Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The State of Young Black Women

As a 30-year old young black woman in pursuit of opening doors and shatering the proverbial glass ceiling, I'm scared for the young women of the generation behind me. I'm scared that those young women might be lost for decades to come. So lost that they will be unable to physically,mentally or spirtually find their way back. I fear that they will refuse to understand the beautiful souls that they are for their inner and outer beauty. If young women like myself extend our hands to show them and tell them just how special they are, will they take our hand and accept our words? 
I fear that the very young men whom we entrust as a community to protect and guide these young women of tomorrow, will fail them grossly, for they no longer view young women as mothers, sisters or a loved one -- merely objects. I'm terrified that today's widely accepted social norm of objectification, self hate and the over sexualized characterization of women, will become the standard and last forever. 

Forgotten are morals, self-respect, the etiquette of what it means to be a proper young woman. We are morally divided as a society. A large portion of us not only accept and defend young woman who break the codes of being a "decent and acceptable young woman," we reward it. The other half of us struggle to understand what in the world is going on with our girls. As my colleague FedUp pointed out in an offline discussion on Miley Cyrus and her recent antics, every generation has an artist of antics. From Josephine Baker's topless banana skirt routine classified as "artistic dance," to Madonna's numerous hyper sexualized performances, songs, and videos throughout the 80's and 90's; to Miley's disgustingness that she called a "performance," to Rihanna's slackness in her recent video for "Pour it Up," the classlessness continues, because we allow it. We make excuses for these people.

Once upon a time husbands and wives didn't even sleep in the same bed. In fact, it was Betty Ford then US First Lady who declared that not only would she sleep in the same bedroom as her husband in the White House, they would sleep in the same bed. Yes, that was unacceptable by social standards of the 1970's, but pales in comparison to what we are seeing today. 

Where are we today and where are we going tomorrow?

This video sends chills up and down my spine. How did we end up here?

Making its rounds on the web this video has been labeled as "Black Female Sexual Exploitation." I disagree. This Self-Exploitation! Sara Baartman was a black woman who was sexually exploited, our ancestors forced to engage in physical acts of intimacy with the very men who enslaved them, were exploited -- not these women. These young women and the men giving them direction were born in a time of freedom. The parents of these young women have failed them. Parents are supposed to teach their children right from wrong, protect them and most importantly, help them understand their worth by teaching them they are precious beings who are to be respected by all.

Upon intially viewing this video I felt outrage and sadness. I tried to lay blame and couldn't decide if I was more upset with the young women in the video, their parents, or the young men giving them direction. I blame them all.

To the young women in the video I simply ask -- why?

To understand whatever the why is will require us to collectively examine how we even got here. The photo above is a group of young black women in 1944 at a courthouse protest. These women were speaking out of the black female sexual exploitation of their day -- the numerous rapes of young black women in the segregated south, by white males.

Maybe a history lesson is necessary for our young women, conversations about self-worth, maybe a hug. I'm not sure what needs to be done, but we need to do something!

I don't want a video like this be made ever again.

Sound off.....

1. What is the State of today's young black woman?
2. Are we progressing forward of moving backwards as a society when it comes to determining what "acceptable behavior" is?
3. What are your thoughts on the video? Who do you blame?
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