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Tuesday
Aug192008

ESSENCE Magazine Highlights Dorothy Dixon and Other Victims of Maternal Homicide

September Essence September Essence

Why do I own four copies of the September issue of ESSENCE magazine? No, not because Michelle Obama is on the cover, but because page 146 highlights the story of Dorothy Dixon, the mentally disabled 29-year-old pregnant Black woman that was tortured to death in a house of horrors. A case as gruesome as any I have heard of, yet absent from MSM. The article also highlights other Black women and GIRLS who have been brutally killed while pregnant such at Cheri Washington and Chauntae Jones .

I won't give away all of the details. Pop into Walgreens, CVS, 7-11 or wherever magazines are sold today and check it out. In the interest of full disclosure, I wrote it, but I would have mentioned it anyway because I don't know of another major media outlet, other than some Chicago newspapers that have even mentioned Dorothy Dixon's case.

Brutal Deaths

Writing for this blog is easy. Its like painting with a keyboard. My thoughts go from my brain to my keyboard and viola, there is a post, albeit, a post riddled with typos. Writing for someone else is excruciatingly difficult and the background for this story was rough because I had to read about very young teenage Black girls who were basically lambs led to slaughter. Trustingly going off with a man that they thought "loved" them.

They would go meet the father of their children, typically older or MUCH older men and boys and then they would be brutally ambushed. BRUTALLY.I'm talking baseball bats, knives, duct tape, being buried alive by the fathers of their children and in almost all of the cases, someone else knew about it and witnessed it, but didn't stop it. These men didn't just want to kill them, they wanted to punish these teenage Black girls. For what? What did they have to be angry about?

Endangered Black Male.

I point out the difference in response to Black women and girls being slaughtered and our community's never ending quest to preserve young Black men. CNN and ESSENCE did a poll about the quality of life for Black men vs. Black women over the past 10 years. Now after that hatchet job CNN has been doing on Black folks for the last month, I don't trust much that they put out about us now, but you might find it interesting that they are claiming that most Americans believe conditions have improved for Black women over the past 10 years while only 35% of Black folks believe conditions have improved for Black men. Concrete Loop. Meaning, Black men are suffering disproportionately to Black women. In what world? Have you looked at a music video recently? I can assure you if ten years is your benchmark, we're doing worse on at least one front.

We razz them about their obsession with Kim Porter and the editorial slant that being a single Black woman is a fate worse than death, but long before they ever knew my name, back in the days when I was a subscriber, ESSENCE covered crimes against Black women and girls. Therefore, I temporarily ended my ESSENCE embargo and purchased a few copies.

Other Tidbits from the Issue
In addition to the article, they have a lovely photo spread of the Obama family looking lovely. They may be obsessed with selling us on the suckiness of singlehood, but ESSENCE knows how to print beautiful photographs of Black folks. The issue also had some good recipes ( there is a chili on page 206 I am going to try) They mentioned that The Secret Lives of Bees is coming out October 17th featuring Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keyes, Dakota Fanning and Queen Latifah. There is an essay on the very last page by Iyanla Vanzant ( I know. I know). It caught my eye because of this featured quote
"Just because you can take the punch doesn't mean you have to stand in front of the fist."

Who decreed that our lives had to be HARD. That Black women had to endure? You're not proving how strong you are by staying in a ridiculous situation. Get out----while you still can.

Reader Comments (19)

I bought this months issue and was happy to see the articles that were placed inside.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

This morning I read on www.freep.com about the number of young girls in the Detroit area that are seeing older men and the consequences that come with those actions. I click on your website and you are giving us sharing the same message. I am glad to see that this is being brought out in the open. I am glad to see that you putting this out there. Thank you.
GSH

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbugsact

This is horrible and the victims are black women but unless we stop viewing these kinds of problems of us against them in this case black women against black men, we will never win, this is a problem to adress for the whole humanity and you certainly need black men to help so this kind of divisive and confrontational, micro mentality will not help. Black brothers are part of you, accept it and no sane person will not feel you. I certainly feel you but dont push me away by denegrating my concerns and rejecting me, together we can help each other.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSa'ad

I loved the article, Gina. Congrats on getting it.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentertasha212

Meaning, Black men are suffering disproportionately to Black women. In what world? Have you looked at a music video recently?

I'm not really understanding how music videos support your position. The men in those videos look just as ridiculous as the women, if not more.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRedshift

Great article. Here's my thing. I may be wrong but I feel black women were doing rather well, until these articles started showing up in Ebony magazine, that there was a "shortage" of black men. This was mainly because of the war in Vietnam but I think what it did was scare a lot of black women. Scare us into thinking that if we got too much education, if we made too much money, then we'd end up alone and childless...OMG, a fate worse than death these magazines said.

I'm glad my mother taught me that most of advertising was nothing but nonsense. The truth is that you're born alone and you die alone, that not being in a relationship is a heck of a lot better than being with a man who abuses you, and if a man feels upset because his woman is well educated, then he's the fool. Why? Because no one lives forever, I can't tell you how many families have lost their homes because when the husband died, the wife, who didn't know how to do anything, made bad financial decisions and lost the family home; or because she didn't want to be alone, took up with a man who wound up stealing from the poor widow, leaving her alone anyway.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEva

@redshift

They may both look ridiculous, but one is being subjugated and the other is not. One may be a bafoon, but one is a prop and a prostitute. one has power and the other does not. Ten years ago, we were all dancing at the same party and now one group, that would be BLACK women are not merely the party favors.

August 19, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

I'm sure you've heard by now but I am SMH that Najee Ali got sentenced to prison.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

Hi Gem. I'm not exactly sure where the subjugation is. To subjugate someone means to control their actions. To me, what you see in those videos are women out of control. They are not abiding by standards of ethics. They are doing what they want and those rappers are giving them a stage to do just that. All one has to do is go to Freaknick or any other similar beach party and you will find more than enough sistas out there doing exactly what you see the women in those videos doing.

Do you remember The Weather Girls and their video "It's Raining Men"? Were those men subjugated? How about the men in Salt n Peppers video "Shoop"? How about the men in MC Lyte's video "Ruff Neck"? All of those men were props. No one complained and I doubt that anyone would ever complain.

The fact of the matter is that men enjoy seeing half naked shapely women gyrate. Subjugation is not the purpose. Degradation is not the purpose. Would it be degrading for a man's wife to dance for him? The negative aspect is the fact of the crudeness and the lack of respect shown to the women in those videos by the men and by the women themselves, but those women are doing exactly what they choose to do and millions of other women who have the choice to do what they want to do choose not to do such videos whether they be hip hop videos or Girls Gone Wild.

Also, as far as who has the power in those videos, when you have a woman who, with a simple gyration, has guys throwing money at her and acting like silly boys, I would say that she actually has the power.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRedshift

"has guys throwing money at her and acting like silly boys, I would say that she actually has the power."

*gasp!* She has the 'power' because she's receiving money? With a "simple gyration"?

(1) Not to be cynical, but I am glad Essence is now writing about BW and their stuff. I hope its not a temporary attempt to attract readers so as to keep them reading or reverting back to whatever it was folks didn't like from long ago.

(2) This may be way subtle, but both BM and BW who engage in the type of gyration, non-positive name calling (hoes, b***, etc) are pulling each other down. And yes, I think they are both ridiculous. Okay, so one is transferring money to the other, money doesn't always equal power. The cost is too great here.

Essentially, that whole life style is derailing to the younger generation -regardless of how much "power" is perceived. Where is the power in objectification? Where is the power in teaching the next generation to simply gyrate their way through life for show and entertainment?

(Granted, I believe to a small degree the women does have the upper hand -but only in the sense that they can't "spill seed" only the men can. And so the men have a greater problem to deal with -but that's neither here nor there.)

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermiriam

A Faith why did Naje Ali get sentenced to prision

Um Redshift, why are you at this blog? You and I just will have to disagree. I bet you think prostitutes have power too right? Sex slaves have power.

The video vixens THINK thye have power, but have none. because at the end of the day, when you have twenty girls gyrating in the background, they are props. the messag eis that they are interchangeable.

Why am I even having this discussion. You don't get it. You won't get it and I am not wasting my time trying to convert the unconvertible.

You point to three videos in the history of music to try to say men were subjugated. No the men were objectified, but I have no doubt that they lacked any power.
Again, I am done wasting my time on people who don't get it.

Folks at some point you have to go with the troops you have, ignore bystanders or the confused, and focus on destroying the enemy.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

I bet you think prostitutes have power too right? Sex slaves have power.

At face value, a prostitute has the most power over herself and yes, the most power over her "transactions". This is excluding the presence of a pimp whereas she has turned power over to someone else. Other than that, she (or many times, "he") sets the guidlines for the encounter and determines what the john is provided and what the compensation is for services rendered. She (or he) is the one who determines how open he or she is to the john's suggestions. So yes, the prostitute has more power than the john.

A sex slave is something entirely different.

The video vixens THINK thye have power, but have none. because at the end of the day, when you have twenty girls gyrating in the background, they are props. the messag eis that they are interchangeable.

How does this equate to subjugation? We are all interchangeable. Every extra in a movie is a prop and interchangeable. Subjugation is a matter of someone being forced to do something; for someone to take control over someone else. If these women are in these videos by personal choice, there is no subjugation and no oppression.

The imagery of such videos suggests that the dancers have the power. They are the centers of attention. They are who the men are acting stupid over. That is the imagery. Of course, the women participating are being employed by someone and employers tend to have power over employees.

You point to three videos in the history of music to try to say men were subjugated. No the men were objectified, but I have no doubt that they lacked any power.

I never said that the men were subjugated nor complained about the videos. I pointing out the double standard. Yes, the men were objectified (as the women are), but can you give me some objective, ad hominem free reasoning why they didn't lack power (I believe that was what you were trying to say) whereas women doing the same thing do lack power? And there are more such videos. I remember Diana Ross's video "Muscles".

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRedshift

Hi Gem,

I skimmed through ESSENCE because the Obama family was on the cover and saw the article you wrote! Thank you very much for that.

August 20, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermekare

it will be copped today...

August 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDantresomi

I enjoy reading this month issue.

August 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

I know Im late but great article Gina.

August 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDROCK

I don't really like Essence much but because I attended their music festival this year, I received a year's subscription. I did, however, read that section you were talking about and it's a shame. A full feature story should have been done on that topic.

And regarding this:

(Gina) "I point out the difference in response to Black women and girls being slaughtered and our community’s never ending quest to preserve young Black men."

I'm on a particular message board, and back in July I began a topic called "Girls Gone Wild" in order to discuss the concerns that I have about our black and brown girls. The topic is less than 3 pages long. Now, I've seen many topics about our black and brown boys on that same message board and they usually wind up reaching the 10-page limit (give or take a page). It's a shame.

Yes, black and brown boys have challenges as well. Totally understood. But no one really cares about our girls. So you're correct in pointing out the difference in response to our boys as opposed to our girls.

Sigh.

August 29, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

Thank you so much for writing your piece for Essence, it was very informative and frustrating at the same time. I have been sharing the information with others.

September 5, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterh clark

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month - and this article is shining an improtant light on this national crisis.

There is a link between relationship abuse and unplanned pregnancy and STD/HIV infection that no one is talking about.

As many as two-thirds of adolescents who become pregnant were sexually or physically abused some time in their lives. Approximately 40 percent of black women report coercive sexual contact by the time they turn 18.

Women and teens are sharing their stories www.knowmoresaymore.org

October 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMark

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