Megan Thee Stallion, Misogynoir and Black Womanhood...
Let’s talk about Megan Thee Stallion...
She’s the Original Hot Girl: Classy, Boujee, Ratchet.
A beautiful Black woman who has made a name for herself in the ‘Rap Game’ and all over the world. Her impact is one for the books - everyone loves her, and everyone wants to drive the boat with her!
So where did all this love go when she was shot?
Actually- that is a lie – there was laughter. Lots of laughter, from the same people doing her TikTok dances and screaming “protect black women at all costs” on the timeline.
There was no recognition that a Black Woman went through a traumatic experience - but if it were your favourite mumble rapper, there would have been a different tone.
It a classic case of misogynoir; a term coined by Moya Bailey to describe the anti-Black racist misogyny that only Black Women experience.
Let me break it down...
The stereotypes surrounding Black Women are fuelled in misogynoir.
We have got...
The ‘angry Black Woman’
‘The neck-rolling sassy Black Woman’
The overly sexual, Jezebel Black Woman.
...and my least favourite, the never vulnerable ‘strong Black Woman’
These stereotypes are extremely damaging, as they leave fragility and sympathy for white women to experience and relate to, protecting them in society and leaving Black Women in the dark.
It is safe to say that these stereotypes have been permeating the conversation surrounding Megan Thee Stallion...Here we have a 5ft10 babe who holds her own, embraces her sexuality and does not answer to anyone but herself. Instead of this being evidence of the phenomenal woman she is, society has warped this and made her this strong, overly sexual symbol where her tall statuesque is seen as evidence of her masculinity and strength.
These perceptions leave no room for kindness or protection for Black Women, and no space for Black Women to express their pain or distress without it being viewed as aggressive.
Misogynoir is incredibly harmful to Black Women; it rips us of our full humanity and frankly impacts our everyday life.
It’s frightening that a violent crime committed against a Black Woman serves so much giggles. This does not just apply to Megan Thee Stallion. In fact she joins Rihanna, Breonna Taylor and a long list of other Black Women who have had a heinous crime committed against them, trivialised and used for memes.
“The most disrespected Woman is the Black woman" - Malcom X.
To be clear, this is not just something that occurs outside of the Black community.
Yes...anyone, regardless of race or gender can undermine Black Womanhood - but misogynoir is just as internalised within our communities and just as destructive when it comes from people we look at and see as our own.
I may ruffle some feathers here...
Black Men hold privilege over Black Women.
Black Men are the ‘gatekeepers’ to what is visible within the community, which makes it that much harder for Black Women to be seen, heard and protected.
The narrative that us, Black ‘Queens’ have the duty of standing by and protecting our Black ‘Kings’ - the 'leaders' of the community - from what they have to deal with in a world that is rigged against them, leaves Black Women ignored and overlooked in important conversations.
It’s the subtle and yet immensely damaging "I know you are hurt… but think of what you could be doing to that Black Man’s reputation" that strengthens and facilitates the oppression of Black Women.
This is a narrative reinforced by Black Men and Women alike - and honestly, it needs to die.
It was evident when society decided to protect R Kelly and his music while shaming the young Black Girls that he targeted. It was evident when the Black Women who were victims of music mogul Russell Simmons were judged and gaslighted. It is happening now that Megan expresses a traumatic experience to the world, and there are questions surrounding what she has done to be in such a predicament.
“The most unprotected person in America is the Black Woman” - Malcom X
So, what should we do when we think we are witnessing misogynoir?
According to Bailey:
“If you can’t replace the person being targeted with a woman of another race or someone of another gender, you know misogynoir is in play”.
Be sure to call it out!
Don’t laugh at the joke - instead ‘play dumb’ and ask them to explain what exactly they meant and why it’s funny. Hopefully they will recognise that their misogynoir is showing.
Be critical of media portrayals of Black Women.
You can always count on the media to use stereotypes, so I suggest watching shows and movies that “grant” Black Women some humanity - it’s really the bare minimum.
“The most neglected person in America is the Black Woman” - Malcom X
It’s sad to see that this powerful quote by Malcom X is still relevant to this day.