest just because she acknowledged his existence in a positive or neutral way. If it is that, let it be known that just because a girl is nice to you or is comfortable around you, it doesn’t mean she sees you as a potential boyfriend. Girls create friendships because they’re people and people in general like making friends with those they find amiable. Either way, just ask. And get better understanding of social cues, not everyone who treats you nice wants to date you.

Basically:

  • Don’t ask me if someone likes you, ask that person instead. You’ll get the answer a whole lot faster
  •  Worried of rejection? It’s part of life. Not fun but it happens. As long as you don’t approach like a douche and the girl is not a jerk, you’ll get let down easy
  • Don’t like the girl but think the girl like you? Hopefully it isn’t because she’s nice to you because that doesn’t mean she sees you in a romantic light but possibly just as a friend. And if you do find out she likes you only as a friend, don’t complain you’re being “friend-zoned” because you grossly misread her interactions

Just talk to the girl, already. Skip talking to me – especially if you’re going to be so rude and abrupt – and just talk to her.

%d bloggers like this: