Dear Black Women,
Perhaps you came across a certain photo showing Kim Kardashian’s photoshopped, oiled-up booty gracing the cover of Paper Magazine.
Perhaps you came across comedienne Chelsea Handler’s tongue-in-cheek take on #Bootygate.
Instead of feeling furious that our assets are constantly and shamelessly put on patriarchal display without our consideration, voices, or input, let’s be completely grateful that non-Black rich women are simultaneously hypersexualizing our image, denouncing our Blackness, perpetuating patriarchy, and making obscene profits from it all!
As Black women, we always bear the societal brunt of marginalization, especially when it comes to the politics of our bodies. The foundation of this great nation is one of white supremacist capitalism, in which Black women were deemed the lowest rung of free labor. Already oppressed by way of patriarchy, slaveowners in all their racist glory, sexually violated us, giving birth to an invisible underclass of assaulted Black women.
Without a socio-political platform to stand on, our Black female ancestors were forced to suffer in silence, especially when they carried the burden of rape in their discarded Black wombs. Soon came a sect of mulatto children; mixed-race slaves caught in an entanglement of colorism—a racist offshoot.
Slaveowners mastered the art of plantation politics—creating painful divisions within the Black female underclass. Black slaves with lighter skin and finer hair were valued more than dark skinned Black women, and were treated as such.
Amongst this precarious and volatile color dynamic, slaveowners further created divisions within the slave class by way of Black male slaves. Fueling with rampant patriarchy, slaveowners instilled an enduring sentiment within Black male slaves; that those Black women with a closer proximity to whiteness were considerably more ideal than Black women with darker skin.
Buttressed by a society that completely catered to their whims, white men cultivated these racial and gender relationships into cultural imperialist designs and societal norms. On individualistic levels, interactions based on color, phenotype, and appearance found there way into media and other societal structures throughout the centuries.
But Black women of today: don’t worry, this is all in the past! We have nothing to worry about in this day in age, where social media is fabulously embellished with #TeamDarkSkin, #TeamLightSkin, and memes about “waffled-colored” Negroes like Drake. It’s nothing to take seriously because the historical underpinnings from which these attitudes hail are entirely in the past.
Black women, our narratives need no longer be told by us because now we have mainstream feminism that can tell and showcase our narratives for us. Thank Goodness! methinks.
In the same way that white racist men empowered Black men to embrace patriarchy, they also empowered white women to embrace capitalism. And now, the mark of mainstream feminism is decorated with corporate empowerment; white men taught white women how to love obscene profit. And Black women, we should be thankful!
While we’re scrimping and pinching to define a politic for our own community and become economically self-sufficient, we have both racism and patriarchy working against us from multiple groups—white men, white women, and Black men!
And that’s totally awesome.
Now, although our skin is derided as an option and not the default, our bodies are a fixture of gigantic for-profit engines which are fueled, perpetuated, and empowered by these multiple groups.
But fortunately, we have Nicki Minaj to represent our hypersexualized image. After all, with her blonde hair and light skin, she’s the perfect symbol of what it means to not only be Black, but a hypersexualized image of Black Womanhood. And what’s even more fortunate is that when she shed the blonde hair in favor of a more ethnically natural look, she did so ass-first.
Butt, back to Kim K. *pun totally intended*
We need to remember that Kim K gets a pass because she loooooves Black men. Her husband is Black, so she automatically gets a Black card that enables her to unchecked access to the Black community. So, her cover truly does represent us! Her surgically-enhanced bottom is one of the greatest things to us, as Black women.
Her proximity to whiteness validates us. Sure, we still have to maneuver around our dark skin and the overarching societal aversion to it, but … in the mean time, having others profit off of our assets is empowering!
After all, white men, white women, and Black men and the structures and institutions they represent, routine coerce us, as Black women, to believe so.
A Fellow Hypersexualized Black Feminist