Advocacy: One of the Many Things That’s Nobody Else’s Business

We’ve probably all seen it. A post or meme telling us that we’re not really pro-(fill in the blank) if we don’t advocate for any number of groups that we likely aren’t a part of. The authors of these posts and memes wag their fingers at us and tell us, “If you only support _________, but don’t support _____, _____, _____, ____, ______, and _____, then you’re not really supportive at all!!!”

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Well, I call bullshit.

Who a person decides to lend their support or advocacy to is their business. Further, it doesn’t take away from their character or level of compassion or charity.

As a Black woman, I do enough emotional labor. I won’t be guilted, shamed, or forced to add every groups’ problems to my plate.

Black people are good about (rightfully) being upset when other minority groups expect us to do labor on their behalf in the fight for justice. We think about how we fought before, during and after the Civil Rights era while other groups reaped the real benefits of our hard work (hello, white women), and we are dismayed that anyone would dare part their lips (or open their laptop) to demand we do even more.

Well, that’s how I feel about being a Black woman and Black womanhood. For centuries we have stood alone delivering everyone else out of their muck and mire. We have written, orated, fought, protested, and everything else for everybody else; no matter how dreadfully they may have treated us (hello…well, everybody).

We advocate, argue with, blizzock friends over them not supporting other oppressed groups that never sever ties with their friends who don’t support us. We put ourselves in harm’s way to champion people who do not reciprocate on the same level (hello, black men). We even rationalize the bad behavior of other groups just to justify continuing to advocate for them.

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To this day, nobody can explain how a movement largely predicated on men being violent (in bathrooms, no less) has anything to do with women’s failure. Are we supposed to be bodyguards and jump in front of flying fists meant for someone else? If men are causing your problem, deal with THEM. Meanwhile, people with dicks have ALWAYS been a problem for women.

Then, we get the blame when those groups don’t quite advance like they think they should have (though they manage to get more consideration that we do); even when it actually has nothing to do with us.

So when someone dares to declare that I have to throw myself into the embers again for every whimsical cause or neglected demographic that pops up or I’m not “real” or “pro-Black” or “pro” anything else, my first inclination is to tell them to shut the fuck up.

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I mean…G-d is a Black woman so I don’t feel a need to stand in Her way by marching and arguing with people online in the name of “social justice” over someone who expressed views like this about Her image.

This is normally the place where I’d go into all of these stats and post hyperlinks to report upon report proving the trials that Black women and girls face. But, I’m not going to do that. I’ve done it in other posts and frankly, my desire to justify my perspective on this particular matter is spectacularly low. Needless to say, the information is out there for anybody who cares to look for it.

These people already know that though. They already know that nobody advocates against Black women’s own interest more than Black women. But, guilting Black women into doing more labor than their fair share is and has always been the “in thing” to do.

The funny part (cause there’s ALWAYS a funny part) is that these same people will boldly tell you that it’s not your business what they spend their money on when they post their multiple GFM links on your timeline. They’ll tell you who they choose to sleep with is their business while simultaneously telling you that if you are just as choosy about who you date/sleep with, you’re -phobic or -ist.

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The upshot is this: I wish people no harm regardless of their stripe. I hope people find their way. I hope people find the support, love, and total health that they need. I’m just not going to be the one helping aaaaallllll those people do it. I advocate for Black women and girls; straight or lesbian. Dassit!

Not only is that my right, it’s my business.

 

 

White Women: The Kelly Bundys of Social Justice

Millennials over 30 and Xennials are old enough to remember “Married With Children.” It was about a family of four lead by a generally unhappy shoe salesman, his stay-at-home wife, and their two teen children. It was funny. One of the things that made it funny was their daughter, “Kelly,” who was so airheaded that even her attempts at seriousness failed spectacularly.

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Recently, after Georgia’s governor signed an abortion ban bill that outlaws abortion once a heartbeat is detected, Alyssa Milano of “Who’s The Boss” fame (if you’re under 30, you’ll probably have to Google that), came out and suggested that women withhold sex from their partners until the bill is reversed. The presumption is that she was talking about straight women since many of these lawmakers are men.

Earlier today, after I posted a brief schpill about women in relationships on my personal Facebook page, I had someone, a white woman, suggest that women should just become lesbians or celibate and “rid” men out of our lives. When I noted that all of us aren’t lesbians, nor are we interested in it, and expressed that I have no desire to be celibate, she told me to continue to “suffer.” She then went into a rant about how she gets sick of straight women complaining about men while continuing to deal with them.

 

Other acts used to “empower” women and “promote equality” for women include the “free bleeding movement” where women don’t use any menstrual products and just bleed through their clothes as an act of showing that women should have the “right”  to menstruate (cause if we didn’t, our uterine lining would stop shedding, I guess). Kiran Gandhi ran a marathon with blood dripping down her leg in solidarity with the millions of women who do not have regular access to menstrual products and to show that there’s no shame in menstruation.

 

Let’s not forget the various “free the nipple” style campaigns because nothing gives men a kick in the balls and says, “fuck the patriarchy” like women walking around showing their titties to every rando on the street who passes them.

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Then, there’s this picture…

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This woman is apparently a yoga instructor who thought this photo of her “free bleeding” while her kids’ heads were in the line of fire was a deep statement on womanhood and the importance of the menstrual cycle. You can read her comments on the matter HERE.

This was the picture that led me to the conclusion that white women don’t have enough to do. While they’d like to think they are fighting the patriarchy by bleeding on couches and breastfeeding while doing a cartwheel at 11 am on a Tuesday, all they are doing is demonstrating how detached from feminism, let alone reality they are; especially the intersectional kind.

Patriarchy is not going to stop women from menstruating. That’s nature. A woman’s shame or lack thereof, at least in the west, is her issue. But what patriarchy, in its various forms and mutations, does do is ensure that white women only make 60% of what white men make and that Black women make even less. It ensures that rapists walk. It ensures that we spend time arguing about a domestic abuser registry instead of just establishing one. Refusing to wear a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup is not going to address standard nor racialized sexism.

Not having sex with your male partner is not going to address the underbelly of misogyny and (to be quite honest) racism that is the true basis of all of these restrictive abortion laws.

Deciding to just become or pretending to be a lesbian is not going to even start to address the violence perpetrated by men upon women.

Instead of “freeing” the menstrual cycle (which doesn’t need to be freed because it’s going to come anyway unless you’ve surgically removed your uterus, have gone through menopause, are on certain hormonal birth control that stops it, or have an endocrine issue), I’d rather free people.

Instead of “freeing the nipple,” I’d rather hear about ideas that will actually bring substantial systemic change in areas that matter like employment and healthcare.

While white women are baking vagina cupcakes, Black women and other women of color are working, struggling, fighting structural “–isms”, fighting intra-community violence against us, and trying to survive.

It’s time for Rebecca to actually participate in a substantive way, or go sit down and shut up.

 

 

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