“Choking Women During Sex”: The Life of a Meme.

Justin Timberlake tug’s on Ciara’s chain in the Love Sexy Magic video.

Various conversations have been generated around Jay Electronica’s comments and $20K bet with Nas on whether “All Women Like Being Choked During Sex.”

Crunktastic wrote a post at Crunkfeminists, “Why Jay Electronica Can Choke on His Own Words.”

Then Latoya cross posted it on Racialicious.

Then Davey D linked to the post on his blog and made an interesting comment.

First he said,

all women deserve respect and maybe you with hold it when u get disrespected.. This aint a situation where folks need to jump through hoops to earn respect per se especially when they haven’t done wrong…

Because there is systemic violence against women all over the world simply because they do have vaginas and hence aren’t considered equal with men, then we should recognize that sort of oppression and counter.. ie there’s a woman in Iran who is getting stoned for some male defined transgression..

The gray text is a good working definition of gender based oppression concisely explained in 34 words. I appreciate Davey D for saying this. Makes my work a bit easier.

On Crunkfeminists, a commenter provides context for why conversations about “non vanilla sex” are important and the writer emphasizes the fine line between choking and non consensual sexual domination.  Commenter MtnTopFeminism writes,

While we do have to challenge ourselves not to have gut reactions against kinky or nonnormative modes of sex, that fact doesn’t get all forms of sex off the hook. It is critical that we engage in discussions that focus on the varying levels of sexuality and how pleasure cannot be restricted to vanilla norms. At the same time, it is also important that while we are open to new expressions of sexuality, we never lose sight of the dangers associated with them.

…Within a BDSM relationship trust becomes the main component. It isn’t just about “I like to get slapped around.” There is much more there. Without that open communication and honest dialogue, many practices, including erotic asphyxiation, are highly dangerous and even deadly. Not only that, but it isn’t just women who like to have such things done to them…a fact which is often ignored. Without discussing the three main tenets of BDSM—safe, sane and consensual—we head toward dangerous territory by merely accepting any discussion on kinky sex at face value.

Latoya cross posted Crunktastic’s post on Racialicious. And peep game. The sister of the woman who was at the concert and spoke up read the post and left a comment. (The internet amplifies offline sound and light, via @afrolicious).

Speaking of @afrolicious she mentioned this in the comment section around having expectations for artists gender politics. She writes,

I learned a long time ago not to trust an image, especially that of a rapper. As much as I want hip hop to respect me as a woman, I don’t get that often, even from the best of the creators. Additionally, I don’t expect progressive gender politics from most people, so to some extent I’m not disappointed.

It’s not a perfect rationale, but it’s how my filter works.

I hear her rationale,  and it is most certainly useful. I also believe that some statements can’t go unaddressed.

Another comment is from Rob, my colleague and a blogger at the Liberator (peep game here) wrote,

So here’s one of my initial reads: left-of-center hip-hop head blogosphere/twitterverse latched to jay because he’s a throwback to the golden age of conscious, Nation of Islam infused, east coast centric rapper who cares about his craft. However,the other side of all those early 90s dudes coming out of the NoI/NGE tradition is that when talking about women they were paternalists at best, if not outright misogynists. I don’t think anyone from that era escapes indictment.

I know lots of people have already made that connection, but I thought it bares repeating not to excuse what he did, but to historicize the comment and the evolution (or lack thereof) of gender politics in “conscious” hip-hop?

I responded saying,

I hear you on historicizing Jay Elec. However, I wonder if you or anyone would be willing to do the same thing in the face of White racism. What I am getting at is, in the last 24 hours, you are the second Black man to bring up the history out of which a Black man is rooted to contextualize their misogyny, the other time occurred in a conversation about Jim “I chase women out of windows” Brown last night.

I mean…I don’t hear people saying well you know…The Tea Partiers come out of a very particular history…..feel me? While I am not saying that Jay, the Tea Partiers or Jim Brown are analogous..I am certainly thinking of HOW and WHEN we deploy the “lets historicize” for a minute Renina steez. I guess this is me interrogating the historicizing…which is what your comment asked for.

He then explained that historicize is not the same as rationalize. I was relieved and I felt where he was coming from.

Our responses to Jay Electronica’s posts are influencing how I shape my research. I realize this after watching this meme evolve and, especially after a meeting with my professor Wednesday and hearing her tell me that I need to asks questions that give Black women the space to talk about desire, pleasure and danger. She felt that I was letting the interviewee’s off by going into pop culture and not asking them directly about #desire and #pleasure.

In responding to Jay’s comments I have read about women talking about their experiences. This is a positive outcome of this conversation.

Thoughts?

Why does sexual conversation’s send people into rigid randy mode? Hella defensive?

See any good meme’s lately?

On (Black) Masculinity: It’s Fragile + Illusive

Harry Brod’s essay “Studying Masculinities” has some straight ahead information on teaching and understanding masculinity.

I reread it last night and was reminded of how good it is.

I am going to post excerpts below, with some comments.

On How Privileges Work

[All]Men, as do whites [men and women], have a vested interest in not asking questions about sources of privileges. Any form of oppression maintains its power by masking how it operates, making its structure as invisible as possible. To shed light on masculinity is therefore at least potentially to threaten patriarchy.

Ahhh. This why my conversations with @beautynubian are so illuminating on Twitter. We stay talking about patriarchy, gender roles and what it means to have a gendered political identity and be? going out on dates. #somuchwin.

So much of masculinity and femininity rests in asking the why people do what they do? Is it natural, taught or a combination therein?

Or we look at what is being assumed when an action is taken, ie, walking on the outside when walking down the street with a woman. Who gets to walk on the outside when TWO women are walking down the street?? #ummhmm.

On Questioning Masculinity

Quoting Michael Kimmel “…for a man to admit that he has questions about masculinity is to admit that he has failed at masculinity.”

So eloquent. Yet so direct.

On the Uselessness of? Blaming Men for Sexism

For at least some men, moving away from being personally blamed for sexism facilitates moving toward taking personal responsibility for it.? It is difficult, if not impossible, to take effective steps towards positive personal and political change if one imagines oneself thereby to be taking steps in opposition to oneself.? But if I see that my target is not myself but rather social forces and what they have done to me, I find such steps become not only possible but desirable.

I found this to be really useful, in terms of ally building. It is ONE thing to read this stuff in books.

Its another thing to be at brunch and my gentleman friend feels like I called him a four letter word because I said that he did something that was patriarchal. What he doesn’t know is that there are SOME WOMEN that I don’t care to be around because THEY are hella patriarchal. The issue isn’t whats between your legs, but your politics, whats between your ears. How you think about stuff. #ummhmm.

I like this paragraph by Brod because it gets at getting men to see the social forces at work, and not simply blaming them for being sexist. What is the benefit of doing something like that? Where is the space being created for education or transformation. There is none with blame. That doesn’t mean I’m not gonna call a negro man or woman out if they are outta pocket. But it does mean that I will open up a discussion, if the person is willing. Or leave them alone if it is taking too much work.

On Men In Masculinity (Feminist) Studies Classes

Men who are willing to question masculinity to the extent of devoting a semester to examining it therefore pose? threat to their own and other men’s power.

The act of simply being willing to question masculinity and learn about it threatens how society is organized. #ummhmm. Peace to the men who are willing to learn.

Another quote that I found interesting is from Global Gender Issues in the New Millennium.

“…Heternormative masculinity is an extraordinarily fragile and unstable construct and identity that leaves men having to prove repeatedly that they have “it”. They are put in constant fear and anxiety that they will be dubbed less than real men and therefore, be demoted down the gender hierarchy and be subjected to greater violence by other, higher men.”

This has me thinking about how men are subjected to violence in similar to how? women are, but under difference circumstances. It all turns on “conform to the way its done”? or get smashed. Gimmie your number, or imma call you a ______ and slap you. Act like a man or imma sock you in the face and call you a _____. You get my drift?

How do men deal with this psychologically?

Especially Black men, constantly having to be on guard, performing.

Isn’t this shit a lot of work? Ya’ll get tired. How you deal with it? Do it ever drive you crazy?

Thoughts about the fragility of masculinity?