Friday, September 4, 2009

Images, Ideas, and BWE

Aren’t epiphanies great?!?!

I’ve seen this basic question more than once on the internetz: Why do BWE exist? What’s the point?

I thought about the answer to this question for a while. This is my response.



Black Women’s Empowerment (BWE) blogs exist because:

They are necessary.

Someone must disseminate life saving information to bw.

Our voices, thoughts, and solutions need to be documented.

Someone must deconstruct and negate the constant barrage of negative images and energy targeting bw.

(The above list is not exhaustive)


BWE blogs exist to refute poisonous ideas like:

Black women who create and/or visit these blogs are bitter because they don’t know how to get and keep a black man.

Dark/brown-skinned women are mad because black men don’t choose them.

Dark/brown-skinned women who date/marry out are self-hating.

Other men (non-black) don’t really want black women, they are the last resort.

Black women are to blame for the state of ‘black love’.

Black women are too picky and too bossy and want too much from black men.

Black women need to stop picking thugs and felons and choose ‘regular’ black men.

BWE blogs exist to let you know when you see or hear this foolishness, know it for what it is – a method of control, a mind game, gas lighting, brainwashing – call it what you want but understand the purpose; to control you!

Most importantly, remember none of this is true. Certainly not of all bw! It does not reflect who you are! Don’t feature these lies for a moment!


Images

Pictures of beautiful black woman confirm and affirm that yes, black women are beautiful in our multitudinous colors, shapes, and sizes.

Pictures of black women with other men teach us there are other options available to bw if we would just open our eyes and our minds.

Pictures of black women being our selves; nappy or straight hair, wide nose or pointy nose, full lips or thin, from the darkest dark to lightest light, we are an amazing continuum of beauty.

Seeing ourselves as intelligent, worthy of adoration, loving and loved is balm for the wounded psyche of bw. These images are HEALING. These images deprogram the brainwashing engaged in by the music industry and mass media, which, more often than not, depict bw as prostitutes, strippers, or as sexualized sub-humans. It is no small wonder bw have issues around beauty and self-worth.

Positive images on websites such as Evia’s allow us to remember we are lovable and worth being loved. Evia’s was the first website I encountered talking about quality relationships and expanding one’s view to encompass the entire globe when considering a mate. Her essays teach us, remind us, tell us, perhaps for the first time; you have the right to live well. You have the right to be loved and valued as a whole human being of quality. And you have the right to love a whole human being of quality. Settling is not an option.

Her fabulous website is: blackfemaleinterracialmarriage.com

Evia’s blog serves as a lighthouse offering another option for women seeking life affirming choices.

Blogs like this are necessary to counter the number of blogs/video blogs propagating the ‘black-woman-it-sucks-to-be-you’ narrative. The level of anger and hate on these blogs (and I am not referencing the racist websites!!) is just staggering. The people who produce this information are not content to have their blog as a venue to spread their vitriol. Oh no! They feel the need to transplant their hatred to other people’s blogs! They come to BWE sites! Sites geared not to the masses but to a particular subsection of the population, in an attempt to wreak havoc and shut down conversation.

They use various means to take commenters off-topic or post hateful, hate-filled comments designed to create chaos on the blog. I’ve visited a couple of blogs like this and even if the original post is interesting and worth discussing, reading all the hate and chaos flowing down thread, I saw no point in leaving a comment.


Ideas

Your thoughts shape you reality. For better or for worse.

What you think or whether or not you think is a function you control. You are perfectly within your rights to allow someone else to think for you. Free will is free will. Should you decide you would rather have someone else in control of your life (that way you have someone to blame when things don’t work out) instead of exercising control yourself, go for it.

It appears we (the black community – though this is a trait of all people) love, love, love to follow a leader. Specifically, a male leader, whether the leader is a preacher or rapper or actor or activist, it seems we just want to follow. Don’t get me wrong, belonging to a group is human nature, we are social animals. However, when the group you belong to is engaged in destructive insane behavior, you have a choice. Continue to follow or forge your own trail.

Just because a significant number of AA females engage in risky sexual behavior does not mean I am going to do the same. Why not? Uumm, because sexually transmitted diseases remain as communicable as ever.

And in case you don’t know, there is still no cure for AIDS.

And for the love of Pete, don’t even try to pull Magic Johnson out of the hat (pretty good pun on a couple of levels), most people don’t have his wealth or his health; he is the exception, NOT THE RULE!!

***Woo, okay, I kinda went there…..but I’m back.***

Some people love it when they can dictate to you what your ideas must be. Those same people detest it when you decide to have ideas of your own. This is why so many people; male and female; are up in arms about BWE blogs.

A prime example (IMO) of the power of critical thought is Khadija’s though-provoking website: muslimbushido.blogspot.com

Khadija drops the knowledge on the regular! Her topics run the gamut, from disaster/survival preparedness to spotting IITs (Internet Ike Turners - giving Khadija her props for that one - Brilliant!!!!). I read her blog every time I power up my computer, knowing the latest post will challenge me and make me think. And it’s not just Khadija who provides knowledge and insight on her blog; the people who show up to discuss her content are fierce too! Even when I don’t comment, I take away wisdom.

I gravitate to blogs like this, because they encourage, no, inspire critical thinking. Khadija’s is not a feel good, kumbaya ( I don’t mean that in a bad way either) blog, her essays respect the intelligence of the reader while stimulating conversation. Even when commenters have differing perspectives, the conversation doesn’t degenerate into, well, chaos and foolishness.


BWE

Not every BWE blog is the same. Which is a good thing; not every woman is the same. Each blog reaches the women it needs to reach, by speaking to her in a manner she understands, in a voice that resonates with her. Every woman needs a space of her own. A place where she can think, and express ideas, give voice to (or type) those thoughts she knows it’s not prudent to say out loud in her everyday life.

BWE blogs are a virtual ‘room of one’s own’. A place where women empower other women to respect themselves; respect their space; and respect their ability to think and reason.

I know why BWE blogs exist: to help, to educate, to remind and to confirm you(black woman) are not alone.


Peace

2 comments:

MilesPerHour said...

I like what you say here although it is no secret I'm not black or a woman. It is great that you point out that not all BWE blog is the same. Like most things in life, we all need and get something different from what we take in.

Southland Diva said...

Hey Miles,

Thanks for the comment. While my primary audience may be bw, I am happy for anyone who reads this blog and finds something positive, constructive, and meaningful. In my life I have found having access to a variety of viewpoints is a good thing, be it empowerment blogs or music or news sources.

Peace