According to the world’s best selling anthology, in one of the first human relationship narratives a chasm was created. The story has been told a million and one times: God orders a couple not to eat of a tree, the tree looks tempting, a talking serpent convinces the woman that the tree is worth it, she eats from it, gives fruit to her husband, he eats, God expresses his wrath and, because of this, women have periods and the agriculture industry was born.
This is the first in a long line of a tales about the woman bringing down the man. I don’t need to state the ramifications of these stories; we see them played out everyday. But let’s just assume that this is all true. That women should be kept at a stiff-arm’s distance from the major decisions in a man’s life.
That would mean that a woman’s role should be little more than sexual. Objectified. Tooled out. Child-bearers only. Talked to, but kept out of big affairs. If I was crazy, I might think we live in a society that mirrors this script. Maybe I am crazy.
In our lives, we see scenes played out in front of us that celebrate the continuance of double standards between genders. Men are allowed to play, women are supposed to pray. Societal order is premised on privilege and blame. Throughout centuries, mass literature (the Bible included) has women taking a lot of L’s to assert the male dominance.
It’s 2010 and not a damn thing has changed. Men seem to get a certain thrill from voicing their grievances about the opposite sex. The same with women. Male superiority has history on its side. In a patriarchal framework, even the women are implicated. “Bitch,” “ho,” “trick”—general terms that males use to denigrate women—come from the mouths of women just as much in some quarters.
Cee-lo’s hit, “F— You,” has titillated many with its bluntness and excoriation of golddiggers. While I have a tendency to appreciate anything Cee-lo puts out, I found it odd that so many men (and a surprising amount of women) championed it so hard. Then I heard it.
It’s about a guy telling a golddigger sayonara. Ah . . . the golddigger. Surely they deserve whatever condemnation they get. Wait . . . what?
What one person sees as a golddigger, another sees as a woman who is subverting the system of patriarchy—similar to a Black person’s efforts to subvert White supremacy. Men routinely approach women with motives, and employ gifted gab, monetary resources, and time, to achieve their goals. There are women who recognize this and do two things to adjust: refuse to play the game, or play the game to “win.”
Kat Stacks, Karrine Steffans, and even Kimora Lee Simmons, are vilified as opportunistic instead of seen as three ladies using objectification in their favor. They played the game—the first two got burned—and used their experiences to grab some spoils of their own. This doesn’t make women blameless; it makes them reactionaries.
Oppression breeds reactionaries. For a society that’s already established (think first world country), it’s easy to develop revisionist history. Instead of recognizing the events leading up to a point, we focus on the point and criticize. I have no problem with anybody being critical of Superhead or Stacks or Nikki Minaj (who brilliantly exploits hypermasculinity for gain) as long as they are also critical of the system that birthed them.
Men prey on the naiveté of women. Women, as a result, outsmart them.
You say golddigger. I say cause and effect. Tomato. To-mah-toe.
Either way, the game is flawed. The fact of the double standard may lack logical value, but its perceptual value looms large—and as long as people want to justify their position, it’ll always be in the market. Just don’t ask me to buy it.