Exhaustion

A British Literature professor assigned John Stuart Mill’s The Subjection of Women to her 9:00am class, and during her discussion wanted to know how they felt about his comparison of women in the Victorian era to slavery.

One student felt it was okay because he could see how the women were treated like slaves.  They weren’t given the proper education, they were abused, etc.

Another pointed out that it was accurate because mentally, women were unaware of a different life (as most slaves only knew life as slaves).  Subjection is still subjection whether it’s women or black people.

A third disagreed with the comparison.  He stated that they were two different social issues on two separate platforms, and they shouldn’t be compared.  He felt that Mill was only speaking for white women because there were no specifics.  He’s comparing this to slavery, but was he fighting for the black woman’s right to equality?

The professor and a few other students jumped to Mill’s defense.  He was a big advocate for the abolition of slavery and he did feel that everyone should be equal.  The only people he felt shouldn’t vote were those labeled “crazy.”  He was for everyone! Don’t take that away from him!

The professor asked another question: Where in the text does he make it seem as if the subjection of women is somewhat worse than slavery? The examples given were that “a slave woman could tell her master no, whereas a wife couldn’t tell her husband no,” and that even after slaves were beaten, their souls were still “intact.”  In the end, they still knew slavery was wrong and eventually tried to rebel.  However, women just believed this was how it should be.

No one pointed out that slave women could not tell their masters no.  They were property.  They had no right to say no.  If she said no, she’d be forced, so many said yes because they had no other option.  Although many slaves knew slavery was inhumane and escaped/attempted to escape, many of them were loyal to their masters.  It was all they knew.  Many of them didn’t live with their souls intact.  Many were so beaten that they just gave up, mentally, and accepted their fate for what it was.  No student pointed this out.  None defended it.  But they defended the hell out of the idea that Mill was only focused on white women and the idea of their equality.

 

The two black students in the class didn’t offer an opinion on the subject.  They were too tired. 

Angry Black Woman

I recently became a fan of The Walking Dead, and while watching Sunday’s episode, I realized that we still have not moved past the Angry Black Woman syndrome of TV show characters (and black women in general).

Maggie was distraught and trying to find the bus Glenn was in, and Sasha was angry that her focus wasn’t on getting to safety.  “We should be looking for food!” was a statement she angrily uttered to Bob, the third member of their tiny group.  Sasha’s brother, Tyreese, is also missing.  However, the character isn’t written to show any fear or hope that he may be alive or dead.  She does make statements towards the group being separated after the incident in the prison, but afterwards her only focus is her.

The first black woman of the series, Jacqui, didn’t make it past the first season.  She was one of the members of the first camp, that held Rick’s wife and son, and she had no family with her.  She wasn’t necessarily “angry” but she also wasn’t important.  When she and Andrea decided to die within the CDC, no one tried to save her.  T-Dog did react to her saying she preferred to die that way, but he put up no fight.  Dale fought with Andrea, and even threatened to stay with her to get her to leave.  Jacqui was disposable.

The 2nd (and most famous) black woman of the series is Michonne.  She arrives at the end of the 2nd season, and befriends Andrea.  She has a harsh and cold demeanor.  In the beginning she doesn’t talk much.  She’s stronger than most of the female characters of the show, and she hardly ever smiles.  We did see a different side of her in After, but it was quick (and also a dream).

These three black women, like most black women in movies and television series, are given an independent “I don’t need anyone” nature.  Although this can be viewed as a good thing, it does gives us a negative light.  Why are we never portrayed as loving, unless we are playing an elderly mother/grandmother? And even then, she has a harsh demeanor.Our characters are hardly complex, and there is a never a variety.  In a TV show with so many dynamic characters (Carol, the former wife of an abuse victim, has been shown as loving, hectic, violent, and many other ways) and different story lines, why have there only been three black women?  And why do they share the same personality?

Even Grey’s Anatomy, a show praised for it’s mixed cast, uses the Angry Black Woman.  Bailey, one of my favorites, was nicknamed The Nazi at the show’s start.  She was angry and every surgeon, including her superiors, feared her.  The Chief of Surgery’s wife (played by Loretta Divine, who is wonderful), was an angry woman.  Mind you, her husband had had an affair with a coworker, and stayed with him through that and his alcohol addiction.  But, she was still shown to be a harsh woman on many occasions.

The idea of Angry Black Women is a stereotype given to real live black women, too.  Comedians often tell jokes about not wanting to go to a black woman in customer service.  As someone that works in customer service, I can see the looks on people’s faces when they realize I’m the only person available to help them. There are bad customer service representatives of every race, but why is that stereotype solely given to us?

We never get to foolishly fall in love.  Our romantic comedies revolve around a man calming down a mean and fiercely independent woman.  We never get to cry after a lover (such as Maggie cried over Glenn), but we struggle as single mothers that may have an addiction.   We aren’t viewed as soft beings. We’re cold, we’re irritated, and the idea of someone speaking to us causes eye rolls.  Yes, this does happen, but after awhile, one gets tired of being viewed this way.  Instead of Pretty Woman, we get Deliver Us from Eva, and instead of trying to search for our last remaining family member or mourning his (possible) death, we bitch and whine about the other girl searching for her fiance.

 

 

25 Facts About Me

I turned 25 8 days ago, so here are 25 facts about me:

  1. My name is pronounced Kuh-tee-suh (or Kuh-tee-zuh).  I don’t know the meaning, but I do know it’s in a book somewhere and I’m not the only one.
  2. I learned to read at 3.  Books are my soul mates.  <3
  3. I try to find the good in everyone.
  4. I walk really fast and slow walkers irk me.
  5. I am always early, at least by 20 minutes.  If I’m late, something is wrong.
  6. I’ve had diabetes for 14.5 years, I’ve been abused, and I suffer from depression and anxiety.  I’m at the point of fixing myself on my own right now.
  7. I don’t drink.  I never have, and don’t plan to.
  8. Caffeine is my vice (coffee and diet dr. pepper)
  9. I prefer to stay at home.
  10. I don’t like or understand unappreciative people.
  11. If you want to know my personality, my tumblr is the best place to look.
  12. I have 8 piercings.
  13. I like big hooped earrings and big purses.
  14. I wish I were taller.
  15. If gas wasn’t so expensive (or if I had money to spare), I’d drive around for hours.
  16. It’s difficult for me to approach people.  If I had to depend on myself to make friends, I wouldn’t have any.
  17. I love to make everyone else happy.
  18. I prefer for people to not buy me gifts.  No one listens.
  19. I’m extremely close to my parents and younger sister.
  20. I have a fear of disappointing people.
  21. I always put myself last.
  22. I realize that sometimes, for my benefit, I may need to be a bit selfish, but it’s not in my nature.
  23. 70 degrees + cloudy (but no chance of rain) = my favorite kind of day.
  24. Coloring helps me relax.
  25. My life revolves around sports.  Watching it has helped me get through many tough points of my life, including right now.

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