sexual predators don’t have career paths.

and other points from my twitter rant about the lawsuits (four lawsuits as of today’s date) against eddie long.

it started with my response to a series of tweets i saw from other folks, with all kinds of victim blaming & automatic denials along the lines of “i bet they just want money.” i got angry. then i decided it was a good idea to just tweet until i felt like stopping. that’s what twitter’s about, isn’t it? here goes:

sexual predators don’t have a physical type or career path. the same way there’s no job for people who’d “never do that.”

victimization is not gender-specific.

victims cannot be blamed for what happens to them — the violator is responsible for what they do. always.

instantly doubting the accuser maintains a culture of silence, which serves the abuser more than it maintains honesty for any accusers, false or not.

i’m not going to go into deep detail here — i wanna see how this whole thing pans out. but, for an awesome analysis of both this situation and “no wedding, no womb,” go hit up this post by moya at crunk feminist collective.

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a few quick notes about no wedding, no womb

i wrote it on tumblr, but for those of you who don’t read me there, i thought it’d be a good idea to share my beliefs on this quote-unquote movement here. (google the whole thing, i’m not giving them any linkage)

because i tweeted it but didn’t blog it:

the whole quote-unquote movement is gender essentialist. point blank. period.

the finger wagging and shaming aside, this initiative seeks to push all MAAB (male assigned at birth) and FAAB (female assigned at birth) persons to marry one another, regardless of being self-identified as trans, or being gay or lesbian self-identified.

because of the illegality, in most states, of what’s called same-sex marriage, this initiative cannot include cisgender gay, lesbian, or bisexual (or pan or omnisexual) ppl or any trans-identified people. by its own definition, no less.

monogamy is not the default setting for all humans. it is a choice. compulsory monogamy and heterosexuality encroach on the rights of an individual to do what they wish with their bodies.

furthermore, there has been little to no discussion by the NWNW folks regarding causations of single parenthood & correlations between single motherhood & the catastrophic outcomes they seem to think are rampant in the black community.

encouraging anyone to marry for the sake of a child is dangerous. ask any one of my friends who has lived through a domestic violence situation, either as the scarred child or as the abused spouse.

& if i say shit else about this, it’ll be because someone on team finger wag has come at my neck w/ some bullshit.

zomg i’m single!

so the fuck what?

this is all the discussion y’all are getting out of me. thanks to this piece from the crunk feminist collective, i don’t have to go too deep.  i’m including links from a twitter rant i went on regarding this very subject, for good measure.

first, i wanted to know if anyone had introduced to this larger conversation the idea that monogamy is not the default setting for our lives, but a choice.   as in, we choose to be monogamous, or we don’t.  & if you don’t realize that you choose monogamy, this is where you should find another blog post of mine to read (like the one about tina knowles).   we do not have to couple.  some of us are polyamorous, some of us never partner — even when we decide that we wish to parent.

nobody that i know of, with the exception of the ladies at crunk feminist collective, has mentioned that queer (by queer i mean lesbians, bisexual, pan/ omnisexual, trans, intersex)  self-identified black women aren’t considered in this conversation. again: we are not a monolith. you can’t have this conversation without considering the fact that the women being discussed are hetero, cisgender (not trans women — trans ppl are invisible in virtually every conversation about marriage, and just about everything else), & at the very least hold bachelor’s degrees. because ppl who don’t finish college don’t matter in this conversation, no matter what they’re doing w/ themselves, unless it’s to count them as undesirables.  further, who’s to say that marriage is everyone’s goal or ideal? it could be argued that “we aren’t talking about those people,” but if that’s the case then it must be stated so from the onset of each conversation regarding unmarried black women of certain income levels and sexual orientations.  period. know your audience.

if the root of the “problem” of unmarried black hetero cis women is that there aren’t enough desirable black men to go around & we’re looking at that strictly in terms of education, then who’s to blame? parents? schools? both? neither? high school dropout rates are nothing to sneeze at. the prison industrial complex, fueled by some rather draconian laws, also removes men who might otherwise be “good catches” from the dating pool.  does this mean that some of those “lost ones” were never marriageable to begin with, as their parents/ support systems failed them long before they got outta high school? okay. i’ll take that. but that isn’t the case w/ everyone. i feel like too much of this conversation is based on simplistic ideas of what a “good black man” is, and what a “good black woman” needs.  also: folks get married later in general, because they’re doing more than their parents’ generations did w/ their lives. the need for a college education has increased — even to get administrative assistant gigs. so if we have to take more time between high school and college to fill up these lives of ours (with greater expectancies, even for black men & women), maybe it’s not even as deep as the media panic suggests. ::gasp:: maybe we’re doing so much that holding ourselves to standards based on folks who lived life differently (slower, w/ less autonomy as children/ young adults, w/ different or less education) is a waste of fucking time! i’m just sayin.

& really, if marrying someone is about loving them until your last breath exits your body, can we consider one thing: the purported crisis of unmarried black women suggests that there is not enough love for us. that we are not lovable. that there is scarcity in the black community, so we must either take what we can get from black men or marry white men if we want to be married at all. this is wrong. love is infinite. there is no reason to think, for one minute, that any one of us is not lovable. that we are not desirable — to anyone, whether they be white, asian, latino, man, woman, gender non-conforming, cisgender, transgender, disabled, blue collar, white collar, no collar, or anything fucking else. if we marry because we want to spend the rest of our lives surrounded by the love, care, and support of another person then why on earth would we let fear run us off our paths? no, i’m not saying that there aren’t rough patches. heaven knows that i’ve lived through my shit and may continue to go through things before i find a good lover (i don’t necessarily seek to marry). but under no circumstances is being single a detriment. it’s never wrong. it’s not a bad thing. we’re not born partnered. we choose to partner — some of us because of conditioning, some of us because we find that wonderful person to be with. & it’s all good. it’s about intent, y’all. if your intent for seeking a mate is because that shit is on your checklist of successful shit to do w/ your life, you might be setting yourself up for what we call the okey-doke.   ultimately, the lens through which our romantic situations are being examined is flawed, to say the least.   & to say the most: it’s fucked up, limited, & doesn’t actually apply to as many folks as these “experts” (like finesse “my best jokes are about my teen mother” mitchell, jimi izrael & steve harvey) would have you believe.

this rant’s over. i’m dropping the mic like randy watson. but if you wanna read more juicy commentary:

visit the sugar shack

read this op-ed via the philadelphia inquirer

& another dope post from the crunk feminist collective

this piece from the nation, featuring the words of the fabulous melissa harris-lacewell & courtney young is made of pure unadulterated win.

i’m off to go be single and cook for myself, feed myself, bathe myself, & sing my face off at karaoke. cuz that’s what manless almost-30-year-olds do, apparently.

i don’t fully know why

but i’m really having a hard time believing that h-town &; jodeci really made a song together.
even though there’s videographic proof. ::sigh::

in no particular order, i blame the following for this shit here: trey songz, crack rocks, the death of gerald levert, the recession, waffle house, spectacular smith of pretty ricky, bad weed, the prison industrial complex, reaganomics (why the fuck NOT? that’s where crack rocks came from!), autotune, charlie wilson’s comeback (because these fools forgot that they weren’t ever on his level), jahiem (yeah, i said it), the good black man shortage myth, zane, malt liquor, crown fried chicken, fruity loops, & motherfucking blackplanet dot com. i would sue for damages, but as a black woman in america, i’ve learned that my complaints are usually only heard by those who give a damn to begin with. that’d be YOU, blog reader(s). all twelve of you.

& while we’re on former 90’s r&b starruhs, let’s take a gander at what aaron hall is doin w/ himself these days, shall we?

who dresses in their easter best to whisper to dogs?
is he using this $ to buy more suits?
note that there are no black folks letting this man into their homes. why? cuz we KNOW about aaron hall’s fool ass already!
his german sounds like his vietnamese sounds like his farsi sounds like his spanish. i’m just sayin.

now i have to watch coming to america to cleanse my mind. i hope it works.

presenting: the absurdity of tina knowles.

now, y’all know i love clothes. i live for sparkly, brightly colored shit that some may shy away from. but one day about two years ago i had the misfortune of discovering that tina knowles (mother of beyonce, solange, & play mama to kelendria) had unleashed on the unsuspecting & undeserving masses released, in addition to dereon, a line of clothing via the home shopping network’s website and live broadcasts.  be still, my heart! more profound fashion fuckery? i tuned into HSN to learn just what awaited me.  i wasn’t ready. not at all. & i know you aren’t, either.  let’s take a stroll down the hallowed halls of miss tina’s fashions. shall we?

first up:  the caged beast leather hobo handbag.  this thing is what nightmares are made of, i’m sure.

it originally sold for $250. WHAT? note that the bag not only has interchangeable inserts, but that they are all in an ambiguous “animal print”, sort of furry fabric! hence the name caged beast, i presume. cleva! i am still amazed that when i perused the hsn website around this time last year, there was an alarming note proclaiming that only three bags remained.  i have yet to see one of these bags in person — i pray that i never do. (& i do NOT believe for one second that the woman doing this video believes anything she’s saying. dig the clowning that begins at about 1:47.)

next: from the ‘heritage’ section of misstina.com, a bit of background (my notes in italics):

The visionary behind the Miss Tina Collection blessed with her mother’s talent and creative ability, Tina Knowles rose to fame as the gifted designer and world renowned stylist for her daughters, Beyoncé and Solange Knowles and Kelly Rowland and the Grammy award winning group, Destiny’s Child.  (oh, so she’s the one to blame for the piss-poor clothes in such fabrics as bright orange camoflage & “what is that, velvet?” worn by destiny’s child? don’t act like y’all don’t remember that shit from the soul train awards!)  This accomplished interior designer, celebrated author and talented chef, serves as the creative force for the collection. (what the fuck has cooking got to do w/ this? and she’s a celebrated author? for realzies? i can’t.)

Tina’s unique vision; a combination of high style, attention detail sprinkled with a taste of couture, enables her to create a distinctive blend fo signature and luxe for the Miss Tina Collection. (the comma splices and extreme misuse of a semicolon have made reading this so much more absurd for me. ugh. let me guess: miss tina herself wrote the shit, & nobody dared correct her on mechanics.)

further, the names miss tina gives to her creations are not indicative of any level of fashion knowledge. sorry to say. there’s no way she couldn’t have finessed “Quilted Entice Handbag with Pyramid Studs” into something else?  the same goes for the “Miss Tina Tall Boot with Studs“, “Miss Tina Logo-Print Studded Tapestry Peep-Toe Boots“, and “Cotton Shirt with Cuff“, which implies that the creole (don’t act like she doesn’t mention that shit at random) creative juices just were not flowing after a certain point. 

the fabric, y’all. the fucking fabric! the charmeuse, the not-even-modal jersey, the stretch denim (some of that shit is more than 3 percent lycra, which is nonsensical), & the crazy looking materials employed to make shoes all make me wonder what in the tangerine fuck is even going on here. i had the misfortune of coming across a miss tina dress in a local store. it was a mess. the cut was terrible (it even looked wack on the hanger), the fabric felt like the cheapest of cheap polyesters, & i think that for some reason the arms were inordinately huge. it was a hot pink tragedy w/ ruching (miss tina loves her some ruching!).  i felt bad for whomever paid full price for the damn thing a year ago. cuz it was most certainly hanging on the super duper last ditch effort clearance rack for $12. 

miss tina gives makeovers.

in conclusion, i’ll just say this: if you don’t understand what my big gripe is with tina knowles’ proliferation of bamma style, then simply do a google image search for ‘miss tina fashions’ & see what you come up with. i promise, you won’t be disappointed.  or, maybe you will? depends on what you’re expecting.

dear young strappin’:

it’s over. it’s been over. i liked you, a lot, for a long time. you are tall, dark, handsome, you have a strong back & you’re pretty damn smart.  we had some good times, you know?  late night pancakes, the time you lifted me over your head, the time you drove from new england in the rain just to see me for my birthday . . . & the sex was great. it was. i really enjoyed you.  you seemed to really enjoy me.  you were the perfect casual sex partner. conversation was good enough. you weren’t old enough to drink legally when we me but initially, that gap in age really didn’t mean a whole lot to me. because i wanted some no-strings-attached fun.  you provided that.  i was so grateful, especially that night you came out in a snowstorm just to look at me . . .

but then you got comfortable. i’m not saying i didn’t get comfortable as well, but damn.  you knew i had a kind heart & a soft spot for broke college kids & their elderly grannies. so, i let some shit slide that i wouldn’t have. it was the usual: i allowed my understanding of your situation become an excuse for allowing dumb shit. that’s not okay under any circumstances.  it implied that you were not responsible, on some level, for yourself.  you needed gloves and a hat for late season football practice and i broke my neck to get them to you. you still have them 5 years later (presumably a testament to how appreciative you were and most likely still are, no doubt), but the first time sets the precedent.   cuz my dumb ass shoved $50 in one of the gloves as a show of kindness, affection, and “you know this pussy will be waiting for you when you come home” type feelings. oh, how foolish i was! because you were gonna come get it anyway — the culture shock of all those beckies in one place was too much for you that first semester. you had to get used to your surroundings before attempting to fall off in the sorority houses, etc. & you didn’t like me nearly as much as you were fascinated and intrigued by me. the feeling was mutual, as much as we both sought to hide it.

and i carried a torch of sorts. you were that bridge between the rapper and whatever was next. i said good night to him & met you not even 5 minutes later. you served a purpose and represented something. i don’t resent or regret one moment of the time we spent together. i really did enjoy it for what it was. but things started to shift.  there was the time you took a call from another woman in my presence and told her the same shit you always used to tell me: you were hanging w/ your boys.  that didn’t sit well with me. because you were fucking me, but sleeping in her house. you were lying to both of us in some way. & since i’d taken the time to make our interactions about forthrightness (as much as possible), i was insulted. you asked me not to take that shit personally, but it’s kinda hard when you’re fucking someone and they’re complicating a relatively simple situation with half-truths.   but i stuck it out, cuz i figured you were young & didn’t know any better.  i presumed that you really didn’t know how to articulate your needs in a way that was comfortable for you. & though that was probably the case, i had no idea.  i tried to anticipate you. i tried to meet you three-fourths of the way because it made me feel like i was doing the right thing.  oh, young strappin’, what a fool i was.

when i moved to my new apartment in north philly, you had my back! you helped me move some stuff in.  you helped me hang curtains.  you fucked me on my new bed & scared the living shit out of my then-roommate’s piece of trash boyfriend. i appreciated you even more.  we were still functioning in that same fuck buddy space, but there was a new element. you could easily use my space as an overnight crash spot. i was okay with that. you distracted me from my situation with someone whom i’d met in the interim. you were competition for the dope boy over on jefferson street.  you gave me status, so to speak, when i was still learning that another person’s attraction to/ desire for me had nothing to do with the number of admirers i had.  oh, young strappin’, the things i’ve learned!

by the time i was settled into my routine and apartment in west philly, some things had changed. i was studying the yoruba tradition almost exclusively and contemplating taking the steps toward initiation.  i had cut my locks and gotten a tattoo.  i was beginning to explore my craftiness, my activism, and my sexuality in new ways.  i had new friends, i was finding community, and loving myself more.  that evolution marked the beginning of the end of our thing, this long & somewhat drawn out series of encounters that really should have been meeting over coffee or a random phone convo. but, when folks genitals are involved, it’s not always like that.

now, it’s been five years. we’ve both had some major changes in our lives. tats, piercings, haircuts, passing fancies, deaths in the family, graduations, trips abroad, championships . . . if i’d had to guess, i never would have imagined my relationship to you would be impactful.  i never would have thought that you’d be the only person i’d fucked in this bed. in this third, bigger, more expensive apartment.  & i would have never, ever, ever imagined that we wouldn’t be at least friendly any longer. i don’t know how that even happened. our last encounter wasn’t even good. i was in a new headspace then.  it was one of self affirmation, of self love, of making sure i was getting what i needed/ wanted out of every situation i entered.  & you couldn’t give me what i needed. it just wasn’t the right situation for me anymore.  & it still is not.  your stresses about the health & well being of your grandmother and younger siblings had you distracted. you really needed someone who was more open to soothing you. that wasn’t me at that point. & it quite possibly isn’t me now. i’m sorry we couldn’t do more for each other, yet thankful that it was what it was. 

so, i’ll keep your number and you’ll keep mine.  maybe we’ll cross paths somewhere in the city.  maybe i’ll reactivate my facebook account and send you a message one day, and we can do drinks or pancakes. we can catch up. you can show me your girlfriend or wife, your kids, your goddaughter . . . whatever. but, for right now i’m not answering any late night text messages. nobody wants to just say hi to me at 1:34 in the morning.  i’m not wasting my time responding to anything that isn’t an emergency.  so, i pray you’re safe. i hope you’ve found your dream job.  i wish you nothing but the best & brightest.  heaven knows you deserve it. you should be blessed infitely for your hard work. love & happiness are your birthright.

triggered. like a motherfucker.

my identity as a queer woman is hard-won.  through years of vascillation, denial, secrecy, and srategic planning dedicated to hiding myself from myself i am now working at being authentically myself. and a big part of that is being forthright with any potential lovers about my sexuality.  there is no introduction that goes, “i’m sparkle, and i’m bisexual”.  but there’s also no soap opera (or jenny jones) moment when i spring it on futureboo or presentboo in a space that she or he might find uncomfortable.  because that’s not how you treat folks.  my honesty has most likely cost me a relationship or three.  and i’m okay with that.  nobody wants to be in a relationship where they feel stifled instead of feeling edified.  so, it is with that knowledge i walk.  it’s not an easy walk: there are folks who don’t recognize my sexuality as legitimate compared to their own, there are folks who presume that i’m unaware of what i want in life (or in my bed), and there are also folks who believe that my queerness makes me impossible of being monogamous.

it is this completely erroneous belief/ assumption that makes me impossibly pissed off.  and it is this idea that made me want to write this blog post, because of a song called “think my girl (ay, ay)” by omarion.  this song gives what might be considered an inside view of a relationship between the narrator (whom i presume to be a hetero-identified person whose sex assignment at birth was male, who identifies as male/ man) and his girlfriend, whose behavior implies that she may be cheating on him with a female associate of hers.  this woman does not answer her phone when she’s with this friend, referred to as “the girl that doesn’t have a man” in the lyrics to the first verse. (you can listen for yourselves here, dear readers; i refuse to transcribe this shit.)  the hook of this song goes on to express that though the girlfriend is very physically affectionate with the narrator her behavior changes when around this friend of hers, has a better eye for attractive women than her paramour, and also presumes that the narrator is welcome in the bedroom with the girlfriend and whomever she’s cheating on him with.  the second verse includes some information about the narrator’s girlfriend and her friend having matching tattoos, and some “secret conversations” between the two women.

what bothers and upsets me is the fact that this song is a bunch of stereotypes and assumptions wrapped into one neat little sonic package.  this song is a symptom of the problem — it’s giving me hives when goddess knows i am allergic to bullshit.  this song neatly lists (for me, anyway) what seem to be the predominant, erroneous, widely held beliefs about bisexual women.

i have to acknowledge that  heterosexual privilege allows this song to exist.  heterosexual privilege allows the demonization of anyone who does not exemplify compulsory heterosexuality.

the narrator’s girlfriend is acting suspiciously (in his opinion, or per his explanation as narrator).  since there’s another woman involved in this (as either a friend or lover, possibly both), it’s implied that the girlfriend’s behavior can be attributed specifically to a sexual relationship with this other woman. so, this makes her hot-in-the-ass and unfaithful.  this also demonizes the presumed other woman; she’s got some kind of a stranglehold on the girlfriend’s mind, via sex. there’s no suggestion that the girlfriend is keeping company with this woman who “doesn’t have a man” because she’s sick. or because she’s got kids she needs help with. or an ailing relative. or something that is not about sex.  (could it be that only women sing/ write songs that discuss concern for other women? see: eve’s “love is blind”, destiny’s child’s “girl”, or the jazzyfatnastees’ “how sad”. i don’t think that this is the case, but i’m just asking.) let’s examine this: not answering the phone within an hour (verse 1), a friend with no man who’s often around (probably cuz she hasn’t got a man to keep her company), a knack for identifying a beautiful woman before her man does, and limited PDA when said manless friend is around — she’s just got to be cheating with this manless friend!  am i the only one who thinks this is rather base?  furthermore, bisexuality does not exclude any human being (male or female, cisgender or transgender) from monogamy! emotional immaturity may exclude one from being faithful to their partner.  (polyamory is not a condition of being bisexual, either. but let’s not talk about that right now.)

the idea that the narrator should try having an openly bisexual girlfriend implies that she’s open to having a threesome, which is also not a fact of bisexuality.  there are some bisexual folks who are not in any way interested in group sex.  this is also incredibly troublesome, as it feeds into the idea that the hetero man’s job is to conquer vaginae far and wide, that the sexuality is not valid if he’s not (a) involved or (b) giving approval to the sexual relationship.  hello: i’m autonomy, and i believe that i only need the person who utilizes me in order to be valid or legitimate. your dick hasn’t got anything to do with it, narrator (or anyone else).  that’s hetero privilege for you: you can do what you want, cuz there’s nothing “wrong” with the kind of sex you’re into.

bottom line, this song is offensive for a number of reasons.  ultimately, it turns a woman’s body into product, into object, into a commodity to be fetishized.  it takes away her humanity and reduces her autonomy to a jezebel’s supposed nature.  and no,  a pop song should not have the final say on how we as a larger society view sexuality. but, art often imitates life.  somebody, somewhere may think of this song and either identify with it on some level or forming opinions based on it.

of course, there are ideas that aren’t addressed in the lyrics of  “think my girl (ay, ay)”.  there’s nothing quite like the limited attitudes of some folks in the GLBTQ community to make a woman like myself feel even more boxed in.  there’s the idea that we are nasty, the flat-out lie that we are incapable of loving one person at a time, and most of all there’s the simple misconception that we are who we are because we’re hot in the ass.  not all of us are.  there are polyamorous heterosexual and homosexual people.  there are people who sabotage relationships by cheating, but that has nothing to do with their sexuality.  that’s an issue of emotional maturity, in my opinion.

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