a few days ago, i reviewed the new robin thicke song & video. i thought it was lackluster. well, guess what? in pulling up the song to give it another try, i discovered a new NSFW version where the girls are topless. TOPLESS, I SAY! isn’t that wonderful? i think the best way to distract people from noticing your not-quite-hitting-it single is to release a version of the sub-par video with boring-ass titties in it. and i’m not going to get into how the majority of your fans are women who unfortunately buy into that whole “loverman” bullshit you’re dishing out and are vocal about being willing to let you smash simply because you can hit high notes and you’re married to a sister. and don’t underestimate that “married to a black woman” shit - it’s what gives you the edge over timberlake in some circles.
just write a better song, man. quit using boobs as a bonus feature and write a better fuckin’ song.
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.
i recently finished reading bossypants by tina fey. well, i didn’t actually finish it; i think there’s one more chapter about babies or something, but i got the gist of it. it’s funny. it’s very funny. i laughed out loud at times. so there’s that.
i like 30 rock, but i haven’t kept up with it over the last 2-3 seasons. i’d like to say it fell victim to stand up comedy, like so many other shows, but if i’m being honest it started to both bore and bug me. the show was getting to this cartoonish place that i didn’t enjoy. the same thing happened to seinfeld in those last few seasons; the episodes started to feel less smartly madcap and more throw-shit-to-the-wall wAcKy.
(this is also a problem i have with live improv comedy [fey’s background]. i understand that i should go with the flow but i’m not sure why i’m supposed to find a random collection of nonsensical things funny all because it’s happening in a make-believe car.)
basically, i kinda stopped caring what happened to liz lemon and her merry band of kwazy chawackters. once that occurs, it’s going to take illness & a comedy central marathon for me to give a damn again. but i’ve been trying. i’ve started to watch this season’s episodes on hulu. i haven’t laughed out loud much, but i haven’t been disappointed either.
here is where i mention that apparently some critics are also having a problem with 30 rock. (haters gonna hate.) i read this piece on the NPR website a week or so ago. if you don’t feel like clicking, the author says that the relationship between liz & jack has changed dramatically - liz has gone from a strong-willed, occasionally frazzled professional woman to a goofball lady who flails about & constantly seeks the approval of daddy donaghy. (i’m paraphrasing, but just a touch.) i also read this piece on slate that’s titled has liz lemon become “dumbass homer”? OUCH.
today i watched an episode where liz is renegotiating her contract with jack donaghy. she uses a how-to-negotiate guide that was written by jack a decade ago, giving jack a chance to battle himself. as they say, hilarity ensues. here is how the show ends, and pay special attention around the 20:18 mark. (don’t worry, i’ve set the video below to start at 18:48. i think.)
did you see that? did you see how she directly addressed her haters?
that bothers me.
i remember when tina fey won an award, possibly an emmy. in her acceptance speech she responded to internet commenters, using their screen names. it was a smart, biting, funny bit. she had an entire chapter in her book that did the same thing. funny, okay, but by now isn’t she ignoring that kind of thing? i’m sure it feels good to say to critics, “oh yeah? well, in your face! now what?” but does she have to be so…
…SMUG. that’s it, that’s what sometimes bugs me about tina fey and 30 rock. there’s an element of smugness - it’s not there all of the time, but i remember sensing it in the very first episode. that whole “bitch is the new black” thing from SNL’s weekend update back in the days of hillary v. barack was smug as hell. even her response to the recent “tiff” with questo from the roots (where he said on tv that tina fey was “never nice to the roots”) was some smug bullshit. she never actually apologized for what i’m willing to bet was repeat behavior; she just rushed ahead with the hoagie-of-forgiveness bit.
y’know, she’ll cop to it. she’s aware that her confidence level is ridiculously high, sometimes leading her to say stupid stuff, then cutting herself down with that rapier wit of hers. but that ain’t stopping her from appearing snotty at times.
look, i’m a pro-am hater. i’ve got grape haterade racing through my veins (sour grape! whaaaat??) and i don’t HATE tina fey. she’s ridiculously talented and i am learning many things from her, even from afar. things like be good at what you do, then be better. don’t fight against women in your field. believe in your voice. wear sunscreen. whatever. this could be me being envious of how when tina fey strikes back, she’s making a statement for feminism but if it were me, i’d be just another angry black woman. (i hate to go to race, but i wouldn’t be honest if i denied that it plays a small part in my discomfort.) maybe i just wish i had the kind of confidence in myself that she has in herself. i don’t know, man. i’d work with her in a heartbeat, but that smugness keeps me from putting all of my eggs into her basket. clearly i need to keep a few eggs for my own.
i said an untested joke¹ about tampons² during a show last night and it was well received. after the week i’ve had, i’ll gladly take it.
1 - i don’t normally like doing untested material when i’m on a booked show; i prefer to have driven it around an open mic or two. i see comics think of something in the green room and immediately say it on stage. i’m envious of their chutzpah and i hope i develop enough faith in my joke writing skills to do that, but for now, i have to focus group it at a mic.
2 - i was worried that the subject matter was too girly. sometimes i can see dudes in the audience tune me out before i even speak; i figure just saying the T-word would make them run from the room. but i really felt like my premise was funny without alienating anybody. does it bug me that i’m concerned with whether or not dudes laugh at my jokes? yeah, a little. i mean, i’ve yet to tone down any of my material because of it (the impotence jokes are staying, fellas) but it’s always in the back of my mind.
i was just checking out what netflix had for me - i let it do all of my thinking. (outsourcing!) there was a row of possible comedies & six descriptors that i could check to mix & match, letting the wise netflix brain (a Mr. Al G. Rhythm) find the perfect movie..
the six descriptors:
so the first one i check is satire - and strong women is immediately greyed out. meaning there’s no comedy that netflix can think of that’s a satire with strong women, so it just removed that choice from the table. and if netflix says it doesn’t exist, it doesn’t exist. sorry, independent video stores!
i kept clicking, trying to get a satirical flick with strong dames, but no dice. after a minute, netflix decided it had had enough and it reloaded, replacing strong women with crime.
that’s how my tuesday night is going. what’s up with you?
i'm shalewa sharpe. this is the latest iteration of my blog. i am a comic based in atlanta. i perform at places that will have me, like the star bar and the laughing skull and the atlanta improv. i produce & host a show (SHAKE) with kevin saucier. i'm a member of the comedy group joke-a-cola. i produce & host the STORY TIME show (soon to be a podcast).
flotsam. jetsam. junk in the trunk. whatever you wanna call it, it goes here.