What’s a girl who loves fashion but hates the industry to do? Racism is fashion’s constant companion, and the pair won’t soon separate. It seems every season a major designer must be chastised for exploiting “exotic” prints and images or excluding models color. And every season these designers attempt to justify their bigoted missteps as byproducts of the artistry. There is, however, no explanation for why these earrings depicting the cartoonish heads of dark-skinned black women made it into Dolce & Gabbana’s recent runway show.
To my Black American eyes, the women look like stereotypical mammies a la Aunt Jemima. To another Black woman, they looked like “dark-skinned Colombian women.” In either case, the Dolce & Gabanna design team chopped off their heads and made them accessories. The heads were also printed on dresses and tops from the collection.
The figures appear to be a reconception of the “Blackamoor” jewelry and statues that are popularly collected in Europe. The characters are founded in racist tropes that originated during the colonial era.
After images of the earrings were posted to For Harriet’s Facebook page, it seemed Black women couldn’t come to the designer’s defense fast enough. Outrage was characterized as “trivial” because the pieces were meant to be a “celebration” of African culture. The responses, though, disconcerting, aren’t entirely unexpected. When faced with glaring examples of racial insensitivity, we often try to explain them away.
Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana probably meant no harm when they chose to send the pieces down the runway. The problem is there’s no way to view the work outside of their historical and social context. These earrings draw on the the long, Western tradition of the exploitation of Black women’s bodies and likenesses.
There were no Black women modeling any of the more than 80 looks presented at the Dolce & Gabbana show. Our only appearance was hanging on the ears of pale models and adorning their bodies. We should be upset that our disembodied heads are welcome in spaces where our physical presences are not.
Are we so starved for cultural validation that we’ll mistake any representation, no matter how damaging, for tribute? We are living, breathing beings not things to be collected as kitsch.
Fashion has an accountability problem, those who are excluded and erased are going to have to demand it. Dolce & Gabbana should not be allowed to profit off of perpetuating racist cultural myths. The willful colonization of Black culture in the fashion industry needs to be addressed. Our bodies are not trends. Our history is not free for consumption and misappropriation.
No one can take feminism from women of the African diaspora. It is a black woman’s birthright because we could never seek solace in the protections of womanhood narrowly defined. It is ours, yet it seems at every turn, someone is trying to wrestle it from us. Since her appearance at this year’s Democratic National Convention, Michelle Obama has again been placed at the center of an old debate regarding her feminist credentials.
In front of an audience of millions, the First Lady poured out her love for her spouse of twenty years and affirmed her commitment to her children. She does this often, but this time the stakes were higher. Her husband would accept the Democratic nomination for president of the United States in a few days.
Mrs. Obama has, since she took residence in the White House, described herself as “Mom-in-Chief.” The moniker is safe and comforting for a nation socialized to view Black women as the antithesis of the studied grace she embodies. Some women, usually those with race and/or class privilege, view her embrace of the term as a betrayal. One writer called it “degrading.”Michelle’s presence as the most visible black woman in America hasn’t lived up to everyone’s hopes. Even Black women lament that Michelle Obama cast off her work, pedigree, and aspirations. She could have been our Hillary. She’s certainly smart and charismatic enough to be “Feminist-in-chief.” And although some view her as a “feminist megastar,” she’s evaded that role. Since her husband’s campaign, her impressive career history has been downplayed. She’s assured us time and again she’s a devoted wife not a political adviser.
When asked whether she was a feminist by the Washington Post, Mrs. Obama hedged, “You know, I’m not that into labels, so probably, if you laid out a feminist agenda, I would probably agree with a large portion of it,” she said. “I wouldn’t identify as a feminist just like I probably wouldn’t identify as a liberal or a progressive.”
She made clear that she does not describe herself as a feminist, so neither will I. It is unwise to haphazardly assign the label to women who don’t desire to carry the baggage that accompanies it. However, I take issue with the assertion that Michelle Obama could not be a feminist because of the path she’s taken.
The First Lady describes herself as a mother first. This offends the sensibilites of those who believe it each woman’s responsibility to enter the workforce and stay there. After all, wasn’t that the end goal of the majority-white feminist movement of the 70s? Some feminists have in recent years, doubled down on the rejection of “choice feminism” arguing that every choice is not a good one for women. By her personal goals to attend to her husband’s, they argue, Michelle Obama with her fancy degrees and impressive work history, let us all down.
In an article for The Atlantic, Elizabeth Wurtzel doesn’t try to hide her contempt for women like Obama who could work but choose not to. She writes, “A job that anyone can have is not a job, it’s a part of life, no matter how important people insist it is.” Wurtzel’s attempt to diminish the significance of motherhood neglects an important point about the lived experiences and history of Women of Color across the world. Women who look like Michelle Obama are not empowered to do the work of mothering.
Examine the history in which African American women who stayed home with their children post-Emancipation were threatened with arrest for violating vagrany laws — one in which Mrs. Obama, a wife of two decades, was referred to as a “baby mama” by Fox News. Michelle Obama centering the work of motherhood in her life is revolutionary because only relatively recently have African American women been able to put their spouses and their families on a pedestal. By doing so, she helps rewrite the role of Black women in the public imagination.
Not to say that she made the decision to leave the workforce in a vacuum. Obama has been clear that this was not the life she envisioned for herself, but if her speech last week was any indication, she remains radiantly joyful and content.
Black and brown women will remain leery of feminism because we’ve seen how white feminists behave when they don’t get their way. Even the revered veterans of the Second Wave turned into petulant Veruca Salt’s when presented with a challenge (see: Geraldine Ferraro and Gloria Steinem circa 2008). White feminists want sisterhood only when it is convenient - only when it costs them nothing and they have something to gain. Feminism doesn’t work the same for all communities. Your feminism ain’t like mine. Uninformed and tone-deaf generalizations are the result of a willful ignorance of context and history.
Black women have responded to continued exclusion from relevant mainstream feminist discourse and activism with embittered rejection. Michelle Obama may not describe herself as a feminist but she presents for young, Black women like me a new paradigm. A Michelle Obama Feminism is one that acknowledges the breadth of my history as well as my depth of my aspirations. It celebrates the liberating joy and fortitude that has sustained Black women in America for centuries. To me, it feels like home.
I’m not a lady. The fact causes me no distress. I’m too vulgar and assertive to ever be classified as such. My hemlines too short, clothes too tight, and language too crass. And my demeanor is not at all demure. Still somehow I manage to live a joyful, fulfilling life without the distinction. I do, however, aspire to be kind, genuine, loving and thoughtful. Ladies embody those things, I suppose, but they also bear the burden of societal expectation that keeps them caged. I’m looking to get free or die trying, so I choose not to wear the mask.
This enrages men and women who believe that I, and my unladylike counterparts, caused the decline of African American culture. They blame wayward girls for the ubiquitous misogyny in Black communities. “Why should men respect women, when women don’t behave in a way that demands respect,” they ask. The logic is a smokescreen upheld to distract from the real cause of deteriorating gender relations in Black America: patriarchy. All women, be they “ladies” or not, deserve to be treated with dignity, but that’s a hard case to make to people drunk off misogyny.
Ladies are required to conform to outmoded behavioral norms created to make men comfortable, but playing that game won’t save you. Telling girls not to wear revealing clothes or use profane language will not stop the men who harass and degrade women for sport. I get just as many leers in jeans as I do in mini-dresses. You cannot dress or behave your way out of oppression.
Still those who consider themselves keepers of the community expend far too much energy trying to convince women to simply act right. When a well-meaning auntie compelled me to fix my clothes or watch my manners, she did so out of love. When men attempt to regulate the behavior of women, they may do so out of genuine concern. Benevolent sexism, however, is still sexism. It suffocates and ultimately kills the spirit.
That’s precisely the problem with “Bitch Bad” by Lupe Fiasco. The rapper set out to raise women up, but he reifies the same tropes that keep us chained. He repeats “bitch bad/woman good/lady better,” and I’m suspicious. Being a woman is hard enough. Why is it better to be a lady? And who decides who’s who? Even if all women were to attempt to step into the role of a Lady, we still may not meet the arbitrary expectations or Lupe or anyone else. Men get to raise and lower the goal of acceptable behavior to suit their whims. To some I may be a lady, but I am always a woman. That should be enough.
I’m an ardent feminist in part because many of the character traits I possess naturally are often ascribed to men. I am ambitious and direct. I take no issue with setting clear boundaries. These are not the things “ladies” do. “Ladies” are ever gracious and compliant. I can be, what some would call, a bitch. That’s a pejorative I take little issue with. Like Tina Fey said, bitches get stuff done. I imagine my sheroes were all called bitches at one time or another. Perhaps that’s why they’re bad — because women embracing a term meant to shame us upsets the natural order.
My embrace of my inner bitch doesn’t mean I don’t respect myself. It means I don’t respect the path anyone else would have me walk. My choices may make me less valuable in someone else’s mind, but I know my worth. That’s what we need to be teaching girls — that they’re inherently whole and precious. That they need not seek out validation by playing dress up or acting a part. Women of all ages are discouraged from living in our fullness. The saying goes “boys will be boys,” but the desire that lie within women must be subdued. Thankfully the antiquated pedestal upon which we put “ladies” is slowly crumbling. Soon it will be a relic. In the meantime, live boldly and unapolegetically and tell every woman you know to do the same.
I did not discover the transformative power of sisterhood until I entered college. There I found a group of Black women in whom I could confide and depend. Knowing them centered me in my own womanhood. I saw myself in their gorgeous reflections and their radiant power. They were smart, funny, and fly. I was because they were. My sisters. My soulmates.
These women opened up my heart with love like I’d never known. Slowly, steadily I felt my core shift. We could laugh and cry together as we compared emotional scars left from the common trials of black girlhood. After spending my adolescence grasping at validation, I began to feel warm and worthy.
Everyone should be so enveloped in liberating love.
These spirit connections didn’t erase memories of the coldness I’d received from the Black girls who couldn’t relate to my unabashed bourgeois aspirations when I was a kid, but I wasn’t arrested by my past interactions. I now knew how amazing black women were in their essence, and that is what I held on to.
Unity is the answer. We are, however, fighting an uphill battle. When I hear women, mature and young, say “women can’t be trusted” or “I don’t have girlfriends,” I offer my testimony of restorative sisterhood. The detractors always counter with stories of betrayal and deception. I learned that these sentiments are forged beyond ubiquitous anti-woman messaging. Women who hate women are speaking out of hurt and frustration.
Recently I have been reminded of the complex and often fraught nature of Black women’s relationships. Thousands of miles away from the women I consider the loves of my life, I befriended a new group. Without trepidation, I threw myself into forging bonds with transparency and love, and they welcomed me. Because I had experienced such genuine camaraderie and caring, I assumed that is what I would always receive as long as I projected the same. My naivete shone clearly.
A male friend, whom I trust, informed me of the night they talked about me viciously as soon as I left the room. These adult women tore me down. One even commented that I wasn’t pretty enough to be in the circle. I hadn’t cried that hard in years.
Had I not already found the beauty of sister-friends, I might have dismissed black women entirely. I could not, however, because sistas have been my most ardent supporters. They have protected, inspired and guided me, but they have also wounded me. No one can hurt you quite like a woman whose reflection so closely resembles your own. It seems as though Black women know precisely how to attack each other fatally. A white girl never made me cry.
That heartbreak helped me understand why some of us are so quick to pounce on one another. We jump to avoid getting jumped and harden our hearts as hostility becomes the status quo.
In Black Looks “Revolutionary Black Women,” bell hooks interrogates why Black women seem to address each other with physical and emotional violence so often. hooks writes, “Among black women, such deeply internalized pain and self-rejection informs the aggression inflicted on the mirror image.”
As hooks notes, emotional violence is often an expression of self-loathing. A self-loathing grown from the mistaken belief that we are worthless and disposable. It’s not unusual to see Black women fighting where there are no prizes. Nowhere do we see better examples of women clawing to the bottom than on reality television, where women value themselves so little that they will happily tear each other down for whatever remnants of fame, love, or dignity they can scrounge.
On screen conflict may be magnified, but we encounter Black Girl Hate everyday. It is the nastiness women direct at each other without remorse. It’s impossible to dodge every dart, but we must remind ourselves that we are worthy simply because we exist. We are precious because we’re still here.
Releasing lingering resentment feels like surrender, but I will continue to love boldly and wish peace upon the wounded women and those who do the wounding. I have to. Openness and forgiveness mends broken hearts, and we all need a healing.
As a kid, I often felt voiceless. I didn’t grow up in one of those TV drama homes where we discussed our feelings. I’ve always been opinionated, but I, like many Black women, was taught to turn emotional affairs inward. Subsequently, I became a great actress and fooled most everyone I encountered for the majority of my life. And then my house of cards came tumbling down during my third year of college.
It was during that time that I founded For Harriet and discovered storytelling saves lives. I don’t believe in coincidences. That this forum launched at the time my life fell apart isn’t lucky. Put simply: a blog, this blog, saved me.
At last, I found my voice, and I met my passion. Reading the stories of black women helped me better understand my own, and I was inspired to write and explore the ugliness that lay just beneath the surface.
Honesty should come easily, but diversion becomes the norm when you spend all your energy protecting your spirit from real and perceived threats. Blogging has allowed me to be honest for the first time about the things that caused me shame. I wish for everyone to know that freedom, so I began Black Girls Blogging.
I began writing about my mental health struggles after seeing women discuss theirs openly online. The emails, comments and tweets I’ve gotten let me know that sharing was the right decision. Now I know my story matters.
Everyone has a story worth telling. Whether or not we all have the skill or wherewithal to be professional writers, we can each carve our own digital space to define ourselves. That is priceless.
The 70s were a golden age of black self-representation. Black women warrior writers like Michele Wallace, Alice Walker, Angela Davis wrote themselves into being with portraits of their complex womanhood. We’re now in a renaissance of self-exploration. The Internet has democratized representation in a way that liberates those relegated to the margins. Women of color, in particular, have nothing to lose but our chains.Transparency begets transparency, and one day we’ll all be free.
I watch way too much reality tv. It’s addictive and usually corrosive, but believe it or not the snapshot glimpses into the lives of people I don’t know and will probably never meet often inspire me to self-reflect.
Watching Tashera Simmons, the estranged wife of DMX, on VH1’s Couple’s Therapy made me rethink my entire approach to relationships. Tashera’s distress over a man who has, during their marriage, fathered more children with other women than he has with her left me puzzled. How could she not see what seems so obvious? It’s time to leave.
In a much less devastating fashion, I see that I’ve been Tashera. Or perhaps I still am. Put simply: I am attracted to men with problems. It’s the Pisces in me. I want to nurture, and I want to fix. But I learned the hard way that love is healing only for those who wish to be restored.
Last Fall, I began a relationship with a man who would suck me dry if I allowed him. It began casually, and for him it stayed that way. To me it became something much deeper. Everything about him was wrong, but I thought I could adjust. Consequently, I spent more time defending our relationship than enjoying it.
His malice stung. He took every opportunity to hurt and offend, yet I found myself perpetually apologizing. He never did. Not once. Knowing his history and the childhood trauma he endured, I attempted to be his lover/therapist in the hope that I could coach him through it.
Relationships aren’t built on hope and potential. During the several months we’ve been off and on, I feel like I’ve grown because I had to. (Traumatic experiences will do that to you.) He has not. His way may not be working for him, but he is completely and utterly invested in it.That type of entrenchment makes me anxious. It is my biggest fear. So I said goodbye, and hopefully this time will be the last.
I don’t believe we’re responsible for who we attract, but who we choose to pursue a relationship with is a reflection of how we see ourselves. Feeling worthy of an equal partnership doesn’t come naturally to some of us. Certainly not for me. I can, however, feel the change slowly and surely. As I discover my private power, I’m no longer content with settling in any area of my life: not for a man, a job, or a friend.
Black American culture mythologizes the “ride or die” partner. The woman willing to give everything of themselves in order to ensure the success of her mate. But what do we, as women, reap from such devotion?
Not everyone deserves unwavering loyalty, and, in my opinion, no one is worth sacrificing your spirit. Liberation requires women release the Disney Princess mindset that “love conquers all.” Sometimes love simply isn’t enough.
I am 23 years old, and some days I feel utterly unaccomplished. I remind myself that I am young, and, barring a catastrophe, I have decades left on this planet to create something remarkable. I take time everyday to appreciate the space I occupy. But even though I know my anxiety borders on the absurd, I can’t help but think I should be doing more. What about the 23 year olds who’ve written books, produced films, made millions? I’m not among them. What’s wrong with me?
Similar anxiety seems to be epidemic among Millennials. We feel the pressure to be the Mark Zuckerberg of our chosen path. The logic goes: If you haven’t generated an idea that will change the world by age 30, you’ve failed. We, of course, overlook the fact that the Zucks garner so much attention precisely because they are anomalies.
Friends and mentors have told me feeling the pressure to have it all as early as possible didn’t begin with my generation; however, we may feel it more acutely because of the rise of ubiquitous media. Now we have countless ways to track the progress of our peers. As the outlets through which we can receive information have expanded, so has the destructive voyeurism that leaves us feeling inadequate.
Years ago at the height of my depression, I avoided Facebook completely. Watching as the people I knew seemed to enjoy triumph after triumph was too great a burden. Now we know that Facebook offers a distorted, impossibly cheery reality. Though, on the surface, we are more connected than ever before, those connections are easily falsified. One can make themselves look successful, content, and happy when they’re truly none of the those things. The anxiety of underachievement is about fabricated narratives as much as it is unrealistic expectations.
Millennials tend to think very highly of ourselves and our skills. That confidence doesn’t always gibe with “traditional” values and expectations. I believe I have something to offer to the world, and I don’t want to toil for decades before I can share it. But refusing to follow the rules often leads to another sort of let down. I personally know a number of young adults who wish to be pioneers, but it’s difficult to blaze a trail when you haven’t yet learned how to navigate. If I wish to strike it on my own, I’ll have to start playing checkers and work my way up. But patience is valueI never quite grasped. Ambition? Yes. Focus? Absolutely.
A major piece in my journey to continually give thanks for the space I occupy, is redefining what my ideal life looks like. This reconceptualizing necessitates deconstructing images of gross-materialism that have bombarded my consciousness for, at least, the last decade. I want so many things for my life, but I now value joy and peace above all else. There’s boundless bliss to be found in walking fearlessly in your destiny, but the path to fulfillment is trod with baby steps. Passion remains my guide, and perhaps that means I will never know what it’s like to “plank on a million” and that’s ok.
If something scares mainstream America more than the anger of People of Color, I can’t name it. Every Black public figure looking to garner acceptance by the White majority must steer away from criticizing too harshly the blatant inequality of the US; lest they be painted an enemy of the State.
And as we navigate our daily lives, African Americans avoid voicing our discontent in mixed company for fear of being labeled a stereotype. As a Black woman, when I feel emotions begin to swirl, I recognize that both my blackness and my womanhood will conspire to make me the “crazy black bitch.” Concealing our anger, however, does nothing to heal wounds, fix policies, or facilitate discussions.
The righteous discontent of Black America provides a catalyst for change. The fact is: we can never be post-racial (if that’s really the aim) until America relinquishes its irrational terror of black rage. That anger is productive and justified. The problem is theirs not ours.
When Michelle Obama succinctly noted that America is “downright mean” in a 2008 interview with the New Yorker, I thought: “Well…yes.” Her comments made perfect sense. America has, in fact, been particularly cruel to those who had the misfortune of being born female, homosexual, non-white and/or poor.
Mrs. Obama’s comments drew ire from conservatives who were deeply offended that FLOTUS dare reflect upon the history of the country that made her a millionaire. Michelle apparent forgot that blind gratitude is what successful African American are expected to convey at all times.
Anything other than cool, detached rhetoric — even in the face of degradation and oppression — draws cries of racebaiting from those who do not wish to have their unearned privilege challenged. The expectation that Blacks should always provide the voice of reason is emotionally and intellectually dishonest. If you are Black in America, you should be mad. I find myself enraged often thinking about the unanswered rape, murder and humiliation of my foremothers. For every name we know: Recy Taylor, Latasha Harlins, Rekia Boyd there are countless others we will never hear. That makes me angry.
Yes, we must forgive, but before that, raise hell. Racist logic goes that if you are Black in America you have no right to be angry about the discrimination that under girds this country’s every institution. You see, white Americans are the only group afforded the luxury of outrage. When angry white men march in the streets to protest taxes, affirmative action, or same sex marriage, they are patriots. When Black activists march to protest inequality in the justice system, education, housing or healthcare, we are whiners.
Our justified anger stems from the fact that white Americans rarely listen to our pleas and demands for justice with the intent to act. Anger is not shameful when it prompts action. It is anger not sadness or despair that has propelled much of the progressive change in the United States.
Personally, I’ve had to learn tune out the detractors who wish to discredit my concerns because of my “hostile” tone. If you are unwilling to listen to me when I am angry, you probably weren’t interested in what I have to say. No apologies. Americans will just have to get used to hearing less than conciliatory counternarratives.
America, we’re mad as hell, and you will hear it.
I want to trust the police. Actually I need to trust the police. But right now I don’t.
As a single woman of small stature I know there may likely come a time when I make an emergency call, and when the officers come I want to be sure of the fact that the men or women commissioned to protect me are going to do so. But my faith in law enforcement is at an all-time low.
These feelings have been stirring for quite some time— since I witnessed a black male college student get roughed up on the streets of New Haven a few years ago—but Rekia Boyd andTrayvon Martin have pushed me over the edge.
Though neither of the murders involved on duty police officers. Law enforcement aided and abetted the obstruction of justice in both situations. The transparent lies and coverups affirm my suspicion that cops are not interested in upholding the law rather they are concerned in with preserving their jobs and pensions.
I’m now tuned into the many cases of police misconduct broadcast nationally (including the sickening New Orleans story), and I can’t help but imagine the hundreds or thousands of daily incidents everyday that go unreported.
I can only assume (pray really) that the overwhelming majority of the country’s nearly one million law enforcement personnel do not partake in malfeasance, but the cases we see are so egregious I can’t shake the distrust. I wish I could.
My sheltered, suburban life taught me that police exist to protect me and my home from “bad guys” (i.e. the people who didn’t “belong; poor people; black and brown people). I believed it that as long as I did nothing criminal I had no need to worry.
At times I envy my 17 year-old self’s self-assured ignorance. College changed my consciousness and uncovered a looming pessimism. Injustices I’d long felt but could never name were revealed, and I began to see how often the “bad guys” looked like my sister, uncles and cousins.
The people who patrol our streets and neighborhoods still operate within a white supremacist capitalist patriarchal context that asserts that my black, female body is worthless. I cannot and do not expect officers to rise above their socialization; however, that means we can never rest.
People of Color are never meant to feel completely at ease. Those in positions of authority ensure it. But we rarely discuss the extraordinary stress that accompanies ones inability to let your guard down.
The solution remains unclear. Teaching little black boys and girls to stay alive by kowtowing to white authority humiliates and demoralizes. I have heard it time and again from men who have had it drilled into their consciousness that the presence of a badge means absence of dignity. Furthermore, recruiting people who like us doesn’t seem to work either. Black officers are often just as malicious as their non-black counterparts.
This is a widespread, deeply rooted institutional malady, but as usual Black Americans are expected to provide the cure. While blackness is despised and womanhood preyed upon, who can we trust to serve and protect?
When Wendy Williams made a comment about Viola Davis’ natural hair not being “glamorous” or “formal” enough for the Academy Awards on her daytime talk show, I was horrified but not surprised. You’d hear countless Black women echo the same sentiments just about anywhere you go. These women are generally projecting the hurt they’ve internalized since childhood.
I hear those self-loathing words, and my initial instinct is not to attack. First, I simply want to ask, “Who taught you to hate yourself?” But, of course, I already know the answer.
There exist no completely safe spaces for Women of Color to escape the utter oppressiveness of patriarchy and white supremacy. Because we each carry it around with us every second of every day, the indoctrination seeps out of our consciousness unwittingly.
The education of men and non Women of Color about the difficulties of Black womanhood is not my responsibility, but for black women who get it utterly wrong, I have nearly interminable patience. Sisters need hugs and information, not verbal beatdowns and “draggings.”
Wendy’s words are problematic; however, I’m becoming more concerned by the attacks she’s received. It seems smart, thoughtful women are reveling in the low blows. Particularly sickening are the endless riffs on Williams’ hair, face and figure.
If I’m understanding this correctly. We are fighting the degradation and humiliation of a Black woman by degrading and attempting to humiliate another Black woman. It doesn’t add up.
A few months back, I tweeted that I would no longer comment on the physical appearances of women. With few exceptions, I’ve stayed true to that promise. I made the decision upon reflection on the ways I’ve internalized gauging a woman’s worth by her physical appearance, and because I wish for a world where “beautiful” is not the highest compliment a woman can be paid.
I take fictive kinship to the limits. I feel connected to most black women in all our contradictions and ignorance. Viola is my sister, but so is Wendy. You can look at Wendy’s self presentation and pathologize her, or you can see a woman dealing with familiar issues operating within the same sexist, white supremacist world we all live in.
If you managed to escape the matrix with your self-concept and esteem in tact, I applaud you. You’re doing a lot better than the rest of us. But heightened awareness gives no woman the right to shame another.
Many of us are still nursing open wounds. Have a little compassion for your sister.