Sexual Violence and Black Women/Girls #1

Well, leave it to Erykah Badu to force my hand. She has a knack for keeping things off kilter.

I had planned to start my series on Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) which is in April…next week. But Badu’s recent comments regarding sexuality and young girls has left me shaking my head.

“Badu, who had a child with Andres 3000 in 1997, said that teenage girls should wear knee length skirts to protect them from the “natural” desires of men.“There was an article ruling that high school girls lower their skirts so male teachers are not distracted. I agreed because…” she began on Twitter.“I am aware that we live in a sex l-driven society. It is everyone’s, male and female’s, responsibility to protect young ladies…” http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/erykah-badu-accused-of-victim-blaming-after-saying-girls-should-wear-knee-length-skirts-to-stop-a6980721.html

Badu’s views are alarming, particularly when thinking about how vulnerable young black girls are to sexual violence/abuse, especially from older men. Black girls are already marginalized/stereotyped in educational settings. Are we now going to shrug our collective shoulders when a male teacher is behaving inappropriately because they are of “childbearing age” and wearing short skirts?

“Sixty percent of black girls have experienced sexual abuse at the hands of black men before reaching the age of 18, according to an ongoing study conducted by Black Women’s Blueprint.” http://newsone.com/1680915/half-of-black-girls-sexually-assaulted/

Perhaps Badu should speak with some of her fellow black women celebrities. Vanessa Williams, Mary J. Blige, Missy Elliot, and Tisha Campbell have all shared about being victims of sexual abuse as young girls. Folks might argue that they were children, so it’s different. But there have been cases where girls as young as five years old have been blamed for their rapes. For appearing “sexually mature” for their age. That’s why Badu’s words are disturbing, because it then becomes a slippery slope of putting the onus of male self control on girls, no matter what their age is.

“Childhood sexual abuse has been correlated with higher levels of depression, guilt, shame, self-blame, eating disorders, somatic concerns, anxiety, dissociative patterns, repression, denial, sexual problems and relationship problems” (Hall & Hall, 2011 p.2).  http://www.apa.org/pi/about/newsletter/2014/11/child-sexual-abuse.aspx

Campbell recently made a video about the abuser who hurt her. Campbell, who is 47 years old, struggles to talk about the assault until this day. Sexual violence haunts black girls for the rest of their lives. We owe them more than telling them to wear longer skirts.

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Randomness…Smartphone Zombies

“Analog girl in a digital world”~Erykah Badu

Y’all, I done did it now. I bought a smartphone.

Up until now, I’ve been kicking it with a prepaid slider cellphone. I prided myself on rebelling against the smartphone apocalypse.

However, after four years of going strong, my phone started acting wonky. It was constantly freezing up and just doing its on thang.

I cried as I skimmed new phones because I knew I was going to breakdown and buy a smartphone.

And I did.

Who could resist the glossy style of the phone. The apps I could download. The fact I wouldn’t have to run to my laptop every time I needed to Google something. It all appealed to me.  The information would be right at my fingertips.

I’ve been hesitant to get a smartphone because I didn’t want the hypnotic gaze I see so many folks with these days. Eyes glued to a glowing screen. Fingers mindlessly swiping. Oblivious to the world around them because their ears are stuffed with cute little white plugs pumping jams into their ears.

I didn’t want to be one of those people. But now I am.

I do feel a little guilty about it.  My motto is “minimalism.”

However, there are some empowering aspects of the smartphone.   The fact that you do have so much information right in your hand. It’s an opportunity to build your knowledge. That’s why I have little patience when people ask me a dumb questions about black folks/culture/history. Google on your phone, fool.

Also, I think about the zombies in George A. Romero’s Land of the Dead.  The zombies were actually kind of smart, and eventually fought back against their oppression.

Maybe there is hope for us yet 😉

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Photo from: zombiepop.net

Erykah Badu: new image for Givenchy

Yesterday, it was announced Erykah Badu was the new face of Givenchy.  Badu (besides being a “cleva” singer/songwriter) is a beautiful woman. She also has a slick sense of fashion. She deserves to get some model shine. Badu will represent  Givenchy’s Spring 2014 Collection, along with other fly women of color.  I was a wee bit disappointed to read it’s for the line that’ is “a mash-up of African and Japanese influences,”  they are always less hesitant to show women of color in these segments of fashion  :/ But, it’s still exciting to see Badu getting her due props in high fashion.  Analog girls in a digital world need love too…

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