This piece is written by Natalia Eugene, one of Spicy‘s Guest Contributors. Natalia is a pre-med student from Long Island, NY who’s the child of Haitian immigrants. She grew up in a predominantly white area and went to a PWI for undergrad. Her experiences have only fostered an awareness and desire to support and protect the “other”. She plans on going to an HBCU medical college in the fall in hopes of helping vulnerable populations. She has also published a book titled Yikes: Lessons From My Past, of which the excerpt below is from.
I‘ve often mulled over what exactly it means to be a “feminist”. Of course, there is a fundamental definition: someone who believes in the equality of the sexes (Shout out to Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and her speech/book, “We Should All Be Feminists”). In the context of my book, that means that all double standards get thrown out of the window. For example, to me, the term “hoe” is a gender-neutral term and it doesn’t necessarily have a negative connotation. A man can like messing with a lot of women, sometimes being with multiple women at the same time, and a woman can like messing with a lot of men, sometimes with multiple at the same time. To me, both could be considered “hoes.” A guy can have sex with two girls and it’s a “normal” threesome, but if a girl is with two guys, it’s a “devil’s threesome”. Just cause men want to justify the blatant fact that the dick-to-pussy ratio is now “off-balance”, they have to make it taboo. More so, if more than two guys are involved the girl is now getting a train ran on her—which is a term exclusive to multiple guys and one girl. Call it what it is: an orgy. My guy, you’re in a room with a bunch of other dicks out, and it’s okay.
Double standards to me have always been bullshit. I think when you grow up as a young girl you end up thinking that embracing your sexuality is only for the boys. Often, women are raised to believe that we need to be chaste in order to be respected by men, that we shouldn’t explore our sensuality, that we shouldn’t ask questions, and that we should let men take the lead. But it’s all socially constructed crap. It’s not up to you to convince someone to respect you. I’ve found my life to be easiest when I’ve thrown all patriarchal tenets out of the way, doing what I want and acting with my heart, my mind and my libido. If your chastity is something you hold dear to you, more power to you—it’s just as hard to want to maintain virginity in a world that tells you to be “pure” but not a “prude”. However, never let a man dictate what your sexuality means. Never let another woman label you. Never allow anyone to bring you down for embracing something natural to you.
I think the connotation that comes with being labeled a hoe is dependent on the person receiving the label. I’ve always seen sexuality as something to embrace. If you’re a hoe, wear the label proudly, and honestly, the word can’t hurt you. Stand in your truth and realize that it’s not a bad thing. In my opinion, it’s worse to lie to yourself. There’s nothing worse than a hoe, who won’t admit she’s a hoe but calls other women hoes. Being labeled a hoe is only a bad thing if you’re out and about trying to claim a life of sexless antics. It’s also a bad thing if you actively and consistently create messy situations and hurt people in your wake, just because you can. I may favor the protection but actively hurting people is wrong, regardless of gender.
If anything can be taken away from this section on feminism — nah, if anything can be taken away from this entire book — it’s that you need to support your fellow woman. We live in a world where you men are cutting women down with hate-speech and controlling rhetoric. We live in a world where women are taught to compete for the affection of a man as well as his possession of us. This is why it always breaks my heart to see women doing the job, often assumed by men, of tearing women down. Please never make a woman feel as though she is less than because of her sexuality. Never think that you’re holier than she due to your actions. Never try to claim that you’re “not like other girls” or slut-shame in order to vie for the approval of a man.
Most importantly, if you two end up with the same man, for the love of [insert religious figure here], please go after the man who lied and not one another.
Image courtesy of Nikki Freyermuth