While reading the comments on various sites about Erykah’s pregnancy,
I couldn’t help but think of a property, double standards and marriage.
I thought of property because, it appears to me, that when Black women,
do things with their bodies, publicly, that involve the issue of sex or sexuality,
one would think that they were public property based on the responses.
Historically wives were considered the property of their husbands.
In fact, historically marriage functioned property consolidation tool,
Marriage dates back several thousand years, emerging as a civil arrangement at the same time as the emergence of private property….anthropologists theorize that most primitive marriages were polygamous. Marriages were entered into in order to expand the land or material goods base of a clan, either through the receipt of a dowry or the merger of two clans’ assets. Religious guidelines ……were first used as a means of preventing different religious groups from losing wealthy followers by restricting them from marrying into other religions.
In more modern times, authorities historically turned a blind eye to women being assaulted by their husbands because the notion was the the wife belonged to the husband so he had the implicit right to hit her.
I make the above comments for the specific purposes of providing
some background on the institution of marriage as opposed to just
talking about it with blind uncritical acceptance.
Based on some of the comments its almost as if Erykah doesn’t have a right
to do, as she wishes with her body, yet there is a passive uncritical acceptance
of what men do.
To: Ms. Erykah Badu. From: Smooth Thug. Ms. Badu, Upon the completion of the reading of your statements and comments, I was very amazed, rather astounded, and most amused. I, therefore, find it highly necessary to inform you that I can not, and will not, go along with you in your assessment of the present state of affairs in your life. You stated that when it came to having your first two children you had ?2 wonderful partners by my side.? 1) Those were not ?partners?, sweetheart. Those were sperm donors….
...It?s 2008 if you end up pregnant its your fault..you are a GROWN A Woman and book smarts and common sense need to meet at some point. Baby number two. baby number three and still not in a commited relationship.One thing I found in myself and notice in other women is?we are the problem. No standards and no boundary lines for what we allow and tollorate going into a relationship. We do not demand a man that is going to commit and be respectful of the faith. We are just glad to have the company and something close to a title so we forgive and forget. My SISTA?S ITS TIME TO GO HIGHER! Higher in choices, higher in judgement. higher in selection. higher in relation… – Lovher Just because you are married to your children?s father, you can still be a single mother. There are men who are right in the household who won?t help their children get dressed for school,much less home school them. I feel more sorry for those women. At least she is not a depressed mother, who feels unloved by a husband. I would?nt care if I were never proposed to, marrige is not what is used to be. I will get married when I am old and need someone to take me to the doctor and to the grocery store. lol For now, I am happy going through life with me and my daughter. – mo’star
The comments were mixed. I couldn’t help but wonder if the about the self righteous
commenter’s who care so much about holding her accountable for who she
procreates with, and where is the willingness to hold Mos Def, Diddy, Lil Wayne etc for either the messages in their music and for their out of wedlock children as well?
Perhaps, in their minds, its okay because they are men, or perhaps in their minds
if they criticized them, they would have to criticize R.Kelly, and if they criticized R.
Kelly they would have to stop listening to his music and you know no one wants
to do that.
BLACK WOMEN AS PROPERTY
Our ancestors came to this country as property, so it makes sense that,
until this issue is dealt with, both amongst us and in society at large,
that we will be seen as property. Everyday when we walk down the street, when we are propositioned by men who honk, wait, or honk and slow down, as if we are going
to turn around and walk over to their cars and given them our numbers,
we are treated like property, not human beings.
MARRIAGE, A QUESTION
Erykah’s situation is particularly personal for me because I recently let down
down my guard with the man that I am seeing and broached the “topic” of the
future. In the aftermath of the conversation I learned that there may or may not be the future that I envision.
Subsequently, I had to come to terms with the fact I may have to have my
child alone. With a support network nonetheless, but not within the system that society
has deemed to be the preferred nuclear structure that a child should be raised
in. I would imagine that that this is where being on the margins come in handy.
So many other women, Black and/or otherwise have done so in this world.
While this will entail a plan and a strategy, it is, on its face, no different than
the plan and the strategy that will take place should I choose to procreate,
shack up with and or marry the father of my child.
All of these scenarios involve choice because all humans have agency,
which is a will to act.
I recently experienced another incident that reminded me of how women
are treated like property. Last week I ran into someone that I met before left
New York last year. The key to the story is that right after I met him,
my phone was stolen, so I didn’t have a way to contact him.
Unbeknownst to me, he thought I met him and just never called again.
Part of the “you didn’t call me” anger apparently stemmed from the
fact that right after meeting him, I met his two young sons, so it came
across as a double diss. I was, however, under the guise that it was a
professional relationship as I wanted advice from him about the
investment banking world.
In the midst of our conversation we were talking about our
pasts and broken engagements come up. He clearly had anger towards
his ex- fiancee and so I said, “Well, she couldn’t have been that bad,
she moved in with you and you proposed to her. There was something
about her that you liked”.
He responded, “I didn’t like her, I just liked to f-ck her”.
I was floored, but stayed with my poker face, because I knew that
in that statement, there was a smidgen of rage being directed at me.
I also knew that his rage was his business and it had nothing to
do with me.
At that time, he worked 90 hours a week and went on to say, “At work, you have
no time to develop social skills, conversational skills or interpersonal
skills. When I got home, I had someone to f-ck. When I woke up in the morning
my shirt was pressed and my tie was laid out. I also had peer pressure
from co-workers and family to get married.”
It was incredible for him to say this because I have certainly heard this
alluded to, and we get the message from media and our families what
a woman’s role should be, but I never heard to spoken so honestly
from the heart.
When I saw the responses to Erkyah, all I could think was when we choose,
as women, what do with ourselves, and it involves sexuality and not
being on another person dime or watch, be prepared for the ridicule.
Erykah’s pregnancy, and the subsequent commentary speaks to
our lack of understanding of the history of marriage, our hypocrisy in attitudes
towards women who have children out of wedlock versus men, and our
unwillingness to see the way Black women have historically been treated like
property and lastly, how our attitudes today reflect a continued willingness to
see us a property.