Thursday, January 31, 2008

Diary of a Mad Black Woman - Tia
Before you get the wrong idea let me just say that, NO, this is not a bitter rant of a jaded female. But blogging is basically an online diary and right now I am a bit angry so I guess the title is appropriate.

I am utterly convinced that my first child is going to be a girl. Don't ask me how I know, I just do. Plus every first child on both sides of my family is a girl. Yes, I am aware that men determine the sex of the child. I'm just saying...Let me have this.

If I'm being honest, I would much rather have a boy. People say girls are easier to raise. And that may very well be true. My dad always tells me that I'm his easy child. My brother is a constant source of grief for my father. I love the kid but BET has corrupted him. Anyway, if I could choose I would choose boys. With little boys I wouldn't have to worry about trying to do their hair. I can barely do my own hair. That's why I pay someone obscene amounts of money to do mine for me. With little boys it’s a trip to the barbershop and you're finished.

But the main reason that I would prefer boys over girls is you don't have to worry about little boys the way you do about little girls. The world is a scary place for little girls. And it seems like it gets scarier every day. There seems to be the onslaught against the purity of little girls and anyone with any sense knows that it's not going to get any better.

I hit puberty fairly early and at an alarming rate. While all of my friends were wishing they were getting boobs and wondering when the painters and decorators were going to come, I was busy trying to wear a sports bra and a regular bra to strap mine down and trying to not be pissed that I was missing practice because I was surfing the crimson. But the hardest part about it was being trapped in a body that was WAY TOO OLD for me. I remember being at my uncle's house for a bar-b-que and sitting inside reading a book. As I sat minding my own business, some GROWN MEN walked into the house and up the steps. I overheard them talking about me. They couldn't see my face because a huge plant was blocking their view. All they could see were my legs. I heard them saying some very inappropriate things and one of them apparently was going to try to "talk to me." My uncle walked out from the kitchen and overheard them and darn near yelled, "THAT'S C's DAUGHTER." I was barely 12.

And I wish I couldn't say this, but I have more stories like that than any one person should have. It was during those formative years that I realized that I didn't really want daughters. I never wanted a child of mine to have to go through what I was going through. I knew that if I had a girl she would look just like me. (I knew because if you look at pictures of my mom when she was my age I look just like her. And if you look at pictures of my grandmother my mom looks just like her. There are some strong genes in my family.) I never wanted my daughter to feel like an object.

I'm sure my adolescent shaped who I am today. And the woman I am now is heart broken and angry about the state of the young girl. It seems like every where I turn someone or something is trying to devalue the soul of a girl. Music tells them that everything is alright as long as you're in control. Television tells them that being on the pole or at least dressing like they're going to be on the pole is what's up. Videos glorify T&A (real or otherwise) not brains. And the worst part is that a lot of girls believe it.

I won't quote statistics. Mainly because I don't know any. All I can talk about is what I see. I can only talk about the 20 year old girl that I know who has been pregnant at least twice in the last 18 months. I can only talk about the girls I see at the mall who clearly don't realize that answering to "hey girl c'mere" does not garner you any respect. I hate that there are girls out there who think that their boyfriend calling them a "bottom bitch" is a compliment.

And of course we want to place blame. But is it the guy’s fault for telling a girl that she’s got a fatty. Or is the girl’s fault for thinking that’s a compliment? (I actually had a guy tell me the other day that I had a nice fatty. I point blank asked him, “Does that actually work on girls? I’ve been out of the game for a while so maybe I don’t know. But is that what passes for a compliment?” With somewhat of a chastised child look on his face, his response was “Not really….” But clearly it must have worked at some point or he wouldn’t have said it.)

It’s hard to say who should shoulder the most blame. So instead of pointing fingers at one another I say we start looking for solutions. And I think the first thing we have to do is get them while they’re young. As parents, aunts, teachers and mentors we have to instill girls with value while they’re very young. We have to love on them and tell that they are princesses. They should never wonder if they’re loved or feel like they have to go looking for the answer to that question in the arms of a man or woman who will use, abuse or ultimately destroy them.

The heart of a girl is a fragile thing. It dreams dreams. It dances. It sings. It longs to be called beautiful and to be loved for how it is. It’s only after it is beat down, lied to and abused does it begin to think that the only way to get back to its purest form is to try to earn that feeling. And so after being told time and time again that you are nothing more than an object for the gratification of others and that your worth more if you dress less, it’s no wonder that we have scores and scores of girls who just don’t realize that there’s more to this life than the untruths that they’re being force fed.

But if we’re going to tell them the truth then we have to believe it ourselves. Just like India Arie sang about not being her hair, we are not what the world, the media or that guy says that we are. God calls us daughters. God tells us that he is enthralled with our beauty. God tells us that we are MORE than conquerors. That means we don’t have to look like or be video girls to be loved. That means that regardless of what we look like, what we wear, what’s been done to us in the past or what we’ve been told, we are treasures. Respect is the minimum. We are to be loved and cherished. Not gawked at and objectified. God created us to be appreciated and admired. And the sooner we believe that the better off we’ll be. And once we believe it we can teach it to our daughters, our nieces and every other young girl who crosses our path. A girl who knows who she is won’t feel the need to sprawl herself half naked all over someone’s myspace page to feel sexy. A girl who is confident, who knows she is loved, will grow up to be a woman who is confident; a woman who knows she is loved. And a woman who knows who she is is the sexiest thing in the world.

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