“You have all got to stop calling each other sluts and whores! It just makes it OK for guys to call you sluts and whores.” -Ms. Norbury, Mean Girls
Where did we go wrong? Somewhere during feminism, we fell from grace. We wrapped ourselves in women empowerment and emerged too soon from that cocoon to fully understand the idea of what it means to be a woman. Maybe poverty played a role in pulling us out before we were ready. Maybe the media, maybe our peers, maybe ourselves…
For centuries, in the face of slavery, segregation, and men who thought we were nothing more than the hands who cooked their dinner and the uterus that bore their children, pride wove its way through our heart. It kept our backs straight, our shoulders square, and our heads high.
Then we were hit by the teenage pregnancy boom in the 90’s, Nicki Minaj called us “bad bitches,” and we lacked the resources given to other young ladies to know we were so much better than the labels placed upon us. So, instead of letting them be bad words, we embraced them. We took the power from those words and wielded it ourselves.
But at some point we forgot they were bad words and thought they were true terms of uplifting. We believed that being a bad bitch would put those teachers unfamiliar with the struggle of being a young black girl back into their place. We thought boys would stop disrespecting us if we beat them to it. We thought our parents would loosen up if we acted crazy- instead they gave up and that gave us more fire in our bellies to act crazier, while blaming our parents for our wayward ways.
We’re spiraling downward too fast for rock bottom to stop us.
Women, we must stop hating ourselves. We may have fooled ourselves into thinking this is a form of defensive love, but it has surpassed that. I can no longer take watching videos of women who only show themselves neck down, “twerkin’.” I hate watching young ladies call each other “bitches” as terms of endearment.
I recognize that this is not just a problem in our community. My above quote is from Mean Girls, which I only remember having one black girls with lines in the movie. However, our young women cannot bear the extra weight of this issue. We already deal with poverty, which has a hand in lower quality education and communities that do not support us. We deal with higher rates of teenage pregnancy, STDs, and we are the face of HIV. The last thing we need is to take the shovel from society and history and dig ourselves deeper.
It’s saddening to watch our young ladies fall apart and move further away from the pride of our grandmothers. We can do better.
Talkback: What do you think? Is the “bad bitch” movement helping black women or putting us down?