I guess it was about a year ago I was put on to the fact that referring to women as “females” was actually regarded by many persons of the female persuasion (HA!!..*ahem*… sorry) as an issue that needed addressing. Now, I like to consider myself a socially aware, privilege recognizing, supremacy dismantling, fighter for the marginalized, but I’ll admit, I was initially reluctant to accept this one myself.
I mean, sure, I’d read a few think pieces where valid points were made:
1. It’s a debasing descriptor that reduces humans to genitalia blah, blah, blah…
2. “Female” could refer to any species yadda, yadda, yadda…
3. We don’t call men “males” (I mean, not like anybody’s stopping you, am-I-right?).
4. It’s most often used in a condescending or contemptuous context (Oh shit… ok, we’ll come back to that one).
5. I’s grammatically incorrect (Oh, fuck off!).
But, I mean, come on yall, isn’t this kind of innocuous, even as far as problematic language is concerned? Can’t you let this one slide? Aren’t we kiiiinda wandering off into “mountain out of a molehill” territory here?
I suppose what really bothered me though, is I just felt like there was a hint of stigmatized blackness in the air. “Female” as a way of saying “woman” is pretty much exclusive to black vernacular. Black men (and women, for that matter) and non black people who love saying black shit are the only one’s who use the word in this context. So I didn’t read it as a push back on patriarchal bullshit as much as I did social justice warriors fucking with black folks for the way they/we talk. After all, we accept colloquialism when it’s generated by mainstream (read: white) common speech, so why all the scrutiny when it comes to us being us?
And that was it! That was my great counter. That was my big ass, chest puffed out, ” I’M FUCKING SMARTER THAN ALL YOU FEMINIST MOFOS!!!” clap back!!!!!!!!!
Only one problem: #4
Fuck you #4!!
“It’s most often used in a condescending or contemptuous context”
Is this true? Could it be? I mean, could it fucking be???
I wasn’t sure. I’d never really thought about it. Shit man, I’d always thought of it as “just some shit niggas be sayin'”
But now it’s like this buzz word that jumps the fuck out at me every time I hear it/see it amongst peers/acquaintances/social media fuck boys. And so now my mind automatically tabulates: Negative connotation vs, Positive connotation.
And fuck, I gotta say, %85 of the time (and this is just a ball park figure I’m pulling directly outta my ass… but, I’m sure it’s mostly accurate) It’s NEGATIVE AS FUCK!!!
“Females always be <<<insert fucked up (subjectively speaking) action here>>>”
“Fuck these <<<insert misogynoir induced descriptor here>>> females!!”
“You know I know about them females” (that’s actually a line from the movie Baby Boy… but you see where I’m going with this)
Once in a blue moon, I’d come across a “That’s the type of female I need” or a “I LOVE these females” insinuating positive sentiment. But that was relatively rare.
So maybe this issue is legitimate. Maybe “female” is the new “bitch” in the same sense that “thug” is the new “nigger”. And therein lies the point of this post (and it only took me 569 words to get there).
Back men and white people have this big, huge, slightly fascinating thing in common: Neither of us can check our privilege for shit!
It’s insane the way we fall all over ourselves to explain why a woman deserved to be raped or beaten by some dude because “she bucked at him” or “look how she’s dressed” or <<<insert variation of “she should’ve known better” here>>> and don’t see the parallels between us and white folks gleefully making excuses for why an unarmed black kid deserved to be shot by a cop because “he was disrespectful” or “he needs to pull his pants up” or <<<insert variation of “he should’ve known better” here>>>. Or how the way white folks site affirmative action, BET and HBCU’s as examples of “black privilege” conveniently ignoring the fact that the entire entertainment industry is essentially their WET, every college outside of HBCU is predominately white by design and general fucking society is, for all intents and purposes, their affirmative action sounds eerily similar to (black) men siting child support, child custody and ignored woman on man domestic violence as examples of “female privilege” conveniently ignoring the fact that men still dominate our legal system by representing the vast majority of judges, prosecutors, law makers and law enforcers. So even if “female privilege” was a thing (which it isn’t and you sound like a big huge dumb shit claiming otherwise), it would still be a patriarchy byproduct. I can’t think of another system of social privilege built and maintained by the demographic that DOESN’T benefit from it… because the shit just don’t exist.
Even now, I can imagine niggas reading this and getting their draws in a bunch over the generalizations I’m making… Taking exception because they don’t feel this applies to them. And I just want to tattoo #NotAllWhitePeople on their foreheads and let them stare at that shit all confused in the mirror until the Irony Fairy comes down and kicks them in the balls one good time (Seriously, how fucked up is the visual in your head right now?). Look bruh, If you’re derailing important discussions because said discussions got you all up in the feels to a point were you need to climb up on the cross and shout “I’m NOT LIKE THAT! STOP BEING ‘REVERSE SEXIST’!! ALL YOU FEMALES ARE DOING IS DEVIDING THE BLACK FAMILY!!!”… and you still can’t see the link between “whitesplaining” and “mansplaining” being the exact same brand of deflective DOUCHESPLAINING, then you need to stop reading this piece right here, go find yourself a dark corner and sit on your own fucking face for a while since pulling your head out of your ass clearly just isn’t your thing (nah but seriously, how fucked up is the visual in your head right now?).
Listen guys, I don’t blame you/us completely. Intellectual laziness is human nature. It’s what every oppressive system in recorded history was built on and justified by. It’s our default. It’s critical thinking that takes effort and a special degree of empathy and enlightenment most humans are unwilling to subscribe to and actually tend to perceive it as weakness. It’s just plain easier to fall back on the same old formula: traditional = normal therefor normal = natural therefor natural = morally right. That’s our box. That’s where we’re comfortable. Fuck all this examining and challenging the status quo business, am-I-right? And there’s actually no reason to expect black men/people to be any less susceptible to that kind of thinking than the more conservative segment of any other racial group.
This is why I struggle with the idea that black men harbor some special brand of misogyny that needs to be called out separately from the brand espoused by men (and often women for that matter) in general. But maybe the truth is WE DO have more of an obligation to check male privilege than our white counterparts do. Especially those of us who recognize and understand the concept of white privilege/supremacy and have no qualms about taking up the fight against it. We know what it is to be on the wrong side of social and structural normalcy, so how could we possibly be ok with subjecting our women (or any other oppressed/marginalizes minority for that matter) to the same. If we aren’t fighting to dismantle, not only systemic racism, but toxic patriarchal standards that weigh women (especially women of color) down in subjugation and the same respectability politics we condemn on our own behalf, then we’re not fighting for equality, we’re fighting to preserve our privilege. We’re fighting for our own slice of supremacy.
Recognizing our women as equally ranked soldiers in our fight, however, would not only be the right thing, but bruh… my brother… my nigga… my negus… my “male”… it would be revolutionary.