Monday, January 16, 2012

More Thoughts on Sisterhood

Facebook friend and amazing photographer Saddi Khali says,

"As a teen, it often felt 2 me that my mama was hard on my sister as her mama was hard on her. In high school I watched so many girls jump girls, it coulda been a course 4 credits. I would later watch women in niteclubs as a younger man & wonder why they were sooo mean 2 each other, each fashion misstep seemed an offense punishable by death. Then I got a lil older & wonder why so many of the women I dated would say they didn't get along w/women, & later still, I started photographing folks & how many women felt about their own appearances & the "flaws" they'd point out in themselves always seemed tied 2 the way they judged the appearances of other women. Hmmmmm... men kill each other over women, money, drugs & power... but, women let each other live & just destroy each others joy... I dunno if this is true but it should be considered. I wonder how much we've been conditioned 2 respond in the ways do & don't even realize it."

Brother Saddi, I feel you. Today, in certain settings, I can hold eye contact with a sista and get a "what the fuck are you looking at" glance in return. For these particular women, admiration is a foreign concept. I've never been able to really figure out the reasoning behind these kinds of reactions and relations between some of us. My initial thoughts have always centered around competition. Perhaps for some of us, the number one goal is to be number one.

Saddi's thoughts brought me back to my adolescence, where my female peers were my first and most harsh critics. A close friend, whom I considered a sister, once doubled over in laughter at the site of my hairy legs, out for all to see, on a hot summer day. And then there was the classmate in junior high who made it her mission to "teach" me how to shave my legs after spotting them in the locker room, because, her man would "never go for that", even though my boyfriend at the time didn't have a problem with it at all. It was as if my hairy legs were a crime against humanity and had to be eradicated at once or hidden forever.

Although I've come to love and accept my body for all of its beauty and uniqueness, because of the ways in which body hair is still viewed in our society, I remain hot when others are cool to avoid being subjected to harsh criticism from other women. I personally don't see the point of devoting countless hours to altering myself just to make others more comfortable. And I don't see the point of having to be held prisoner within my clothing because of the fact that I have distinctive features. But, it is so.

I think Saddi is right when he says that its all a part of conditioning. We are instructed against A & B, and therefore we make it a point to instruct others against them too or we may instruct them toward A & B just to make our lives easier and/or to weed out the competition. Its all very interesting.

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