Misogynoir, a term coined by Moya Bailey, describes intersectional discrimination of Black women. This is where sexism meets racism. As a community, we internalize this misogynoir due to the social ridicule we’ve been faced with for centuries. Despite of the unique essence of African-American women, we are the main victims of cross judgement; we are the only women who are ridiculed for just being.
“The Black woman is the most unprotected and disrespected woman in the world.”
– Malcolm X
The very presence of African-American women commands attention. There is just something about a Black woman; when she enters a room to speak, people are forced to listen. It seems as if it’s programmed in Women of Color to demand to be heard. However, that assertiveness is the result of being ignored for a long time. Yet, we are still unheard. As a Black woman, I can relay that some African-American women respond to internalized misogynoir by simply giving in to it. When it comes to conducting ourselves, it’s hard to not consider stereotypical labels pinned on Women of Color. We often find ourselves trying to assimilate to participate, by trying to live up to the standards of the people who discriminate against us. From dressing a certain way, to using our Sunday voice in public, African-American women showcase the very side-effects of cultural judgment.
Some Black men influence internalized misogynoir by practicing cultural appropriation. Sometimes African-American men bash the cultural traits of Black women, while praising some of those exact characteristics on women from other ethnicities. The disrespect towards Black women has been committed in the public eye on a wide scale. A boundless example is Young Thug’s personalized view on dark women by referring to them as “roaches” and “burnt”. Based upon an instilled idea of beauty, this is a contribution to the cross discrimination against Black women. Thus far, true beauty is loving your sisters as if they are your sisters.
Young Thug cannot be fully blamed for his comments. As Blacks, we have been exposed to the societal terms associated with us from an early age. Therefore, meanings of terms such as “ghetto” or “nappy” are hard to erase when it’s been instilled in our mentality. Ironically, these terms are still used by African-Americans about other Black people. Even more so, Black females would use them against one another. Theoretically, this is another result of internalized misogynoir.
Misogynoir does have its internal effect on the Black community. As a people, we need to realize that the societal tags linked to African-Americans are simply an idea of the beholder. What one may view as “ghetto”, another may consider innovative. What one may view as “nappy”, another may consider curly. Views are truly depended upon the mind of the viewer. Therefore, it’s essential to love every aspect of our Blackness. People of Color need to see their culture for the beauty it is, rather than feeding into the stereotypes.
To my Black men: start showing Black women that you appreciate them. If you treat us like the queens we are, it’s guaranteed that we will treat you like the kings you are. Embrace us, take care of us, and protect us. As Black Women, we should start to express gratitude to our Black men; they need to be supported as much (if not more) than we do. Unity is needed to escape this internalized prison.
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