There has been much going on in the last two weeks. Last weeks blog about what a woman is worth if she has no children and no man, as told from the public shaming of Ashanti, was put up last week. But this week, I want to talk more explicitly, about, but not about Emily B. and Fabolous. Let’s start with what we know. What we know is that Emily B had her teeth knocked out. What we also know is that there is a video of Fabolous, Emily B., and her father, where Fab is threatening Emily B and her dad. What we see is that when Fab approaches Emily, there is a bodyguard(?) holding him back, and she runs away.
Why am I starting with what we know and what we see? I am starting there because even when we have eyes to see, to read, to really peer, we may or may not use them. I am only pointing out what some people would call the “facts.” But like I said, this prose is about but not about the Emily/Fab situation. This is more about what has been seen after, by the masses. This is more about the value of a woman and her word. This is more about money, memories, and the perception of a world in black and white. What I saw two weeks ago, leading up to this week, left much to be desired. I saw that women were working extra hard to defend their personhood and the stats that support them, while men required “all the facts” before rendering judgement.
In situations where a woman, especially a woman of color, has accused a man of wrongdoing, be it sexual, physical, or otherwise, there is a haze of doubt that now comes over her words and the situation. Never you mind that we hardly need ALL the facts when it comes to Black men being shot in the street by police, or men saying they have been hurt or wronged, we believe them. More than that, Black women will rally around them. However, let a woman say someone has hurt her and watch how quickly the men need “all the facts.”
What I have seen is an assassination on the character of women who accuse beloved men of...well….anything. They are now worthy of being called out of their names, and having their character doubted. While wanting to know the facts is not a bad thing, it isn’t done evenly across the board. It is a time of picking and choosing who and what to believe, and women are almost never chosen. I often wonder, if like the saying goes, that white people love Black culture, but hate Black people is also synonymous with how men feel about women. Do men love pussy, but hate women? **Granted this is from a heteronormative perspective** I think the question is valid if only because the same arguments Black people use to say we have value, are being used by women when talking to men. I say this because the response is often the same close minded words used by white people to diminish personhood or the presented issue at hand.
The problem is that we tend to see people and situations in black and white. We cannot fathom that someone we LIKE is also not liked by others. We cannot see that people are multifaceted and varied. We can give ourselves leeway and grace because we know that we are both saints and scoundrels, but we imagine something else for others. We have equated that doing a bad thing makes you a wholly bad person. Meaning that if you know the person to have done some good things, you must now deny the evidence of their depravity because it causes cognitive dissonance within you.
Case and point:
Bill Cosby. I don’t care what anyone else has to say on the subject, but there were entirely too many women who came forward about his behavior for NONE of them to be believed. Some were saying it was a white women’s issue, and that white women lie. I am saying that even if you choose to ignore those you have already deemed liars, what about the women of color who also are pointing the accusing finger at the man? Seems that their accusations, their hurts, and the pain they endured has been erased as an non-issue. But, I digress. Getting back to the point, to see those accusations broke something in many people. They did not want to believe that their beloved father of The Cosby Show could also be..I don’t know, a sexual being for one. And for two, be a person who exerts power over others. When you see him as a thing from a tv show (where he was acting) but cannot manage to see the rest of him, do you not do him a disservice? Do you not also do yourself a disservice? The fact is we like to sanitize people to be what we think they already are. We will erase the good or the bad in favor of the narrative that best fits with what makes us feel comfortable. We also do this in our very relationships. We can break up with someone and have a longing so intense it keeps us from moving on. We have forgotten why we do not work and have hyper focused on what made the relationship great. Rewriting history in our minds. OR vice versa, we hyper focus on what was bad in the relationship and forget that there was also good there. Some of us do this in an attempt to move on, but really we are collecting baggage that will accompany us into the next relationship.
Now with Fab and Emily, people have already judged her character and found it lacking. People have already decided, that despite what they saw on the video and have read in articles, his character is too laid back to be beating on any woman. Have we ignored the evidence in front of us? Or does the evidence not matter in the face of the hate we bear for women?
Men have been taught that they are to rule over and lead women. Because women refuse to “stay in their place” we are almost automatically reviled. Women have also been taught to hate women. We hate them for the same reason and also because of competition. Only one of us is allowed out at a time. Only one of various types can be representative of the female voice. Imagine how this impacts the mind day in and day out. Imagine what younger generations are taught. Because even though you may notice the shenanigans, there is still lots of work internally that needs to be done for this to not take the deep entrenched hold. Sexism is much like racism in this country, a constant, woven into the very fabric of our lives. To live outside of that is to tear the fabric, shake the foundations. It requires a daily emancipation, knowing that some days you will succumb. It’s a constant everlasting battle. And as I have said before, I grow tired.