Sistas…let’s get positive!

Note, this post is not for the squeamish. I am talking about sex today so feel free to redirect if you are related to me or under 18 or….

I am not a fan of the Oppression Olympics as a general rule, but as an open minded and thinking gal, well sometimes there are exceptions to the rules. I am not the first blogger of color nor will I be the last to note that since Barack Obama’s ascension to the White House, suddenly the world is curious about us Black women. I mean shit; the First Lady of the Divided States is a Black woman! Yikes!

Since late 2008 I have read more reports about our wooly heads that some of us are learning to love or else beat into submission. (Guess the state of Black women and our hair didn’t matter before 2008) Then there is the sorry state of romantic life for Black women, it seems at least once a month yet another piece is churned out lamenting the pathetic state of love for Black women. Shit and those are the more complimentary pieces written about us. Let’s take a detour to the less flattering sides and you will learn about how poorly we live, we are broker than broke and then some of us are just “bad” mothers. Of course we can thank ole Ronnie Reagan for creating the mythical welfare mother image, a Black woman with a passel of kids looking for Uncle Sam to finance her brood since of course she has no man and she is too lazy to work! Never mind that the data says otherwise, the average welfare recipient is white, yet for most when they think welfare recipient they see a woman of color.

Yet negative imagery of Black women is nothing new, Black women historically have been portrayed as Mammies, everyone loves Mammy! That big asexual woman who tends to all except for herself, then we have the evil mouthed Sapphire and last but not least the hypersexual Black woman with an insatiable sexual attitude who well due to her wantonness good men and bad just couldn’t control themselves. Jezebels created a great diversion to overlook the millions of Black women since slavery who were sexually assaulted…after all she was asking for it!

Thanks to these pervasive and negative stereotypes of Black women it’s meant that we spend a lot of time striving to prove we are not those stereotypes sometimes to our own detriment. Especially for college educated and or middle class and above Black women, we live in a space often times mindful that we will be judged harsher than our white counterparts.

Fear of judgment and desire to break free of stereotypes has meant that too many times we are afraid to claim our sexuality. Lately I have been reading a great deal about the sex positive movement and wondered how many women of color specifically Black women would be willing to openly acknowledge and or embrace the label of sex positive? Considering it wasn’t that long ago that a blogger who incidentally I like but don’t always see eye to eye on started a movement to get sistas married off I suspect that for many of us, being sex positive would be considered a bad thing or at least not something we would claim. I admit this piece today was sparked by reading this piece about a sista in California opening up a sex positive shop and gallery. Over the years I have known way too many sistas who if a conversation ever turns to the idea of sex toys will give you the stank. Funny because sex toys have gone mainstream, hell you can even get a gadget or two at the local drug store but for many sistas it’s still not something we will openly acknowledge. Ironically almost all my white buddies will admit that hell yeah, they keep a Big Red (or whatever color) under the bed but sistas will quickly tell you they don’t need a toy, they got a man! Fabulous, a man or woman is fine but nothing says you can’t self-love yourself either or use that toy with someone else.

So sistas I say as we strive to advance don’t forget that it’s okay to acknowledge our sexuality and to find pleasure in whatever manner suits us. If it is safe and between consenting adults, the body is a temple and pleasure is allowed in the temple.