Musing on the Genealogies x Sex x Digital Black Feminisms #BettaComeCorrect


On Friday, on the Crunkfeminists blog, Crunktastic wrote a post titled “How Chris Brown is Effing up my Sex Life: A B-Side to Dating While Feminist.” In the post, she discusses the challenges that Black feminist face when a #boosnack has some janky gender politics.

As you can tell, I am clear on calling folks out on their janky gender politics when I see that they have space to grow. See here and here.

The post is awesome because she analyzes how our politics follow us into our intimate day to day interactions, #ItsNotaGame.

Context.

See, Latoya wrote a piece a couple of weeks ago titled “On Being Feminism’s Ms. Nigga.” While I found that last word of the title, to be both dangerous and violent, I do understand where she is coming from. We all have to navigate the tension associated with assimilation. As Black female bodies living in and interacting with institutions that we DO NOT control, we feel the burn honey. I also understand that the positions that we take up in these institutions can impact our careers in profound ways. Is it possible that strategic tokenism helps to keep us from being homeless?

More context, last fall Moya and Lex wrote an article in Ms. Magazine about how Black feminism is alive and well on the internet. They write,

When Black feminism’s words do live on, it is not by accident, default or simple popularity: It is often because Black feminists scraped together coins together to publish them, as when Black women’s social clubs raised the funds for Ida B. Wells to put out her 1890 anti-lynching and anti-rape pamphlets. Similarly, nearly a century later, in the late 1980′s Barbara Smith risked bankruptcy to continue funding Kitchen Table, an autonomous press for writing by women of color.

….So from these roots are a new(er) generation of Black feminist voices are coming out of academia using free and direct means of publication- the internet and social media- to spread our vision and to provoke and ongoing dialogue.

How is that for rooting our work in history?

I am also in an awesome feminist genealogies course, where we are looking at the historical connections between the theory created by women and women’s social movements. Some of the most enlightening texts that we have read are:

Benita Roth’s, Separate Roads to Feminism: Black White and Chicana Feminist Movements in the Second Wave. Powerful in how it shows the connections between these movements, along with the distinctions and the way race and class shaped how women put their energy in social movements in the 60′s and 70′s. #Ummhmm.

Sally Wagner’s,  “The Untold story of Iroquois Influence on Early Feminists.” Incredible, in how it details how early White feminists observed the Iroquois women, and their gender relationships and how it shaped White women’s ideas around feminism before, during and after the American Revolution.

So I am thinking about how knowledge gets produced by women of color online, who shares ideas with whom, who is in conversation with each other, who reads history. Then, Black digital feminism magic happened on Friday.

I was reading the comments on Crunktastic’s post, and I saw that Lex left a comment that kinda had be blown and so I tweeted it. She said,

…that black feminist sex is the best sex around and that folks who insist on ignoring the dynamics of gender violence in order to maintain their privilege are missing out.Makes me want to create an ad campaign that gives new meaning to the phrase “come correct.”

I left to go teach my class and I came back an hour later and there was a Bettacomecorrect Tumblr, a listserve thread, a Twitter account, a Facebook page in the works. It was on and cracking.

The manifesta for the site is:

because black feminist sex is the best sex ever…this site was created by those of us having and committed to having transformative erotic experiences with/as black feminists. (and both! oh both!!!!!!)

this is also a wake up call to anyone who insists on intimacy without accountability, condones violence against black women, or refuses to be transformed by the ecstatic miracle that black women exist. you are seriously missing out.

In some ways this site runs directly in the face of the politics of respectability. However, it is also important to note that because of our social locations as teachers, professors, instructors, students and administrators, and because of the history of Black women being constructed as lewd, lascivious and 50 million “hoe’s”, we also write with pseudonym’s because it is safer.

When I called one CFC later that Friday afternoon on the way from dinner, I was patched into a three way phone call where we were talking about possibly doing work on Digital Black Feminisms and sexuality at a conference next year. I also mentioned how I storified a conversation that a few of us had on Twitter last fall about Nicki Minaj, Jasmine Mans. It was like all of us have been in conversation with each other and that this is a natural outcome. What I like most about it is organic and collaborative.

You peep Betta Come Correct?

What do you think of the Manifesta?

Who knew Chris Brown could inspire this way?

Comments

  1. Just found you through racialicious.com. the combination of writing/ideas here is so good, it’s sexy. cant wait to read more. –LDani

  2. I’d love to take that Feminist Genealogies course! And yes, like you, I’m totally mesmerized at all this Black feminist synergy we got goin on. Keep me in the loop on all things Digital Black Feminism. The revolution is gon be #tweeted #podcast #storified #blogged #tumbled #bangbangpow

  3. “You peep Betta Come Correct?”

    Fresh. Clean. Correct.

    “What do you think of the Manifesta?”

    Honestly, I am thinking about it.

  4. What is gained by using the term “genealogies” instead of, say, “histories”?

  5. @Rob: I like that question. made me think. i dont know what MDots answer is but i hope she won’t change the word for this reason:

    genealogies because it invokes blood lines, kinships, horizontal and vertical connections across time and space. it reminds us that histories are made through reproduction not just production.

    “history” is a word that recalls the linear, the sanitized, the clean, the streamlined; work that has been done after work has already been catalogued and organized (archive). it is another necessary narrative but it doesn’t have the organic and the reproductive wrapped up in it. it is masculine. it is a spread of seed without the requirement for care afterwards because someone else (wife, mistress, maid, slave) is taking up the slack and is going to do the wet nursing, the diaper changing, the daycare when he turns his back. he doesn’t have to be concerned with all of the messy tidbits and trails. he just has to finish the job (ejaculate).

    this logic is impossible with a genealogy. it requires a mother, conception, sex. a history does not.

    although it too is rife with problems. blood kin over fictive kin bloodwork over community work. but questions of legitimacy cannot be obscured as easily in a genealogy. a woman always knows whose child is hers, and has more knowledge over naming the father than the man does. it requires extra work to obscure in a genealogy–that work is implicit in a history.

    hmm….this is rolling around in my brain now….#thereisastoryhere

    IMHO.