My Mom the Feminist. (Black Feminism. What is it all about?)
I’m black. More specifically, I am a black male. I’ve always been interested in issues that affected the black community. I wasn’t raised by a single mother and my father was a part of my household. My mom was the leader of my family and had the attributes of a leader as well. She was always what I imagined what a woman wanted to be: strong, hardworking, intelligent, and resourceful. (The list goes on.) My mom was in college during a time when massive changes were taking place throughout the country. Blacks were gaining stronger influence in politics and social stature. My mom also had a college degree. My dad did not.
I’m probably going to regret saying this, but I believe my mom was much more outspoken in her younger days. When I define younger days, I am talking about the years when she was more active as a mother.(She doesn’t really have to protect and provide for 4 kids; she can now take more of a passive role in our lives.) Anyhoo, in my younger days, I probably learned more from my mother than most of my education. My mom was a superhero to me. In fact, most of the black women in my life were very influential in my life. I saw them as equals or even greater than black males (Make a note of that there). It was all about the attitude. My mom’s attitude towards life influenced me to get to where I am now. Was it a good thing?
You see the stereotype everywhere: a black female always has an attitude problem. There are too many shows to list; most children’s shows, television sitcoms, movies, have a black female seen as aggressive. Some of it is true; I know a lot of black females that are aggressive (My sister Khyra- she calls me the pansy when we play video games). From Harriet Tubman to Rosa Parks, all blacks had to be aggressive, more specifically black women because they were black and not a male. One benefit of an aggressive behavior is promoting change. In fact when aggressiveness turns into assertiveness, a more powerful way is produced to achieve a desired action. My dad taught me to be aggressive. My mom taught me how to be assertive. My mom proved it best when she said to my dad, “I am a better man than you.” No matter how aggressive my dad could become, he could not surpass my mom because she was assertive. This helped my mom succeed in her goals better than my dad did. She did not have to be second to my dad. She didn’t have to be second to anyone. This sums up black feminism. Black feminism is about being the best and not accepting anything less than what they deserve.
The question is: how does this apply to our current generation and time? I did some research on current black feminism. I would think that Nicki Minaj, Lil’Kim, Foxxy Brown, and any other black woman that was seen as being a slut on any media, would destroy any type of gain black feminists made. My mom can turn off the song “How many licks” by Lil’ Kim, however people are still going to listen to it. (Not that it made any difference to me. I never knew about Cunnilingus until I was 21, due to me being a sheltered child. At the time of my discovery I said, “Oh that’s why my sister got mad every time I said how many licks it takes to get to the center of the… ”)
One of the articles I read had a few things to say about Lil’Kim: “So while the imagery of Lil’ Kim as a black woman who enjoys sex is not necessarily radical in and of itself, when placed into dialogue with oppressive community norms that deny black women sexual agency, her work takes on a new light.” Interestingly more is what the article continued on to say about Lil’Kim:
” In reading a public persona such as that of Lil’ Kim it cannot be ignored
that her hypersexual rap image was not her creation but that of a group of
male rappers and producers with whom she worked, namely Notorious
B.I.G. and Sean “P. Diddy” Combs. However, instead of allowing that fact
to render void the disruptive possibilities of her image, cultural analysts
and feminists should stretch a bit further and see her not as the symbol of
the liberation of black female sexuality, but rather as a catalyst who forces
a particular conversation around black women and sexuality. It is not that
black women will find sexual and individual liberation by adopting Lil’
Kim’s public persona; however, as a result of the circulation of her image
they might find enough of a cleavage in dominant African-American
community discourses to begin a simultaneous critique and exploration of
the sexual scripts that have been provided for them by institutions and
individuals external to them.”
It seems hip hop is a strong medium for black feminism. Although a lot of rappers do not want to label themselves as feminist a lot of lyrics contain pro-feministic values. For example, Lisa “Left eye” Lopez advocated safe sex in many of her songs. This made a statement that females do not want to be with a man without proper protection of their bodies. So what then Mc Lyte, Missy Elliot, or even Eve just to name a few?
I will continue researching on black feminism.There is a lot of information in which I can use, and have yet to read. There are plenty of articles to read about because this is more than an issue about women. The issue involves the black culture and most of the American culture as well. After all, rights of Americans are basic human rights too.