Today I sat on a panel to discuss gender-based systems of oppression. Two of the panelists today did work with people who trade sex. Me and another woman. One of the fellows asked how she can move past seeing sex work as dirty and something to be judged and shunned. I suggested that she humanize all things she’s been told are bad. Sex work. Addictions. Etc. Place her life into it. That coffee she was drinking is an addiction. Same neurological pathways are activated when she consumes it that are triggered when a heroin addict uses dope. Same as me and sweet tea. Also ask yourself why tobacco and caffeine aren’t illegal. Extend that to the job you hate. You’re trading your time for your soul. Things for things. Think about yourself as that person. Only your addictions are legal and don’t cause you to steal from your mama. The other panelist extended that to say that most sex workers trade sex for things. Housing. Bus fare. Clothes. Food. Not much different from your 9-5. I then said and sex workers get paid up front tax free. You get paid two weeks after you work and Uncle Sam takes his 12-15%. #WhoIsTheFool #ReframingBegetsCompassion

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Three Reasons I Am Here for MiMi Faust - by The Ignant Intellectual

Three Reasons I Am Here for MiMi Faust

by: The Ignant Intellectual

1) Because I Am Not Here for Double Standards, Sexism, or the Like

I love when I see a man hold the door for a woman or fill his daughter’s gas tank or pay for a meal or get down on one knee or pay a mortgage. But if I had to trade that all in for people calling R&B singer/reality television star Niko a ho’ with the same venom as MiMi or equally bashing Stevie J for his sex tape with Eve, I would. Because last I checked, neither MiMi nor Eve were phukin themselves. What I am not here for are double standards rooted in sexism and patriarchy, which say that the sexuality of women is to be judged and chided while men’s sexuality is to be prized and trophied. Not here for it. Please note, I didn’t say bashing men INSTEAD of women. Nah. Let’s be equal opportunity venom spewers here.

Few can argue that sexism doesn’t exist, but the hard part seems to be in actually calling someone sexist versus identifying institutional sexism. Media portrayal of a very monolithic black woman can be viewed as institutional sexism. Stevie J threatening to take their child from MiMi because she filmed a sex tape, despite allegations that he previously filmed one with his ex, can be viewed as individual sexism. But given Stevie J’s relationship with women (which seems to directly stem from a troubled relationship with his own mother), we don’t have to dig too deeply to find examples of him as a sexist, chauvinistic misogynist. Media portrayal of MiMi as a hoe and Nikko being portrayed as Nikko can be viewed as institutional sexism. Black women feeding this portrayal can be viewed as internalized sexism. Typically, institutional sexism/homophobia/racism/etc feeds individual isms feed institutional sexism/homophobia/racism/etc. It’s cyclical.

I am here for MiMi because MiMi is a hoe and Nikko is Nikko.

2)Because I Am (96.8888%) Not Here for Respectability Politics

The majority of the criticisms I’ve heard over this sex tape that was ‘leaked’ (guhl bye) have been lodged by black women. We don’t need men or white folk to degrade us. We, black women, got internalized degradation on lock. From accusations of her ruining the image of black women, to her motherhood being used to further police her choices, to black elites and their use of the word ‘rachet’ to separate themselves from MiMi; all of these are the workings of The Politics of Respectability. And these politics are going to be the death of us.

The Politics of Respectability state that in order to be viewed as human, one’s actions must fall within very rigid confines, set forth by white supremacy and enforced/upheld by white people via whiteness. These mandates are what determine a noble, worthy, and respectable negro. They originated as a sort of guideline or template for racially marginalized groups to follow in the effort to be viewed as human in a White supremacist society and by individual Whites. They fundamentally require that one must earn the right to be ‘human while black’ and one earns this by engaging in behavior approved by White supremacy which is approved by individual white people. Respectability politics guided black people to show up to the voting polls in their Sunday best to prove that they, too, were human worthy of voting rights. Respectability politics are what cause black elites to shame ratchet culture while (secretly) consuming it. Respectability politics guide our idea of a suit being a signifier of power and influence and these politics guide our beliefs and behaviors around sex.

There are fewer spaces within Respectability Politics that rile folk more than sex and sexuality. Possibly because sex and sexuality are two spaces most historically policed by white supremacy. Don’t let a negro actually express the existence of a libido. Honey, the sky cracks and the black baby Jesus’ trumpet sounds. Historically, our oppressors/colonizers assumed the role of policing, suppressing, and sensationalizing black female sexuality via labels like whore and hyper-sexed, yet were known for the consumption of black female sexuality—but these days we do it for them. And this task aids and abets this narrative where anytime a black woman chooses to act in a way that suggests she has a libido, she is automatically not a respectable negro. Because apparently respectable negroes don’t get hot and bothered. Y’all just mad it took y’all SIXTY minutes to get all dressed up and you actually made it to the club. Shade. For these reasons and more, fundamentally, the ways that we are policing MiMi’s decision to git necket, set up cameras and amazing lighting, and hit record are highly problematic and, quite frankly, not ok.

3) Because I Am Not Here for Motherhood Being Used as a Way to Further Police the Bodies of Women

Motherhood has been used as a way to police womanhood for ions. This ain’t new. Unlike fatherhood, motherhood is often used as a way to silence women from advancing in their careers (for God’s sake, you’re a parent, it’s time to stop chasing all these whimsical dreams you have and get a real job with some semblance of security), as a way to police the sexuality of women (for God’s sake, you’re a parent, it’s time to settle down with one person, don’t you think), as a way to police the accoutrements of women (for God’s sake, you’re a parent, it’s time out from wearing such revealing clothes don’t you think), and as a way to further silence and suppress women from being sexual beings who can consensually share their sex/sexuality with the world IF THEY CHOOSE (for God’s sake, MiMi has a child, she should be ashamed of herself. What will her daughter think when she grows up and sees her mother’s sex tape and/or she will get teased in school.) I feel like this is The Second Coming of Beyonce! The feminists are back out. Y’all ain’t had need for your Surfboardts yet? Woke up in the kitchen knowing exactly how the hell that shyt happened? Poor tink tink. Again, we don’t need white folk to police us. WE POLICE US! And we do not police men and women equally. I’ve yet to hear a man told that he must choose his career and parenthood. Not once.

Be clear. Gender, class, race, age, parenthood, or any other identity should not erase a person’s ability to exercise agency over what they do with their body. If you want to have a solid critique, how about we charge the various social institutions with more accountability and responsibility to portray a more well-rounded image of black women in media so that little brown boys and girls will understand that women are a spectrum, that blackness is a spectrum, that class is a spectrum. Please note that I did not say a ‘better’ or ‘more classy’ image, because the truth is that women like MiMi, Evelyn, Jackie, and Sundae exist. And they deserve to have air time just like Clair Huxtable. We aren’t all Claires. And we shouldn’t be. Otherwise life would be pretty boring. We weren’t all kings/queens. Some of us were proletariats and peasants. The idea of women not being able to exercise agency separate and apart from the idea of having children is dangerous. Motherhood should not deter women from being sexual beings and sharing their sex/sexuality with partners, if they choose.

My desire is for the MiMi’s and Beyonces to start a mini sexual awakening among women. My desire is for Home Depot to continue to be sold out of shower curtain rods, for MiMi’s ‘leaked sex tape’ to allow her child to eventually grow up and be so free in her sexuality that she causes Home Depot to sell out of shower rods again. Respectability Politics leaves far too much pent-up sexual energy within us and it doesn’t allow us to explore our sexualities with no chains. And my theory is that pent-up sexual energy is responsible for 99.99999% of the shade being thrown, the mean mug pandemic, and the overall discontent and bitterness outchea in dese streets.

I am here for MiMi Faust. I am here for Beyonce. I am here for the liberation of black female sexuality.

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The Ignant Intellectual is a Harlem-based writer, New Orleans native, social & cultural critic, and public health professional with over a decade experience in social justice organizing, youth leadership development, and public health. The Ignant Intellectual is the creator and founder of The Ignant Intellectual Brand, established in 2011, a socio-political movement inspired by the ever-widening gap between the Hood and the Ivory Tower, despite the similarities and beauties in both. The writings of The Ignant Intellectual can be found at For Harriet, CNN, Elixher Magazine, Strong Families, bklyn boihood, The Brown Boi Project, and Philly Gay Calendar.

IgnantIntellectual@gmail.com ● @IgnantIntellect ● www.facebook.com/TheIgnantIntellectualwww.IgnantIntellectual@wordpress.com

 

Seldom do I hear folk speak of this publicly. But it AIN’T EASY outchea for trans/gender queer/gender nonconforming folk and dating. And it focuses primarily on our bodies and when those bodies don’t conform to gender. When boobs meet beard meet chiseled bodies meet vagina meet hairy chests/belly, folk struggle. When boobs meet penis meets the Apple of Adam, folk are in a frenzy. HOWZENEVA, we are cute and intriguing as da phuk because gender phukery is intriguing. We moisten draws and erect peens but none of that seems to impact years of gender socialization. Years of rigid binaries. Straight women find themselves attracted to transmasculine folk but don’t know WTF to do with it because they don’t know how it will impact their own sexuality. We’re too much this. Not enough that. MANY cis-men are attracted to transwomen. Ask Eddie Murphy, Mister Cee, Teddy P, and Tevin Campbell. We are both repulsive and intriguing. And the result is a vomiting of all this angst onto the bodies of trans and GNC people. Resulting in many folk feeling undesirable. When really they are VERY desired but others are unable to box their desires of us. This isn’t a pity party. This is reality. Dating someone whose very existence flips a construct so rigid as gender on its head takes a special someone to walk in and with that. Affirmingly. Not i can deal with it, but I AFFIRM AND LOVE IT! It is sexy to me. Flip side, I get it. I understand how something as deep and ingrained as this can be difficult. Ideally folk would allow themselves the freedom to like who they like. But…
—The Ignant Intellectual

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Be clear. Whiteness is not my mile marker. It is not my goal. It is not my comparison group. It is not my standard. And neither are its derivatives like respectability politics, PWIs, “proper English”, “good grammar”, 401Ks, home ownership, or anything else. I do not privilege Whiteness over blackness. I do not find more prestige in Harvard over Howard. I do not value the idea of Black Ivy Leagues. I do not need to read books that position the white gaze at their epicenters. I am not more affirmed by my white colleagues over my black dope boys on the block. I do not value Wall Street over Auburn Ave.
—The Ignant Intellectual

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Impermanence is the best friend of the unhealed.

For those of us who fundamentally feel inadequate and unworthy of love. If we consistently push back against love when it arrives and never realize that it’s because of fundamental feelings of inadequacy, we will forever push back against love.

And these push backs can look so many different ways. Insidious. Subtle. We can consistently choose things that result in us being single. Pretty much anything can be rationalized.

Feelings of inadequacy prefer impermanence. Because permanent shyt forces you to see your flaws. Someone saying “I’m willing to be patient with you” can be far scarier than someone saying “Phuk dis. I’m out”.
#ComplexYetSimple #WeMustUnearthRootCauses
—The Ignant Intellectual

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Patriarchy ain’t bout shyt. If it were a real gangsta, it would call men who have long locs, punks. It would call men with nipples, sissies. Especially those who put their locs up in a ponytail. Those who are turned on by having their nipples fondled would be uber gay. IJS. This incomplete shyt confuses me. #BeConsistent #WhyDoRickRossGetToShowOffHisTits

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Shout out to all the people quitting jobs, strategizing layoffs, negotiating severance packages, filing for unemployment joyfully, choosing not to use your degree, refusing to get a 9-5 yet surviving simply because you feel that your destiny is too large for a cubicle while advancing someone else’s agenda. Broker yet happier. You ain’t the only one at black elite events buying drinks with your UC compensation benefits. #ThisPostIsForYou

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As long as negros continue to respond to real oppression with symbolic action, we’ll continue to have symbolic freedom.#HoodiesAndShirtsTurnedInsideOutAintAction
—The Ignant Intellectual

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Not allowing released felons to come back and live in the homes of their loved ones if those loved ones receive housing vouchers has little/nothing to do with protecting neighborhoods and more to do with the very brazen nature of recidivism demands, the cycle of poverty and incarceration, and viewing prisoners as labor. This is the modern day version of dividing black families by removing the patriarch. This is but one element that is strategically embedded in the system called capitalism.
—The Ignant Intellectual

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Show them their purpose and their pants will probably go up on their own. Focus on their pants, and they’ll pull them up for a moment, but their minds will be unchanged.
—The Ignant Intellectual

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