Monday, August 19, 2013

Black Feminists Have A Hugo Problem, Too - Among Other Things

"The rationalization hamster is an analogy for the thought processes used by women to turn bad behavior and bad decisions into acceptable ones to herself and her friends. When a woman makes a bad decision, the hamster spins in its wheel (the woman’s thinking) and creates some type of acceptable reasons for that bad decision. The crazier the decision, the faster the hamster must spin in order to successfully rationalize away the insanity."

The flurry of attention that Mikki Kendal, an obscure Black Internet Feminist, recently garnered with her Tweet heard Around The World "#SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen", where she rightly upbraided her erstwhile White Feminist sisters for their tripping over themselves to cover their backsides in giving disgraced academic and self-proclaimed male feminist Hugo Schwyzer a pass at the expense of Sista Feministas everywhere, was almost too good to be true - Black and White Women, the Feminists among them anyway, were finally gonna duke it out over what anyone with one good eye could clearly see was dogging "the movement" since Day One - that "Feminism" in truth, really meant Feminism for White and at least nominally middle-class Women - and any other kinds of Women, especially Black, had to get in where they fit in, if at all. It promised to be a rollicking time of highspirited drama and hijinx, which so accompanies disagreements of the ladykind. I for one eagerly looked forward to the fireworks that would surely ensue.

And ensue they did - only to be kinda sorta swept aside by another hashtag bombshell sent on Twitter by another member of the Sistarati - #BlackPowerIsForBlackMen - so sayeth one Ms. Jamilah Lemeiux, editor at - and we're off to the races. Just like that, the ire of Black Feminists went from chin-checking their White sisters-in-arms, to running off what could only be described as a Litany of White People's Problems in Blackface to their Brothas - and this time, the Brothas responded with a Hugoesque mea culpa of its own. Headed up by Duke University academic and gender expert in his own right, Mark Anthony Neal, "Brothers Writing to Live" - a gaggle of truly privileged Black Men - wrote a response to the Litany so drenched in #Empathy that the Porn Professor himself would be impressed. 

If you're thinking that Obsidian is about to suggest that what we saw in the White Femisphere over the past few weeks with their Hugo Problem is something that is NOT unique to them and that the Black Femisphere has some challenges of its own along these lines too, step right up and claim your prize, because you would be spot-on. Hugo showed us all that in the end, he got where was was and still is, in no small part due to the fact that he had enough of the Right Stuff to win the (White) ladies/Feminists over - and the same is true with his analogues on the Blackhand side of things, too. Just like Hugo knew and understood Women and Seduction well enough to have the former eating out of his hand, the same exact thing can be said of many "new" Black Men, who clearly understand the sociosexual landscape and have no compunctions taking advantage of it. No, I am not saying that any of the Brotha collective of which Neal is a part, are suffering from mental illness, pathological liars or are serial monogamists; but what I AM saying, is that one has to either be completely naive, incorrigibly disingenuous, or suffering from an acute attack of the Rationalization Hamster not to see that a tremendous deal of these shows of "empathy" on the part of these kinds of Men, have at least as much to do with positioning oneself for the Poontang, as it does anything having to do with "Social Justice". 

Look, in Black America, Black Men like Neal, et al, know they are a hot and relatively rare commodity - attractive, accomplished, high status, "gets it" and says all the right things to the (Black) ladies - who, let's be equally and as brutally honest, simply don't have as many chances to get such Men into their ciphers on a regular basis, compared to their White counterparts - hence all the chatter in more recent years about "Black Male Privilege", a concept that, on its face is an utterly laughable one - until you consider that what these Black Women are talking about ain't Charles Ramsey and his ilk; it's the Jewel Woods' and Mark Anthony Neals of the world - and the Woods and Neals are smart and saavy enough - in other words they have GAME - to understand that mouthing such nonsensical platitudes is what soooooooo many Black Women of a Certain Class *want to hear* - much like a certain White, privileged and good looking academic, did on the White side. 

Sound familiar? 

Black Women taking in the "I feel your pain" line from certain Brothas who have the media spotlight would be wise to, in the wake of the Hugo Crisis, take it all with a brick of salt, because, no, there's nothing wrong with your TV set, chances are high they're running White Knight Game on you, too, please do not fool yourself. Indeed, before bemoaning the supposed "oppression" they ostensibly endure at the hands of Brothas, Black Feminists/Women need to consider how much trouble they get their own selves into by refusing to see the forest for the trees; in a recent interview with The Hairpin, both Mikki Kendal AND her partner in crime, Flavia Dzodan, couldn't even identify that the key reason why Hugo Schwyzer was the golden boy for White Internet Feminism when the evidence was as plain as their own noses on their faces, so deep were they in their Rationalization Hamster's centrifuges - "privilege" and "race", while certainly not non-factors, were a distant second to the simple fact that HE WAS HOT to their White sisters, and thus, he got on, even when - perhaps especially when - he acted like the asshat he is, and threw the Sistas under the bus. If ever there was a validation and confirmation of everything that is taught and discussed in Game/Pickup circles, the Hugo Saga is it, and that includes the aforementioned interview. Read Kendal and Dzodan's answer to that straight-up question in The Hairpin and see for yourself. Look at those hamsters go!

But that, interestingly enough, is in fact the least of the Black Feminists' problems; from where I sit, they have at least two other big ones that they have to directly confront, if they want to still be in the headlines come August, 2014:

The first problem they have is one of increasing irrelevance - as I've noted several times over the past few years, despite their being repeatedly chumped, snubbed and dissed by their Whiter and higher class sisters, the fact remains that they - Black Women - have benefitted directly, and tremendously, from the (White) Feminist Agenda - and more often than not, with the aid and tacit approval of Black Men themselves. Today, Black Women get more abortions than anyone else, go to school more than anyone else, and have long outpaced Black Men when it comes to gainful employment. Wanna talk about violence against Women? Great - please tell me how so many Black Women's bodies are piling up at a time when, by every measure you can imagine, violent crime of ALL kinds has dropped significantly - I'll wait. Those drops in violent crime, have direct and immediate bennies to Black Women, in the form of fewer of them being raped, beaten or killed, because the single biggest victim of Black crime, are Black people, in this case, Black Women. Black Women have documented higher senses of self-esteem, and when it comes to what Hugo referred to as "female sexual empowerment", part of the reason why out of wedlock births are so high in Black America is BECAUSE Black Women themselves prefer it that way - this was borne out in Edin & Kafalas' groundbreaking and critically acclaimed work "Promises I Can Keep" and Edin & Nelson's more recent follow up effort, "Doing The Best I Can"; and as comedian Chris Rock rightly observed, the single biggest fans and consumers of supposedly "degrading" variants of Hip Hop music are again, yup, you guessed it, Black Women, who shake and shimmy on the dancefloor to the beat all night long. None of this is to say that there are still aren't atomized instances of sexist holdouts among individual Black Men, but to deny the clear and present evidence of what I've just presented above is not just to be intellectually dishonest; its to be delusional in the face of incontrovertible fact.

The second problem facing Black Feminism is actually something that is, in some ways, *not* unique to them at all; as Susan Walsh, of the blog Hooking Up Smart, rightly noted recently, even (White) Feminists themselves have acknowledged that they have a branding problem when it comes to getting new recruits into the fold. Fewer (White) American Women than ever, identify with being a Feminist, and in fact if anything, will assiduously avoid being tagged with that label, and for good reason: because, in the minds of most (White) Women, being a Feminist is synonymous with being an unattractive, angry Man-hater. 

In the Black community, Black Feminism suffers from a "branding" problem too, but one of a different kind: in the minds of most Black Women, "Black Femism=Black Lesbianism" - and Black Feminists cannot claim that they are being tarred and feathered unfairly on that score. Indeed, Black Feminism's roots hail from the fact that its leading thinkers were/are themselves lesbians, and the kinds of politics and interests, to say nothing of the style and tone, that they endorse are often off-putting to straight Black Women, who simply don't see life in the same ways that they do. This has resulted in an ever-growing rift between those inside the Black Feminist tent, and those on the outside, and over the years, the former has, whether unintentionally or otherwise, alienated the latter. 

Taken together - the Black Feminists' own Hugo Problem; the question of remaining relevant in a truly Post-Feminist Age; and the alienation of straight Black Women away from the Black Feminist Brand - are far and away MORE important, in my view, than merely getting dissed, yet again, by their White sisters. After all, was that really any great shock or surprise, especially when you toss in a charismatic, good looking White guy into the mix?

Now adjourn your arses...
The Obsidian
blog comments powered by Disqus