Monday, September 22, 2014

A Black Woman Who Will Not Pathologize Herself

This is a follow-up from my previous post, "Freeing Myself from African American Cultural Limitations". I think that growing up I was freer in many ways. Yes I had self-esteem problems (still do), but that was based on my real-life experience and how I was being treated. I was free to like what I liked, be attracted to who I wanted, made friends with people of similar interests, and I was myself. If there was anything wrong with me I could see there was a problem because I was not happy or getting what I wanted. This made sense! This is how want to always think.

Unfortunately, opening myself up to African American history and online culture was eye-opening, sometimes enjoyable, illuminating, but I'm not sure if it has made me a better person. Maybe it has made me wiser because now I now what I don't have to be and what it important. Today it feels like I am back the way I was before in high school, when I was free, so I have come full circle. Was my venture into AA culture worth it or would I have been better off not venturing into that arena? Understand though, that my venturing did not involve physically living in the US, this great impact was made by simply reading texts, reading blogs, and interacting with people online! What you read can really affect your thinking.

So I am asking myself if all the reading I did made me better or worse as a person. Was I better off before I ventured into the AA section of the library and started reading? Was I better off when I wasn't reading about controversial AA issues and activism? Online people would always say "know your history" but was I studying my history, or was it really someone else's history that I read because I could not find my own? Well I guess like any sort of experience or study this experience has changed me. I know about things I did not pay attention to before. Instead of thinking, 'I don't know anything about that' I can now think, 'I've heard about that' or 'I remember when something similar happened before'. So I guess I can value that lack of complete ignorance.

But this knowledge came with a negative side effect, It made me feel like a victim, like I had been wronged, life was going to be bad for me, I was disadvantaged, people hate me, people in my life are going to betray me because I'm Black, I'm unattractive, there is something wrong with me and I didn't know it, and I should always be angry. It's as though I was feeling okay and then found out I had a horrible disease I didn't realize I had:
  • I was told all the horrible symptoms I had never noticed and had never interfered with my life. 
  • I was told this disease was the cause of all my life problems. 
  • The disease was incurable. 
  • I had to get it under control before I spread it to my future children.
  • This disease will destroy the Black race.
  • And guess what, the disease was given to me by White people through slavery, racism, and discrimination! So suddenly I had a horrible incurable disease, purposefully given to me by "The Man", that had a host of symptoms (that were supposedly already hurting me or would hurt me sooner or later).

Fortunately, there was a cure pedaled by many a charlatan (perhaps well meaning). They were so helpful in pointing out my symptoms and telling me then and there to take my medicine before it was too late! The cures was the following:
  • Being hypervigillant about everything The Man did and constantly see myself as a victim. This included complaining and being outraged about past horrific deeds (because they are having an impact on the present) and being outraged by everything overtly racist. In order to do this I had to constantly expose myself to the most horrible things in history and the news. Doing otherwise would mean I was being ignorant, ignoring my history, being a passive part of the problem, or not caring. 
  • Suspecting racism and a slight everywhere. I had to be offended and angry when The Man did not include dark-skinned Black women in the media. I also had to be offended if those women were fat, unmarried, adulterous, not chosen by the lead character, or were flawed in any way. I had to be angry if Black women were not on runways for White designers, leading more White-owned companies, in more commercials for White-owned companies, leading more White produced written shows, leading more White produced and written movies, winning more White- created awards. I had to be angry they didn't include BW because that was racist. I had to be constantly angry Black people didn't own more or have more power.
  • I had to be offended if The Man did or said anything negative about Black men. It didn't matter the circumstances or what the Black men did because racism against Black men was racism against all Black people (solidarity right?). I had to be concerned about the Prison Industrial Complex and men (who often made neighborhoods dangerous and victimized Black women) were getting long prison sentences for crimes they actually committed. It could happen to my brother or my father so I had to be mad in solidarity. I had to excuse their misdeeds or questionable choices because they are just victims of The Man.
  • I had to question every choice I made and every preference I had because being brainwashed accelerated the disease. I had to make sure my preferences for my hair, make-up, the attractiveness of women, the attractiveness of men, fashion, music, television, books, and activities were "Black". My preferences for education, speaking a certain way, marriage, children in wedlock, and interracial dating were all signs that I was brainwashed and a horrible prognosis. This meant choosing the Blackest of Black everything. I had to prefer the darker actress who was darker than myself, I had to prefer the hair with no curl pattern when I have coils, I had to prefer the shows/films with dark skinned actresses who where married, I had to choose African or AA clothing, I had to prefer hip hop or R&B etc. Before making any choice I had to ask myself , "How will this impact the Black community?"; "Am I doing this because I have been brainwashed by the Eurocentric media?"; "Is this a sign of self-hatred?". Depending on the answers I could feel good about my choice or chastise myself for helping The Man cause my own destruction and the destruction of my entire race.
The thing that was left out of this pathological situation was was the evidence that there was a disease in the first place, that any of the so-called symptoms were harmful, or that any of the cures worked!!! I was happier the way I was before I got involved in any of this. Was this anger, knowledge, and constant self- and other-monitoring beneficial to me in any way? Was it beneficial to anyone at all? Was this going to make my life happier, stop me from getting hurt, further my career, help me make friends and get dates, improve my health? Why should I have done any of this crap to live up to someone else's ideal of what a Black person should be? People complain that the White media pathologizes Blackness, but I think the opinionated/activist AA community pathologized me and is doing so to many others! They are constantly telling us we are doing life/Blackness wrong and making us feel guilty for just living! I am not diseased/brainwashed because I want to be free to be an individual and not live by some arbitrary "True Blackness" rules. I will not be in danger if I don't live by those rules or pay attention to any of the things they way so-called Blackness experts/activists say I should. Peddle you snake oil somewhere else because you are not qualified to diagnose me and there is absolutely nothing wrong with me. I have inoculated myself from your influence.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Freeing Myself From African American Cultural Limitations

Note: This post will make some readers angry if they choose to misunderstand and if they think their culture should be placed above the cultures of Black people who don't live in the USA.This is not about having pride in your culture, it's about understanding that all Black people don't think or act like you nor do they need to and embracing your culture could make their lives worse not better.

I think that from now on I need to be very critical of any theories, ideas, or culture that comes from AA people in the US because they are based on the lives, experiences, and reasoning of people who grew up in different environments different from the one in which I grew up. AA isn't the same as Black woman in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, or the same as growing up Black in any other country in the world. But for too long I (and many others) have been taking AA theories about what it means to be Black and AA culture and acting as though these socially constructed ideas should be adopted by Black people across the globe.

Even many AA people have written so much online about how they feel limited, stereotyped, and judged because of what other AA people say they are supposed to act and think. Why are we not free to be what we want to be? Why are we not free to choose from all ideas presented to us? Who decided what AA culture is and how they should act? Why should Black people in other cultures be expected to act and think like AA people? Why do so many people equate AA theories and culture with "Black culture"? Here are some of my thoughts.

1. Who created most modern Black thought in North America and should their writings apply to me? AA men wrote extensively about race (e.g., Frederick Douglas, WEB Dubois, Malcolm X etc.). These writings have been read by Black people in the US and even taught in classes. Black (and non-Black) people around the world have read these works. These men and many scholars (who are mostly men), shaped the way the world sees the Black experience but for them the Black experience is the African American Male experience! Do their theories and experiences apply well to AA women, Black women in other countries like me, or African women? Many of us have heard the saying "All the women are White and all the Blacks are men", well this is the case for many of the race theories I and many others have read. They are based on the reasoning of AA males of the past. Do these theories apply to a Canadian Black woman in 2014? Do their theories apply to you as a modern AA woman? Should be be relying on old writings and theories or should we be using updated theories based on modern evidence?
My Decision: I have decided to free myself from these old AA writings and ideas and probably most modern AA ideas about race. These theories colour the way people see the world and interpret things but they are theories that are biased, they are not facts. I do not think paying attention to these theories have helped me succeed in life and instead they made me suspicious, paranoid, and angry. These theories did not protect me from being harmed or help me so I choose to forget them. I am free to base things on my experience instead of being burdened with fear and feeling like I have been a victim my entire life. When I read these theories in the past and when I hear them now I do not have productive or helpful thoughts or feelings so I will stop exposing myself to them. I've heard enough and now it's time to focus on things that will actually help my life.  

2. Who decided what "acting White" and "acting Black" was and should this apply to me? In my opinion, it's AA males who decided what it means to be Black and this has spread around the world. But there is some historical White racism mixed up in there and some of what AA males decided is based on a reaction to this. Unfortunately modern AA males have decided to embrace some of the racist stereotypes and defined blackness as the opposite of their definition whiteness! In the past things like reading, doing well in school, being well mannered, dressing neatly, speaking well, working a respectable job were not labeled "acting White", these where just things people did. But nowadays, if an AA person does these things they are sometimes teased for "acting White". It has happened to me in Canada a few times when I was told I was practically White by a White person because I wasn't loud and ghetto a decade ago or when people are surprised I don't like R&B and hip hop. But in Canada I don't recall anyone saying that my doing well in school or getting an advanced degree was "acting White" and I remember reading a statistic years ago saying Black women are more likely to have a university degree than all other groups (not sure if this is still true). I recently read a similar statistic about AA women. So I wonder why are Black women letting AA men define what it means to be Black? Why are you letting them define you? Is there a better definition that would serve your needs and goals better?
My Decision: I am going to be extra vigilant to eliminate all ideas I have about "acting White" and "acting Black" and I will act however I feel comfortable and prefer whatever appeals to me. I will no longer pay attention to AA trends, art, music, ideas, style etc. over non-AA trends, art, music, ideas, or style. I will be open to ideas, think about the source and intended audience, evaluate the merits of the idea, and decide if it will enhance my life or not. I will have my personal goals and will not let race factor into those goals. I am not trying to live up to any expectations for what AA culture says a Black woman should be. I will try to be a great woman period. I will not pay attention to AA theories that race needs to be recognized and discussed all the time in order to prevent racism. I will discuss it when I feel like it and not because I feel pressured to do so. I want to be seen as a unique individual person not a Black woman stereotype.

3. Who is free and who is brainwashed? This is one thing that I have really struggled with. I am so sick and tired of people trying to shape me and telling me if I believe one thing or act in one way then I am brainwashed or part of the problem; but if I think differently or act in a different way then I've stepped out of the matrix and I'm free. I know I have only so much power and there are others who have way more. I don't want to spend my free time thinking about how powerless I am and being angry at people or the system. This means I will not question my preferences any more! These are the following preferences I will no longer feel guilty about:
  • I will date who I am attracted to and will not question whether Eurocentric society has shaped my dating preferences.
  • I will not feel guilty about disliking the shrinkage in my natural hair and preferring to wear my hair stretched. Some natural women online are acting like it's self-hatred to prefer your hair stretched but I'm done listening to them.
  • I will not feel guilty about preferring long hair on myself and other women. I think it looks better. I don't like Lupita Nyongo's hair and I think she would look better if she grew it out. It's my preference and I don't care where it comes from. 
  • I will not feel guilty about thinking a light-skinned or non-Black woman is attractive. I will not go on a smear campaign against any women in order to make dark-skinned Black women feel better. If you have great features you are beautiful regardless of your skin colour. I will not beat myself up or try to rationalize my preferences into something else out of fear I've been brainwashed. I like what I like case closed.
  • I will not feel guilty about watching television. I will watch whatever I want for whatever reason I want. 
  • I will not feel guilty about the music I like. I will not like something just because Black people made it or because it is popular. 
  • I will not support something just because it involves a Black person. I will not support something just because it is popular (i.e., all the White people are doing it). I will support something if I believe in the cause. 
My Decision: I am aiming to have my needs met and achieve my goals and I have decided to be satisfied with that. I am not on a journey to change the world or overthrow anything and if that makes me part of the problem then so be it. If this means I'm a follower and part of the system so be it. I'm making a choice to fight for my needs and goals and what I choose to fight for instead of being shamed into fighting for other people's causes. I will support something if I choose to not out of fear or irrational guilt. Most importantly, I will no longer pathologize myself based on my choices or preferences. I will not pay attention to any Willie Lynch, it started with slavery, Eurocentric beauty standard, etc. articles or arguments because I've heard them and want to move on. I am fed up with articles and news stories questioning if something is normal or not. As long as my needs and goals are being met I don't care about being normal anymore, I can be unique or unusual.

If anyone can relate to this post, great, if not oh well. It's me figuring out what bothers me and eliminating that thinking from my mind. For most of my life I have been free of these thoughts and I want to go back to that time. Instead I want to focus on ways I can improve my life and feel better about myself. Focusing on the things listed above just created mental turmoil for me so I am throwing them to the side. I am free of the restriction I previously felt pressured to adhere to because I am Black. I am free.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

My Opinion about the State of Black Women's Empowerment Sites (BWE)

I have been blogging for a long time. I think I started in 2004. I think that was before BWE even started. I remember reading Black Women Blow the Trumpet before it became private. I was there when What About our Daughters started. I tried to get involved, it went bad, and I quit blogging for a few years. I kept reading things here and there and found I really liked Beyond Black and White and after a while I was asked to write there. I like Christelyn Karazin, I haven't interacted with many of the founding members of BWE, and I have had negative interactions with some of them. But I prefer Christelyn because she is less extreme, more open to differing opinions, and respectful. I also appreciate that she saw something that interested her and tried to help and bring resources to the movement. I believe in what Dorothy Height said, if we worry about who gets credit then the work doesn't get done (or something like that). If the goal is to improve the lives of Black women then who the hell cares who started BWE and who makes the most noise as long as the job gets done? So after the whole hubbub about Christelyn happened I definitely did not want to be involved with the founding members and their rules. My opinions are based on what I have seen and I have the right to comment on this as an observer.

I was really surprised at what happened to BWE. I have the Canadian experience where maybe 90% of the Black media I'm exposed to comes from AA women (including bloggers). So it's rare that I would see a Black Canadian woman or Caribbean woman in the media or online. That is the experience for many non-AA women so that is why we have an opinion about the AA media we consume and how they portray Black women. It's all we have really. There may be some non-AA women we watch but they are often in American films anyway. All the models, advertisements, music videos, and songs are the same ones you are exposed to but BWE sites are saying our opinions don't count, we don't know what we are talking about, and we are "the enemy" now. Just as AA women complain that they are not represented enough in the media and make do with what the White majority gives them, non-AA women are not represented and have to make due with what the White majority AND AA-minority provides. Yet we are not asking for them to represent us more in the media, we are asking that they represent themselves better for their own good, and for the good of Black people all over the world. What they present affects all of us so we should have a say.

Furthermore, if as some sites say, there is a more positive view of Caribbean and African women then why not look at some of us for ideas just as Black women all over the world frequently look to AA women for ideas? It seems that they only want the influence to be one sided and ignore the fact that non-AA women have lived with their outside influence and are still able to maintain unique parts of themselves. Why can't you look to other women for ideas and influence as many of us look to others including yourselves? If your goal is the be better respected and date interracially as many non-AA women do, wouldn't it make sense to figure out what non-AA women do and start enacting those things? I have no problem looking to AA, Asian, and even White women for ideas about how to do things. I look to men for ideas about how to do other things. Observe, learn, and make it your own for your own benefit while remembering who you are.

Unlike what I have read on BWE sites, I don't see the success of AA women as taking something away from me. AA women looking good does not make me look bad so I don't want them to fail or be mistreated and I do care. Unfortunately it seems like BWE sites are telling AA women to view success of any non-dark skinned or non-AA woman as a personal rejection and as taking something away from them. That is how our experiences and reality differ so I'll leave that alone. I am all for diversity of skintones and features but you can advocate for that without the anger and personal attacks on light or biracial women. It would be great to see someone writing who has a perspective similar to my own. It would be great to see all women of African descent, regardless of how long their ancestors have been away from Africa, no matter their skin colour, be able to discuss the improvement of their global image which happens to be strongly influenced by the American media. BWE writers can see that the White majority has the control over how Black people are represented in Western countries and still feel they should have a say, even when they don't control the industry. Well, AA-people are overrepresented in the media presented to Western countries, and even though non-AA people don't control the industry, we also want to have a say, and what we want is to see YOU better represented. This isn't just a media thing either. We want AA-women and Black women everywhere to be viewed with higher regard. Those same Eurocentric standards apply to all Black women, not just AA-women.

I think what BWE sites are suffering from is groupthink and group polarization. Groupthink happens when a group of people makes decisions, there is a charismatic leader/leaders, many people think the same, and dissenting views are discouraged or strongly rejected. This leads the group to ignore different perspectives and not weigh all facts and possibilities. In BWE, by ignoring dissenting views, views from outsiders, or refusing to weigh alternatives or play devil's advocate, they are in danger of making unwise choices (e.g., fostering hostility towards biracial/light-skinned women while ostensibly advocating for interracial relationships that produce biracial children, or trying to do everything alone and starting from scratch instead of using trying to benefit from what other people have already done). Group polarization happens when a cohesive group becomes more and more extreme when compared to a group with more diverse membership. BWE is becoming extreme. It's narrowed itself from being about the improvement of all Black women down to only AA-women (who don't have recent African or Caribbean roots), who are not light skinned or biracial.  So anything that supports someone who doesn't fit that mold is rejected, criticized, and called the enemy. Their views are extreme (e.g., reject other Black people, reject all media and make your own, boycott almost everything, don't listen to many people who could have good ideas, don't support anyone who isn't AA, and not supporting the end of atrocities in other countries like those 200 girls kidnapped in Nigeria...yes seriously that happened). How can sites support interracial marriage that produces light-skinned and biracial children and at the same time call those women the enemy? 

When a group like this wants mainstream change they will not appeal to the mainstream if they are so extreme. They will lose the support from women who are light-skinned, biracial, or foreign who BWE writers have said have advantages and privileges they could extend. I'm all for AA-women advocating for their best interests first but I think these other women could be allies that can help by playing devil's advocate, being less emotionally-involved, and having a different perspective. I stand by my belief that when you are drowning take whatever help you can get and make due. If you are starving take whatever food you can get because you may not get anything better for a long time. Use these other people as a crutch until you can walk on your own. If you want to eliminate something from your life go ahead but there is no need to be so hostile and cruel to people who choose mainstream views and are doing just fine. We all have choices, the right choice for you may be an unnecessary choice or the wrong choice for others. Promote dark-skinned women all day long but don't burn bridges insulting people because they don't want to get on your bandwagon because they may be beside you for your next cause.

I know that BWE sites like to compare how they are treated by Black men and feminists and talk about intersectionality to defend their right to put themselves first. As a Canadian woman I am not asking AA women to put anyone else first or put their needs to the side. That is the difference between non-AA Black women, Black men, and feminists so please remember that. Women like me want AA women to do better and live better and if they make that a priority it's fantastic. I am not asking them to put non-AA women, Black men, or White feminists first so please don't compare the situations. I am not trying to sabotage you. I am trying to help you avoid groupthink and group polarization that is causing strife in your group and turning off the less extreme members. If you want mainstream change you need to make views acceptable to mainstream Black folks with moderate views, that's just the way it is. The more extreme and narrow your message, the more disparaging you are of people who are attracted to your sites (e.g., Black women around the world with various skintones), the less support you will get from those people and others who care about those people. You may feel you can do all of this on your own, but ask yourselves, how well is it working?

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Women are not entirely to blame for PUA sites!

I am no longer a follower of Black Women's Empowerment sites. The reason is because these sites have made it clear that they are meant for African American (AA) women and that non-AA women do not have a place in their conversations about the way AA women are perceived. Our opinions are not welcome in conversations about how to improve the image of AA women and how they can improve their lives. We have been told to deal with our own problems (frankly, I tired of the continual focus on television in their posts). I realize that my life is different from AA women and I don't need to do many of the things suggested on their sites. It's okay for me to think differently from them and to not feel serious issues for them are serious issues for me. That's fine. So I stopped regularly reading those sites.

For some reason today I was bored and couldn't find anything to read so I ventured over to this post on Neecy's Nest (the issues on the blog are for AA women so I don't have the same opinions about them and I won't post on BWE sites anymore, but I can always post on my own blog). The post is called It's time for Western women to fess up. First off, I can't believe what I read. In my opinion, the post basically blames women for Elliot Rodgers going on a shooting rampage in Santa Barbra, California because he couldn't get women to sleep with him! Talk about blaming the victim...

At the time when the shooting occured I read many articles about it and opinions. This was the FIRST time I saw a WOMAN blaming WOMEN for the shooting! This guy was a a former member of PUA (Pick Up Artist) sites and when he was still unsuccessful with women he joined a site called PUA HATE where men complain about PUA sites and bash women. Now I can understand why writers blamed the sites because of the things written there that influenced Rodger's thinking. There was some really hateful stuff posted on those sites, but for the record, apparently Rodger posted some alarming things and members tried to talk him down but it didn't work.

Well the thing that bothered me about Neecy's post was that there was no empathy at all for women's experiences with dating and how that influenced them! I think both men and women are to blame for the state of dating nowadays. In the post it seemed as though women were stupid, selfish beings who purposefully chose "bad boys" instead of "nice guys" just to be mean or because they didn't know what was best for them. Nice guys are apparently innocent victims of women's evil. This is the sort of thing that is written on PUA and Manosphere sites and it's coming from a woman! I will admit that I have gone in on feminists, didn't have entirely negative views of PUA sites, and think women are partially to blame for the state of dating today but I never supported the aforementioned ideas because they are totally one sided. So below I'm going to list some common experiences and beliefs that many women have about relationships and what they want that may leave "nice guys" without partners. I think it's ridiculous and harmful to blame women who are strangers for getting shot because they didn't want to sleep with someone! I chose to write this because I was just so shocked by what I read!

  1. Many young women do not know what nice guys are.  Some girls grow up with fathers/relatives who are mean/abusive to their mothers or themselves so they can like someone who treats them badly  while women who have good fathers would never date the same guys. These women think there is always abuse in relationships and that not being mistreated is a fairy tale. They expect guys to mistreat them sooner or later so they are not scared off when a guy isn't nice to them. Unfortunately the abuse has confused the women so they go for men like their abusive fathers. These women often have low self-esteem and think they are worthless and don't believe it when people say otherwise.  PUA sites give advice about how to find women with low self-esteem or how to lower women's self-esteem in order to get sex. If a woman ends up with bad guy after bad guy she may assume they are all bad and be suspicious of "nice guys" who she things will turn bad eventually anyway. These abused women will often have sex quickly too because they feel it is the only thing they can offer and that men only value them for sex. 
  2. Women become wiser and should not be blamed for not knowing more when they were younger. Later on when women realize what they were doing they change who they date due to that wisdom. I think it's totally unfair to chastise young women who aren't even fully mentally developed for making wrong choices when dating. Everyone makes mistakes. Young men also make many mistakes. Young men may be abusive, make poor life choices, sacrifice grades and career development for fast money to impress girls and end up with nothing to impress grown women, engage in criminal activities that make them non-marriage material etc. They may go for looks over character and personality for most of their lives. The same men on PUA sites have only been attracted to women rated 7-10 for most of their lives and have yet to figure out that they could have relationships with women closer to their attractiveness level! These men are still choosing women entirely based on looks and are surprised when some women do the same. Many of these men continue to prioritize sex over relationships when they know women don't and are surprised when women don't have sex with them right away. They keep trying to get sex with new women when men in relationships have the most sex. So both men and women make strange choices.
  3. Women are not mind readers and may not know if a guy is nice or mean until she gets to know him. I don't know why people assume a woman will automatically know a good guy. Most men are on their best behaviour when they meet a woman and it's only later that the bad behaviour comes up. The women don't know the guy was abusive, a criminal, or a cheater. Unless you have known a guy for a long time you won't know if he is a good guy or not. Many bad guys lie about being good guys and if they are handsome and charismatic then a woman will fall for it. They may be persuaded by an attractive man giving them attention because they don't feel they deserve it (just as a pretty woman can talk men into doing things they wouldn't do for a less attractive woman). On the other hand, if a supposed "nice guy" is awkward and unattractive he may not be able to convince women he is a good catch. PUA sites teach men how to convince women they are good guys. Our society also teaches that people should get second chances, don't judge a book by it's cover, and that people change so even if a women hears negative things about a guy she may still give him a chance. Many young people also think they are special so a young woman may believe that even if a guy is mean to others he will be good to her. Or she could believe "love conquers all" and that the man's problems won't matter as long as they are in love. This is constantly the message in romantic films, books, and songs.
  4. When people are abused as children they often (consciously or unconsciously) blame themselves for the abuse and try to prove their worth to bad guys. So when a girl meets a guy and he isn't nice she may blame herself. She then thinks that if she acts nice, treats him well, doesn't complain, or makes herself look good (ride or die type of girl) then he will start being nice to her. Many women have the belief that if they are nice or look good then men will be good to them. It happens in fairy tales and romantic books and films all the time (e.g., beauty and the beast). Just think of any film where the man is hard, mean, or in trouble and a nice, kind woman is exactly what he needs to see the error of his ways, open his heart, and transform himself (e.g., manic pixie dream girls). Women are taught from a young age to be kind and nice and that they can change men. 
  5. The halo effect is a psychological phenomenon where people associate good traits with people who are good looking (or have other good traits). So, if a woman sees a good looking guy she may unconsciously believe that he has other good traits but will unconsciously believe an unattractive guy has negative traits. As said above a woman may be pursuaded to date or sleep with an attractive guy just as men are easily persuaded to date and put up with attractive women who are not good for them. Men sometimes try to shame women for going for guys based on looks but this is hypocritical. If women went for men based on popularity, talent, or money someone would be complaining about that too. People look for more than one thing in a partner and personality unfortuantely is not enough. Think about how many times you looked at someone and were surprised at the negative things you learned about them because they looked so clean cut, nice, attractive etc. That's the halo effect and women are often surprised when the popular, handsome, successful guy turns out to be a terrible guy.
  6. Women may settle for whoever chooses them. Bad boys may be more bold and assertive in asking women out and pairing that with charisma and attractiveness leads to their dating success. A quiet guy who doesn't put in the effort or seem like he really wants a woman is not going to get her. If you act like a friend a woman will assume that friendship is all you want. Men who are successful with women tend to ask out way more women than men who are unsuccessful. It's partially a numbers game. Men often say they can tell within minutes if they would sleep with someone and if they are girlfriend material, well women do the same thing and they just may not be attracted to you.
  7. A woman may regret getting used by an unattractive man more than being used by an attractive man. Many girls and women have had the experience of being used by men, especially for sex (e.g., sleeping with someone and getting dumped, mistreated, or shamed soon after). So women learn that it is risky to sleep with a man because he may dump her or change right after. So women are selective about who they take that risk with. Many would prefer taking that risk with someone who has relationship potential but one can never be sure of that. The one thing a woman can be sure of is that they are attracted to someone a lot. So, if a man is really attractive a woman may be willing to risk being dumped after because they enjoyed being desired and sleeping with someone attractive. On the other hand, being desired and sleeping with someone unattractive may not be worth it to some women. Having a great thing once is worth more than having a mediocre thing once. Sleeping with someone you are not attracted to is like going to the dentist, but if your dentist is hot it makes it less unpleasant. Many women barely enjoy sex too so it's often a sacrifice only for the man's pleasure so at least they get the pleasure of looking at someone attractive. 
There are more things I could write but I think that's enough for now. When I think back over my choices in men I know that most of these things applied to me and affected my choices. I tried dating a guy I wasn't attracted to once and he ended up being a jerk just like the attractive guys I dated. I've turned down men because they were unattractive to me, they didn't achieve much in life, had kids, were separated, lived too far away, barely had anything to say, smoked, did drugs, or didn't planned to move away so there are many reasons. Many guys are just looking for sex so they don't care about those things. Women and men have different goals and dating standards a lot of the time and it is self-defeating and delusional to expect them to act the same way and make the same choices.  Anyways, the point of the post is that we should not uncritically believe everything these Red Pill guys say because they are only looking at things from one perspective while ignoring most of the reasons why women made the choices they have and instead attributed it to us being stupid or evil. Most of these men would have women if they didn't continually go for women who were out of their league, if men in general would be satisfied with one women for more than a one night stand, and if they stopped insisting that women sleep with them right away.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Leadership and The Animal Farm

I just finished reading Geroge Orwell's Animal farm. It's regarded as one of the best books of all time and in on the Time Magazine Top 100 Books List. I thought it fitting to tell you about it. Although the story is told using animals, it's actually about the leadership in Russia. It can also be used to understand leadership elsewhere including the leadership in revolutionary and activism groups.

Here's the gist of Animal Farm so if you don't like ***SPOILERS***, don't read any further.

1) Jones is a man who owns the farm. The animals become tired of being his slaves, revolt, and chase Jones and his wife off the farm. Now they own the farm.

2) As a group they come up with rules that the animals will follow so that they never become like humans. Rules include things like not living in houses, not sleeping in beds, never wearing clothes, ALL animals were equal, and never killing another animal. They get rid of anything they have that violates those rules.

3) The pigs are the smartest to they start making plans for the farm and telling others what to do. The lead pigs are Napoleon and Snowball. They learn to read and write while most of the other animals are not smart enough to do so. So the other animals are used for labor. At one point the humans come back and start a fight, Snowball was heroic, and they chased the humans off.

4) Snowball starts coming up with plans to make a windmill and the animals start looking up to him. Napoleon got jealous. He trained a bunch of dogs to attack at will and unleashed them on Snowball. Snowball was chased away.

5) From that point on Napoleon was the leader, he had guard dogs, and lived in the house. He was the the best reader and writer and everyone just accepted him as leader because he was the smartest.

6) Napoleon started spreading rumors that Snowball was always a traitor, was working for the humans, and was sneaking onto the farm to sabotage things. He forced animals to confess to working with him and they were executed on the spot. Slowly Napoleons lackeys would change the list of rules to benefit the pigs. Everyone went along out of fear of having their throats ripped out.

7) Animals were made to work long hours for little food but because they owned the farm they were willing to make the sacrifice. The less intelligent animals kept believing that Napoleon was always right and was looking out for their best interests not his own.

8) By the end of the book Napoleon created two classes of animals. The pigs were the upper class, they started living in the house, wearing clothes, and standing upright. They also started trading goods with humans. The other animals were the workers, they got less food than the pigs and had to do labor while the pig worked on "forms and memos".

9) By the end of the book the pigs looked just like the humans and acted like them. They made friends with the humans and were actually worse than Jones. Older animals forgot about all the betrayals and how things used to be. Young animals thought that things were always that way.

So what happened was that although the animals had good intentions and wanted equality, the smartest ones took over first and appointed themselves the leaders. Then by using slander, violence, and manipulation one leader took over and attempted to destroy the other leader and his supporters. Then the leader eventually did all the things that the original leaders did so he was no better than the original oppressors. Very interesting how power corrupts and treating each other as equals is the first rule to be thrown out.

It's funny how women can be just as sexist and infair as men

Well being feminine isn't all sunshine and lollipops, but I do think it's still better for me offline for sure. One thing I didn't think I would have to deal with online was other women being sexist to me because I like femininity and my screen name is Elegance. It's really disturbing actually.

There are insults doled out on me for doing things that other writers and commentators do all the time, but with me, there is an extra sexist tinge. It may also be that people are oblivious to how inconsistent they are with their approval and disapproval of the same behaviour depending on who is doing it. But for me, I'm apparently not allowed to disagree, dislike anyone, refuse to forgive someone, talk back to someone, not care about something or someone, think someone is a bad role model, question anyone, tell someone to go away, quit something, stop a discussion, start a disagreement, think I'm better than anyone, think I don't have serious problems, refuse to support a cause, or say ANYTHING that might make anyone feel bad. Well my response to that is SCREW YOU! I am not some 1-dimensional caricature that MUST live up to whatever feminine role you expect me to fulfill. You don't know me and I don't have to be what you want! This online character called Elegance is not the real me! It's an online persona...a duh! Anyways, here are some ways people just expect things of me that they don't expect of other people. I'm just going to write those people off and be done with them since we don't need each other and online reality has no relation to my offline reality so who cares.

Example 1) If someone calls out a blogger, BY NAME, and insults their intelligence, implies they are naive, stupid, a saboteur etc. then most people would understand if the insulted blogger confronted the person right? Not if you are feminine and named Elegance. Nope, you have to smile and take it like a good little doll because that's what they expect feminine women to do. Take it and be a pushover. Or they tell you not to "sink to their level", so while other women and men can defend themselves I'm criticized for doing so. I'm not doing anything different from anyone on the net but for me it's not okay.

Example 2) If someone is rude in their disagreement with someone on a site it's understandable that the other person may be rude back voicing their own opinion. But oh no not Elegance! If I am rude back, question, or respond to the other person then I'm "being too sensitive" and can't take criticism. Where exactly does it say that it's wrong to talk back to critics? A strong person responds to criticism and corrects misunderstandings! If I think you are full of it and your criticisms make no sense, are biased, or freaking crazy then I have every right to say so. I can take criticism but I don't have to accept it. If someone says my blog is stupid because it's pink then I have every right to say it's stupid to think something like that is relevant.

Example 3) In an offline conversation it is a back and forth, you say something, then your conversation partner says something. This can go on for hours. Online the same thing sometimes happens and the conversation can be light or it can be a disagreement. But for some reason if I go back and forth with someone trying to understand then that's being willfully stupid, trying to cause problems, or trolling. How are some people allowed to cut off the dialogue like that but when I do THE EXACT SAME THING or stop the discussion I'm told I'm not willing to accept disagreement, I'm unwilling to engage in healthy dialogue, or I'm running away like a little girl? In my opinion, this is a sexist reaction, I'm damned for disagreeing with what someone says and damned for not engaging with them at all. Furthermore, if I write a long response it's a rant, being too sensitive, and it's not a big deal, but if another author does the exact same thing they are applauded and told they have every right to respond??? It's not my fault I can think and type faster than you.

Example 4) I think that it's a very feminine trait to try to understand people and it's also being curious and inquisitive, all good things. If you don't understand something then an intelligent person tries to understand instead of staying confused. Sometimes, believe it or not, people are confusing and their points are only logical to themselves or people close to them due to something called groupthink. I don't mind people questioning my thinking and I explain myself. But other people see that as a threat and they attack people for questioning and trying to understand. I don't know if that is an anti-intellectual thing, a defensive thing, and anti-science thing or what but I think it's freaking abnormal to be so closed off to questioning. But nooo, Elegance isn't allowed to ask questions or for clarification or that means she's stupid. People love to throw around the term "critical thinking" but an important part of critical thinking is asking whether something is true, whether it is partially true, or whether it is true for some people and not others! Pointing that out is not sabotage, it's pointing out the freaking limitations of your idea! One shoe doesn't fit everyone, just acknowledge it and we can move on instead of people insisting that their idea always works, for everyone, and if not it's because you're stupid.

Example 5) If someone disagrees with a popular idea then they have every right to say so, ask questions, and give a critique. But noooo, not if it's about Black women, then you have to nod your head and go along. Is that not the same freaking mess of unquestioning that let BW to follow feminists and Black male activists? Individual women have to question whether the ideas are appropriate to them. If they find inconsistencies then it is up to the writers to address them instead of sweeping them under the rug, calling people brainwashed, saboteurs, stupid etc. Maybe you are actually inconsistent, a lot of things are. It may be impossible for you to be consistent but what you need to do is THINK about whether there is an inconsistency, and if so ACKNOWLEDGE it, or DISPROVE it. It's sooooooo funny how many times people have said to me that I should expect disagreement with the posts I make yet other people are allowed to tell me not to voice my disagreement and in fact don't read a blog if you don't agree with ALL OF IT. What the heck is that?

Example 6) It's mind boggling the way the people react when the very criticisms they make of others are put back on them. Like when BW ask the White media to be included in their projects (e.g., magazine covers, TV shows, movies, runway). The same thing happens online when BW ask to be represented on non-Black blogs, people of other classes want inclusion on middle-class blogs, women want inclusion on men's blogs etc. These people asking for inclusion say that they won't support the cause or site because they are not included right? So how is that any different from a Black Canadian woman saying she doesn't want to be a part of a US based movement because it doesn't reflect her unique circumstances or address her needs? That's the same reason why many of you abandoned feminism, certain TV shows, magazines, and other causes but nooooo if you do that with a BW cause then you're told to shut up, just go along, and you're being insensitive to our problems. What happened to all the talk of only supporting things that DIRECTLY benefit you and expecting RECIPROCITY? I guess #(insertcausehere)isn't forCanadianBW. Sorry I won't be singing your praises or engaging with these causes just because I'm Black. I'm just going to wipe you from my consciousness.

People are strange and difficult. Online I'm just going to delete them, ignore them, and move on. If you are inconsistent, unfair, or extreme I'm not even going to bother trying to understand you out of curiosity online, it's not worth my time and won't benefit my life. THE END

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Things I want to focus on instead of blogging

These are things that I want to devote my time to instead of blogging. Blogging was supposed to help me on my journey to become more feminine. There are more things I need to learn but I'd rather just learn and do instead of writing about it. Blogging also helped me to figure out my opinions about certain things and now I'm pretty sure of the way I tend to think about things (because my posts are pretty consistent and in old posts I'm saying similar things to what I have been saying in newer posts). So my femininity journey will continue but my blogging journey is over. I will read over my old posts from time to time to remember the things that I wanted to keep up so that I won't get off track. I think that there are enough posts here and blogs linked in my side bar to be enough for everyone. I have over 200 posts.

So these are the things that I will be doing instead of blogging:

  1. Working and reading things so that I can do my job even better.
  2. Studying for tests I need to take.
  3. EXERCISE! I need to become a fitness nut and get into tip top shape.
  4. Reading: I want to get an e-reader or tablet from Ebay so I can read more. 
  5. Sewing: I have a bag of clothes I want to alter and lots of sewing patterns I want to buy and use. This will become my main hobby to replace blogging and it will take up a lot of time.
  6. Cooking: I need to spend more time cooking healthy things and preparing meals if I want to get into shape.
  7. Socializing: I need to make going out and being social a bigger part of my life. No more socializing with the computer. I need to get out, be with friends and go out on dates.
  8. Volunteering: There is a work related group I may volunteer for. 
So these things are going to be keeping me busy and they will be directly beneficial to me. I blog a lot when I'm bored, but really I have no reason to be bored. I was just procrastinating and distracting myself from the important things I needed to be doing all along. I just have to buckle down and do the hard things because they will bring a lot of benefits later. It's time to get on with life. 

I may do a final wrap up post or maybe I should just end it like this. Either way, it's been an interesting journey and thank you for visiting. Good luck!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Watch Out for First World Problems

Crossposted at Beyond Black & White

This post is related to a previous post on my blog and something I've been thinking for a while. The gist of that post was that I don't feel the need to take time out of each day to feel bad for all the people suffering in the world unless I plan on doing something to help. Otherwise it's just feeling bad for no reason and it's just talk with no action or substance behind it. It's acting upset and patting yourself on the back after because that makes you more human than the allegedly unfeeling masses (yet it's members of those unfeeling masses who are actually working on those issues every day not just complaining about them). There are people close to me who I can feel bad for if necessary but I'm not going to seek out news stories about bad things and feel bad so that I prove I have feelings to strangers online. I don't think that is helpful to anyone and a waste of time I could be using to enjoy my life or do something more constructive or helpful in the world. It doesn't mean I don't care or don't have feelings, I'm just not choosing to get worked up about every issue in the world that crosses my path because that helps no one.

To me, taking on the suffering of strangers is like being a mammy and a mule feeling bad for them when they don't feel bad for you, in the hopes that when you have problems they will remember your caring and come help you when you need it. I don't believe that will happen, maybe on a national level (e.g., countries helping each other and expecting to be paid back in the future), but not on a race level. I will be concerned and help someone LESS fortunate than myself IF I WANT TO and if I am moved, not in the hopes of getting paid back because I know that probably won't happen. I don't fool myself into thinking that caring for those people is somehow an investment in my own future. Payback would only apply if those people are my neighbors and if they will one day have enough resources to pay me back (that would be reciprocity). But for the people who need the most help in far away places, that will never happen. I will help them just because I think it's the right thing to do, but I won't sit around depressed about it because then I would be depressed 24/7 365 days a year.

Furthermore, I don't waste time being concerned about people who have their own family, friends, and resources to take care of them. These people don't need my help and they probably won't reciprocate because they focus their resources on helping themselves (because self-preservation is the priority for most people). This is why I don't get upset over things regarding celebrities anymore because they have enough people caring about them that they don't need me. I don't need to be concerned about athletes or politicians. I don't need to be concerned about powerful ideological groups because they will be okay and succeed without my help (because they have been doing so all along). Trust me, anyone with any power will do just fine without the support of Black women but if we don't take care of our own problems who will? Do you really want us to go begging to everyone else for help or should we try to handle our own problems? This leads me to the issue of First World Problems. FWPs are things that people in wealthy Western countries get upset about that aren't even in the radar of people in poorer countries who are just trying to survive. To people in those countries these issues seem frivolous and they would wonder why we are so miserable when we have so much.

I think that there are Black First World Problems that Black people in Western countries worry and get too angry about when Black people in the past would have had much worse to deal with. I think that Western Black people believe that if we don't get really upset and make a lot of noise over every insensitive thing anyone does then observers will get the green light to be as racist and sexist as they want, Jim Crowe be reinstated and women will become second class citizens again. This is why they get upset over minor things because they think those minor things are indications of a large, underground racist/sexist mentality that is just waiting to come out if everyone isn't vigilant about it. Now I am not a psychic and I don't know if they are right about this or not. I'll let them get upset but I won't be a part of it. It's their passion and fear not mine so I won't let them drag me in. Discussions about some of these issues can get very heated because people feel they are a symptom of a more serious problem. But when you sit back and look at some of the issues Western people have gotten really upset about you just have to laugh sometimes because we must have things pretty good if these are the things we complain about. Yes we can complain and commiserate about these problems but there is no reason why discussions of these issues should end with someone being furious, depressed, or feeling that the world is a horrible place. Just breathe and realize you are getting upset about a FWP that isn't that serious!

Examples of Black First World Problems:

*Getting worked up over something you read/saw on the Internet: The Internet is strangers writing for entertainment or amusement or telling people what they think those people should know. People are more rude on the Internet because it is anonymous and they are arguing with people who can't affect them in real life. Don't bother getting upset about a conversation with a stranger who you may never cross paths with again over a topic you have never been concerned about until they brought it up. If you don't like it. don't read or visit the site again, avoid the person, and just walk away because no one is forcing you to be there.
*Black women wear their hair straight: For many people this is a luxury and they have no choice but to wear their own natural hair (I used to think this was serious but not any more). It's more important that Black women are free to be educated, employed, using money for necessities or upward mobility, and feel safe walking the streets looking however they want.
*A Black person's skin color: Why are we caring so much about this? Can a Black person just be Black and be accepted already no matter the shade? Stop caring so much about who the media prefers and just treat people equally and be attracted to whoever you want.
*A celebrity said or did ANYTHING: There are people who pay absolutely no attention to what celebrities do because they are busy with other things. This also includes any celebrity doing anything that reminds you of slavery or their preference for non-Black people. Pay more attention to what the powerful people concern themselves with, because I doubt it's Love and Hip Hop. Some people don't watch TV at all.
*A rapper said something misogynist: It's a musician, an entertainer, usually with a criminal background who is barely literate from a music genre that is plagued with misogyny. Think about all the places in the world where rap music and rappers are a non-issue and have no impact on anything. Idiots say idiotic things and other idiots will follow their example.
*There are not enough Black people on quality TV shows: You're complaining about what's on your $3000 flat screen that costs more than people earn in one year in some countries. It's a luxury you have TV at all and that there are ever Black people on shows that are not on Black-owned networks. Yes, you can be bothered by this but it's really not that serious in comparison with other issues so just don't act like this is the worst issue facing Black people. Let the actors fight this battle for their representation and use their unions. Read a book or go exercise.
*There are not enough Black fashion models in high fashion shows and magazines: Do I have to explain how big a FWP this is? Don't watch the shows, don't read the magazines, don't buy the your life. This also includes fashion shoots that remind you of slavery, minstrel shows, or you feel are appropriating someone's culture. They are selling pieces of fabric...relax!
*There are not enough Black people on magazine covers: Stop letting the media tell you who you are and what you are worth. The media is designed to tell you that you aren't good enough so that you buy things to fix problems you don't even have. Your face is not on the cover because they prefer White people like them and it has nothing to do with your beauty or worth as a human being. In a country where Black folks were the majority AND owned the media then Black people would be represented all over the place. In Western countries Black people will always be underrepresented so accept it and move on.

Specific Posts about First World Problems 

The new image of a Black Barbie (relax it wasn't even for kids and people dress like that anyway)
Petition over Scandal Hiatus (get a life people)
Protesting Legos marketed towards girls (just buy what you want mindless drones)
Black models excluded from fashion shows (let the people who buy their stuff and the models protest. I think they should get rid of runway modeling period and just use computers...)
Rapper says Black women don't look good in red lipstick (then people try to prove him wrong...why?)