Tag Archives: traditional values

Grown Woman

Bey Grown Woman

…I can do whatever I want.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Mrs. Carter Show.  Man, let me tell y’all why I stan for Beyoncé Knowles Carter.

The woman empowers me.   She makes me feel strong because I am a woman, and not in spite of it.

In my experience, many, if not most women younger than 40 define themselves as contemporary women — those who can be assertive, sexually liberated, both brainy and beautiful, both around the way and upper echelon.  I think Beyoncé successfully bridges the gap between women who personify traditional values, bra-burning feminists and these contemporary women.

I heard somewhere that if an artist catches you at a critical point in your life, you’ll stick with them forever.  Well, ‘4’ was the album and Beyoncé is that artist who has recorded the soundtrack of my life over the last few years.  I’ve liked Beyoncé since the Destiny’s Child days but I really became a fan after spending some quality time with ‘4’.  In that period, I gained clarity about love and relationships, and I confronted my negative conceptions of womanhood. Though I’d shutter to say it aloud, I admit that in the deep recesses of my mind, I associated femininity with weakness. I thought, for example, that traditional women (stay at home moms, cook, clean, and serve type ladies) devalued our struggle.  I was wrong.

I appreciate that Beyoncé embraces the entire spectrum of femininity, and that painted a clearer picture for me.

I can be bad if I want / I can do wrong if I want / I can live fast if I want / I can go slow all night long / I’m a grown woman / I can do whatever I want  

I realized there wasn’t just one way to express womanhood and certainly more than one way to conceive of strength and power. There are socially and culturally constructed standards, but those are constructed — negotiated and decided by society. They are not genetic.

Speaking of genetics, I often hear these expressions of disdain for parenting girls, and it makes me sad because typically, the excuse is no more complex than “girls are difficult.”  I understand that we tend to identify first with what or who we already are, so I get why a man might wish for a son. It is disconcerting though to hear women dismiss the beauty in having little girls and raising strong, proud women because “boys are easier.”   Certainly, the world can be an ugly place for girls, but must it start this early? Imagine that it is your little girl who changes the world for the better, and it’s because you taught her from the jump how dope, and not how difficult girls are.

Beyoncé said in her ‘Life Is But A Dream’ HBO documentary that feminism isn’t about changing laws per se, it’s about changing the way we think. We are conditioned to think of women as one-dimensional beings.  She’s either a wholesome homemaker with a man and some babies, or she’s ruining the family dynamic and the social order with her divergent interests and ambitions.   Here’s a counter paradigm for your consideration:  women are human beings first.  This means we won’t all fit within the narrow boundaries that patriarchy has set up for us.   Women make up 51% of the population; we exist as more than adornments for men.  We are partners in this life.

While our strengths are sometimes different from men’s, they are strengths nonetheless.  We have babies and run businesses, we are supportive wives, family providers and heads of households — with or without men present.  We are both assertive and submissive when appropriate and with whom we consider appropriate.  The beauty of modern feminism — that which Beyoncé represents so well — is that none of these qualities is inconsistent with what it is to be a woman.  No one dictates to us what our role in this life is; we make those decisions for ourselves.  We are grown women.  We can do whatever we want.

All hail King B for bringing home such a powerful message.

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“Eat Mor Chikin” – Nah, I’m good.

First, here’s the thing:  my immediate goal in life is to finish my dissertation.  This means everything that isn’t my dissertation is on the back burner.  Everything.  “Doing what I have to do so that I can do what I want to do” – I’m all about that life right now.

Over the next year, I suspect this is how things will go.  I’ll interrupt your regularly scheduled program with bits of social and/or political commentary, and I’ll slip back into seclusion.  My friend, who finished his Doctorate a couple of months ago, calls it “the bubble.”  The bubble is my reality from now until graduation day.

But before I go, here’s a nugget I’ll just leave here for your consumption.

My Beef with Chik-fil-A

Today is my early day.  Ideally, I’d go home to drop off my things, and head to the Chik-fil-A on Exit 13 – it’s my favorite location.  The nuggets there are always fresh, waffle fries are always crisp, and when I order a ‘half and half, more tea than lemonade,’ they make it perfectly every time.  The customer service is also great there – they respond to all of your ‘thank yous’ with ‘my pleasure,’ and they call you by name before bringing your tray over to your table.  And they’re always so well-stocked in those after dinner mints I love.

I don’t eat fast food often, but when I do, I eat Chik-fil-A.  It’s been my favorite fast food joint since I was in high school.  But I can’t go there anymore.  I can’t spend my money there.  And I’m not being petty about it; I don’t care that Truett Cathy doesn’t support marriage equality.  As long as the recipe for the nuggets and fries didn’t change, he and I could coexist at opposite ends of the spectrum just fine.  What eats me up is that Chik-fil-A has taken personal opinion into the political realm.  In politics, money contributed to campaigns translates into politicians who push policies that have real consequences for people’s’ quality of life.  As a general principle, lawmakers are supposed to create policies that expand opportunities for individuals, and ensure their liberty and dignity.  This idea is the most fundamental element of American citizenship and spirit.  We are free to disagree, but we don’t use religion disguised as tradition to impose our will.

Chik-fil-A and those who are misguided in their support of these supposed “traditional Christian values’ are doing exactly the opposite of what our Founders intended – blending church, state, and commerce to elevate their position.  I said in a Facebook status last week that  it’s important to remember when it comes to arbitrary moral designations, the pendulum swings both ways.  In other words,  one day someone’s arbitrary moral compass will devalue something or someone you care about and you’ll understand why claiming allegiance to ‘values’ which strip folks of their dignity just doesn’t square.

As it stands today, despite having the same qualifications and levels of experience, women in certain types of jobs are still paid less than their male counterparts.  For every $1 earned by their male colleagues, they make approximately $0.70.  If you support the logic of Truett Cathy, then support it all the way.  Technically, traditional Christian values affirms this inequality.  Eve is of Adam’s rib, right?  Thus, in all things, and for all time, She is His subordinate.  You’d be hard pressed to find a woman as qualified as her colleagues, who works as hard as her colleagues, who’d be willing to accept being compensated less than her colleagues, gender differences notwithstanding.

I’m sorry folks, the logic just doesn’t bear out for me.  Chik-fil-A’s political contributions equal outright discrimination that’s permissible only because it’s couched in the terms “traditional,” “Christian,” and “values”.  I don’t have the patience for this.  I’m sick of fighting these culture wars because progress wins, or society loses.  In that regard, I’ve lost the taste for the kind of chikin-shit Chik-fil-A serves.