Jazmine

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Originally Posted on March 20, 2019

In this society, women are expected to live up to a man’s standards of what a “real” woman is. As time goes on many women are defying these sexist standards. You would think that in 2019 people wouldn’t be so bothered by multifaceted women, but this is still an issue. Insecure and sexist men do not like to see women who are confident in themselves. They get their self esteem from being able to control the way women live. It’s the same way for women with internalized misogyny. They have been conditioned to think that their lives revolve around men. It bothers them to see that there are women who refuse to live that way.

I noticed that the more popular Megan Thee Stallion gets the more hate she receives from men especially. They seem to be intimidated by her being her. Megan is educated, attractive, talented, and sexually liberated. Anyone who has been following her knows that she has an unshakable confidence. Sexist men see women as one-dimensional beings. Our lives revolve around what role we play in theirs. We’re either the “hoe” or the “good girl”. These men would be okay slut shaming her as an Instagram model or video vixen. They see those women as insecure and seeking validation from men. They would be okay if she was an MC Lyte or Rhapsody, a female rapper who doesn’t focus much on her sexuality with a tomboyish look. Both talented female rappers who do not present themselves as sexual beings, so their sexuality doesn’t intimidate men. Or maybe the Michelle Obama type, an educated woman who presents herself in a “classy” light. But men cannot fit Megan Thee Stallion into any one-dimensional, sexist bubble and that bothers them. She is also unbothered by society’s standards of what a woman should be. They can’t control how this woman lives so they spread hate towards her.

This applies to other sexually liberated female rappers as well. For example, Cardi B and City Girls. Their lyrics piss off misogynistic men and women with internalized misogyny. They are bothered by women who focus on their sexuality. But they aren’t bothered by a society that focuses on a woman’s sexuality. Male rappers have used the sexuality of women for decades. Rapping about women’s bodies and what they would do to them sexually. Video vixens in every single music video. But there’s an issue when a woman decides to talk about her own sexuality especially in the unapologetically raunchy way the City Girls and Cardi B do. Women are not allowed to be sexual on their own terms. Their lyrics appeal to the sexuality of women, not men. They rap about manipulating men for money the same way men brag about manipulating women for sex. Yet they are the ones being called bad role models and not the hundreds of misogynistic rappers.

I feel that this is the same reason men and women with internalized misogyny are bothered by Instagram models. These women can capitalize solely on their sexuality and misogynists are threatened by this. For centuries men have used our sexuality for their benefit. Society conditions us to believe that a woman’s sexuality is only for the enjoyment of men. Instagram models capitalize off male thirst which is easy to attract, and men know this. They love to ask these girls what they offer besides their looks as if men don’t base a woman’s worth on their attraction to her. They spend their time thirsting over their Instagram pictures while complaining about them. Instagram models are sexy and aren’t afraid to show off their bodies. They don’t respond to the sexist threats of, “You’ll never find a husband acting like that.” Insecure men can’t shame these women into living by their standards. Women with internalized misogyny are bothered by them because they won’t confirm to the standards of men the same way they do. These misogynistic women live their lives based on impressing men and are angered to see Instagram models impress them in such a “demeaning” way.

It’s 2019, not the 1800's. Ladies if you want to express your sexuality, then do it. If you want to be modest, then be that. Do not base how you live your lives on what men want. Our lives are about us and no one else. If a man doesn’t like the way you are then he is not the one for you. And that’s okay. Our lives do not revolve around impressing men. If they can do what they want, then so can we.

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Originally Posted on December 5, 2018

Misogyny is so ingrained in our minds, that we think any challenge to it is detrimental to our way of life. That is the complete opposite. Feminism isn’t destroying our community. Our upholding of patriarchy is. Racism and misogyny is destroying our community. Mass incarceration is destroying our community. Lack of funding in our neighborhood is destroying our community. Assault and abuse is destroying our community.

This idea that the black community should only focus on racism, not misogyny or homophobia, is not helping us move forward. If we want to liberate the black community, then we have to listen to everyone’s grievances. All of our issues matter, not just straight cis black men. The gaslighting and silencing of Black women has to stop. Our experiences with Misogynoir are valid. We’re not trying to “tear black men down,” because we expect better from them. We also need to put an end to the homophobia and transphobia running through our community. Why are we shunning our own people based on their sexualities and gender expression? We are encouraging discrimination in our own community. How is this acceptable?

Please, kill the idea that mainstream media has an agenda to, “turn black men gay,” and “make black men feminine.” I don’t know if people realize this, but gay black men have always existed. Gay black men have even been apart of fighting for us to have equal rights in this country.  Bayard Rustin and James Baldwin are two examples. When you complain about black men being “feminine,” that is toxic masculinity. Teaching black men that there’s a certain ways to be “real” man, like holding emotions in and being overly aggressive, is not good. You are also helping enforce the stereotype that black men are “aggressive” and “wild”. That stereotype is dangerous. It has been used as a way to justify innocent black men being murdered by police officers.

Black women are also not door mats for Black Liberation. Stop teaching Black women that in order to help our community, we have be silent when we are hurting. Instead of shaming Black women for speaking out against their rapists and abusers, shame the rapists and abusers. Black people are not obligated to protect predators because they are black. Black victims are the ones should be protected. You make us feel unloved in our own community and we have done nothing wrong. The fact that it is common to have known child molesters and rapists in our families, should disturb you. The fact that it’s common for us to put the responsibility on little black girls to “cover up in the house,” and “stop being fast,” should disturb you. Protect black victims. Protect little black girls. Protect little black boys too.

The disrespect black women receive in this community while simultaneously being expected to do all the labor is exhausting. Respectability politics are enforced on black women. Single black mothers are constantly being disrespected. Why are women being disrespected for raising their children, instead of the men who do not take care of them? We pick and choose which black woman is worthy of praise. Black woman who is sexually liberated? Not worthy of respect. Black woman who wears weave? Not worthy of respect. Black woman who is “unattractive.” Not worthy of respect. Do not say you love and appreciate black women, when you pick and choose which ones to show love to and appreciate. It is disheartening seeing black women internalize these misogynistic beliefs, as well. Supporting those views does nothing to help us.

The Black community is also selective when it comes to which Black life matters and which one doesn’t. There is little outrage for the high rate of Black trans women being murdered in the U.S. According to The New York Times, 25 to 28 trans people were killed last year. The majority of the them were trans women of color. Their life expectancy is 35 years old. The only ones who speak about Black female victims of police brutality are other black women. Koryn Gaines and Sandra Bland deserved better than the black men who were justifying their deaths. Black sexual assault and domestic violence victims do not receive the support they deserve, not even from our own community. According to a study done by CDC, Black women had the highest homicide rates from 2003-2014. It was said that more than half of the women killed were murdered by a current or former partner. We show a huge amount of support for black male victims of violence until we find out that the black man is gay. Anthony Wall and Gemmel Moore deserved more attention than they received from us.

Feminism is not destroying the black community. The toxic views that we continue to pass down from generation to generation is destroying it. If we really want to liberate the Black community, we should start by dismantling the sexist and homophobic beliefs that we uphold. If we say that Black lives matter then we need to act like it.


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Originally Posted on November 15, 2018

Misogynoir is the combination of sexism and racism towards Black women. This term was coined by Queer, Feminist scholar, Moya Bailey. I have only recently learned what misogynoir is. But it has been surrounding me my whole life.

I learned about colorism from school and rap music. Boys in my class didn’t hesitate to sit in front of my face and say, “I only like light skinned girls.” Then I would go home, turn on the television and see rap videos where men were surrounded by lighter skinned women. All you would hear in the songs were, “redbone,” this and “yellow bone,” that. I remember being eleven years old, sitting in the car and hearing this line by Lil Wayne on the radio. It went, “Beautiful Black woman, I bet that b*tch look better red,” meaning she’d look better lighter. I felt uncomfortable hearing that line and always avoided listening to the song. I couldn’t help but to feel “ugly,” and “unwanted.” I hardly saw women who looked like me on television, especially as love interests. Darker skinned women were usually portrayed as the “Angry Black woman,” or “the sassy sidekick.” We were incapable of being loved on screen. Television can have an affect on an individual’s psyche. It can also influence society.

If you’re on social media outlets like Twitter and Instagram, you may see the many posts tearing down Black women. From memes about Black women to bullying Black women for their looks, the bashing seems endless. Rarely anyone else comes to our defense, but other Black women. Celebrities can make anti-Black women statements and their career remains unscathed. Like rapper and accused rapist, 6ix9ine who recently commented under a Black couple’s wedding picture that, “He should of chose a white woman.” Instead of being reprimanded, he was given the benefit of the doubt and was said to just be “trolling.” Or another rapper and accused rapist, Kodak Black who explained in an interview why he did not find dark skinned, Black women attractive. He also has a line in one of his songs that says, “I’m already Black. I don’t need no Black b*tch.” Both rappers’ careers are still flourishing despite their dehumanizing comments about Black women.

Sexual assault and domestic violence are swept under the rug when it comes to its Black female victims. Black women were hardly mentioned during the “Me Too,” movement even though it was a Black woman by the name of Tarana Burke who created it. Celebrities like R. Kelly and XXXTentacion are viewed positively in the Black community despite their allegations of abuse and proof that they are abusers. Black girls are being sexually assaulted in our community, but there are many Black people who would rather write them off as “fast,” than hold predators accountable. The hyper sexualization of Black women, including Black girls, has been used to justify sexual assault against us since slavery. Black women are also said to be victims of domestic violence at high rates and yet this is not widely discussed. Not even within our own community. But we make jokes about Chris Brown and Ike Turner’s abuse against Rihanna and Tina Turner.

Misogynoir may be a more recent term to describe the experiences of Black women. But we have been experiencing this for centuries. It plays a part in the hyper sexualization of Black women and the justification of sexual assault against us since slavery. It plays a part in why domestic violence against us is swept under the rug, even in our own community. Misogynoir is why bashing Black women is not seen as a career ender for celebrities. And misogynoir is why little Black girls are growing up believing that their dark skin is ugly.

 

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Originally Posted on January 28, 2018

R. Kelly's fans are another example of celebrity worship gone too far. His fans have been camped out on the Mute R. Kelly event page for a week, posting gifs and arguing in defense of their "man". These fans are flocking to our page from a fan page called "R. Kelly's Single Ladies" which has over 11,000 members. Their ringleader, Curry Dynasty initiated this by posting the lead organizer of Mute R. Kelly Detroit on their Facebook page. These women hurled transphobic comments, insulted her looks, and made threats for her to stop the boycott. R. Kelly's single ladies eventually made their way to the event page and have also defended him under any Instagram post with the hashtag, . His fans have filled comment sections with posts that reek of internalized misogyny, victim blaming, transphobia, homophobia, threats, and delusions. A few have even used examples of pedophilia in their own lives to justify R. Kelly's wrongdoings. They often mention their Christian faith although they are worshipping false idols and wishing bad on other people...which is considered a sin. They say that those accusations against him are untrue. But this man has over twenty years of allegations against him and his most recent allegation was last year. He has settled with a few of his accusers. One victim even had medical evidence that she had a sexual relationship with him while she was underage. But they don't care. Their other excuse is that if he was guilty he would've served time. Forgetting that fame and money can buy your way out of things. Also, George Zimmerman was found not guilty for murder, so that excuse means nothing.

What makes this situation sad is that these are all black women and all of his known victims have been black women. Black victims are often ignored in society. So to see black women turn their backs on other black women because they love someone's music is disgusting. To make it even worse, I've noticed that many of these women have daughters. They're so enamored with R. Kelly that they defend his crimes, forgetting that it could happen to their own children. Their defense of R. Kelly helps preserve rape culture. Despite what R. Kelly's fans are doing, the Mute R. Kelly protest will continue. They may not think those black girls and women matter, but we know they do. His fans are unintentionally helping this boycott. More articles are being made and his ticket prices have even been lowered, so keep up the good work. 

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Originally Posted on December 1, 2017

I didn’t start paying too much attention to the size of my body until high school. I used to be really skinny.  I had a small chest, small butt, small everything. Never really thought much of it. That wasn’t until people started making comments about my body and other women’s bodies. Boys would thirst over the girls who had curvy bodies. The girls with big breasts or a big butt, or both. Then boys would see me. They’d say exactly what was on their mind. They’d make comments about how small my breasts were. They’d say my breasts were too far apart. They’d tell me I had no butt.  In their eyes, I paled in comparison to girls with curvy bodies. And honestly, it hurt.


Fast forward to around 2015. My body started developing more. I started to have a curvy body. Men and women would compliment me. I felt better about my body because other people liked my body, which wasn’t healthy at all. About a year later, I put on more weight and my stomach was no longer flat. People would comment on my weight and tell me I was getting fat. I was ashamed to wear crop tops or to even take pictures from an “unflattering” angle. I remember my ex saying “Lose that.”, as he pointed down at my stomach. I hated my body.


I decided that it was time for me to become “fit”. I wasn’t choosing that for myself, I chose it for others. Everyday I stressed on what I ate. I exercised whenever I could. Exercising is never a bad thing but I was doing it for all of the wrong reasons. Everyday I’d take a look in the mirror at my stomach to see if it had gotten smaller. I’d check out the sizes of other girls stomachs. I’d look at Instagram models and roll my eyes at how “fit” their bodies were.


I see so much body shaming on social media and television. We’ve seen Rihanna being shamed for gaining weight. We’ve seen women like Kim K. and Beyonce being shamed for gaining weight while pregnant. We’ve seen Gabourey Sidibe and Ashley Graham being shamed for simply being comfortable with their bodies. We’ve even seen Serena Williams be shamed for being too muscular. It’s all bullshit. We’re so brainwashed by the images we see everyday that we think it’s unnatural for a woman to have anything but an hourglass figure. Then when a woman does have what some may view as the “perfect’ body, she’s fake. No one’s ever satisfied, and that’s why it’s important to not give a damn how anyone else feels about your body. No one deserves to power to tell us what we should look like. Learning to love yourself is a process, it doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a journey.

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Originally Posted on November 29, 2017

R. Kelly has a long history of being accused of sexual assault and abuse. Yet there are still people who support him. Why is that? Many people worship celebrities. They idolize celebrities and believe that they can do no wrong. But society also has a problem with giving predators a pass. There are people out there who will sympathize with the predator before they sympathize with the victim. I also feel that the women and girls that he has targeted plays a part in why he gets away with it. Society has a problem with turning their backs on victims, especially women of color. All of the women and girls we have heard about are black. 


I️ will include a few stories about R. Kelly’s alleged predatory behavior. Let’s go back to the early 90’s. R. Kelly met Aaliyah when she was twelve years old through her uncle, who was his manager at the time. R. Kelly started working with Aaliyah and they were said to have had a close relationship. They secretly married in 1994. He was twenty-seven and Aaliyah was only fifteen, though the marriage certificate states that she was eighteen at the time. Now a common excuse I️ hear about this story is that “her parents allowed it”. That’s actually not true. Aaliyah’s parents did not know about the marriage until 1995. When they did find out, they disapproved of the marriage leading R. Kelly and Aaliyah to have their marriage annulled.

In 2002, a twenty-year old woman accused him of sexual assault and intentional infliction of emotional distress. They had a sexual relationship when she was only sixteen years old. She eventually got pregnant and accused him of coercing her into having an abortion. There were said to be phone records, witnesses, and medical history. R. Kelly eventually settled for an undisclosed amount.

We also cannot forget the infamous story of him recording himself having sex with an underage girl and urinating on her. This was one of the many videos of R. Kelly that was being sold in underground markets in 2002. R. Kelly was charged with 21 counts for his video with the underage girl. In 2008, he was acquitted of 14 counts. That same year he was interviewed by Touré for the BET network. When asked if he liked young girls, his response was “How old are we talking?”. 

 

R. Kelly has recently been accused of having a sex cult. He has been said to be physically and mentally abusive towards these women. Some have stated that they were required to wear baggy clothes and ask for permission to eat and use the bathroom. They were told to only address R. Kelly as “daddy”. One woman has stated that he would force the women to have sex with each other and that he recorded everything. There are other disturbing details to these accusations. How many more stories do we need to hear before people stop supporting this man? 

 

On February 21, 2018, R. Kelly will be joining Charlie Wilson in concert at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit, Michigan. Nicole Denson is the lead spokesperson for the boycott of his concert. The purpose is to show that our city does not tolerate sexual assault and abuse. We will not be giving our money to R. Kelly, nor will we be giving him a platform.

  

Here is the press release for the boycott:

November 15, 2017
Lead Spokesperson
Nicole Denson
Co-Lead Spokesperson
Kalimah Johnson
888-865-7055

PRESS RELEASE: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DETROIT, MI – R. Kelly, is scheduled to perform at the Little Caesars arena in Detroit on February 21, 2018 with Charlie Wilson. The concert will be hosted by New Day Entertainment and 105.9 KISS FM Broadcasting and Media Production Company.

Detroit is currently in the process of healing and adjusting from the trauma of discovering over 11, 000 untested rape kits in an abandoned warehouse in 2009. In 2017, all the kits have been tested and victims are now informed of the criminal justice process and have options for healing and made aware of resources available to them.

R. Kelly has had several encounters with the law (as well as concerned parents of now adult women) centered on power and control dynamics, sexual assault and human trafficking.
Below is a timeline of said encounters:
In 1994, R. Kelly married Detroit’s own Aaliyah when she was only 15 years old.

In 1996, a woman accused him of having sex with her when she was a minor. He settled with her for $250,000.
In 2000, he was brought into court where another teen musician who reported a sexual relationship with R. Kelly when she was a minor and he also settled in that case.
In 2002/2003, he was indicted for child porn in which the judge dismissed the case because the images were seized illegally.

The message that Detroit sends to the nation in allowing R. Kelly to perform here, is that sexual assault, violence and abuse is acceptable and even, celebrated.  While our city is experiencing tremendous growth, we cannot tolerate providing R. Kelly a platform and opportunity to perform in a building paid for by taxpayers, in a city that is recovering from the trauma and silencing of sexual assault survivors over decades.

Statistics show that 81% of the untested rape kits were African American women, overall 1 out of 3 women and 1 out of 7 men will experience sexual trauma in their lifetime.  As a group of interested survivors, advocates, directors and citizens we are asking that Detroit collectively send a clear message that R. Kelly is not welcome to perform here.

The goals for this press release is to promote , to ask all citizens to divest in the concert by not attending and more importantly to ask officials of this great city and Ilitch Holdings, LLC to cancel the show .  We are asking that all radio stations stop playing his music.  

We want the concert hosts and their advertisers to drop this show and encourage the public to refuse to buy the tickets and help us to raise awareness about sexual assault.

To get involved email us at muterkellydetroit@gmail.com

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Originally Posted on September 28, 2017

Last Saturday (a very hot Saturday), the second Love is Love rally took place. This time the rally was held in Hamtramck, the last one being in Ferndale. The turnout was nice. Many came out and showed their support. There were maybe one or two hecklers but the positivity drowned them out. The Love is Love rally is about LGBT equality, love for each other, and self-love.

LGBT equality is something that we still fight for now. In August, a LGBT leader's residence the target of an arsonist in Jackson, Michigan. The alleged hate crime took place not too long after the city passed its non-discrimination ordinance. ACLU Michigan has recently filed a lawsuit to challenge Michigan's practice of allowing state contracted child agencies to reject couples solely based on their sexual orientations. LGBT activists have also fought for LGBT people to be included in the Elliot Larsen Civil Rights Act. Unfortunately, Michigan Civil Rights declined their requests. Our president proposed a bill to ban all transgender people from the military. Let's not forget the "bathroom" debate.

The LGBT rally kicked off with upbeat songs like "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross, "Born This Way" by Lady Gaga, and "I Wanna be Your Lover" by Prince. The wall decorated with heartwarming posters about LGBT equality, made by high school students across Detroit. 

Avery Grey, Huffington Post Queer Voices Contributor, member of MDPAN, gave an emotional speech about their life as an intersex person. They also read a beautiful poem about self-love titled "The Greatest Love of All". Avery's speech and poem was definitely the highlight of the rally. It represented what the rally was all about. The Mayor of Hamtramck, Karen Majewski spoke about her support for LGBT equality. She let the audience know that everyone is welcome in Hamtramck. It was nice to see a government official stand up for LGBT rights. Abhay Sinh Rathwa, a local musician, also performed acoustic guitar covers of "Stand by Me" by Ben E. King and "What a Wonderful World" by Sam Cooke.

Love is Love was full of peace and support. There were nothing but positive vibes in the atmosphere. MDPAN plans to have more rallies in various locations around Metro Detroit. MDPAN will announce the city for the next rally soon. We hope to see you at the next one.


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