Sharing Your Story: The Sisterhood Files, Part 2

It seems everyone wants to be portrayed as perfect.  I find this especially true among black women- the need to present themselves flawless amongst other women.  We, as women, have a tendency to go through great lengths to perfect the elaborate details of our outer appearance, not to impress men, but to outshine other women.  It is my belief that most men could care less about, and moreover, don’t even notice the details.  Men have the wonderful ability to assess the overall package without dissecting how that package comes together.  This is very similar to their ability to see the forest without paying attention to the trees, or leaves, or tree trunks, colors and shading, or density like we, as women, have a tendency to do.
So it is no surprise that women go through great lengths to hide any and all flaws both externally and internally.  While the external is superficial and holds no real value, it is the hiding of internal flaws that hinder both the progress of self and of others.  There was once a time long ago when black women would find power and strength in sharing their story, better known as the testimony.  These testimonies would encourage others going through similar situations and serve as a therapeutic release for those giving the testimony.  The black social circles were also a way of passing along pertinent information to help the progress of an entire people.  But now, it is every woman for herself.  You have to find your own way.  I don’t know if it is so much that women don’t want to help as much as they don’t want to tarnish their image in the process of helping.   So as such, many women face the challenges of – abortions, marriages, spirituality, miscarriages, divorce, sexual health, rearing children, owning businesses, education, home ownership, and careers – mostly on their own.  Sure there are usually some small circles available that a woman may or may not feel comfortable sharing but there is no collective mindset or medium to share best practices and lessons learned to aid the progress of black women.
We need some more Harriet Tubmans that are willing to risk it all to go back to show other women the way.  But it seems the more popular sentiment is to say, “Oh, I made it, so good luck to you! You’re on your own.”  And I am fully aware that this problem is not exclusive to black women and can be easily carried over as a black people problem.  But I see more discord among black women than black men in professional arenas so much they will act like they don’t see the only other black woman working in the office in an effort to maintain their position and status. I’ve heard too many instances of black women avoiding having lunch as to not be seen as black women having to be viewed as the two black women that hang out together.  Well, don’t look know, but white people go to lunch together all the time and often get promoted one behind the other.  My point is there is great power in shared experiences and knowledge.  So don’t be so reluctant to share your story focusing on what people may think about you.  After being helped by your story, they will probably be grateful and focus less on the your trees, and more on your forest.

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Girl I Don’t Want Your Man: The Sisterhood Files, Part 1

Black women are often stigmatized with not being able to get along with each other.  In media, black women are often portrayed as aggressive, conniving, and manipulative- typically over a man.   Like most things, the overly perpetuated ideas streamed through media eventually will begin to hold some varying truth.
It didn’t used to always be this way.   Black women used belong to many social groups and circles compromised of only women that confided in one another.  They laughed together and loved one another.  Of course, they also gossiped, but would also give of themselves if the same person was in need.  Black women made a point to stick together because they understood then the power in their numbers.  They knew together they could bring about change in their communities, schools, and churches.  A few dared to even change the world.
But now you meet women who are constantly bragging that they don’t have any female friends.  According to these women, they prefer to hang with men to avoid the headache of friendships with women.  These headaches are usually associated with the aggressive, conniving, and manipulative behavior typically associated around some prized man.  In essence, the scarcity of the black men has diluted black sisterhood.  However, it should be seen as a weakness if a woman cannot maintain a healthy friendship with other women that are experiencing similar challenges and victories as their own.
Sans the fight for the prized man, it is really easy to enjoy the benefits that come with great female friends.  This sisterhood knows how to pick up the slack without words being exchanged- they simply understand.  These black women, instead of telling you, will automatically fix a loose a strap, or pull back stray strands of hair, or pick a piece of lent off your shirt to make sure you are looking your best.  These friendships are with the most resourceful people you’d ever know to ensure you successfully complete any project, to make sure you never overpay for any product or service, and to hold you accountable to your goals, dreams, and standards.  This sisterhood wants all included to not only look their best but be their best because they understand the power in their bond when everyone is one accord.  So this circle of black female friends took a vow to never fight over a man, they have bigger goals- they have a world to change.

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It’s Just Entertainment

Reality TV has failed black women.  I have always been opposed to watching pseudo-celebrities go about their daily and often mundane life.  However, the wave of women-focused reality shows just makes my heart sink.  The Not- So Real Housewives of Whatever City, Bad Girls Club, The Girls Next Door, so forth and so on, may be a plan to systematically perpetuate the destruction of black women.  Well, maybe that is a stretch, but maybe it is… accurate.
Beyond the obvious child-like drama {staged to keep ratings up}, the shows have no objective or theme.  Usually when a pilot show is presented to a network, the objective and what it contributes to TV have to be apparent and not a complete waste of a time slot.  These shows do, however, have a message – a tragic one.  The emergence of catty women reality shows has desensitized black women’s views on what is acceptable behavior in both public and private.  I am not saying that prior to shows of this variety, black women were never prone to curse each other out, be sneaky and manipulative but there was a clear distinction between what was right and wrong.  The line, systematically, has been blurred.
Reality TV teaches women desperation.  The lack of sisterhood to obtain the fleeting attention of a man is frightening.  I constantly see this perpetuated in society- that a woman’s worth is directly correlated to if she has a man.  A worth that should be sacrificed at all costs to garner a man and/or his status. Furthermore, the relationships between the women are at best strained, at its worst, toxic.  Loyalty, friendship, and sisterhood are concepts targeted to be destroyed.
So let’s recap this leaves black women minus sisterhood, loyalty, friendships, and the gravest of all, self worth.
But hey, I could be wrong. It could be just entertainment…

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