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The Urban Scientist

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Feministing Friday: Why does the F-word bother some men?

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That word would be FEMINISM.

(click on images to embiggen and read)

Late night on Monday, January 14, the day before Dr. Martin Luther the-King Birthday I happened upon a Twitterbeef. I was a casual observer noting the typical side-eyes of Luvvie (I totes love her - in her totality. She's funny, smart, innovative. ERRTHANG, as she would say). Anyway, there is this...DUDE (not sure how to describe him) who offers advice to men on Macking. Yes, you read that right: MACKING, as in the 'art of macking these hoes, ah-hah!' *wipes nose with thumb, then points and winks at you*. (Let me warn you now, this post will use profanity and other insulting images.)

"A pimp is only as good as his product, and his product is women. Now you've got to go out there and get the best ones you can find. And you've got to work them broads like nobody's ever worked them before. And never forget: anybody can control a woman's body, you see, but the key is to control her mind." ~ The Blind Mind from the movie, The Mack

This movie is an icon but it has also shaped several generations of Black men (and women who interact with them) and their/our expectations of relationships. The life of a hustler, a commitment-phobe, a womanizer, a user of people, a materialist – misogynist is what Black men ought to aspire to be. And don’t get it twisted: This is the message that this dude --Tariq Nasheed shares (and believes).

He has a significant presence online and one of his popular vehicles lately is an Instagram account where he shares little nuggets of information - or Game (the stock and trade of Macking) with folks. It is worth checking out just to see how not-fake all of it is - here. Personally, I find his quips stupid and hilarious. What isn’t funny is the fact that so many people take him and his advice seriously (see the thread of comments from Stans above). He seems to have a legion of faithful and dick-riding vocally supportive men – young and old alike; and much to my heartache some women, too.

I jumped into the Twitter cross-fire very calmly and innocent enough to say that I had some recollection of the dude - @TariqNasheed and these rest is Storify History.

His is a social construct (MACKING HOES) that is very real and it is a lived experience or attempted ideal for many (in the Black community). Women are products. Men are consumers. Women are subordinate. Men are superior. Females are interchangeable widgets judged on the F***ability index which is based on how much she keeps her mouth shut, how pretty she is, how shapely her body is, how attractive she presents herself in public, and having phenomenal sexual skills. And consumption of women (with very high F-scores) by psychologically manipulative men is the pinnacle of (black) masculinity. And as if it were advice taken directly from a Mack handbook, he routinely makes references to slaying bed wenches - a term he uses to define hard-headed Black Women (and feminists).

All respect to those who break their neck to keep their hoes in check. ~2Pac in "I Get Around"

His sentiments upset me, yes, but it mostly saddens me. His ideas of what an ideal black relationship looks like and how men and women should behave and treat each other are supported by a not-too-small portion of the population. And maybe not explicit support, but if we fail to have conversations about respect and behavior and model healthy interpersonal interactions/relationships then we are sending a message to your youth that we are complicit. There already are too many images of hyper-masculinity that condones violence, dismisses dialogue and intellectualism and encourages hyper-sexual activity and availability of women.

And the reluctance of many smart, ambitious self-defining women to identify themselves as feminists (or even womanists) says that the F-word bothers some women, too. I was once that way. I didn't comprehend what Feminism was. I only heard what opponents of feminism had to say about feminists and feminism. Feminists were ugly, unattractive, manly, undesirable, mean. I didn't think of myself as that and I did not aspire to be any of those things. But with exposure to good female role models who articulated the philosophy with word and in actions, I came to comprehend it; and discovered I had a host of feminists - men and women - who influenced me.

Basically, feminism means as a female, my life and my options are not PRESCRIBED to me by others based on the fact that I have a vagina and breasts. There are no separate set of rules that says that I have to endure less comfort and respect simply because I have two X chromosomes. I define myself for myself, not for anyone else and especially not to benefit someone else at the cost of my own happiness and safety. It means I resist and sometimes speak out (or retaliate) against those/ideas who/that would disrespect me or other girls and women for these same reasons. My beef with his dude's philosophies is that impressionable young minds may not fully comprehend how hurtful and harmful his words are to men and women.

And what does he consistently propose? That women are defined by men according to our utility to them. No compromise. No discussion. This is the antithesis of quality healthy interpersonal relationships. And really why is this a surprise? He gives Mack Lessons. His philosophies are sexist because his ideas place a higher value on men (their opinions, desires, needs & wants) than on women. Moreover, women only 'endear' themselves to men (like him) if they are quiet, obedient, compliant, fulfilling someone else's desires, being non-confrontational, and meeting someone else's preferences for beauty/sexual gratification. And if you didn't win the genetic lottery for beauty or do anything to reduce your F-score, then you are automatically cast off as unworthy of love, attention, or basic human respect.

That's a whole heap of bullshit to live up to and to get all worked up over and in the end a woman's happiness and worth is determined by another - a man, the one with the power & privilege to define his own worth, happiness, desires, etc.
This is patently unfair and individuals who participate in these unbalanced (read UNHEALTHY) relationships suffer.

Being a (black) feminist doesn’t mean that black women hate men. No it means we would rather cultivate healthy relationships (with any man) that allows us to be ourselves, to have the freedom to disagree without fear of insult, threats, retaliation or rejection. We desire the opportunity and have a right to be our best selves and not called names or be told that we don’t deserve love because we may not be very pretty or have great curves. It means choosing male friends who make us feel appreciated as persons - not objects or potential sexual conquests. Yeah, feminism is some revolutionary stuff. I don’t suppose this post will change Tariq’s mind, but I hope it does inspire a mature dialogue among Men and Women about what we would like from each other.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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