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Monthly Archives: August 2011

Does “Feminine” mean “Helpless”?

I’ll admit.  My definition of femininity is very different from most.  We can call it raising. Background.  Socio-economic status.  Whatever.  All I know is, to me, being feminine is being able to take care of yourself while still being a lady, or dainty, about the situation.  Well, in all my years of writing and reading, I’ve never really….looked up the word “feminine.”  So today, after a conversation with a friend, I did.  The definitions I found were 1) pertaining to a woman or a girl and 2) having qualities traditionally ascribed to women, as sensitivity or gentleness.  So, with this in mind, this is my question:

When did “feminine” start meaning “helpless”?

Case and point.  In the earlier conversation, @Not_Spice_Tree (follow her on twitter) says (in so many words) “well, I met this girl, she can’t hook her printer up.  She doesn’t know how to work the thing.  She has a list of things she needs done that are so simple.  How can a woman be so helpless?”  To which I say (in so many words) “I think we are taught to be helpless because it appears feminine.”  I think that’s true.  A lot of women, in an effort to attract “the manly man” go into what I call “damsel in distress” mode, complete with the whiny voice, white handkerchief, and princess tears.  This way there’s never any real expectations put into certain situations.  She won’t have to change a tire.  She won’t have to move furniture.  She can get away with saying “oh, I broke a nail” in the middle of hard labor and everyone will say “oh. okay. She can’t work anymore.”

Now, I’m not saying a woman should run out and go change a tire.  Not what I’m saying at all.  But the basics of taking care of home, hearth, and self, is something all women should know.   If you plumbing started leaking, do you know how to turn the water main off?  Can you check your own oil?  Do you at LEAST know what a screwdriver is? What’s the basics of your computer?  Can you trouble shoot a bit on your own in regards to anything?

As a woman…as a lady….I ask….does your idea of “feminine” equal “helpless?”

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Being Black — In Retrospect

What does this mean….you know, exactly?

I know one thing: I know being black isn’t a bunch of stereotypes wrapped into what a general population is doing.  Don’t understand that sentence? Let me try again.  I know that being black isn’t seeing and doing what the rest of black folks are.  Ex: Just because a large segment of the black population likes rap, that doesn’t mean that I like rap, ya dig?

So, what is being black?

It’s it being cultural and “up” on all the black history?  Is it wearing the african colors and the afro?  Is being black a matter of always talking about how “the man holds us down” and quoting MLK, Jr. every fifteen minutes?  Is “being black” a good thing or is it something that we shouldn’t focus on?  Is “being black” some sort of cookie mold that I missed?

Growing up, I was always told I didn’t “act black” or “talk black”, and from the time I was nine to right now, I have the same question: What the HELL does that mean?  If I drop the “g” from a word, does that give me my “hood pass”?  If I stop listening to Led Zeppelin and The Ramones, does that make me less of a black woman? I don’t really like Watermelon, and  if I have to choose between a Lil’ Wayne concert and the symphony, I’m taking the classical music.  Does that mean my “being black” is of any less importance?

I dare say no, yet I still wonder.  What is “being black”?  And if I could sum it up in one simple word, being black is simply…pride.  Pride in personal, family history and pride in what we as people have done.   Pride in self.  Pride in what other black men and women have done.  I guess…to me…that’s what being black is all about.  Having pride in what you are.

Emotions Make Ya Cry Sometime

Ah, emotions. The little buggers.  I have a love-hate relationship with ’em.

I think what makes it so messed up that emotions…complicate…things.  Emotions make it hard to separate what is general concern and what is deep-rooted interest.  Emotions, as powerful as they are, are a hard thing to push through, and it can screw up our thinking on other levels.  I know this because I’m often distract once feelings have started.  Not a bad distraction, mind you. But thinking  “I wonder what so and so” is doing when I’m supposed to be researching something.  Or reading. Or designing. Or anything.  It’s the distraction that makes you smile.

What’s even crazier is that emotions will make people…forget…the good times. *raises glass and sings Al Green*  A flurry of pain will make a mom forget a husband provides for his kids, no matter what.  It’ll make a student forget the nice lady in financial aid who was helpful.  It’ll make a man become a player.  It’ll make friends forget who’s in their corner, and make enemies fall deep in love.

Interesting that a bunch of drunk, women beaters summed it up best::

“Emotions make ya cry sometime…but most of all…they make you fall in love…..” — H-Town

Originality’s Memorial

I had a memorial for originality a few days ago. 

Not many people attended.  Matter of fact, no one did.  It was just me, my girlfriend Piper (paper), my girlfriend Pen (pencil), and a small, scribbled on piece of paper quote that said:

 “The principal mark of genius is not perfection, but originality.” — unknown

I felt a bit sad as I thought of my good friend, Originality.  I met her when I was seven.  When I realized that words and phrases meant something.  When I realized they could move the masses.  From then on, her and I were like two peas in a pod.  When everyone else was wearing bone straight hair, I wore pigtail braids and bangs.  All the girls were dressed in lady like shirts? I wore a tie, tied just so.  Even when I pledged (something that all my “non conformist” friends say is the epitome of fitting in), I’ve always been known as “that one Zeta who….”  Originality was, and is, so important to me.

But,  she’s gone.  And I know how she was killed.

Originality, in all her beauty, was kidnapped, beaten and murdered.  Kidnapped by people who lack respect for the past and those who paved the way.  Beaten by those in society who want originality to stand for “what we took from the 80s and recycled.”  And murdered by those of us who, despite our love for her, didn’t yell and scream and protest hard enough for her. 

In honor of her, I listened to the classic, prolific artist.  Mozart.  Beethoven.  Marvin Gaye.  I read the people who at some point stood for being different when no one allowed them to be.  Kate Chopin.  Edgar Allen Poe.  Zane.  I hugged my girlfriends Piper and Penny and renewed myself to them.  While the concept of “being yourself” has become a thing of the past, there are those of us who bask in her essence.  Originality, I salute you.

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