Tuesday, March 11, 2008

making black girls "lady-like"

so... i was at Black Women Vote! yesterday. i spend a lot of time there. i think i am totally addicted to this blog. i might have a problem:-) i'm gonna rant and rave for moment and i really don't care about the mush gush factor!

Shecodes, hands down, has attracted some of the most brilliant minds that i have encountered in awhile. i learn so much there. these women indulge my very opinionated, outspoken personality. these women challenge me to see things differently. Shecodes, sharpens my intellect. i meet dissenting voices that broaden my perspective and grow me in patience. i am proud to be a black woman and encouraged to move forward powerfully.

one of the women at Shecodes' house, asked a question that got me to thinking. to paraphrase, the question was something to the effect of:

"do we need to teach black women to get angry?"

i paraphrase because if i go back to the site, i will start re-reading the series that Shecodes wrote and i will get stuck for hours:-) its an addiction i tell you!

we were discussing the deadly propensity of black women to make excuses and support black men (and other predators) even when they consistently demonstrate they are not worthy of our support.

i found one of the articles i read that was so insightful on the subject. i will share parts of it here. i think the following quote sheds a lot of light on the subject.

"Looking at the intersection of race, gender, capitalism and pedagogy, the disciplinary efforts and hidden curriculum are working toward a desired young Black woman — one who does not ask too many questions, accepts the power arrangements in schools and becomes a proper young lady — pink bows and all. Schools since their inception have been focused on the poetics of assimilation and thus are sites of production not only for the ready-made American citizen who does not challenge his government or is a depoliticized consumers, but the “acceptable” Black woman who is docile, domesticated and unchallenging."

the reality of this has been kicking around in my head for awhile.

read the rest of the article at i would be interested to know what you think.
p.s. i love this picture. that little girl is SO cute! her kitty looks like my cat truth used to look when she was a kitten.



Miriam said...

"that I always had an opinion with too much melanin and without the licensing appendage between my legs."

That was a good article! I had a suspicion of this.


focusedpurpose said...


hi sis. welcome back. yep. i have read quite a bit on the subject. and all signs indicate that we have to challenge our "conditioning" and do us to the fullest; in all the glorious ways we were created.

truly our strength is in our differences.

there is a quote that succinctly sums it up for me:

"well behaved women rarely make history" – unknown


PioneerValleyWoman said...

There is nothing wrong with being seen as "lady-like" but at the same as being an effective advocate--articulate in her anger and thus enabled to do some serious work.

Remember, that unarticulate anger grounded primarily in the emotions can be effectively dismissed as "hysterical," but anger grounded in effective strategy is deadly, especially when it comes in a lady-like demeanor.

Many female trial lawyers will tell you this.

focusedpurpose said...



thanks for your sage advice. i agree wholeheartedly with your point. let me offer you this for consideration as well.

i am not too sure if you had a chance to actually read the article. the title came from the original author, Kameelah Rasheed. i can take no credit for it.

i don't think she, and definitely, i am not advocating allowing oneself to be ruled by emotion and a lack of self control.

i think both of us are suggesting that it is sometimes to the complete detriment of black women to continue to strive to "go along" with whatever. we are taught this and we tend to do this in an attempt to assimilate and fit in. which we never really successfully do, despite our best efforts. furthermore, if we were men we would not be expected to stand down as i call it.

i think the efforts of my mother's generation to be polite, trust things would be okay, and "go with the flow" have not served black women too well. i am not interested to continue to do things that don't work.

additionally, i don't think i have ever been accused of being inarticulate. even as a small child. i tend to tailor my message to my audience. i like to speak/write/communicate in no uncertain terms.

i have found that sometimes you have to come to where the people with which you seek to communicate are. as such, well placed expletives work for me from time to time:-) i do understand it does not work for everyone.

if you read my blog, you will see that for the most part i don't use expletives. my mother taught me that relying heavily on colorful words is lazy and an excuse not utilize my vocabulary:-) i seek to bring her no shame.

"Remember, that unarticulate anger grounded primarily in the emotions can be effectively dismissed as "hysterical," but anger grounded in effective strategy is deadly, especially when it comes in a lady-like demeanor.

Many female trial lawyers will tell you this."

from what i've observed so far, it seems that no matter what, black women stand to be accused of something---hypersensitive, overly aggressive, bitchy, hypersexual, spineless, a doormat,a mammy, jezebel, sapphire, etc. etc. no?

at the end of the day, i have chosen to free myself from the bondage of serving and catering to other people's opinions and prejudices of who i am.

we all have different gifts and contributions to make. depending on how ridiculous the affront even some female trial lawyers will use expletives as we just witnessed recently with hang 'em high Star Jones.

timid, polite, lady like works at times. and when it doesn't...i am still prepared. i can only do the ever evolving me. you know? for what its worth.

thanks for stopping in. you are welcome anytime.

blessings to you!

PioneerValleyWoman said...

Thanks! Glad to stop by! I'm with you, I learned a long time ago that "going along to get along" only got women more of the same!

tasha212 said...

Loved the article, focusedpurpose. That is one of the reasons that I am seriously considering homeschooling my children whewn I have them. I refuse to let the school system "miseducate" them. I also think that as a part of this war, we have to design and build institutions that empower young black women and girls, and our boys too. We must take control of our children's education.

focusedpurpose said...


i adore your sweet innocent essence that emanates through the blogosphere.

when you get a moment, check out This is My First Official Blog!!! it outlines the goals we must have in order to truly be free and self determined. controlling our education is one of those things.

blessings sis,