Erotic provocateur, racially-influenced humanist, relentless champion for the oppressed, and facilitator for social change, Scottie Lowe is the brain child, creative genius and the blood, sweat, and tears behind AfroerotiK. Intended to be part academic, part educational, and part sensual, she, yes SHE gave birth to the website to provide people of African descent a place to escape the narrow-mined, stereotypical, limiting and oft-times degrading beliefs that abound about our sexuality. No, not all Black men are driven by lust by white flesh or to create babies and walk away. No, not all Black women are promiscuous welfare queens. And as hard as it may be to believe, no, not all gay Black men are feminine, down low, or HIV positive. Scottie is putting everything on the table to discuss, debate, and dismantle stereotypes in a healthy exchange of ideas. She hopes to provide a more holistic, informed, and enlightened discussion of Black sexuality and dreams of helping couples be more open, honest, and adventurous in their relationships.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Slut Shaming

There is this very false and detrimental belief among young people that anything and everything that a woman does is empowering and that anyone who critiques, evaluates, or disagrees with women’s collective behaviors is slut shaming and imposing rigid respectability politics rules in order to control and oppress women.  This concept is damaging and unhealthy not only to the women who get offended by any sort of critique of women’s collective behaviors but to the cause of fighting for women’s liberation and for real feminism. 

First, let’s CORRECTLY define what slut-shaming is and isn’t.  Slut shaming IS the act of placing an inferior or stigmatized status on women for the normal, healthy expression of their sexuality.  Slut shaming IS denigrating women for having pre-marital sex, for seeking out and using birth control, for having an abortion, or for having multiple sex partners.    Slut-shaming is telling women that they can’t have certain kinds of sex, that they are immoral or unworthy if they aren’t virginal and chaste, it’s the male-dominated society’s double standard that tries to shame women for being sexual.  Slut-shaming IS criminalizing women for their participation in prostitution and men getting a free pass.

What slut-shaming IS NOT stating that sex work/prostitution is not empowering.  Sex work is, in fact, participating in the objectification of women, it is reinforcement of patriarchal, sexist, misogynist, violent, abusive, degrading, demeaning roles for women.  One can condemn sex work and not sex workers.  Sex workers are women who feel that they have no other viable skills, that they want to sell whatever they have that men will pay for, they are all too often victims of domestic abuse, molestation, and unhealthy home environments that lead them to sell their bodies.  Sex work has been made out to be empowering because women are getting paid and, supposedly, the financial exchange, the fact that women have agency in their own objectification, is supposed to negate the fact that they are still being used by men as cum dumps, as things, as less than human beings.  Slut-shaming is not critiquing the entire hierarchy of the sex work industry that deems that blond, educated, surgically enhanced, articulate white women are sold for more than even her Black counterpart. 

This false notion persists that sex work is glamorous, that it’s getting paid to do what you do for free any way, that it’s taking advantage of men’s weakness, their stupidity, their willingness to part with their money for something as simple as a few minutes of sex.  The reality is, sex work is degrading, it’s dehumanizing, it’s not at all empowering.  Young girls are convinced that being a porn star or a stripper or a prostitute is easy money but it never is.  There is always a man pulling the strings, setting the price, demanding more than was negotiated for, taking out his frustrations, and treating ALL women like things he can use.  COUNTLESS documentaries have been made to chronicle the stories of women who said they got into porn thinking it would be easy money and how they got strung out on drugs and were forced to do 12-16 hours of endless gangbangs, how they suffered physically and ended up in the hospital with STDs and displaced uteruses and other horrific things because some porn producer or director kept pushing them to do more and more and then they didn’t get paid or got paid less than what they contracted for.  There are far too many women who have told horrific tales of being raped and beaten by johns yet the masses still insist that prostitution is empowering.  The trafficking of children is an alarmingly dangerous byproduct of prostitution and young women don’t seem to grasp that it is a very real consequence to the normalization of prostitution.  Critiquing prostitution is NOT slut-shaming.  Critiquing prostitution is making an effort to dismantle the false belief system that tells women that their most valuable asset lies between their legs.  Critiquing prostitution is trying to destroy the sexist mindset that allows men to think women are objects and things to be used and thrown away. 

Rationalizing that sex work is empowering is the equivalent of rationalizing that cutting or bulimia is empowering.  I am not shaming the women who cut themselves or who have bulimia, they are women led to self-destructive behaviors because of low self-esteem in a society that doesn’t value them or their personhood.   The solution is not to insist that cutting or bulimia is perfectly fine as long as the person doing it considers it empowering.  Sex work is the commodification of sex, of women’s bodies, it places a value on them for what they can do for men, how they can please men.  Just because women can get a purse or expensive pair of shoes from it does not mean it’s empowering.  This concept that money is the great equalizer, that if a woman can get paid, then that makes getting used by men just fine, great in fact.  The propagation of this false narrative that sex work is great because you get to sleep with a basketball player or a rapper and get to live this glamorous life and be wined and dined, and maybe even end up the Real Housewife of one of these men drives dozens of young women to doing cam shows, and then dancing, and then selling it outright. 

The false narrative is that sex work is no big deal, that it’s easy money, that women (or male or trans prostitutes) are taking advantage of men, calling the shots, that they are in control.  You are NOT in control of a male-dominated situation where men have decided how much they want to pay to use you.  Even for the less than 1% of young ladies who find their way to the Presidential Suite during All-Star Week, you are not setting yourself up to be in a healthy relationship, not one of your johns is going to see your value as a human being, they are not going to consider you a partner with whom they need to compromise, share, negotiate, or respect, you are an object, a pretty possession that can be replaced when the next pretty object comes along.  It is not empowering to perpetuate the concept that women have price tags on their pussies.  AGAIN, that is not slut-shaming the women who sell their bodies.  I am not saying that the women who sell their bodies are bad, sinful, shameful, wrong, dirty, despicable, or any other negative or pejorative term.  It’s simply stating that the system of misogyny and sexism that manifests in the sale of women’s bodies shouldn’t be validated or normalized because it’s not healthy. 

“Well, I know lots of women who just like sex and they do it because they want to, and they weren’t abused or molested or anything.”   Most women who enter into prostitution were molested however.  They were raped, or victims of domestic violence, they were violated as young women and girls.  Most women (and men) become drug addicts, they are raped, they have horrific tales to tell of sick, twisted, perverted sexual acts they were made to perform.  Normalizing your abuse isn’t empowering either.  “Well, some women don’t have any other options, they don’t have any other skills.”  That, in and of itself, is the problem.  We shouldn’t be teaching young girls that what’s between their legs is a marketable product.  Young women refuse to hear that.  They are convinced beyond the shadow of an intelligent, logical, reasonable doubt that sex work is great. 

I get it.  Young women want to feel validation, they want to feel like they are justified in their choices because they don’t want to be made to feel embarrassed or stigmatized or shamed because that makes them feel insecure and defensive.  They rationalize that because they aren’t selling it on the street corner, because they are college-educated and they are paying off their loans, because they are only doing every once in a while to pay the rent or their car note, or because they have kids and their baby daddy doesn’t pay his child support that there is nothing wrong with it.  They don’t want to be made to feel bad about their choices.  But not all choices are healthy, even if you are a willing participant, and negative consequences result from many a bad choice. 

Because we live in a society where young people have NO concept of what a healthy relationship is, they immediately dismiss any model of a symbiotic, mutually beneficial partnering that I may suggest as an alternative because they know of no other reality other than the dysfunctional one they have been raised with.  Let’s say you hit the jackpot, your first time out you find the basketball player who just signed the $7 million contract, he doesn’t ask you for anything too weird or degrading or hurtful, and he is so mesmerized with your nana and your bedroom skills that he wants to make you his #1.  If you enter into a relationship with this man who has purchased your body, do you sincerely think that he will not cheat on you, or that he will respect your rules and boundaries?  He will not only not value you as a person or a partner, your opinion, your other talents and abilities, but he will not even blink when he is offered an opportunity to bed another woman because you are nothing more than a trophy, a thing he paid for to show off.  That is not empowering! 

Sex work is participating in the objectification of women and that is NOT empowering.  Participating in sex work is reinforcing that women are “less than”, that they shouldn’t seek sexual expression that is based on love, respect, commitment and mutual cooperation, it’s saying, “That stuff about women being respected and loved is fairy-tale bullshit that doesn’t happen in the real world, the best a woman can hope for is that she finds a rich dude who has more money than common sense.”  If fact, if I suggest that sex should be based on love, should be based on respect, should be based on a level of commitment to a relationship, I’m supposedly imposing respectability politics on the free sexual expression of women.  But that’s not what I’m saying at all.  I’m not saying that women shouldn’t be able to have casual sex.  I’m not suggesting for a moment that if a woman has sex purely for pleasure in the restroom of a club with a total stranger whose name she doesn’t know that she’s a bad person.   Our rape/porn culture has convinced young women that the only valid form of sex is degrading/humiliating/objectifying sex and that there is no other alternative other than some 1950s oppressive model of vanilla, conservative boring sex.    That will be the downfall of our society, believing that women were created to be slapped, choked, spit on, gagged, and used as a hole for men’s pleasure and that getting paid for that is empowering. 

The goal of Feminism 2.0 should not be for women to be as sexually indiscriminate as men because men are unhealthy and warped in their views of sex.  That’s not something we should be striving for and equality on those terms is conforming to sickness.  We should be evolving in our views on sex.  We should be seeking to view sex in a healthier, more holistic, more empowering way.  Instead we are reinforcing and normalizing the objectification of women, we should be looking to use sex as a tool of communication, of meditation, of connection, of YES, even of love.  I’m not trying to impose puritanical rules on sex, I’m not saying that sex should be boring and only for procreation, that isn’t healthy at all either.  Sadly, the masses can’t see any other way to view sex other than to simply reinforce the status quo, to participate in the unhealthy practices that have become the norm.   Sex should be something that is earned with trust, with communication, with vulnerability, with intimacy.  Until we grasp that, until women decide that there is no price that a man could pay for her most sacred space, that as a holy sex priestess, she will only allow men who respect, revere, and cherish her to enter her sacred walls.  Then, when a man has earned that right, fuck like animals.  Fuck the sheets off the bed, wake the neighbors, experiment with anything safe, sane, and consensual.  When you find a partner with whom you can share your secrets, your vulnerabilities, your dreams and fears, then is when you can share your nastiest fantasies and make them a reality.  THAT IS EMPOWERING. 

Monday, December 19, 2016

Dear White World,

I am a Black woman and I’m EXHAUSTED from dealing with, having to conform to, and being choked by the booted-foot of your arrogant oppression.  I regret to inform you that if you are born on this planet in this millennia and you are white, you are racist.  Period!  Racism isn’t just defined by wearing a sheet and burning a cross and saying that you hate niggers, it’s the system of fallacious beliefs that makes you believe that you have a right to have the last word, that you and people who look like you can determine what’s better for others, what’s the right religion, what’s the best form of government, and that you can conquer, control, and annex any country you want.  Feigning indignation, quoting the one half line you think you know from Martin Luther King, or telling me that I’m racist because I’m calling you out on your bullshit does not and cannot negate that fact.  I will speak my mind and say what I want, when I want, in whatever tone I choose and if it’s something that you don’t like, I invite you to kiss my entire black ass . . . all of it.  I’m not going to cower in the corner when you try to put me in my place; we are not on the plantation any longer. 

I’m more than just the ghetto, sassy, neck-rolling caricature you think a Black woman is.  Yes, I am strong, yes I am powerful, resilient, and proud but I also have fears, insecurities, and I am choked with depression from having to deal with the fallacy of white supremacy every god damn day.  I crave the sensation of being loved by a man who has broken the chains of mental slavery and who knows that his identity is not tied to getting acceptance from anyone who looks like you, someone who knows that he is more than just a big black cock to satisfy your racist sexual fantasies.   I ache seeing the collective unhealthy behaviors of my people, knowing that they are victims of a system of racism that has intentionally disadvantaged them merely because of the color of our skin. 

I’m drained by your “secret” (in plain sight) maniacal obsession with our sexuality because you see us as savages yet you cheer for our slaughter in the streets, you celebrate our deaths in public.  I’m sick and fucking tired of telling you over and over again that your desire to have sex with us does not indicate that you have been absolved of racism, it doesn’t even mean you’ve addressed it.  I despise you telling me that I’m a credit to my race because I’m intelligent and articulate.  If you hadn’t been so intent on under-educating us, we would all be intellectually superior to you.  I use to think that we were all equal, given the same opportunities, but the more I’m exposed to you, the more I clearly see your collective insanity, the more I see how your delusions of grandeur, your need to hold on to the status quo where you are considered superior, have ruined our society, our nation, our collective consciousness.  I no longer believe we are all equal. I see you as inferior.  I see in the same light as a spoiled, bratty child who has to have his way and who throws temper tantrums when they don’t get undue adulation. 

You want to know what will ease my burden?  Stop telling me that all lives matter when you know good and god damn well that you only believe that white lives do.  I don’t want to be like you so you can let that delusional notion go.  I don’t think your blond hair and your blue eyes are more attractive.  I don’t want my skin to be lighter; I don’t want my hair to blow in the wind like a shampoo commercial. I have less than no desire to alter my features to be have a pointy little nose or hideously thin lips.  I will die, I will take my own life before I worship a God that is made in your image. 

I have a big ass, I love my big ass, but that does not mean I’m going to put it on display for you to ogle and objectify me nor does it mean that my self-worth or self-esteem is determined by how tight I can wear my clothing to show it off.    And you’re mother fucking skippy that I’m better in bed than white women because I’m not burdened with having to pretend I’m asexual all the time, I’m not defined by my ability to please a man, and I’m secure in my identity as a Divine BLACK Goddess who does not want or need to compartmentalize my sexuality.  I’m FREE.  I’m not shackled by your standards, morals, or beliefs.

I will not apologize for the dysfunctional behaviors of my race because they are borne of centuries of oppression.  What’s your excuse?   Why is it that your race is more criminal, greedier, more ruthless and sadistic, more drug-addicted, more deviant and perverse than any other?  Because you’ve had too much privilege and entitlement?  Because you’ve been falsely told since you were born that all that is good in the world comes from someone who looks like you? Well, I hate to break it to you.  All that is good in the world came from someone who looked like me and that was stolen by someone who looked like you.  I know, you’ve never been told that so you don’t believe it but it’s not my job to educate you or ease your guilt. 

So, white world, it seems we are at a stalemate.  You want and need me to be a slave on the plantation, afraid of your wrath, silenced by your command, and an object for you to lust after in secret and I refuse to fit in your tiny box, I refuse to be defined by you.  I want you to see my humanity, to acknowledge my differences and respect them; I would love for you to work to divest yourself of the fallacious beliefs that have been ingrained in you.  Something has to give and I can assure you that my will, my integrity, my ability to survive is much stronger than yours.  This, I promise you.