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ESSENCE's "New Normal" ain't "Normal"--Part III of Why You Should Burn the June 2009 Issue of ESSENCE magazine

This is the last in our three part series "Why You Should Burn the June 2009 Issue of ESSENCE magazine". (Read Part I and Part II)

I've repeatedly stated that there is a war on Black women; a battle to devour us mind, body and soul for the sole purpose of profit and power. We are in a sense to some people a "consumable" good. our purpose, as they see it, is to make THEIR lives better and in our community, our "leadership" organizations hand out lifetime achievement awards to those who have perfected the art of devouring Black women and girls. But how do you convince a group of sentient beings to allow themselves to survive for the sole purpose of being consumed? Psychological warfare.

Our bodies are "preserved" for future consumption, yet we're so brainwashed we dare not object to someone attaching themselves to our aortas and draining the life from us over time. In a sense, as I've stated from the very beginning, we have psychological warheads aimed at our minds, bodies, and souls.

If you believe that instruments of mass media have the ability to be just as destructive as live ordinance, then the June 2009 issue of ESSENCE magazine is a daisy cutter. You should burn the June 2009 issue of ESSENCE magazine because the theme of the issue isn't SEX, the theme of the issue is that Black women are powerless. Its about convincing you that your exploitation and degradation is the "new normal."

The New Normal

We've already pointed out the OBVIOUS malice and contempt for their audience by suggesting that Black women go trolling for dates in strip clubs because, to quote the article's author:
That’s a lot more action than they’ve had in a while.Charrea Jackson

We've called them out for publishing the self-serving rant of a violent criminal who blames Black women for his intentional violent acts against the, but perhaps the most SINISTER ( no, I am not being my usual hyperbolic self) article in the entire issue is The Body Shop on page 110.

First of all you should know that "The Body Shop" is touted in the table of contents and on the cover of the magazine as a guide to make Black men scream your name. What it ends up being is anti-Black woman propaganda of the worst sort because its destructive impact is cloaked in the respectability of "helping Black women.' It takes the most dysfunctionally needy Black women you can find and the most oxygen-deprived Black men alive and mixes it all together with a  side of a couple of quotes from Tracey D. Sharpley-Whiting, Phd and voila, we have a "new normal." The article is written by Demetria L. Lucas.

It included unscientific studies about the prevailing view of African American men.
We polled twenty and thirty something Black men to see what they were expecting in the bedroom and heard similar responses.

She doesn't mention the sample size or whether they even left ESSENCE headquarters to find Black men. She  quotes Aaron, a 31 year old idiot who should go play on a busy freeway blindfolded during rush hour. Who offers this advice expectation to women:
"She can study a couple of pornography films on her own and try to learn some skills via imitation." [as opposed to him telling her what he wants]

We are then introduced to Maxwell, 33,  who is an absolute waste of organic matter.  Maxwell, according to the author is outraged at the idea that a woman  may not perform oral sex to his satisfaction and then throws this tidbit out there:
"A woman should be committed to the act. That's the only way she's going from wifey to wife"

As if you are some great prize Maxwell. No woman should EVER consider marrying this man. He will abuse you. He's got narcissistic abuser written all over him. Demetria Lucas then goes trolling for additional opinions from self-serving Black men to support her thesis.

She  introduces us to the wisdom of a FAILED magazine editor, Jermaine Hall. Hall was was so terrible at his job- his magazine no longer exists. That is likely the case because he appears to be an idiot. Why else would he publicly declare that Jessica Rabbit, a White cartoon character was the prototype for his magazine's cover models. I guess he never heard of Sara Baartman.

Oh and we can't leave out 31 year old Brandon:
I won't be serious with any woman if I feel she has a flat butt.

I mean Black men should be more outraged than Black women about this article. She went and found the most ignorant Black men she could find to offer their opinion.  The article exclusively relies on the opinions of men who no woman, Black or otherwise, should maintain any sort of relationship.
Mix that with the prevalence of video models with protruding breasts and gigantic backsides who are redefining Black beauty standards and , ladies we may have a really big problem Demetria L. Lucas, Page 111

Um who took the national survey of Black America to declare this to be so? If you only talk to KING magazine readers, then are you RE-defining Black beauty OR promoting the previously held viewpoint and representing it as a new paradigm?

If you do an article about the housing crisis and you only interview sub prime lenders and a representative from the National Association of Realtors, don't be surprised if the article ends up being anti-consumer.

The article also features the stories of two Black women and "one woman of color". The first woman introduced, "Brown" is taking a sex education class and practicing fellatio on a banana. She does so because one of her boyfriends in her 20s was verbally abusive and told her "Your head game is not on point." ESSENCE could have at least brought back Dr. Gwendolyn Golsby Grant to tell readers that this was a form of verbal abuse. this manchild is responsible for his own needs and this statement was likely the result of his own sexual insecurity and immaturity.

But instead, Lucas ends the story with a quote from the woman indicating that now that she went to sex ed class, she's snagged a new man. . . who will likely go on to abuse her because of the cloud of desperation floating about her.  Lucas quips she" has found self-acceptance by kissing, ahem, bananas." That's not my take.  Brown's entire self worth is tied up in the whims of men. If this man (the current boyfriend )tells her he's unhappy, then she's back to feeling worthless and unacceptable again.

We then are introduced to Maldanado who is of unspecified ethnic origin. It matters only because Lucas pointed that out. Maldanado is engaged in self mutilation, but Lucase doesn't call it that. Maldonado is getting  illegal injections of foreign matter into her buttocks. Maldonado is doing so to look more like the women in music videos because "Now, that's what ethnic men like." Then Lucas comes back around to confirm Maldonado's rant with references to unspecified studies and repeats that there is a new Black beauty standard. According to who? the rantings of a woman getting injections in her rear end in a strip mall next to a KFC?

Last we have a married woman who is taking pole dancing classes because she saw it on Oprah, so that makes it "normal." I'll stop there, but in summary,under ESSENCE's new normal

  • Black women are objects

  • Our sole purpose in life is to cater to Black men

  • Even if those men are abusive

  • Even if those men are idiotic

  • Even if those men are sexually incompetent

  • Even if those men should go play on a busy highway blindfolded during rush hour.

Under ESSENCE's "new normal," the definition of what makes a woman marriage material is now defined by pornography producers, failed magazine publishers, and women with a demonstrable lack of common sense and self- esteem.

There was once a "normal" that said that the sun rotated around the earth. In fact they burned people alive for saying otherwise. There was once a "normal" that said that if you said too far to the west, you'll fall right off the side of the ocean because the earth is flat. There was once a normal that said it was legal in this country to own other human beings. There was once a "normal" that said that women should not have the right to vote. There was once a normal that said Black people had to sit at the back of the bus, enter through the back door, drink at the Black water fountain, stay at the Black hotel, attend the sorely underfunded Black school, and hold Black jobs. So its important to speak out when folks are attempting to impose new normals the "normal" might not be in society's best interest.

Sanctimony as a Substitute for Doing Something

So why do a three part series on a magazine that none of my readers actually read? Because foolishness must be called out. Foolishness cannot be ignored or it will spread like Desmond Hatchett's little swimmers. This writer is attempting to impose a new paradigm on Black women that is not in out best interests and is doing so  based on questionable reasoning and that should be confronted.

I found those of you who touted the fact that YOU stopped reading ESSENCE magazine X years ago particularly tiring because this isn't about YOU. YOU get it. YOU have some semblance of media literacy. YOU instantly recognized that Anonymous, who crowed about intentionally infecting Black women with Herpes, was a violent criminal. YOU instantly recognized that suggesting women head the strip clubs was complete and utter foolishness. You get it, but the blog isn't called What About You or What About Me.

The response to some of you points to why at times our community appears to be in a death spiral of chicanery and foolishness. Those who have destructive values,  like those quoted in this article, boldly put their values on display. They are proud of their values. They set their values to music. Make movies about their values, publish magazine's touting their values. While Black folks who know better sit back and do nothing more than say "Well IIIIII am not engaged in foolishness!" as if that is enough.

You're going to be okay. I'm going to be okay. This isn't about you or me! You assume that because you're okay, your daughters will be okay. As if the world doesn't need to devour them in order to survive. As if your personal value system is going to be a hedge around future generations of Black women and girls, while the Regime is waging war for their minds bodies and souls with the help of magazines like this June issue. If you can't do anything else, you ought to at least be able to open up your mouth and speak and say "Hey this is some foolishness!"

For those apologizing and "rationalizing" by saying ESSENCE is just like Cosmo or Glamour, I disagree. Neither one of those magazines, as far as I know, hosts a young women's leadership conference or a conference about Women Shaping the World. In other words, they know better than this MESS!

I'm done!

Previous Posts

Bedroom Bioterrorism :Why You Should Burn the June 2009 Issue of ESSENCE Part II

ESSENCE Writer Responds-Strip Club Dating is the Best Black Women Can Hope For

Why You Should BURN the June 2009 Issue of ESSENCE Magzine Part 1

Reader Comments (46)

Well, Chris Rock compared the African-American experience to being a adopted by a rich uncle who molested you. I guess we can say the same for Essence.

If you don't have a strong grip of who you are, I can see many women compromising themselves to fit in---and we know the bad side of "fitting in" or "assimilation."

When I read some of the demeaning articles, I felt like I was reading "Hollywood Diaries" of insecure women who need to compete to "keep a man" who will eventually divorce them. Paying for sex lessons---that's a common theme in "celebrity fiction," and if it takes that much work---outside of mama and my own sisters--then I'm out.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSparkD

I haven't subscribed to Essence for years and don't buy the magazine. Because of your blog though, I did stop by my local magazine rack to read through the article... just so I could have a frame of reference for your upcoming piece.

Wow... words cannot describe how degrading "The Body Shop" was, but you did a great job of breaking it down.

There was another article I found... a Money Makeover piece... in which a 31-year-old woman had to get her credit back on track after co-signing on a car, buying wedding rings (with an S) and financially providing for the man she married, who happened to be seven years younger. They are no longer together (hmmm, wonder why), and she has to clean up her financial mess.

So even in the financial section, we get yet another example of black female relationship dysfunction.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisa99

Sister, you are definitely on point. I am making a presentation this weekend on the dangers of Gardasil, the new drug that is suppose to "prevent" cervical cancer at a Sisters' Circle meeting this weekend. We will be discussing many topics relating to African women and our bodies, etc., and I will definitely mention your blogspot and your articles on Essence magazine.

And you comment, "if you do an article about the housing crisis and you only interview sub prime lenders and a representative from the National Association of Realtors, don’t be surprised if the article ends up being anti-consumer." THAT WAS PRICELESS! Thanks for this as well. :) :)

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRevMamaAfrika

Now I know why I stopped reading Essence. That magazine stopped working for me years ago. I'd rather read Glamor.

I'm not surprised about this. Essence is only following what the mainstream media is doing to women of all races, making women feel like if you don't have a man, you'll die a lonely spinster. Just look at how the British press eviscerated Susan Boyle for having the "nerve" to be unattractive and unmarried at "her age." I didn't even know people used the word "spinster" anymore but I guess I was wrong.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEva

I am almost afraid to ask this question.


While I certainly understand about 99.44% of the article and the series and share the sentiments (as best as a man can, that is) I am wondering if I should tell my wife to cancel her exotic dancing classes. Is there something inherently demeaning about a spouse taking such classes?

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterInkognegro


I'm not married, so take this for what it's worth. :)

I don't have a problem with the idea of exotic dancing classes if it's what a woman truly wants to do for herself and her partner (especially a husband). I have considered classes myself (for my own interest), but the price was a bit high.

I think the problem happens when women feel that they MUST do these things to keep their partners interested or even worse, to get a partner in the first place. If a woman takes pole dance classes because she feels she has to "keep" her man from going to the strip club or keep him from straying (the ole' "what one woman won't do, another one will" idea), then that's a problem.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlisa99

The damn magazine should just go back to calling all black women Hottentot! I'm single and could care less if I had a man in my life, I'm very fulfilled within myself and if I have to be his whore to go from wifey to wife, then I'll be alone with my cats (yes all three of them and they provide better companionship than most humans).

News Flash! Relationships and Marriage aren't the carrots in front of the horse that they all pumped up to be!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwannatwinkie

There's nothing demeaning about a woman taking an exotic dancing class or learning how to give a Happy Man if it is something that SHE ENJOYS DOING. When it enters the realm of things you do to keep a man, then it becomes prostitution, or worse.

I can almost guarantee there are no articles in any men's magazines telling them how to give good oral pleasure (and I can tell you, plenty of men need step-by-step instructions).

Sex is supposed to be about RELATIONSHIPS. Pleasing your partner and being pleased because it's what you want to do. This notion of having to enter some sexual Olympic competition to keep a man is demeaning and degrading.

Gina, I would almost suggest videotaping an Essence burning and putting it on YouTube, except we'd actually have to buy the magazine. How about doing a big mock-up of the cover and burning it instead?

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

"Gina, I would almost suggest videotaping an Essence burning and putting it on YouTube, except we’d actually have to buy the magazine. How about doing a big mock-up of the cover and burning it instead?"

@roslyn Okay!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergem2001

She can study a couple of pornography films on her own and try to learn some skills via imitation

OMG, who is this guy really? 15 years old? Everyone knows porn is not "real sex".

People are noticing the negative turn Essence has taken. I told someone how much Essence sucked and she told me she like the clothes, which I know she is not going to buy

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

I collect magazines and have several Essence mags from the 70's and 80's. In order to really see how far Essence has fallen just find and read a copy of Essence from the 80's. Then Essence seemed to really be concerned about its readership.

Now in the era of White ownership of Black media it's not surprising that Essence is the way it is. Time, inc is only interested in the ad dollars Essence can generate.

The Black women who work at Essence are just working on the plantation and it appears that a paycheck is the most important thing to them.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonie

I don't read Essence. I just don't.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKitty

I might add, at the risk of sounding paranoid, I think that the current state of Essence, it's writing, as well as the assault on black women worldwide from the media and black males is setting us up for some widespread destruction. There is just no reason for such venom being aimed at us.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKitty

1. Actually both glamour and Cosmo hold such conferences/scholarships.

2. While I have issue with the Body Shop article...hence the post that's currently sitting in my draft box - u do take things to the extreme...as usual.

3. @Roslyn - actually there are articles in Men's magazines on how - ahem - please the ladies.

4. Some (Most) of the men interviewed are arguably shallow, but the idea that they are women beater in the making is a stretch to say the least...a bit narcistic and asholish perhaps - but the idea that they are going to knock someone's head in...not so much.

As Roslyn said - doing things because that's what you wnat to do - fine - doing them to get, keep, marry a man - not EVER a good idea.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Do like the witches did when one would betray the coven, tie the magazine up to a wood post and make a circle of fire around it, with torches in our hands!!!!
Unfortunately, I have the June 2009 issue!!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLD


Porn is good for tips...trying things that u may have never thought of trying...once again...if that's what a person wants NOT 'cause some dude told her to do so.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

@jj where did the post mention bashing someone in the head??????

Abuse can be verbal and emotional. As usual you appear transfixed on minimizing legitimate concerns by throwing out exceptions and diversions ;)

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commentergem2001


U as usual take everything so literal. And there are no "exceptions and diversions" in what I said.

There isn't much about what the men said that would suggest they would be abusive...just your usual over the topness when dealing with such issues...they're shallow as*holes perhaps but that doesn't equate to "abuser."

Other than that we actually argee:-)

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

Instead of increasing our carbon footprint by burning Messence, let's come up with some substantive, positive online and print pubs to share and promote. I like the American Legacy Magazines (although it's been a minute since I subscribed--I'll correct that this week:-) http://www.americanlegacymag.com/
I hear great things about New Moon (girls mag): http://www.newmoon.com/magazine/ Muslim Girl (in hiatus from print, but says they'll make a comeback)http://www.muslimgirlworld.com/
There's also Ms., Bitch, Bust, Off Our Backs & the Feministing.com blog- not by/aimed at black women, but interesting alternatives to the mainstream mag choices. There must be more? Everyone share a print/online women's mag worth checking out! Just use Messence to line your birdcages or for collages, paper maiche, packing paper, etc. Recycle, Reuse, Repurpose!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNathalie

The article was a trend piece. It touted out early on what was going on, the spike in plastic surgery, the TV shows with women acting crazy, etc. The magazine said it was "a problem" as you quoted in your post. And there were experts all over the pece that said this was going on and they had seen women acting crazy. Women ARE taking pole classes, getting injections, taking oral classes. And there are men who think like the men quoted in the article. Should ESSENCE not report on that? Same thing about the guy with herpes. Good magazines report what is going on in the community. A magazine reports the news and men who think stupid and women who buy into the nonsense is news. So is a man who spreads herpes. Did you know about any of this before you read the stories? I didn't.

The writer's blog is on the contrib page. You could really go ask her what she thought instead of grandly speculating here. Your posts are usually on point, except when it comes to Essence. Did they do you wrong?

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdiane

What an uproar would it be if Christian author wrote in Essence a woman's standard from multiple sources in the bible?

I've had a man tell me that he doesn't want a woman to pass a "screwing olympics" to get him, and that's exactly what this Essence article appears to want. It's very "Hollywood."

Women better know what they want.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSparkD


If you believe that instruments of mass media have the ability to be just as destructive as live ordinance, then the June 2009 issue of ESSENCE magazine is a daisy cutter. You should burn the June 2009 issue of ESSENCE magazine because the theme of the issue isn’t SEX, the theme of the issue is that Black women are powerless. Its about convincing you that your exploitation and degradation is the “new normal.”

My reply:

I stopped buying women's magazines a long time ago, and Essence is only reflecting what a good proportion of them tend to do, and that is tell women that there is always something wrong with them. How else will they get people to buy the magazines and patronize their advertisers?

Women are insecure because the old traditional rules have been lost. Traditionally, men have had to work overtime to get women's attention and keep their interest. But instead, women have begun to work overtime to meet men's needs, because they are told they are living in a world of lack: not enough men, not enough good brothers, so how else will they either get one or keep the one they have? And of course, if they don't have one, it is their fault, and everyone is lined up to tell them so, from the Essence staff people, their advertisers, to the men who hope to get over by telling black women to jump through hoops and do contortions! These magazines want black women to be on an endless cycle of self-doubt, where they experience lack of confidence and are thus vulnerable to whatever others want of them.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterpioneervalleywoman

The *70% SINGLE* mantra that black women have been hootin' and hollerin' over for the past decade has led to some of this. The talk show appearances, the CNN specials, the countless articles on black women being unmarried has led to this DESPERATE and PATHETIC attempt at salvaging romantic relationships between black men and black women.

Sorry, but I'm going to have to put some of the blame for this on black women. Since so many sisters are literally obsessed with black men and have allowed the toxic nature of most black relationships to persist - they are now forced to suck and f*ck their way to a man's heart.

Why? Because *we* have been all over the place whining about how the brothers don't want us blah blah blah that even Ray Charles can see how desperate the average black woman is.

Black women get so gassed when a black man of means simply IMPREGNATES a black woman (the "at least she's black" chorus!). It doesn't matter how he treats her or how he presents himself - just that she is BLACK. This is truly how far we have fallen.

Not to mention that for every woman on this blog who denounces this mess there is some 15, 25, 35 or even 45 year old woman on youtube or in pictures trying to prove that she can indeed win GOLD at the sex olympics!

Essence is trash but not because of this article. It's trash because it only cares about ad dollars and seems to suffer from bi-polar disorder.

Aren't black women contracting HIV in record numbers? Shouldn't we be focusing on keeping some legs closed and mouths shut? Not to get all puritanical but I think a large portion of black women need to just stop having sex altogether. If they don't know how to insist on testing and condoms and REAL relationships then they need to just stop altogether. Seriously, because men (of all races) are going to continue to take advantage of this large pool of low self-esteem having black women.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterHollywood Blackout

It was an investigative story. First page of the article says "Demetria L. Lucas investigates..." It's a report about what some people are doing, how some people think. No where did it say, "all women who read Essence, go do this."

I don't think this story was the "Make Him Say Your Name" that the cover referred to. I don't know what that story was.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterShannon

That misogynistic article would best service society as toilet Paper! Essence has crossed the moral event horizon with this 2009 edition! Glad I don't watch or read garbage that devalues black women!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLena

I truly believe sexual empowerment is a good thing. There is nothing empowering about letting a man "train" you to please him.

I mean really.

I have to agree with a couple of the ladies posting, if you want to learn to work a pole, do it for you, not some dude.

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMonica

I have read your entire " burn" series, and not only did I enjoy these posts, I found some of your language very funny! I also addressed issue #2 in a FB note. I had a wee bit of a problem with the "The Body Shop" but not for the reasons you stated here. I think I just might blog about it!

June 3, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlola gets

I want to share with you my letter to the editor that I wrote to Essence. I am so glad that I am not the only one who was disgusted by the articles in the June 09 issue. Here it goes:

I am writing this letter in response to two articles that I read in the June 2009 issue of Essence. The articles about "The ten best places to find black men" and the other one about "black women changing their bodies to catch and keep black men" made my stomach turn. I have long considered Essence a positive and relevant source of information for sisters, but I am beginning to reconsider that notion. In this day and age, I think it is time for Essence to change the advice they are giving black women on love. Why do you continue to pigeon-hole black women into believing that the only acceptable mate is a black man? The only reason that many black women think there is a shortage of men is because of the mindset that "black women must be with black men." Why is that? It seems to me that we need to take a lesson from sisters of other races. White, Asian, Latina, and women of other cultures have no problem opening their dating pool beyond their culture. Why are we so behind the times? Perhaps, because sisters are listening to the tired advice and constant propaganda in your magazine about the need to be the picture perfect "black family". In fact, I find it disturbing that in the article "Body", the author acknowledges that black women are bending over backwards to please black men, but does not offer any sound advice. The author seems to think the logical way to counteract the so-called "shortage of black men" is to get lessons on fellatio and install a pole in the middle of the living room. Look, there is nothing wrong with getting your freak on, but this response leaves the reader feeling powerless. These two articles seem to imply that a black woman must pull out all the stops if she wants to catch that 'black man that everybody wants.' I am so tired of hearing and reading about what black women need to do to get a black man. Instead, your magazine should be working to counteract the "shortage" mindset by encouraging black women to open their horizons when it comes to choosing a mate. Instead of your magazine always touting the benefits of "chocolate only" relationships, perhaps you can a temper that advice by acknowledging that exploring "neopolitan flavors" can make us feel less "deprived." If we as black women see every man as a potential mate, then we will develop a mindset of "abundance". When black women begin to subscribe to the theory of "abundance" instead of "shortage", they will not feel that they have lower their standards to find love. Black women need to realize that we are a hot commodity and men need to figure out what to do to "catch and keep" us! And not just black men, all men. Essence, if you are about empowering black women, empower them to have the courage to love without limits. Not the occasional article about interracial dating, but a constant reminder letting black women know and understand that they have options too, just like the brothers and others...

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterindigoarcher

I don't plan on reading Essence magazine until they get their act together.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLa Belle Femme

I'm tired of this. Black women need a feminist agenda that critically articulates our issues. We have to identify logical allies in other communities and form coalitions with other feminist organizations to stop this, NOW. After that ridiculous and hurtful Don Imus debacle, it become apparently clear to me that the only allies black women will ever have are each other and those they have the courage to cultivate.

Black women catch the brunt of misogyny is this country, but women the WORLD over are catching hell. From 40 something yr old white women demeaning and mutilating themselves with ridiculous breast implants and collagen injections, to girls MURDERED on the streets of Afghanistan for the audacity of pursuing an EDUCATION. IT IS ALL A VARIATION ON THE SAME ABUSIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE THEME…WOMEN ARE WORTHLESS, DISPOSAL, AND LESS THAN HUMAN.

We ignore, fight and undermine each other and other groups of women at our own peril. I am SO SICK of absorbing the self-hate of women who misdirect their self-loathing in my direction. Until we understand that we have to be MILITANTLY RADICAL in our love of self and each other, we will continue to be eaten alive. Because there are not enough of us to fight this fight without allies.

And what’s worse is OUR DAUGHTERS, unlike us, are not being slowly compromised to accept the “NEW NORMAL”…this IS their NORMAL. Watching their mothers, sisters, and almost every woman in the public sphere be held up for ridicule, compromised in exchange for male affection and degraded purely for male pleasure, has resulted in “Rainbow Parties” (oral sex orgies), rampant sexual and physical abuse, and a sick desire to be the next “Miss New York”, ‘video prop’ or desperate “Bachelorette”. Who among us can survive any of this? Again, we stay silent and isolated as a group to our own detriment and OUR DAUGHTERS' destruction.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

What do you expect from a magazine that has Kim Porter (baby momma/concubine) and Sean Combs, P Diddy, Puffy (whatever his name is) as the model for love??? Yeah, you are good enough to lay up with and have several babies but you are not good enough to be my wife.

Essence’s Editor and Chief should be ashamed of herself. She should apologize to all black women for approving the tasteless content contained in this issue. I can’t believe I wasted good money on this issue.

Since when has stripping become a noble profession? I am not going to swing my 41 year old big azz on a pole like I am some monkey. Black people should run from poles. Didn’t enough of our ancestors hang from poles?? Has anyone ever heard of the term “lynching”? Google it. Perhaps that will keep some black women off those damn poles. SMH

T-pain’s moma stated that T-Pain has a pole in his house and he invites strippers to perform for him and his dumb-azz, low self esteem azz wife brings bags of money to him to give to the strippers. WTF?? If you don’t believe, check out the S2S website.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterattorneymom

I am sorry. I meant to write Editor in Chief, not Editor and Chief.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterattorneymom

JJ said: 3. @Roslyn - actually there are articles in Men’s magazines on how - ahem - please the ladies.

I'm sure they are, but I doubt they're touted as a means of getting or keeping a woman. From what I've seen of men's magazines they consider pleasing women from the standpoint of a man getting what HE wants.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRoslyn Holcomb

@Roslyn: You ain't never lied. That's one of the tricks I noticed while I was still dating. Some guys (of all races) are very, very eager to give you oral pleasure because they know that you'll feel obligated enough to reciprocate. That stuff is calculated, it's not about getting a woman to stay in a relationship with them. It's about getting a BJ.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterZooPath

I am about to delete my membership in the Essence Community. I will still read some of Essence. com because that is how I know what foolishness they are publishing and can get the word out. Remember they are answering to the powers that be and have to print what they think black people want to read. Similar to the VH-1 powers (Viacom) not wanting to depict positive images of black women in deference to the hoochie type characters that we oh so want to emulate. I have had it. I will direct all my friends there to this post. When black women (majority of Essence readers) stop subscribing and purchasing, then they may get the message. Keep up the good work Gina, but this is indeed a sad topic.

@Nathalie, I love "Messence" That is classic. I also love "American Legacy Magazine" too. That is class. But I would also like to see a contemporary magazine that represents more average black women who can relate to its content without being told that we're worthless mules or objects of and for black men's pleasure.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLorraine

She doesn’t mention the sample size or whether they even left ESSENCE headquarters to find Black men

lol. Indeed.

Terrific post and MUCH needed. In the Essence world ,black women are to step BACK , expect less and jump though hoops, all so black men can feel better about themselves. Thank you for calling it out.

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnne

How do you all feel about S2S magazine?

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterattorneymom

It's interesting how threatened some of the employees of the now white-owned Essence feel simply by us having this conversation. There hasn't even been a call for a boycott. A lot of us responding don't even have subscriptions anymore. I think we need to explore our options though esp since magazine ad revenue is down across the board and many good ones that I like have folded. I have no idea why Angela Murray would allow such utter crap to be approved but the buck stops with her. Oddly enough it's the 10th anniversary of Honey magazine that was to be the challenge to the stuffiness of Essence. That was before the complete downward spiral. It was immediately infiltrated, co-opted and gutted but I will say that I thought Amy Barnett at least liked Black women. I don't know about S2S. I've read it and had a subscription at one time. Jamie Foster is a great interviewer and humanizes the celebrities she features. More and more though I wonder if we should have a dividing line of "for us" and "against us" with no shades of gray because of the damaging and destructive nature of how some of these people act and the access they have to our daughters'/sisters'/future generations' hearts/souls/minds?

June 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

You’re going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. This isn’t about you or me! You assume that because you’re okay, your daughters will be okay. As if the world doesn’t need to devour them in order to survive. As if your personal value system is going to be a hedge

This is phenomenal and you're right, I'm already reading this and I already know, so I'm good. The question is--how will we take over mainstream media so that we can affect everyone's daughters [and sons]?

Fortunately, I don't think any young girls are reading Essence, IF they are reading any hard copy/print material at all. Unfortunately, many parents and grands are.

We can reach the younger crowd through the online venue if we can distract them from the television. But their parents must be included in this..it's like we need a family magazine because our communities have such complex issues.

June 5, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRj

You’re going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. This isn’t about you or me! You assume that because you’re okay, your daughters will be okay... As if your personal value system is going to be a hedge around future generations of Black women and girls, while the Regime is waging war for their minds bodies and souls with the help of magazines like this...

Goosebump, girl...sheer goosebumps. And even for those of us who feel that were doing our damndest to raise strong-minded girls with good values let's not forget the fools that she has to ride the bus, walk the halls, and eat lunch with. We're in a constant struggle to keep our girls' minds right, respect their bodies and put themselves first, and here comes a magazine that's supposed to be uplifting and inspiring, telling them that they still need to fu*k and su*k to get ahead in life.

I can't take this ish. It literally gives me hives.

I think S2S is ok, its mostly a celebrity magazine but at least when they handle issues regarding mental health and sexuality they actually have Dr and psychologists to answer the questions and very good ones at that.
I used to LOVE Honey magazine, I was a buyer til the very end. They showed how diverse black women really are. I know there are online but its just not the same.

June 7, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterNaima

You all look at this stupid article that someone posted at Theroot.com...once again blaming black women for being single...it's terrible.


I can't believe that a black woman wrote this.

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSarah

It does my heart good to not only read this series of articles. WELL DONE!!!!
But to read these post is just-just-DIVINE!!!!
Brava Sisters! I had been posting early last year that this magazine was dangerous. It's one thing if it's just lost its juice. But it's actually insulting and silly and vapid and close minded now.
I actually knew someone who was very close to Susan Taylor. Under the then circumstances, I really was not too surprised at how the magazine has dissolved.
But I couldn't believe BW weren't outraged, sickened, or just plain old sad about it. I'm so disappointed...
It's a shame. It's a damn shame that a magazine invented to counteract white women geared magazines and white beauty has become that itself!!!!

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterviolet


I SOOOO miss HONEY magazine!

June 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTeresa

I was gonna go off about womens job being to cater to men.......ummm......which it is, until you listed the "even ifs". Aside from that though, I think women (black or otherwise) only have to 'follow' their HUSBAND, if their husband follows God.

Moving on, why do you have to be ignorant because you don't like women with flat butts? Shoot, I don't like women with flat butts either. They look funny to me. Some women don't like guys without 6/8 packs either and I'm not offended. You physically like......what you like.

MY thing is, why is there so much stake put into an article, as if we all don't know that this is merely the opinion of the dozens or possibly hundreds of people interviewed for the story. How could it possibly speak for black people as a whole? Everytime I hear a woman say something, I always know that there are atleast a dozen women over at "WAOD" that would say this girl is a complete idiot.

No matter what good Essence does or any other publication does, including this website, there are going to be people that say it's just not enough. It's close minded. It's repetitive. It's boring. Etc... The problem is not so much to me as what magazines publish, it's that people are so weak minded, they live according to the latest Oprah buzz.

June 9, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterundressingHER

I read that article. It actually saddened me (while disgusting me at the same time) for so many reasons, the top 2 reasons being that

1. the women in that article must really feel like shit


2. the men were shallow, superficial adolescent boys in mens' bodies.

It may sound extreme, but based on this article and just by observing people and reading and etc., I have lost hope for a healthy relationship and for the future generations who are perpetuating these behaviors right now. I'll happily remain a Spinster, thank you.

June 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSpinster

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