I call myself a feminist (womanist, on the occasions that gorgeous women of color gently remind me that Alice Walker cannot and will not be forgotten). It’s hard to nail down just exactly what the term feminist means, what with all its waves and movements and changes and adaptations. I can’t give you a neat dictionary definition, as to do so would be rather reductive, but I can tell you what my feminism has meant to me for the last five years. Simply, it means I ain’t about to take no sucka shit just ‘cuz I’m a girl, and if I have something to say about it, homegirl to my left and my right don’t have to take no sucka shit neither.
What exactly is sucka shit? It varies. Sometimes it can be as intense as a series of proposed policies that adversely affect women’s health and rights, or as minor as some misguided rapper’s didactic bullshit about why women shouldn’t call themselves bitches. (I meant to write a piece about why “Bitch Bad” was particularly frustrating for me; instead I spent 2 hours at a Labor Day party trying to argue a beautiful male stranger into understanding why it’s so corny for Lupe Fiasco to tell a woman exactly how to empower herself, and to dictate that she do it in a way that would make herself a more suitable mate to a man. I think the pretty stranger got it ultimately, though I’m not sure. I was drunk. Like always.) I just know that when I encounter sucka shit, someone is trying to remind me of my place as a woman, and that place is always less than a man’s.
Part of what’s so difficult about being a feminist/womanist/someone who don’t take no sucka shit is the complications that heterosexuality brings to that. Men make me soooooooo angry sometimes, with their privilege and misogyny and their casual dishing out of sucka shit. But like, men are soooooo hot sometimes with their gorgeous faces and deep voices and broad chests, and I’m often torn between wanting to be liked by men and wanting to take them on. A lot of men make clear what kind of women are good enough to be brought home and “wifed”—chaste, feminine, docile, domesticated— and women who don’t fit that ideal are of no value, to be used and then tossed to the wayside. And yo, the threat of loneliness is real, and a lot of us women do everything in our power to be good enough to be “wifed” and not lonely. And the women who don’t—the ones who aren’t chaste, feminine, docile, domesticated—well, they become the personae non grata. Because their rebelliousness threatens the rules of a shitty, sexist game we’ve become so comfortable playing, a game that so many women have worked too hard following the rules of to lose. And the women playing by the rules become super resentful of the rule breakers, rather than of the shitty game itself. Girl Hate, I call it. When well-behaved women are terrible to rule breaking women for no reason other than to curry favor with the men from whom they fear rejection. And it’s sucka shit too.
Girl Hate is a reality I’ve known of forever. I’m only deciding to write about it today because I was struck by a most egregious display of Girl Hate on Twitter this morning. JR Smith, NY Knicks shooting guard and lovable idiot, retweeted the following into my feed:
An acquaintance of JR seems to be warning him that a woman with whom JR has been spending time is a “loose hoe.” Ugh. After JR retweeted it, the tweet got retweeted another 38 times, favorited twice and a received a series of amused and celebratory responses including, one— by a dude—that complimented the original poster for “holding it down.” Really? Holding what down? Hate?
I’ll be clear. I don’t know this Ashley about whom Jessica tweeted, and I haven’t any clue about the relationship between Ashley, Jessica and JR. I’m no insider. I’m just a basketball fan who follows some members of my favorite team on twitter. But a quick look at this Jessica’s timeline tells me that her tweet at JR was unsolicited, and if any of her other tweets are indicative of who she is, she’s awful. (One retweet in particular jumps out at me— it reads, “OMG, I hate her… ME TOO!=Instant Best Friends.” which sounds like dialogue that would be in a film lambasting stereotypical sorority girls rather than an actual exchange between women of which anyone should be proud. Why would you want to befriend someone just because they hate the same someone you do? That’s lame and exhausting.)
The tweet pictured above bothered me so much because it exists only to shame Ashley publicly. No, Jessica may not have known that JR was going to retweet her tweet, but Jessica chose to relay that information publicly rather than DM or text or e-mail or snail mail a letter directly and privately to JR. She wanted the world, or at least the world that knows both JR and her, to know that Ashley is fucking Ahmad, and that Wilson and the whole Oklahoma City Thunder team would know exactly how “loose” Ashley is.
And, ok, so what? Ashley had sex with some dude and maybe some other dudes know and she hangs out with JR Smith sometimes. So what? Why is that so bad? We’re talking about JR Smith here! It’s not like he’s some saint of a dude, himself. He’s been linked to Rihanna and Solange, and he recently got fined by the NBA for tweeting a picture of the model Tahiry Jose’s bare ass from their hotel room bed. He has two daughters of the same age with two different women. And that’s the shit the public does know. This guy needs protection from a “loose” woman? Doubt it. He probably loves loose women. I do too.
No, women like Jessica aren’t worried about protecting men like JR. They’re only interested in protecting themselves and their “wifeable” positions from the threat of women like Ashley. They have to remind “loose” women of their place, to remind them that women who aren’t chaste, who are promiscuous, aren’t supposed to get rewarded for breaking the rules that women like Jessica follow. Never mind the willful participation on the part of the men who engage them. Never mind that there is nothing wrong with having consensual, safe sex. Nope. Never mind all that. For haterrific women like Jessica, women like Ashley either have to learn to play by the rules chaste, feminine, docile, domesticated women do, or face public humiliation. And, yo, that’s some real sucka shit.
i follow this young lady on the twitter, where she makes me laugh daily. this piece is so great.