Let's Stop Pretending Discussions Of Sexuality Are The Same For WoC

Let's Stop Pretending Discussions Of Sexuality Are The Same For WoC

Back again. This time to share this comment thread (and specifically the comment below) where I talk about Rashida Jones' comments about "women being whores" and how it relates to Rihanna (because Rihanna is the devil incarnate/Illuminati Queen/Bringer of all that is Evil in the world. Naturally), and the way in which the conversations about "pop stars being whores" always manages to find a black woman to scapegoat:


I also think that it's imperative that we talk about racial disparities when we talk about this stuff because sexual expectations are just different for WoC. For WW, virginal is the assumed natural state, and expressions of sexuality are seen as liberating (Madonna). For WoC, crass and oversexed is the assumed natural state, and any self motivated expressions of sexuality are seen as a reinforcement of that stereotype (Rihanna). If we push against that assumption we're prudes, and how dare we refuse a sexual advance with our ugly black ass selves? We can't win. And I know because it's something that I personally struggle with daily.

That is what so many WW fail to recognize and acknowledge. The rules are different for WoC, especially BW who have been the subject of specific, pervasive, racialized myths that have devalued our sexuality. You cannot judge a black woman's sexuality by the rules of white femininity. You just can't do it. The historical context that exists distorts the conversation from the get-go. It is useless to have a discussion about "women's sexuality" without the intersection of race. To do so is to consciously and bullheadedly ignore the fact that there is a stratification of worth when it comes to women and their "inherent value" with WW on the very top and BW on the very bottom.

I don't remember who said it first but essentially, a lot of the sexism that WW face is misguided benevolence. You can't do X because you're dainty/fragile/precious/must be protected. The misogynoir that BW face is sexism couched in racism and disregard. "I know you're a woman because I see breasts and a vagina, but you're dark and ugly and therefore exist only as a receptacle for my penis, whenever I feel like it."Yo. There's a reason that BW were considered "unrapeable."

I  talked about this at length in the piece I wrote about her Pour It Up video, and the way in which the sexual double standard doesn't just play out across genders, but across races. We really need to get past the idea that all issues affect all women equally. THEY DON'T. They never did. And whether you not you want to acknowledge it, WW have always had it better off than WoC. This is simply fact. It is no one's fault (well.... nope, not touching it) but it is the way the world works. To ignore that it so condense the conversation down into unrecognizable territory and to do a complete disservice to the millions of women who have a dog in this race too. 

That is why Hood Feminism's discussion of #FastTailedGirls was a noticeably and intentionally all black space (that very quickly shut down cries of "me too" from WW). That label is used almost exclusively to police BW's sexuality from childhood. It's why the Onion calling Quevanzhané Wallis was not satire or a joke, it was misogynoir. We really need people to listen when we say that a specific act affects us differently because of our current place in the social landscape.

Say it with me: 


Just a morning PSA.