The problem of Misogyny in the Black Community

This is a great video by Rick Wallace.  He makes some very strong points on misogyny in hop hop and the black community as a whole.  It’s a very touchy subject that many brothers and sistas don’t touch on. But it’s an issue that must be addressed.  It’s something that can’t be ignored.

Rick1Rick3

Misogyny is the hatred of women. It differs from sexism in that while sexism implies patriarchal domination inferring inferior status on women or female-identified (and not biologically essentialist here) persons who may not use the label “woman,” misogyny speaks to the individual, social and cultural hatred of women based on that presumed inferiority. Misogyny isn’t just insults though (as no system of oppression is) and is in fact institutionalized. Examples of said institutionalization are clearly seen in how rape culture manifests in the media, the criminal justice system, and legislation. Or marketing for beauty, food and diets. Or products like video games. It’s more than a man calling a woman a “whore,” though that insult operates beyond an individual level when a man can rape a woman, say she is a whore and not be convicted or even arrested for it.

Unlike sexism or racism where men and Whites proliferate them, respectively, and benefit from them (since institutions supports them) and at most, women and Blacks, respectively, can internalize it and project it but have no institutional power associated with it, misogyny can be proliferated by anyone (i.e. anyone can proliferate rape culture via victim blaming), and when they have other privilege (i.e. White or male privilege) it becomes especially perilous. This is how White women and Black men, for example, can proliferate anti-Black misogyny (misogynoir) against Black women, though White women cannot be sexist or Black men be racist, by definition. Them proliferating this specific misogyny reveals racism and internalized sexism on the White woman’s part and sexism and internalized racism on the Black man’s part. Of course the key to anti-Black misogyny has been White men. Literally every manifestation of stereotypes and controlling images used to oppress Black women via anything from appearance to sexuality have been historically proliferated and capitalized on (pun intended) by White men, including them establishing White womanhood as diametrically opposed to Black womanhood. Black women ourselves can also proliferate anti-Black misogyny as an expression of learned self-hatred or through binaries created because of the politics of respectability.

Misogyny dehumanizes women in, general. Anti-Black misogyny (which functions because of racism, sexism and White supremacy) makes Black women “not human” and thereby worthy of hatred and abuse yet White women the standard of humanity that Black women should aspire to.

Misogyny makes men’s “natural” angered reactions to women include the word “bitch” where their privilege and power makes it different from women who seek to reclaim that word and use between each other. Anti-Black misogyny creates other oppressive slurs, where even “black” itself becomes a pejorative. “Black bitch.” “Nigger bitch.”Misogyny makes women’s bodies objects, not a physical expression of whole human beings. Anti-Black misogyny makes Black women’s bodies objects for breeding, sex or spectacle. It means open voyeurism–whether Sara Baartman of the past, the decade plus of comments on Serena Williams’ body or a recent event where a Black woman was treated as an object to gawk at (beyond her clothing) by literally everyone (including White women) in a public space in New York–is considered a normal reaction to specific Black female bodies. And all of this occurs while thin White female bodies are presented as the ideal. Where any Black women’s nudity or dancing is deemed “hypersexual” yet White women’s nudity or dancing has room for nuance is anti-Black misogyny.

Misogyny makes the exploitation of women’s labor (through sexism being the reason for lower wages) worse by including the rationalization of sexual harassment, abuse in the workplace and global exploitation of women’s work. Anti-Black misogyny means that on top of lower wages than White women, Black women cannot cry in the workplace (Black Tears™ don’t work or exist like White Tears™ do) and use that as a source of power and face stereotypes of being “angry” (connected to dehumanization where we aren’t deemed “real” women) which limits our voices being heard, positions we are offered or recourse against abuse from Whites in the workplace.

Misogyny supporting rape culture is why women are raped and rarely receive justice. It’s why 97% of rapists won’t spend a day in jail. Anti-Black misogyny means that the legacy of perceiving Black women as automatically “unrapeable” and as “whores” because of how White supremacy (myth of the purity of White womanhood) and racism (stereotypes about Black womanhood made to justify centuries of rape, exploitative body experimentation and abuse) work together to justify slavery and build capitalism still persists today and shapes conversation on rape where the victim is usually framed as a White teen or college co-ed.Misogyny makes violence against women a consistent problem in our society. Anti-Black misogyny is why videos of Black women being violently hit or abused are deemed “funny,” why Black women experience higher incidents of violence from intimate partners, why Black women are believed to experience less pain in childbirth despite no evidence (which connects to Black people’s pain, in general, being ignored or deemed non existent), and why cops regularly abuse pregnant Black women who are only viewed as a race and not a gender also.

Misogyny reduces women to stereotypes in a similar fashion to bodily objectification. Anti-Black misogyny is why there are no White stereotypes or controlling images to match these that are used to marginalize and oppress Black women: mammy, Sapphire, Jezebel, welfare queen, matriarch (as a racialized pejorative), angry Black woman, Strong Black Woman. It’s why despite a legacy of always working, even when we didn’t own our wages or our bodies, stereotypes like “welfare cheat” and “gold digger” are presented as Black women by default. And TV tropes about Whites do not parallel to these. Tropes are not used to control and oppress Whites in every sphere. This is beyond just media.

Rick2

21 thoughts on “The problem of Misogyny in the Black Community

  1. Great post! Oh yes, this is a difficult subject for Black People to talk about. When Black Women or Men bring up this subject, it gets shut down with a quickness, but if we are to eliminate white supremacy sexism and misogynoir gotta go too.

  2. Great post! We REALLY need to talk about misogynoir, not only how it operates in the black community and in hip hop, but the wider white supremacist society. A lot black people hate to talk about this subject when some of us sistas bring this up. In the last year, I became very passionate about this subject and how it GREATLY IMPACTS black women and girls lives for the worse and decided to create a blog toward this particular subject. I will let you all know when I launch it which will probably be later on this week. Again, Thanks, bro.

    • You’re welcome. Subjects like this don’t get much attention. We like to run away from this stuff. I get more “likes” when I talk about stupid celebs or things involving entertainment or sports athletes. But when I touch on heavy hitting subjects……….I get nothing. I did a post on whether or not we should have our own nation……hardly any response. I’ve done posts on solutions and survival skills blacks should get involved in………again not many “likes”. I have concluded that black people just like to chat about WS and discrimination,black power,black beauty,gay agenda etc. But when it comes to finding solutions most of us are NOT interested at all. We just want to talk about different things without doing the hard work. It’s really pitiful when you think about it. I’m really tired of it.

      • “I have concluded that black people just like to chat about WS and discrimination,black power,black beauty,gay agenda etc. But when it comes to finding solutions most of us are NOT interested at all. We just want to talk about different things without doing the hard work. It’s really pitiful when you think about it. I’m really tired of it.”

        Absolutely. I heard black people say for years that black people are nothing but talk and it’s true. Talk and no action. Action requires work and change. A lot of us are too lazy to change. I’ve come to the conclusion that we want white people to change, instead of changing ourselves. They’re not going to change. If we want to dismantle WS, its going to be us who do it by changing the way we treat ourselves and each other, not them.

  3. Excellent post, Kushite! I agree that this is a subject that needs to discussed. Too many Black people are quick to deny that this is a serious problem, just like Whites are too quick to deny racism. This is a very important post!

  4. This is a subject that is complicated. I agree that the environment for women could improve in some ways, but I disagree that most of us men bear the responsibility for this. Though some of our lost brothers engage in this negative behavior, they are a small group. There is a lot more to this story, but we men do not bear most of the responsibility for this.

    • Many men harbor sexist and misogynist attitudes and don’t realize it and think that it’s normal. Many women harbor sexist and misogynist attitudes and don’t realize it and think it’s normal. On the women’s part it’s internalized sexism and misogyny. Sexism and misogyny IS SO ENTRENCHED in this society that women and girls are sexist and misogynistic towards other women and girls. There’s a lot that’s being said about that so no one’s putting all the blame on men.

    • There are definitely things that can be improved, but at this time we men do not have the main responsibility for this. This is a complicated subject, but remember we have not been in control of the community for decades.

  5. This is definitely a loaded problem; it all goes back to taken care of one another. Also I hope Black men do not take offense to this, I’m going to be leaving out manipulating/deceiving women, so I can stay on topic as to what this post is about. Men do have the main responsibility for this and this is why? Unlike racism, White people do not have an incentive to care, because they aren’t apart of our community. Black men and women on the other hand are apart of our community.

    Any individual has the power to showcase and be around the type of people they want to represent. As a Black man, you decide if you want to promote thots (a terminology now used) or classy women in your community. Let’s be real, the majority of people showing up at these rallies, at meetings with Umar Johnson, showing support, etc have been Black women. I’m looking at my own family and it is not looking good. The women have had to pick up the slack for almost everything. My aunts are like the 9 Vapors protecting the family and the men are falling behind. Black women are still here being the number defenders of Black men and are being extremely supportive. The majority of people who were locked up in Ferguson for protesting were Black women. Within the Black Panther Party, 2/3 were Black women, and all some Black men can focusing on are the women they perceive as bitches, hoes, sluts, etc within the community but make up excuses for men like Easy E who had sex with over 1,000 women.

    We need standards for both genders, we need strong men like Kushite and others I have seen. The reason I don’t touch on this issue publicly is I try my best to focus only on the Black men that are doing something for their community. I try to focus on Black men who lookout for Black women and vice verse. It can be mentality tiresome though. I’m working with a Black man now for example, talented, seemed as if he would put 120% into the Sincere Ignorance brand, but isn’t. I’ve had to do most of the work and that can become mentally tiresome. In addition to the Black men who complain about Black women but aren’t doing anything to help.

    Chris Rock made one film about Black women insecurities about their hair, and look at what happened; Black women started making Youtube videos about their first chop. Black women started to realize again that they were sub-consciously hurting themselves, and now we have a thriving natural hair community. That was due to being about to handle criticism. It was obvious Chris Rock wasn’t exploiting Black women, but giving an honest critique out of love; not being an attention whore like Tommy. Also as a woman I have standards, do men comprehend how I could have used people through manipulation because some people consider me attractive? I could have used people, abused people, but because I have the power to do so, doesn’t mean I am going to use it to degrade someone else.

    If a woman in our community doesn’t love herself and is looking for rich men to provide even if she has to get on her knees doing so; that person deserves pity. Not a man who would have sex with her, let his friend have sex with her and then make a rap song about it the next day. In fact that isn’t even a man, but a little boy whose parents dropped the ball at some point. Just like the parent’s of the girl who was willing to sell her body for attention or money failed her. The community failed them both as well, for not putting them in check.

    • I’m not a big fan of Tommy. I think he purposely puts down black women to get a reaction. He just bashes black women to no end. It’s very annoying. Plus he offers no solution other than “leave these ratchet bitches alone”. I do think brothers need to step it up a bit. I think men are natural leaders and that’s what brothers should do. We need to stand up against any attacks on our women and children. We have to provide for our kids and protect our neighborhoods. This is where many brothers are lacking. I know there are black women who are ignorant and sleeping around. And many who have too many babies with different men. That is a reality as well. But I try to tell sistas this is the wrong path and unrighteous behavior. If you want to be respected as a queen …..then you need to act as such. But we have to work together as a cohesive unit to fight our oppressors. Black men can not do it alone and neither can black women.
      I have met Umar Johnson before a few years ago. I got a chance to chat with him in the lobby before his lecture. He was a cool brother. The audience was about 60% women and 40% men. It was a good turnout and I met some cool people there. But I see your point. There should be more men at these lectures. I’m sorry to hear that the women in your family have had to pick up the slack. Like I said,many brothers are not accepting their responsibilities. They are acting like boys……and not men. This type of mentality has to change if we want real progress. That’s what I promote on my blog and my personal life. I don’t hang around black men that are dead beat dads,sissies,black women bashers and guys that only date non-black women. No way! That is NOT my kind of crowd. Everyone that knows me already know what I’m about. Real men stand UP like real men and stick to their convictions. More black men need to be fearless and have a mentality like Malcolm X. This would revolutionize our communities and everyone around us.

      • Thanks for the comment. I’m just being as honest as I can. I know some may disagree with me. But this is a problem we have to address and can’t keep running away from. We need to have honest dialogue if we all want to heal. We have to do what we can to stop this division among our people. I think it can be done…it must be done.

    • Hear! Hear! I agree with all of what you have stated. What needs to be corrected? “How we as parents “allow” our sons and daughters to go through the socialization process. Granted, we can’t control it all, but we should at least be interested in the welfare of our children. This can be difficult, especially for inner-city males and females. No one has to agree with this observation, but it is a home truth for I have observed it from both genders. Young boys emulating the behaviors of older boys and men–some not exactly what I would call a positive role model. And at the other end of the spectrum, there are the girls and young ladies. For some, the word “bitch” rolls off of their tongue as smoothly as butter when addressing one another. But when a male calls them “out of their name” they are ready to fight. Make me understand?

      This was taken from an article referencing the release movie, Straight outta Compton: “The members of NWA were the fathers of gangsta rap and they’re responsible for the DECLINE of conscious hip hop and the degradation of black women. They started the trend to call black women “bitches and hoes.” They utterly corrupted a music genre that was, before they came to shit on it, a truly beautiful thing.”
      Their utter contempt of black womanhood through song and deed is so innumerable-the glorifying to physical abuse, out-of-wedlock baby-making, calling black women the vilest of names–originated from this group.” On a more personal note, I see absolutely NO reason why I would ever go to view this as a woman. (Wryly) Sorry, but I fail to see the creative artistry.

      This is a classic example of what we are talking about, besides the outright disrespect. We are aware of WHEN girls and women began to be referred to as “bitches and hoes,” but was it the thing to do because of the this genre of music?

      If our females and males refuse to validate one another, who will?
      Continuing on with the article, I am not trying to criticize any sista that wants to spend their hard earned money to see this movie, but please oh please do not stand there as though your mind is befuddled and pretend not to understand what misogyny is. I place the blame squarely in the laps of black men AND women of my generation who, in their 20’s and 30’s from the late 80’s to the 90’s thought it was “the bomb.” Everybody railed on C. Dolores Tucker for it. She warned us. She especially warned black women. Many sistas turned on just like the BM did. I’m certain many of those same sistas now–who were my age then are disillusioned as they watch their black daughters being disrespected, the twenty-somethings of today. Again, as a parent, one has to shoulder the responsibility of parenting. You owe them that much.

      As Kushite stated, it is not a popular topic, but at some point? We have to clean our houses too. I do not want to do a long dissertation her, but We HAVE to do better than what we are doing now.

      • November 19,2015:

        I was not sure where to place this topic, so I’m writing it here. Today, on my way to work, I stopped at a gas station to get gas for my vehicle.

        Actually, it is a mini-mart and gas station. When I got inside of the mini-mart to pay for my gas, etc. there were five black males in a small group talking, their ages ranged from early 20’s to I’d state their 60’s.

        What made me pause for a milli-meter of a second? When I over-heard one of the older males say to a younger male, “you know there must be some truth to the saying I heard growing up that sometimes you have to”beat a woman’s ass for her to feel that you love her, yada yada yada. I darn near tripped when I heard that! And not one of these men looked me in the face as I passed through them. I paid for my gas and items and began passed through these males again and “kept it pushing.”

        My only thought was that I was dam glad that I was not involved with males like these.

  6. Misogyny is rife in the black community, it is all part of the destruction of black community, once again people attacking the symptoms and not the root. The root is the lack of a history, we are literally copying all of the negative traits of European society: individualism, feminism, high levels of interpersonal violence (gangs, drug dealing culture, where did people in Africa do this before whites arrived?, ghetto culture, weren’t Jews & Italians doing this when we were still sharecropping in the South, gun culture, rape/pedo culture), liberalism, misogyny, hypersexualization of society, acceptance of self-destructive behaviors such as homosexuality, marriage and love meaning nothing, abortion, women valuing work over child bearing (why the hell ya’ll think white people is losing numbers, polluting the planet, living at the barrel of a gun, what are nuclear weapons).

    Black people in America are one of the few groups of men on the planet who can successfully say they never persecuted or abused their women systematically, all this before integration, then suddenly it all dissipated. Not so, the working class black man was displaced from the job market (after centuries of working 24/7 and getting free on the job training as a slave, he now has very poor education rates highest unemployment rate, odd isn’t it), now whites are funding and manipulating the working class black community, this in turn has led to rise in misogyny and the resentment of the by now de facto black female leadership. The reason for the misogyny is not solely because black men ‘hate’ black women, one that does hate her also hates himself and his community, which a lot of blacks do now, this is in no way an isolated behavior. Much of this is self-hate, Asian men still virulently defend their women and refuse to treat them poorly even though they are rejected at a high rate by their own women, black men talk crap about black women when in reality many black men ain’t shit much less talk about other people.

    The resolution would be that black men take leadership of the community, building their own economy and no longer relying on black women to do the heavy work and either get a pay cheque from the white man who employs her in mostly government jobs or welfare, they then change the way men treat women, the cultural values and remove many of the European implanted ideologies and behaviors. The other is even simpler, when black women not only acknowledge that they are leaders but also take on leadership qualities and roles (building and controlling industries, owning land, creating and running think tanks, community organizations, community and business associations, forcing black people’s agenda into the mainstream not a liberal or feminist one, creating black owned ROSCA’s, mutual savings banks, which almost always remains stable and once big enough can be sold on the stock market, Unions, black owned cooperatives, something we specialized in prior to the 1960’s and building societies, a working class Anglo idea that built the working class economic and power base), this would allow black women to not only retain the power they currently hold but to also wield a legitimate claim to holding such a role with proof of burden. Right now black women are too interested in Scandal, plastering themselves all over Instagram, pushing white feminism and buying weaves instead of focusing on the task at hand, engaging in useless churches, this new Civil Rights movement aka #blacklivematter (why is ya’ll marching and begging when you can make moves for yourself, haven’t we already tried and tested this method?) ect. (black women don’t come at me about this is a stereotype, it is truth for most black women, for some reason a majority of whom I would regard as sensible black women get offended when it not doesn’t apply to them but sensible black men don’t defend the complaints about stupid black men’s lack of appropriate behavior and self-hatred techniques).

    You will never remove misogyny by purely social methods, the most obvious example is women in Western society, they can now work, dress in any manner, have extra benefits for pregnancy, can vote, can own things in their own name but oddly misogyny is on the rise as society has become incredibly oversexualized itself, women’s sexuality is now a joke (gay men kissing in public=disgust, lesbian women attracts a crowd of horny, thirsty men), women have even adjusted and internalized this and now they are online naked, willing participants in the media destruction of their image e.g. hiphopvideomodel.net, many adverts, chasing after rich men just like before feminisms rise, the rise of the straight and lesbian porn industry but no such rise for the gay industry, the rise of men who don’t seek marriage but live to ‘sleep another day’ so to speak, the continuous degradation of women’s sexuality probably to as high a degree pre-Victorian era society (in contrast to men getting away with more than ever before look at Tyga, look at Bill Clinton, look at R Kelly). Saying black men need to love black women, treat them right, value them and other corny terms is not actually going to make a serious difference, only readjust the way things seem only for them to remain negative in a different light.

    People also fail to use logic in this issue, look around the entire world, misogyny and women been treated differently or badly is fairly commonplace, not saying it is good but have people looked at how humanity evolved into it’s current stage, men have, will and always will be the ones with the more violent and aggressive behavior. Humans (Homo Sapiens not them dead humanoids) have always been geared towards women and children, even in matrilineal societies where the females name and possessions were most important men always held strong power, due to physical labor, military power, building, looking after women and children during pregnancy, hunting, being ‘the protector’ ect. Men have been in these roles since the beginning of time in every culture (until liberals decided to mess around), men have become indifferent to women in this society due their normal roles literally been reversed in this modern black culture, I doubt this will change until sensible black men grasp for power and remove of these unmanly men, these men are useless to the survival of black people, women aren’t naturally supposed to be in this position (doesn’t mean they can’t do a good job), if their is a war going on tomorrow who is fighting, when women go of work pregnant what are men supposed to do, men invent the vast majority of inventions, once the education system was edited to help women it became much worse (America is nowhere near as good as education systems where men have a better education rate such as Singapore and Finland). Men are useless in this culture right now, not building anything, not in charge of anything, not protecting women but their own egos and other foolishness, something much deeper needs to be addressed.

    • Whoa!! You broke that down very well. You touched on so many topics. It’s hard to add anything to that. Have you ever considered starting a blog? You have some really good ideas and I always appreciate your input. Just something to think about. I think a lot of people would appreciate your information.

  7. Thank you for your wonderfully written and informative article. I was debating with a male who said black males cannot be misoygynists. I feel that is just not true and does a disservice to healing by denying and shutting down open dialogue. From what I’ve learned, we ALL have to help one another where we can. I’ve seen, and heard, so much hatred flung around and it’s disheartening.

    • Thank you Yolette. The hatred needs to stop. I agree it’s a disservice to true healing and moving forward. This needed to be addressed. I’m glad you liked the post. Thank you for the comment.

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