{Edit: Deleted original reblog from the original site. Reuploading with a link to the site post instead:}

Take a look at the video embedded.


Couldn’t help but notice how readily available Black women were for the casting of this commercial. Just a few weeks ago, Black women didn’t exist to discuss the Shea Moisture brand they’ve supported for years. Then, only White women could discuss “hair hate”. (And let the record show that Shea Moisture is an example of how Black men have played a role in erasing Black women from pretty much anything the moment they get put on).  A few weeks prior to the Shea Moisture commercial, Pepsi was like “Black women? What are those?” and cast a Jenner offspring to be the face of activism, even though Black women have been the face of activism for years. We can never be the face of the things we actually invest in so that we can reap the rewards from it, but people sure know how to find us and make us the face of a movement when they want to play on an offensive trope every now and again. Somehow Black women are in abundance in this commercial, one discussing how she got tired of being confused as a man. Hmmm. Sounds oddly familiar. I get the unnerving feeling that this whole “gender is an illusion” movement is going to be a nice and convenient cover to revive old offensive stereotypes comparing Black women to men. Like I pointed out in a previous post, the only visible Male-to-Trans present at the Women’s March were Black/of color: Cherno Biko the rapist, Janet Mock and Laverne Cox. Where was Jenner? Where were the White male- to- trans representing White womanhood so prominently? Black womanhood has been constantly compared to manhood, and sometimes unwittingly with the help of Black women, for a very long time and it’s clear to me that that that insidious stereotype is trying to make a comeback in this new movement.  *To be clear, I am obviously not referring to women who want to perceived as masculine (like Rapper Young Ma) or who want to be intentionally ambiguous. I am referring to this stereotype being forcibly projected onto all Black women against their will, regardless of how they dress.

I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same, huh?
Also, gender is not “binary”. It’s hierarchal. I wish I could remember where I first heard that so I could give proper credit. Males and females do not stand side by side in this culture. Males are always a notch or two above females, and yes, that includes Black males. Women need to be mindful of that before they start getting excited over males co-opting their identities. What they cannot have (periods, pregnancy, breast feeding) they will seek to erase and destroy to accommodate their own needs. Women will get the short end of the stick and become mere incubators for society (see: the Giver or just about any dystopian literature). Black men are guilty of this as well. All the Black comedians who have made a mark in the comedy world dressed in drag at some point to secure their position, except for maybe Pryor and Mooney (and we see Mooney isn’t a mainstream name the way Murphy is). This was not about emasculating Black men. This was about indoctrinating them into an arrogant male culture that mocks women, with Black women being a particular favorite target. Think about it. How many female comedians- Black or White- become huge successes after spending much of their early career dressed as a man just to mock men? It really doesn’t happen that often, if at all. And most recently, Black men co-opted the #BlackGirlMagic slogan to be #Blackboymagic and then #blackboyjoy. And Black women happily handed it over. I’m guilty of handing certain things over as well trying to be inclusive. So I get why women do it. It’s not that men and women don’t have overlapping experiences. They do. But it’s not women’s jobs to be the ones to give up their space, identity, or whatever else to always accommodate men’s feelings and egos while we still have to fight for basic respect from them. That’s not right. Men have a loooooong track record of antagonistic attitudes towards women, which includes obscene acts of violence across cultures and time period. And as a general rule men have not had any compelling reason to check themselves on that and really do the work to fix it. Yet, they want unquestioning access to the identity that haven’t been known to respect and how dare anyone tell them otherwise? So instead of them doing the work, pressure is constantly applied to women to understand them and cater to them. With that kind of extreme imbalance, no amount of hashtag sharing or drag is going to magically undo that. It would be great if society could stop acting like it does. We can appreciate the nuance of gender expressions without getting completely delusional. Men need to be put in work and stop being allowed to wriggle their way out of necessary emotional labor every time things get uncomfortable for them.

But society did this to itself. We put people in these excessively restrictive boxes. We acted as if we could not comprehend nuance. We told Black women that they looked manly – even when they were clearly female-for simply being strong because strength and womanhood weren’t allowed to coexist and society is very good at picking on the little people. We took advantage of women’s traits- whether innate or simply perceived to be so- and determined that the only place they belonged was in the kitchen. We told women they were strong enough to endure child birth, dependable enough to be responsible for all the housework and emotional labor but were quite cut out to be “head” of the ver households the manage. We dictated that Black men had to dress like a clown rapper to be a man. Cam’ron wore pink once and everyone lost their minds. We told men if they expressed their appreciation for a male friend, he was “gay” and we told gay men they weren’t “real men”. We also told men this was their world and they could be anything they wanted to be, and that now includes being a woman even though they never experienced that a day in their lives. We did this. And the pendulum swang so far left that now it’s out of bounds at this point. Nothing makes any damn sense anymore and it’s gotten to the point where the less sense it makes, the better it is for people. It’s more fun that way, supposedly. Because people are so afraid of getting put back into the box they escaped from. But now no one knows if they’re coming or going.

I still believe in balance. But when I see the excessive extremes society goes towards, I wonder if maybe balance is a myth.


Black woman. Birthright Woman. Twenty-something. Writer. Thinker. Dancer. Singer. Lawyer. Matriarchist. Afro-wearer. History and genealogy enthusiast. Bronx born, Harlem rooted, Queens adopted & Brooklyn educated. This blog is where I share my thoughts on the world.

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