Friday, October 7, 2016

Brown Boy Body Issues

You know, Brown and Black boys have body issues, too.

I think we as women don't recognize them because....hell, let's be honest. We ourselves are finally shedding a lot of the misconceptions of our OWN bodies - and we haven't even touched the iceberg of THAT fact.  So dissecting and de-learning the things about our Black men is just as hard, and will take just as much work as well.  But do you want to know when I realized that our men have body issues too?  In my last relationship (I learned a lot from that situation. A whole lot).

When we first met, we were doing the whole "exchange pictures every morning of what the person is wearing" thing.  One day, I made a comment about how tall and lanky he was - not because it was a bad thing, but because he is.  You know. Random observation.  I said something along the lines of  "Oh my God, you're so thin. I'm going to break you because I'm 200 lbs SOLID."  He didn't text back for about ten minutes (you know, in the early talking phases, that's like, a LIFETIME lol). When he finally texted back, he says "You're beautiful just as you are - and yes, I know how skinny I am.  I've dealt with that all my life. You don't have to remind me."

"You don't have to remind me."

And it clicked.  Like, a light bulb literally went off in my head.

See, our Black and Brown men are INUNDATED with images just as we are.  What is "handsome". What is "attractive".  Tatted men with beards, Lance Gross, Big Papi Ortiz, Michael Ealy types are flaunted in front our them on a regular - in our #ManCrushMonday posts, in the pictures that we post on Facebook with the lustful "Oh my god" captions with the heart eyes, on our snap chats of men out in public - and we don't realize that we have set our men up for failure.  Just as we have been set up.  They feel that if they are not the buff, big arm having, washboard ab procuring, long thick beard flaunting type of man, then they aren't deserving of the women they are, in turn, attracted to.  After the conversation with him, I begin to really pay attention to the way men responded to our open lust.  Many act as if they aren't bothered by it, many throw shade about it, but if you read between the lines....they are bothered.  They are indeed VERY bothered. Pressed. Upset. And feeling a little (or a lot of) unworthy of our affection. Or attention.  I never realized that so many men went back to the gym in an effort to look like the men we fawn over.  I never realized that so many went for broke on protein powders every month in an effort to look like Idris Elba.  Or they struggle to grow beards because that seems to catch a woman's attention.  And oh, God. Please don't let him be short.  That's....a whole new can of worms, gnats, and triggering conversations. 

I used to read studies in grad school all the time that said that Black men and women weren't "as affected" as white men and women were by images in the media.  Bruh. Strike up a conversation with your friends. A real deal conversation. Those studies are tailored to a particular population, and they are quite frankly a load of bullshit.  Media shapes and molds our minds - from childhood throughout adulthood.  And if you consistently see images that say you aren't attractive in the natural state that you are born into, then guess what?  You won't see yourself as attractive.  And then when you add the reinforcement from your own? Man. It's bloody war.  And we expect for women to feel pressured. But we never think about the pressure that the men, especially our Black men, are under.
Now, I'm not saying that women should run out there and date men that they aren't physically attracted to because.....well, let's face it. Physical attraction is often what gets you through the door.  Man, woman, gay or straight.  People walk up to us and say "Hi, I'm xyz" because something about the physical makes their eyebrows raise.  But as we as Black women are reclaiming and celebrating our shades, statue, and physique....we should definitely encourage our Black men to do the same because, let's face it.

They are still a reflection of us.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Shaming Our Non-Sluts

Gather around and repeat after me.

Stop Shaming Virginity.

Say it again.


Stop this shit right now, fam.

See, in our quest to be "Pro-Sex" or "Sex Positive", we often only talk about those of us who openly speak on sex - how much we have, don't have, toys, lack of toys, BDSM, kinks, the list goes on and on. We put up a banner and call people like that "free". We hold rallies and tell them that they are amazing. That their sexuality is a healthy part of who they are and they should not be ashamed for being a red blooded, sex loving, sex drive having human because - that's what we are, right? Mammals. And mammals have sex. 

But in doing this, we have managed to shame those of us who AREN'T having sex.

Ever met a woman, or ESPECIALLY a man, who is over the age of 16 who is a virgin? Have you ever listened, I mean REALLY listened, to the way we talk about them? Or talk to them?  If we don't revert to treating them like children, we immediately go into shaming who they are and their conscious decision to not have sex.  We ask them "Why?" and "Are you not sexually attracted to people?" and "Do you not like the opposite sex?" and in many scenarios, we laugh at them and act like they are the weird ones because they didn't start dropping their draws at the first person who said they had a pretty smile.

All these reactions, however, are pretty fucking trash.

First, it's no one's business why ANYONE has decided to remain a virgin. In the words of my sister, "YOU DON'T KNOW MY LIFE!" Some people could do it for religious reasons. Trauma. Fear. Mental health reasons. Hell, it could just be their damn choice to be a virgin until either marriage or they feel they have found the one. In whatever case - Stop asking virgins why they are virgins. If they want you to know why, they will tell you. And if they don't share why, leave that shit alone.  It's not your business - It ain't your body.

Also, virginity has NOTHING to do with sexual attraction, whether it be to the opposite or same sex.  And to assume that a virgin must be a virgin because they are gay is the stupidest logic known in the sexual hemisphere.  Like, what the fuck does someone not having sex have to do with their sexuality? Stupid fuckers. Always making assumptions.

And to laugh at ANYONE'S choice of what they do sexually is just....horrible.  Laughing at a person's life decision is like.....laughing at their life. Matter of fact, it is laughing at their life.  And their choices. And that's something that grown folks shouldn't do. 

Oh, this also goes for celibate individuals as well.  What they do ain't our business. Why they don't do it ain't our concern. 

You can't claim to be Sex Positive if you shame our non sexually active friends.  You aren't being sex positive.

That's sexual bullying.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Self Care Is Never Optional

Self Care is mandatory.

It is never optional. It can never be second guessed. It can never be placed on the back burner.  Sometimes, you have to unplug and disengage - for your own good.

Right now, it is open season on African-Americans.  Sorry, my white friends and readers.  This a sad truth that you yourself must face as well.  And social media outlets are overran by videos of shootings, articles detailing deaths of our people, opinions of how we should just "comply" (even though the proof is there that comply STILL means die), facts and articles about Black Lives Matter, or how Black on Black crime is more serious than police brutality, opinions of athletes and stars shouldn't deal or say anything about what is going on in our nation, and it's a lot.

It's a whole fucking lot.

So let me remind my people of a few things.

First, please keep in mind that you are not obligated to watch this snuff films of our people dying.  We do not have to consistently burden our hearts with the knowledge that our people are receiving punishments that don't fit the supposed "crimes" they are committing.  Why? Because history has shown us that our government and their officials will kill us whenever they feel the time is right.  So we need no proof. We need no videos. So please, remember - you ain't gotta watch what you already know.  You ain't gotta see what we have known since we were children.

Secondly, stop expecting all Black people to speak out and up about certain things.  I know this is hard. And I struggle with this daily.  I see things and I see Black people not even trying to acknowledge it and I just want to scream "WAKKKKKKEEEEE UPPPPPPPP!" The truth of the matter, though? Every Black person ain't down with the resistance movement.  Keep in mind - a lot of the push back during the Civil Rights movement was within our OWN community. So, stop expecting others to help - a lot of the ones pushing back are coattail riders any damn way.


Self Care is important.

Self Care is important.


Ain't shit wrong with taking time out to go play Pok√©mon Go. Or a video game. Watch a crazy TV shows. Or go see a movie. Or go fuck.  Forget what people say you should be focused on - or my personal favorite, what we should or should not be "distracted" by.  We as African-Americans go through a lot (PTSD.  I believe that's what we suffer from. Seriously). So taking care of one's mental health is an important part of the game.  Go do something that reminds you of who you are and why you are happy.  Indulge in things that you enjoy. That make you feel like you are human. Things that remind you that you DESERVE your space and your humanity in the most righteous of ways.

Because self care is never fucking optional

Self care is fucking mandatory.

Monday, September 19, 2016

I Ain't Sorry (No Beyonce)

So, I had to take a quick break, right? Because really. Healing from heartbreak is strange. Some days you feel really up, and some days - it's like being kicked in the teeth on a regular basis. But in this two weeks that I've been off the blog, I've been having conversations with family, friends, sorors, frat about - what else? - RELATIONSHIPS.  And sometimes, I feel like this:

Mr. Ed been catching that work, fam

Because dating is pretty rough.

It's even rougher when you are a sex positive, LGBT, Pro-Black, super politic, anti-bullshit over the age of 30 Black woman.

Yesterday, during a conversation with my sister, I brought up the fact that ALL conversations with men turn sexual - and it's annoying.  And, I don't think she meant to, but she hit me with the "Well, you are always posting something about sex. You should expect it" line.  I didn't get mad, but instead I got really, REALLY sad. Like, that cry until you get a headache sad.  That I don't feel like texting or talking to anyone sad. Because in a weird way, I SHOULD expect it.  I shouldn't be mad or frustrated because the reality of it all is this - men perceive what they see, and what people see is often their version of reality.  So if a man sees my Instagram page, which is full of sex positive quotes, endorsements of toys, statements about sex in general - he is going to assume that I'm a freak (By the way, I fucking HATE that word), and I should expect for every conversation to turn a certain way because sex positive means that you are fucking (and apparently means that you are fucking anything that comes your way.)

So, last night - I legit thought about scrubbing my IG, scraping the Sex Positive Sundays on the blog, and doing this whole Godly, wholesome image that will prevent men from treating me like meat and taking me seriously.  Like, I did.  Because I'm tired.  I'm tired of being talked to a certain way, deemed a particular way, perceived as some sex crazed animal - you know, the Jezebel or Sapphire media stereotype brought to life. And I'm scared of not finding the one. Absolutely frightened of it.

And then, I thought about Sex in the City. (Ya'll know that's my favorite show/set of movies). And I thought about when Charlotte stopped running because she had finally gotten pregnant. And Carrie looked her dead in her eye and said "You can't stop being who you are because you're scared, right?"

Bitch. Carrie. My Cosmo drinking, cigarette smoking, in love with Big for ten years Bitch.  You spoke a word.

So I woke up this morning, and smiled a slight smile.  Still heartbroken. Still jaded. Still annoyed to high heaven, but smiling none the less.

Because I am me.

A single, sex positive, LGBT, super political, anti-bullshit Black woman over the age of 30.

And I'm not scared of these facts.

And I'm sure in fuck ain't sorry.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

A Strange Love Story

You know....the love of the black male genitals is a strange love story.

Google "Black Male Artistic Nudes" sometime. It's intriguing.
And I know why it's done.  It's about the dick. The penis. The tallywacker. The schlong. It's about the perceived sexual nature of the Black man, something that goes back to moment the Dutch took the first African off the continent. Throughout history, the Black Man's dick has been something he has been killed over, demonized about, and overall heralded as some oversized.

The 1970s changed that to me.

For me, the Blaxplotation movie was the first time I ever was introduced to the Black Man as a sexual being.  Seeing Rudy Ray Moore in bed with four and five women (many times, only one or two would be Black; the rest white); Seeing Goldie openly pimp women and seeing these women fall in LOVE with him; it was fascinating.  It was intriguing. Seeing Black men wanted - desired - CRAVED was amazing to me.

The 90s ushered in the Black athlete and his sexual prowess. The stories of Wilt Chamberlain became more and more open.  The pictures of Magic Johnson surrounded by beautiful women.  Dennis Rodman and his many stories of his love affairs with some of the most famous women in the world.  All stories based in sex.  All stories based in how big their dicks were. How they made it swing. How that thang made women feel. 

And I don't know if it was because the 90s was the Black Sexual Revolution (I will discuss this in a Sex Positive Sunday post. I promise) or what, but the 90s made the Black dick cool to discuss.  Bernie Mac famously said "If I pull out my dick the whole room will get dark" - Man, I remember the audience of Def Comedy Jam ROARING with laughter.

And then, high school.

Ever seen a group of white girls call a Black Man "nigger" in one breath, then offer to suck his dick the next?  I have.  Ever seen a group of Black men EAT THAT SHIT UP? I have.  It was confusing. It was angering. I wanted to protect my brothas (because that's what Black girls are taught - PROTECT THE MALE) but how could I protect them when them seemed to like it? When they liked sneaking around with (insert a stereotypical white girl name)? I didn't want my Black men treated as a fetish....but.....they seemed to like it.  Maybe it was because we were at a school that was 60% white for MOST of my academic career. But it seems like the brothas enjoyed the attention.  So what could I say but watch from the sidelines, head shaking. Wondering.

So now, I'm in my 30s. And I'm looking at social media.  Seeing how women of other races flock to social media accounts where Black men display their prints in those gray sweat pants. Seeing where Latina women post things like "Black Dick is for Latinas."  Seeing white women post things like "That Big Black dick is coming home to me and not you nigger bitches" (Yes. These are things that have really crossed my twitter timeline)  And I can't reconcile it. It doesn't compute. This isn't desire. This is the over sexual usage, desire and breakdown of a body part.  It's not love.  It's not concern - because as it was so aptly pointed out, the Kim Ks of the world aren't the ones screaming "Black Lives Matter" when a young brotha is shot to death by cops. But it's an overwhelming desire to feel conquered by something that seems so forbidden, still, in 2016.

And then I got to thinking of media stereotypes that date back to the movie "Birth of A Nation" (No Nate Parker)

Buck slave.

Our brothas have always been a fetish. And we ain't even know it.  And sadly - it ain't a love story.

It's a legitimate nightmare.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

The Pussy in Politics

Why is it that philandering husband means that a woman can't handle business?

Case and point.  Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin.

Sis slayed in her gown tho. No lie. Bad Bitch Alert, fam.
So we all remember Anthony, right. Smart dude. Nice family background. Was a rising star in the Democratic party?  He marries Huma Abedin - top Clinton aide; Hillary's closest companion; and is the top choice for her Chief of Staff position when and if Clinton is elected President. Their marriage was the poster child for forgiveness and religious tolerance - Andrew is Jewish, Huma herself is Muslim. Their interfaith ceremony was heralded as beautiful and a new step in the direction of Jewish-Palestinian relations.

Yet, the ink wasn't even dry on their wedding invitations before he got caught sexting a woman in 2011, an act that forced him to resign from the Senate.  He got caught again in subsequent years, but this last incident, which just hit the press this week, has caused his wife Huma to release a statement, stating that her and her husband are now separated and will do everything they can to do the right thing by their four year old son.  The moment the news dropped, Republicans pounced.  Claiming that her sext driven husband was a "threat to national security" and that means that Hillary Clinton isn't "Fit to lead" the country because her top aide has a husband that can't keep his dick to himself.


It reminds of the 2008 election.  A lot of people, Democrats and Republicans, said that Hillary wasn't fit to lead because her husband was a cheater and "if she can't control her man, she can't control the White House."  Something that was first said as a joke began to catch traction and was taken as a serious indictment of why Clinton "wasn't fit to lead a nation."  She can't control the Presidential Penis, so she can't control the nation. HUH?  When the Monica Lewinsky scandal was brought up to Chelsea during a town hall meeting, she famously gave that tight smile and told the reported "I don't think how my mother handled that is any of your business."

Why is this a thing?  Why is it that when a man does something inappropriate, we question the wife's leadership skills? Clinton was never challenged when he stuck his dick in another woman's mouth.  People often still consider him the best President in this century, even thought it's been documented that his economic policies helped in the collapse of the nation's economy in 2008.  Matter of fact, many say that his flaws made him a BETTER president.  Why is it, however, that a woman's choice of husband is often deemed as the "make or break" situation in her political career?  Even when it comes to Sarah Palin (who I DESPISE); Many of her choices were questioned whenever her husband went off the cuff or did something stupid.


Which brings me back to Anthony and Huma.  Suddenly, she being on Clinton's staff is a National Security threat because "she may have told her husband something and he may have told someone he is sexting that information."  I mean, Have you ever sexted anyone? Politics and National Security and secrets isn't on the agenda when someone hits send.

I don't know. Maybe it's just me - but I think a man who gets his dick sucked while on the phone with international leaders is a bigger threat to National Security than a woman who was cheated on by her husband.

Just a thought. Juuuusstttt a thought.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Athletic Activism

Malcolm X said that all of us have to stand tall for something or fall for anything. All of us also have had to have an evolution in thinking. You can't have a "revolution" without an "evolution." You didn't become the next Huey P. Newton or Angela Davis overnight. It took unlearning attitudes and beliefs and challenging yourself, your privilege, your pride. Evolving what we feel, what we think, how we see the world. 

Colin Kaepernick had such a change.

Peep the hat.
We can't say when for sure. Posts about Martin Luther King, Jr, the Black Panther Party and more didn't show up on his social media accounts consistently until last fall.  All we knew was that he was a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who loved football and God. We didn't know where he stood politically. 

On August 26, Kaepernick made it clear where he stands, by sitting down during the national anthem during a preseason game against the Green Bay Packers. When asked why, he did not mince words about why he sat. 

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Kaepernick took a stand that neither Lebron James and his boys at the ESPYs or Michael Jordan took. And those names are bigger than his and have more influence.  The ESPYs speeches by James, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and Dwyane Wade and Jordan's monetary donations to organizations helping Black people and the police aimed to play both sides of the fences.

Stay in the middle.

Don't offend anyone.

Kaepernick made it clear he's on the side of justice.

He's not asking for peace. He's asking for justice, for all people in this nation. He's on the American side, where you stand up for what you believe in.  Through Kaepernick's action, we also learned where many stood on America's constant destroying and disrespecting of black bodies.

In actuality, It was never a secret where they stood to be honest. We heard them through their silence. Silence is siding with the oppressor, allowing them to continue disrespecting and destroying our bodies win no protest or pushback. 

But when it comes to the American flag and what it represents? People speak up and stand tall for that.  A flag that stood tall during slavery. A flag that stood tall during segregation and the "separate but equal" era. People are more concerned about respecting this country's flag and what it represents than the daily systemic oppression, disrespect and destruction of black bodies in this country. 

People care more about protecting the nation's flag and what it stands for than protecting all people who live in that nation. They care more about the ideals than living out the ideals: Liberty, freedom and justice. FOR ALL. 

Those who say Kaepernick was wrong and disrespectful? For speaking about how all people don't have liberty and freedom? How all don't get justice?


know where they stand. 

Editor's note: The website The Root wrote an incredible article over the history of the Star Spangled Banner. We here at the Nerdy NonConformist encourage you to take a read over such a brilliantly researched article.

Michael Livingston resides in the Carolinas and writes in the name of food.  He is an active contributor here at TNNC.  Follow his words and his exploits on Instagram and Twitter at @mikelive06.