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.
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.)