“Look, without our stories, without the true nature and reality of who we are as People of Color, nothing about fanboy or fangirl culture would make sense. What I mean by that is: if it wasn’t for race, X-Men doesn’t sense. If it wasn’t for the history of breeding…
The Shadows Took Shape Book Club
Nalo Hopkinson: Brown Girl in the Ring
Dec 15, 2013 4:00 PM - 6:00 PM
In honor of the upcoming, major group exhibition The Shadows Took Shape, please join The Studio Museum in Harlem for a new series of book club discussions moderated by prominent artists, scholars, and bloggers interested in science fiction and speculative literature.
In Brown Girl in the Ring, the rich and privileged have fled the city, barricaded it behind roadblocks, and left it to crumble. The inner city has had to rediscover old ways-farming, barter, herb lore. But now the monied need a harvest of bodies, and so they prey upon the helpless of the streets. With nowhere to turn, a young woman must open herself to ancient truths, eternal powers, and the tragic mystery surrounding her mother and grandmother. She must bargain with gods, and give birth to new legends.
All of the books listed above are available in the Studio Museum bookstore!
To RSVP for the Book Club, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Because we do not approve of you having sex with our high school daughters, we have equipped their vaginas with automatic intrusion alarms. Once triggered, these alarms will screech out at unbearable volumes, transmit emergency GPS information to the nearest security forces, and instantly alert the Purity Apps on our phones and phablets.
As bad as the first paragraph makes it sound. The story is dystopia in the simplest, most obvious sense - it’s one where “the mothers” have become so ridiculously protective of their daughters that they equip the daughters with vaginal alarms, capsaicin dispensers, military-grade underwear to protect them against vaginal penetration. The thrust appears to be that after all the suffering under the patriarchy “the mothers” have done, they will take back the night by subjecting young heterosexual men to an escalating series of “defenses” for their daughters, denying the daughters sexual agency.
They were taught to entice, but be careful. To play the game, but not get hurt. To get hurt was to be interrogated and blamed. Some of our daughters were violated and raped in front of cameras, the videos posted online for all the world to see. Some were killed at the hands of lovers who strangled or drowned them, or wrapped their heads in plastic and buried them alive.
We will no longer tolerate a world that dumps our daughters into shallow graves.
McDonald’s position breaks down quickly because the injustices and sexual assaults and taped gang rapes are happening right now; but the reactions of “the mothers” are cast to be terrifying dystopian overreactions, with McDonald all but spelling out “hysterical”. “The fathers have learned not to argue” invokes the straw phantom of a society gone wrong under the rise of “the mothers” who stand for Rush Limbaugh’s idea of the feminazi. A risible, simplistic and regressive story written with no familiarity with subtlety whatsoever.
Anti-Roma hate speech in Europe is nothing new. But somehow, it’s always worse than you expect.
This list though…
One of the students allegedly asked professor Shannon Gibney, “Why do we have to talk about this?” VIDEO
We sat on the slate roof of the House of Jade Cicadas, sharing a cold bun that Fang had swiped from the restaurant where he worked. Below us, magistrates and priests paid long, long chains of cash to sleep with courtesans with names like Beautiful Lotus and Dreaming Cloud, and above us, the moon gleamed like a golden coin, just one edge lightly clipped by a precise celestial money-changer. We passed the bun back and forth, taking smaller and smaller bites until it was gone, and in the bright moonlight, Fang’s eyes shone.
Compared to Vo’s best in Tiger Stripes - an elegiac, literary story - this comes up short, being genre-typical (and typical to Crossed Genres) and aspiring no further than sword and sorcery, but it moves along smoothly and is compelling enough to read to the end, where we are given a (not unpredictable) twist. The secondary world is rich and imaginative. A simple, but satisfying heist story.
TRIGGER WARNING: misogynoir, violence, harassment, sexual abuse, rape.
@HoodFeminism (which is @Karnythia's and @thewayoftheid's work) hosted a Twitter discussion regarding the stereotype of “fast tailed girls” that Black girls deal with primarily during adolescence, but certainly starts before that for many Black girls and continues well into adulthood (i.e. the Jezebel controlling image). I put many of the tweets shared in this discussion in a Storify: #FastTailedGirls: Examining The Stereotypes and Abuse That Black Girls Face though a few are included above.
"Fast tailed" girls: Black girls stereotyped as “hypersexual” beings and seeking sex whether or not they are sexually active. This stereotype is proliferated in the home (especially by some mothers and older women), within the Black community (i.e church, socially; especially by the Black men who abuse and by some Black male leaders who want this silenced) and amidst society itself (i.e. schools, media; because of racism and White supremacist notions of womanhood). These Black girls are viewed: as “adult” women “asking” for abuse,” as responsible for the abuse that primarily adult Black men inflict on them or coerce them into and often inflict without punishment let alone blame from the Black community (as “protecting” Black men from racism often takes precedence over any other intraracial issue); as providing consent simply by experiencing puberty (or not even experiencing puberty); as automatically heterosexual; as automatically culpable for any street harassment, physical violence, sexual violence or emotional abuse that they experience. A Black girl with confidence who speaks up for herself, wants to express her femininity visually, has a normal interest in boys, gets unwanted attention from adult men, and/or has male friends can easily be labeled as such. This stereotype sits in a binary opposed to “respectable" Black girls while both "types" of Black girls are regularly abused. It is the hatred of Blackness, womanhood and childhood (or rejection of a period of childhood actually existing for Black girls) intersecting in this dangerous stereotype.
Though difficult of course, this conversation was so important and I am grateful to Hood Feminism for their presence, in general, and for this conversation, specifically. It is important to discuss how within and outside of our communities internalizing the hateful messages about Blackness, womanhood and Black womanhood specifically has caused so much harm, much irreversible. What can change is how we think about ourselves as Black women, meaning ending shaming and ending buying into patriarchal binaries about Black girls and Black women while simultaneously protecting abusers. Have open conversations about how patriarchal masculinity is literally killing men, Black men in particular, and how while it is true that they are very much so oppressed via race, as all Black people are, they are also oppressors of Black women. Black women also support this structure when abusers are defended and protected and our truths and experiences are silenced by other Black women and anyone else among Black people; that has to end. Deconstructing and rejecting the way that racism, White supremacy, anti-Blackness and sexism create this stereotype for Black girls, ones that impact them inside and outside of the Black community.
The abuse has to end. The education has to be received. The compassion has to be shared. The unlearning has to commence. The truth has to be spoken, even if at 140 characters at a time. Even if in small groups and in supermarket aisles and schools and churches and anywhere. Black girls deserve better than this. Black women deserve more than the pain of the memories of abuse and the fear that another generation of Black girls will experience the same.
- #FastTailedGirls: Examining The Stereotypes and Abuse That Black Girls Face - this is my Storify mentioned above; includes many tweets (including some of mine) by Black women who spoke out; includes tweets from a trans woman of colour (@HarmonyBabydoll) who added an important dimension to this conversation.
- The Myth of “Fast Black Girls” by @LexiScorsese - inspired this conversation
- Hood Feminism blog
- Misogyny, In General vs. Anti-Black Misogyny (Misogynoir), Specifically
- Black Men and Patriarchy, Intraracial Sexism and Misogynoir (multiple essays listing)
- Abuse Culture: Domestic Violence, Rape, Body Dehumanization and Street Harassment (multiple essays listing)
- Patricia Hill Collins’ books: Black Feminist Thought and Black Sexual Politics speaks to the roots of this stereotype.
- Womanism, Black Feminism and Race In Feminist Discourse (Updated) (multiple essays listing)
Keep learning, growing and healing. ❤
(Please leave content above intact if you reblog. Please take care before adding any comments to this post. It is very serious and very painful for many Black women. Victim blaming and statements supporting rape culture are unwelcome here by people who think they have a “right” to harm us because this conversation occurred publicly. Please be respectful.)
For more commentary
v important post
G L A M O U R
Nelson says that he grew up in Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Gabon and Cameroon, and feels that Africa “has lost the majority of its ethnicity and authenticity. … [W]hat I saw in my childhood is not there anymore.” Similarly, Nelson told Time that he chose to leave out North American tribes because they haven’t retained their heritage. To critique the “authenticity” of another culture from the outside is a dangerous practice, and Nelson’s evaluation of communities during his lifetime fails to account for the flux experienced over thousands of years. Too often, onlookers expect indigenous peoples to remain static for the entirety of their existence, failing to consider their long histories of change before contact with outsiders.