Category Archives: BP #3

Waiting to Exhale

If you have not had the chance to see this movie, you should ASAP(after you’ve been slapped for not previously watching it!)!!! Though this movie features women of color, its appeal is extended to all women. I’m not going to go into detail as to what this movie is about (especially since I’m expecting most of you reading this HAS WATCHED IT).  However, I will give a brief description of the characters and how they relate to African American feminism.

Savannah, despite having a successful career, is in a relationship with a married man.

Similiarly, Robin is a high power business woman who is the mistress to a man who mistreats her. Even when she decides to leave, she struggles finding a decent man to place his place.

Bernie (Bernadine) decided to focus on her family instead of pursuing a career like her friends. Ironically, her husband leaves her for a white women. To symbolize a new person, she cuts off her gorgeous long hair and torches most of his belongings!

Finally Gloria is a single mother raising a teenage son who is soon to leave home. She spends many years alone as it is discovered her ex-husband and father of her only child is now gay. Though she resisted hard at first, she ends up falling for her new neighbor.

I think it is important to evaluate these characters as I feel that their life stories introduces many issues within the African American women community.

Starting with Savannah and Robin, they have amazing careers, are financially independent, beautiful, and intelligent women who despite all these characteristics do not feel “complete” without a man. To add insult to injury, these men are already taken by other women, presumably black women, thus adding conflict amongst each other.  I feel that this is one reason as to why black women can be insecure about other women “taking” their man. It’s almost sad that women all do not honor the “Code” or standards and will settle in being a “homewrecker” to be with a man. (Trust me ladies, there are ENOUGH fish in the sea)

Bernie is a sad story in which many middle class African American women dedicate their lives to taking care of their homes and their family. Unlike Savannah and Robin, they are financially depended on their male spouses as they do not have careers that pays of their own. It makes them vulnerable to situations if the husband decides to leave as they will have to hope to get a good settlement on the divorce. To make matters worse, if the fact your husband is leaving is bad enough, but with a white woman can destroy a black woman’s soul. It’s a concept of self identity is violated as a man moves up in social status and feels a white women is more appropriate than a black one.This may make it difficult for future relationships to occur with white women which is essential for the promotion of women rights as a whole.

Finally, Gloria is a woman in which many women can relate (maybe not on the husband being gay, but raising a child on your own). It’s hard enough for a woman to raise a child on her own, but to raise a man is a whole different subject. All boys need a influential male role model in their lives that will help them develop into a man. No matter how much love a mother can give her son, there are some things that are better taught by men. Luckily, Gloria’s son was able to have that relationship with her new boyfriend. But in reality, there are many boys who do not get to have that relationship. This is sad as black men have the stereotype of being a “dead beat dad.”

Like I previously stated, you should definitely watch this movie (whether you’ve seen it or not). And as you’re watching it, evaluate the situations each of these women are in. Reflect within yourself the positive and negative effects they have on the African American community. Which ones do you see today? Do you recognize yourself in any of these women? What are you doing to prevent yourself from landing in the same shoes at these women? Try to answer these questions whether or not  you watch it (though you should).

R.I.P WHITNEY HOUSTON. YOU WILL BE MISSED DEARLY!

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Madonna’s World

This week we read about privilege. Madonna recently came out chastising M.I.A. for giving the middle finger during Madonna’s big Super Bowl half time show. Needless to say Janet Jackson’s ‘wardrobe malfunction’ will live on in infamy, giving the world the phrase ‘wardrobe malfunction’, but this year it seems that the main performer is the one most offended. I suppose the point of this post is to discuss the different standards privilege allows us as women. As far as entertainers go, Madonna has always been known for her shock and awe appeal. Who can forget her road cone brassiere? That is why it comes as a surprise that she was offended that someone did something shocking. Perhaps she was shocked she did not think of it first, or that a person of color one upped her?

Madonna has made a career out of two things, one being shock as previously stated, and the other as a cultural carpet bagger. She is unique in being able to maneuver in and out of black culture(gay and straight) and white gay subculture without ever relinquishing any of her white privilege. I have nothing against Madonna, this is evident in her music videos “Vogue”,”Like a Prayer”, and “La Isla Bonita”.  Heck, she even adopted a British accent for a while. Her anger at M.I.A. might be more understood when you see the video for the song, in which M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj play subordinate figures in the material girls world, literally cheerleaders for her.

    Madonna is nothing if not crafty, she has found a way of cashing in on white privilege while simultaneously (giving the appearance of) spitting in its eye. She explores other cultures for her audience and brings back what she thinks is worthy as her own work.  The music industry as a whole may be defined through a similar lens, but few artists have use their career to so blatantly showcase their white privilege.

Black Women and Their Role in the Black Church

http://womensissues.about.com/od/communityconnection/a/blackwomenchurc.htm

This is the link of the article I read and it talks about the role of women in the black church. I like this article because I personally grew up in an all black church and that’s where my roots of learning about God and being a Christian is all about and what is required of me to live a Christian life. In the article it talks about how women dominate the congregation and the pastor is usually a male. Well in the AME Zion church we do have a lot of men pastors but there are some women preachers as well and my church even had 3 women pastors since I’ve been alive and now one of them is the 1st black woman Bishop. The question of “Why are black women so faithful to the Black church?” was asked and so Daphne Wiggins went to find out that answer. She interviewed 38 women from 2 major churches in Georgia, Calvary Baptist Church and Layton Temple Church of God in Christ and they were a diverse group of women in age, occupation and marital status. Some women didn’t make a big about “gender inequity” and that they have a mission in the church to hold it together. This was the case in the Civil Rights Movement because black women were never really seen on the forefront of it but in the background doing all the work of the church and making sure everything was organized for the protest and their meetings.

What are your top five issues or concerns as a black woman in the 21st century?

http://www.whataboutourdaughters.com/waod/2007/12/4/the-top-five-issues-facing-african-american-women-in-the-21s.html

I came across this blog post and found it to be interesting since this relates to our class. Although the blog post was initially posted some years ago, it made me think about five issues or concerns that I have as a black woman. The author made some interesting viewpoints and you can tell how passionate she was about her opinion and thoughts on this subject.

I would say my top five concerns, as a black woman, would be as follows:

Health

In order for the African American feminist movement to continue forward, we have to quit losing our strong women to diseases and illnesses. So many African American women leave this earth as a result of breast cancer and AIDS. Not to mention, hypertension, diabetes, heart disease and physical abuse. It’s time to stop the cycle of domestic violence, get tested

Education

In today’s society, education is essentially an necessity in order to be successful. I commend the students who desire to further their education beyond a high school diploma, and also the adult students for taking the time to go back to school and earn a degree. However, I see so many young girls dropping out of high school due to teenage pregnancy.

Financial Hurdles

As stated in class, African American women need to educate themselves on being financially stable. Black women are overwhelmed with credit card debt and loans and most are living from paycheck to paycheck. I hope that in the future, there will be more classes that teach you about retirement and how to be financially stable within this economy.

Misrepresentation of Black Women

Often times, people take what they see from black reality TV shows and assume that all African American women act like. I feel that this is yet another negative stereotype that depicts African American women in the wrong way.

Unity

So many times I see black women fighting against other black women. This is tearing us down. We should be coming together to fight for justice and uplifting one another. There are so many things that are against us already, fighting against each other isn’t helping the situation.

These are just five things that concern me as a black woman. I encourage others to read the blog post and voice your opinion on this matter if you like. 🙂

This one is for the Single Mothers!!

First I want to say rest in peace to a great woman Whitney Houston

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The readings for this week inspired me in this topic. Plus I felt I needed to honor the woman who raised me. I wanted to talk about Single mothers. Not just black women but single mothers of all races because it is hard raising a child on your own and for all the mothers that do it, they deserved to be recognized. Single mothers do it all; they become the head of the household and take care of children. Most single mothers even go to school full time while juggling all of that so they can better themselves to provide a better life for their children.

In my own experience my family is full of single mothers, who have all raised their children and beat the statistics. My own mother worked fulltime and took care of my brother and I by herself and went to night school so that she could finish her degree. She now has a degree in Business Administration with a concentration in the medical field. My brother and I are both in college and did not become a statistic of the black community. Looking at the US census in 2000 the brief states that children are less likely to obtain further education and live below the poverty line. But I’ve never known a day I went hungry or wanted for anything my mother always made sure we wanted or nothing and instilled in us morals and standards. A lot of people talk about how a child raised in a single mother household don’t  turn out right well I can give you a couple of examples of people who flourished in a single parent household.

Dr Ben Carson the first doctor to separate Siamese twins.
Former President Bill Clinton
Alicia Keys
Current President Barack Obama
Dorothy Dandridge (never knew her father raised by her mother and lesbian lover)
Mary Shelley
Oprah Winfrey

She may not have always done everything right, but she did right by us and I wouldn’t change a thing about my childhood. My brother isn’t selling drugs or in jail and I finished High School and do not have any kids so she must have done something right. The family structure is changing and more single mother families are emerging and they are some powerful women who raise children just as well if not better than two parent households. I even found a forum website that supports single mothers (Link).

 

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My grandmother, Myself, My Great-Grandmother, and My Mother after graduation

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Myself, My Mother, My younger Sister & Brother at my moms Birthday Dinner this year

 

From Negro History Week to Black History Month

Being that it is February, I thought it would be a great idea to talk about Black History Month. I often hear many people upset and questioning why “we” only get a month to celebrate our history. In many ways it upsets me because they spend more time complaining about only having one month instead of embracing it. There are many months, weeks, or days which are dedicated to promoting a particular thing. We use this time to shed light on certain aspects important in life or to help raise awareness about something. For instance, you love your parents everyday of the year, but on mother’s/fathers’s day you chose a special way to show them, it is the same concept with black history month.

We have came from a week to celebrate our history to an entire month, which I think is major. Since 1976 the month of February has been dedicated to black history. The theme for this years black history month is Black Women in American Culture and History. Being that this is African American Feminism, I hope that this blog inspires us all to learn something new about the black women from the past and present and share this information with someone else! 🙂

Happy Black History Month!

Are our black men proud of black women?

In a discussion I had with a group of guy friends we landed on the topic of what a perfect girl would look like to them. Majority of these guys seem to favor very fair and light skinned females “with long or curly hair”. This then had me wondering, how many of our  black men see their counterparts as being beautiful? From what I see today black men look at dating other women of a different race as being “exotic”. I am not against dating outside of your race, for your heart sees no color. However I do not agree with discriminating against black women because of how they may appear. For some women they have been traumatically effected by this and it causes a strain between races and sometimes within the black race because some black women are lighter than others.

My biggest concern is that I do not want black women to feel as though they are less then great because a few men think this way. However, I do believe that our men should realize how much the black woman goes through daily with outside stereotypes, let alone prejudice within their own race. With realizing this they should show that “black is beautiful”, regardless of it’s shade, and not just give that phrase lip service with out action behind it. Every person has their own preference of what attracts them but do not set aside someone to make them feel as though they are at a disadvantage because they do not look like another group of females.

Disney Movies

I am in a Global Connections class and this week we talked about women in the media.  We looked at Disney movies and examined them.  Most of the princesses in Disney movies are white and the “fairest of them all” is Snow White.  There is none too little representation of African American people in Disney movies.  In The Mermaid there is a sea creature who has a Caribbean voice but that is the only representation. When African American people are represented in movies most of the time they are animals.  In The Lion King which is set in Africa, there are animals but no people in the film.  Often this is the case where Africa is depicted as being a place where are animals are and no people. The Disney’s film The Princess and the Frog, which I have not seen but I was informed in class, the African American females spends three-fourths of the movie being a frog.  It seems as if Disney is trying to venture out and show that a princess could be Africa American but then we see that they still limit her visibility by making her an is amphibian most of the film.  This is not how I remember most of the Princess movies I have seen, in most of them the princess goes through a situation and finds her prince.  When we got out of class two of my Caucasian friends started to laugh and said “why would they do such a thing” referring to the fact that she was a frog most of the movie.  I know that they were laughing because they really wondered why and thought it was ridiculous but it make me think.

If you have any thoughts or ideas comment