genderequality

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"The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest while there is a single Negro boy or girl without a chance to prove his worth."

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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 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 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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Originally Posted on September 11, 2017

Recently, I attended a Slutwalk protest in Detroit. I had been anticipating it for weeks. I was so excited to see all the signs and the outfits. But the Slutwalk is so much more than signs and outfits. It's not just about women walking around half naked. It's about taking a stand against rape culture. It's about speaking out against victim blaming, slut shaming, transphobia, sexism, homophobia, racism; I can go on and on. Contrary to popular belief, it isn't just about women being proud to be sluts. It does play a part in it ,though. And I'm not mad about that.

Detroit's Slutwalk took place in Palmer Park. One of the bordering streets of Palmer Park, is Woodward Avenue and West Seven Mile. Woodward Avenue is a notable street for sex workers. Many transgender sex workers have lost their lives on Woodward Avenue and West Seven Mile, making it an important street to have the protest at. I remember one of the speakers asking everyone to have a moment of silence to think about all of the sex workers who had lost their lives on the street we were standing on. That was the first time I had heard about that. I remember riding past those women as a child. I never thought about how dangerous it was for them. I never realized how many had actually died on that street.

Counselors had took the time out to support the cause and to also provide support to people who could be triggered by the stories of the speakers. I will be honest and say that a lot of the stories about rape were triggering for me. I tried to hold it in and distract myself, but my friend encouraged me to talk to one of the counselors. The counselor understood that I was angry. She told me that attending the protest was a step forward to me, and I agree that it was.

Hearing stories from victims of sexual assault and domestic violence gave me mixed emotions. I balled up my fists from anger as I listened to the things they experienced. It felt like I would burst into tears at some moments. I also thought about how much courage it took for everyone to share their stories.

Screaming "Sexual assault is not our fault!" with the other protesters was empowering for me. We also screamed, "Who's streets? Our streets!" and it made me feel so happy. It felt better to know that I wasn't alone. There was no judgement. No one was there to spread violence and hate. The protest was filled with love and support. I hope to see more of it in the future.

 

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