The other day I had the opportunity to attend a seminar on Black feminism. The seminar was extremely inspirational, eye-opening, and motivating...... however, it left me with a thought that I've always been unable to shake. Why the hell is it so hard to be both sexual and a black woman? Seriously. Why?
Hear me out:
On the subject of feminism, we often see the idea of feminists being these radical, fuckmen, body-loving, equal rights championing figures. On the note of black feminists, we see similar qualities in addition to a ginormous push for equal rights for ALL and then some. But my problem here is not over equal pay. It's not over being able to wear whatever we want. My issue lies in the fiasco that is feminism, sensuality, and sexuality combined.
Okay, time to give more context.
As an activity in the seminar, the audience was shown several images of popular black women and posed with the question of "Is she a feminist?"
First, I'd like to start by saying that to me, feminism is subjective. It varies and intensifies ALWAYS depending on the person. The difference in white feminism and black feminism is a clear example of what I'm stressing, the idea always differs.
With that being said, I always get a bit antsy when posed with the question, "Is ____ a feminist?" An image of Nicki Minaj appeared on the screen from her heavily-criticized Anaconda video. Immediately, NOPEs and NOs filled the entire room. Many shared the same sentiments that Nicki Minaj was falling into the media-trap of over-sexualizing the black woman. This is quite understandable as the hyper-sexualization of black women is prevalent across media platforms, and has been for years.
I have to be this person when I say this..... why do we as black women have to downplay our sexuality in order to root for our gender? What if I find pride in my gender, in my identity as a woman by reveling in the powers my body possesses? What if I find immense pride in the swell of my breast, the curve of my hips, the plumpness in my lips and what these things can do and still want to be treated equally?
I think that it's unfair to have to censor or downplay sex in order to be seen as an advocate for black women or women in general. As women, we are powerful beings. From the way we can command a space to the creation of a child, we are powerful beings. We are beings that should be able to be paid the same amount as out male counterparts. Beings that should be permitted to revel in the fact that we enjoy sensuality, passion, desire and more...... just like our male counterparts. We should be able to do these things without being told that we're doing too much, or in need of attention, or using feminism to be "nasty". It's wrong.
I for one feel like I've kept a lid on my passionate self in order to appease what my society wants from an advocate. No longer. I want to reclaim my me-ness. A me-ness that encompasses liking love, loving the human body, loving unions, loving passion, loving desire and what it can lead one to do. A me-ness that also encompasses wanting to see women succeed, wanting women to do what they want, wanting women to be treated as human.
So to Nicki, if you want to be bent over in your tightest wear, so freaking be it. If you want to be an activist for women while bent over and shaking your behind, so be it. You can do that. No one has the right to tell you how to operate in your own beliefs.
To the black woman who wants to be a sexual being and an activist. Do it. We can't allow these boxes to spoil our fun any longer.