I got into my daily argument with a friend of mine. This is nothing new and arguably a foundational element of our relationship; conflict with civility. It’s social justice, or something.
Today it was over Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” photo. My friend and many other internet users found it to be inappropriate for one reason or another. I thought nothing of it. Not really, and here’s why. Because if I dare to judge Kim for being too sexy or “not acting like a mother” or “not acting like a wife” then how can I call myself a feminist?
I decided this back in March when I had my first “one night stand” and it sent me into a tailspin unearthing all sorts of internalized misogyny that I was harboring. Was I too slutty? Wait, what is a slut? Is it because a number was it because of frequency or lack there of? Was it because of the intention to never see him again? And wait, whose rules were these and why did THEY get to decide anything about me? It was at that time that I decided I could never again in good conscious judge another woman’s behaviors especially as it relates to her sexuality, because I held my own right to choice and personal liberties so dear.
To stretch it further, a quote by my favorite feminist that makes me want to grow an Afro and get a girlfriend, Audre Lorde has been quoted having said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” In regards to sexually defining and discriminatory labels such as slut whore or even the soft punch promiscuous, I realize that these words have been co-signed by women who have fully internalized a MAN’S standards of a WOMAN’S sexuality. These words were create to limit to control to manipulate behaviors specifically the sexual behaviors of women. Categorizing our sexuality as deviant if we dared to cross the boundary of alleged acceptability. Either we become lesbians or spinsters “stripped” of our womanhood or at least the pieces which would ever attract a man (side-eye) OR we become sluts or whores marked with a scarlet letter as unworthy of commitment loyalty or respect. All for daring to love sex, hate sex, or not give a fuck about prioritizing pleasing a man during sex.
So no, I don’t think Kim Kardashian is a whore. A bad mother or a bad wife solely because of her choice to pose nude and share said photos publicly. Nor do I think Beyonce or any other “reputable” (whatever that means) celebrity gets to engage in the same behaviors as Kim K with a “pass” making it art. This is a claim made by Wendy Williams. I believe that women need to wake up and stop judging each other based on standards of acceptable behaviors given to us by a patriarchal society that quite frankly doesn’t give a shit about your sexuality; chaste, conservative, liberated or otherwise unless it’s in service of them. Wake up.
And now I make this part solely about my own work. I cannot claim to be a feminist and contribute to the stagnation or regression of women as a collective. I cannot claim to be a feminist and judge other women for making choices about her life, her body or sexuality, her career, her children, her money, or her God that differ from my own understanding or experience of each. I cannot claim to be a feminist and degrade women using the same language meant to bind us collectively into an ideal whose sole purpose was to cater to, and be in service of a man. I cannot be a feminist if at the very core of my beliefs I do not believe in, support, fight and advocate for the freedom of a woman’s choice to define herself FOR herself regardless of what anyone else, Jessica J. included, may think. I have to believe that. Otherwise, I’m sleep too.
I don’t claim to be an expert…but damn if I’m not reflective. That’s just my interpretation of the heart of it all. Correct me if I’m wrong.