THOSE PEOPLE

A black magazine for people too hip for black magazines. 

Side Chick, Dime Piece, Housewife, Hoe

Side Chick, Dime Piece, Housewife, Hoe

 

Let’s Leave the “How-To-Be-A-Woman” Manual in 2015

 

If 2015 was good for anything at all, it definitely outdid itself in the category of defining womanhood.

It seemed like every time I looked at a browser, another self-proclaimed expert was attempting to encapsulate or redefine the concept of being a woman. The Kardashians were pitted against the Obamas. Amber Rose threw a hoe-parade in her own honor. Ayesha Curry got extra famous for a day after slut-shaming every InstaModel in existence. David Banner apologized for oppressing his female fans just in time for the release of his new single. Powerful, successful women were evaluated based on what they wore to premiers or who they allowed into their beds. No one was beautiful enough, happy enough, pure enough or rare enough.

And of course, the special-ed contingent of Black Twitter produced valuable content like this:

This year it seemed like the entire internet took it upon itself to project millions of sentences into the ether that all started out with the all too familiar:

“Women should…”

We were told how we should and should not dress, what makes us important or forgettable, what makes us successful, what makes us unique, what men want from us, what our bosses want from us, what our community wants from us, what kind of mothers we should be, how to keep our men happy, how to fleek our eyeliner and when to give up the booty. Virtually every element of womanhood seemed to be brought under the microscope this year and every time I came across another generalization or hilarious meme I rolled my eyes and fed my fire.

Now that we’re mere days away from this year’s final demise, I feel it’s necessary to vindicate us all a little bit and say quite contently what we all know to be thoroughly and uncompromisingly factual:

Women are undefinable.

What always surprises me a little is that a lot of these woman should statements come from other women. As if we don’t all stumble through similarly awkward pubescent experiences, with similar challenges, similar enemies and the same glass ceiling. As if we’re somehow all that different from each other in the first place. The same women who are shamed for revealing too much skin online are often the ones who turn around and shame those who are more prudent and less outgoing with their sexuality.

The How to Keep a Man Narrative generally has one take-away: have absolutely no identity and aim to please others before being true to who you actually are. Everyone has an opinion and some God-given standard that they subscribe to — until they don’t anymore, and then they become an expert on whatever element of womanhood fits their new narrative.

Having sex or not having sex. Being a working or stay at home mother. Marrying your dream man or remaining a relationship nomad. Showing the crack of your ass in a selfie or revealing your breast in public while feeding your child — there will always be someone in an uproar over these things. But these are just life choices, undeserving of labels. Underserving of shame or praise or anything else other than acceptance and, I don’t know, support?

The only time a woman should ever really be corrected is when she is losing herself in the fray, forgetting her own abilities and power and maybe falling into the trap of believing what she’s told.

Despite the humor we can all find in the oppression of women, especially the oppression of Black women, the day-to-day struggle of just existing in our skin is enough to break anyone down on a daily basis. Because the only thing harder than being a Black man is being the one he slaps on the ass as she passes him by.

My hope is that my fellow sisters are reminded that while we have the world at our feet and the ability to do virtually whatever we want, we will all reach this conclusion at different times in life and in different ways. Inside every woman is a whore, a saint, a queen, a diva, a mother, a scared little girl, a power player, a pacifist, an activist, an asshole. We are as varied as our skin tone and curl patterns.

To generalize us in any way is to miss the entire point of women and quite frankly — it’s boring. You’re not an expert on women just because you have a vagina or because you came out of one. You’re not an expert on women just because you studied us in college or observed us in our natural habitat. You can’t be an expert of an ever-expanding and ever-changing universe. You can only watch it, accept it, get high on it, learn and grow from it.

So, yes, I will unfriend or unfollow or no longer speak to you if you put down my sisters. And, yes, I will do the same if you put my brothers down as well. I’m hoping that in 2016 we can just be for our people. All of our people. As pure and unfiltered and messy and inconsistent as we each come.

 
Female, Womban, Queen

Female, Womban, Queen

Don’t Shoot, We're Just Black

Don’t Shoot, We're Just Black