Worth More Than Gold
I work with Brownins all day. Little girls who run the beautiful spectrum from golden to chocolate, a dessert tray of loveliness. As they fuss & fight, literally, they haven't realized what they have in common: a sense of powerlessness. They don't recognize the -lessness of it all because the concept of them having power at all has never really crossed their minds. The examples around them are of women who've been beaten down, walking crouched with arms attempting to the block or buffer the next blow that life gives them. More than anything, they see women who deal with men from their knees, always in a state of getting down on them or trying to figure out how to get up off of them—a perpetual state of prostration.
These girls, with these bodies that don't have the decency to wait for their minds to catch up, are doing their best impression of what it means to be women long before it should be necessary. It breaks my heart. I may have said this once before in this space but 1 of the worst things that ever happened to me was a boy telling me at the age of 12 that I was sexy. The weight it placed on me wasn't visible to the naked eye but it bent my spine into a most uncomfortable arc. I was a pigtail & cornrows wearing girl-child. I rode bikes down hills for the wind in my face, collected caterpillars & grasshoppers, loved my Cabbage Patch Kid & Koosa. I played with an electricity set, a race track, and a microscope. Yes, Prince's Darlin' Nikki was 1 of my favorite songs, Atlantic Starr's Secret Lovers spoke to me for reasons I still can't process, & Ready For the World's Oh Sheila was my theme song, but sexy seemed so far off. I did know at least that much.
By the time I'd put those songs in the favorites column, I'd already had a cousin hide things in my underwear & been rubbed up on by my grandmother's friend's son. In between, I was exposed to the women of soap operas who wielded feminity as a weapon & 2 years later I was touched inappropriately by my mother's boyfriend. Sexy wasn't something I was ready to know & certainly didn't fully understand, receiving attention from those who shouldn't have given it & under the radar of those I wished to be seen by. Ironies. Or maybe not.
The boys my Brownins have as their counterparts are....what we've turned them into. These young boys are bold enough to tell me what they think they're supposed to want to do to me. They've been raised by, HA!, or indoctrinated by crotch grabbers who use their penises like swords & machetes to chop women down. We went from being the nurturers to the enemy in a matter of a couple of generations & our boys now treat our girls with the disdain their fathers have heaped upon their mothers. How can my Brownins grow up comfortable in their own skin, luscious and supple with possibilities? Who will love them into self-love? So they treat each other with the hatred they feel for themselves & attempt to find ways to be less & less feminine. They've subconsciously surmised that femininity equals powerlessness. My Brownins behave like boys with vaginas, not in the sense that boys clownin' other boys call each other pussies, but in the sense that they're trying to emulate traits that those who carry them don't even understand how or why they possess them. All this before they even get into the ins & outs of relationships & sex. They're in pseudo relationships now, & the girls are already explaining away the flaws of the boys & supporting them anyway. This snake never stops biting its tail. Marinate on that.
Not all of us are apathetic. There are many more like me who care deeply for other Brownins. This blog addresses some of the issues with how boys are socialized into becoming victimizers. This article addresses how for some reason, these habits don't necessarily change as our men age. All of it signals a need for change so that we can no longer have the need for the modern day Hottentot Venus (Sara Baartman). I don't want to see any more exhibits inspired by Sex Crimes Against Black Girls. 1 in 3 of us has been victimized. Many of us, like me, have been victimized more than once, & I don't even identify with feeling powerless as a woman. Imagine seeing yourself as the 1 thing in life you don't want to be, the exact manifestation of everything you wish you weren't. Perhaps you are exactly that, feeling like you missed the mark on You.
A friend of mine is working toward washing away the dirt that Brownins have thrown on themselves to disguise their hurts. She works toward uncovering the beauty within so that it can manifest on the outside. She, like me, wants to see Brownins move proudly through the world. First she wants to call attention to the atrocities we face. Once we stop pretending them away, we can get to the healing. Here, she put me on to a writer looking at one of the many ways we may have felt disrespected as Brownins ourselves. How have you been spoken to that made you feel...uncomfortable? If you've been cat called in a way that was particularly memorable, share it in this survey here. Thank you, in advance, for your participation.
Help us protect how they move.