Barbara Jordan Was a Politician Not a Pole Dancer: Male-Dependent Women's Empowerment ... and other Absurdities
HA! So last week , I put up a post noting that the resident misogynist over at Shadow and Act, was panning a Barbara Jordan biopic, before he's seen so much as a treatment or outline of the film, because it wouldn't have any sex scenes in it. Not to be outdone the Male-Gaze-Dependent Wing of Black Women's "Empowerment" blogging joined in on the Barbara Jordan biopic bashing by labeling Barbara Jordan an "asexual Mammy". Yes folks, go Google Barbara Jordan and "asexual Mammy." They wrote it- not I.
Well clearly Barbara Jordan isn't "asexual" because folks can't stop talking about her sex life. But to call Barbara Jordan a Mammy underlines the absurdity of limiting Black women's "empowerment" to a bloggers perception of another woman's ability to capture the male gaze.
To be blunt, Barbara Jordan does not look like Diana Ross or Halle Berry and that apparently hurts the "brand" of Black women. Never mind that she was a historical and rhetorical genius, little Black girls shouldn't admire Barbara Jordan because these bloggers think she didn't flirt enough during the Watergate hearings. Maybe they think she should have shown a bit more cleavage when giving the keynote address at the Democratic National convention.
Maybe she should have showed them a little leg and batted her eyelashes while testifying before congress about constitutional law.
By all accounts, when Barbara Jordan fell into a swimming pool during her later years in life, someone was there to pull her out. She did not die old and alone to be eaten alive by nine cats. In addition to having schools and airport terminals, streets and bridges names after her, she has one of the most vibrant living breathing legacies of any Black woman living or dead because of her ties to one of the largest public universities in the country. Here is the Barbara Jordan essay competition. There's a Barbara Jordan annual forum. You name it and there's a Barbara Jordan version of it at the University of Texas.
We can have a conversation about Black women's femininity in pop culture, but we don't have to tap dance on Barbara Jordan's grave to do that. This assault on Jordan isn't some high minded revelatory insight, it's just self hatred with an internet connection.
The only thing we know about this biopic is that it is about her. To take that sliver of information and surmise that the movie will depict an "asexual Mammy" has nothing to do with the movie and everything to do with the fact that these Black women bloggers have a problem with how Barbara Jordan looked. She looked like me. That's why when I was walking down the hallway from Sunday school class at 4 years old and passed up Jane Kennedy Smith and Lola Folana, I stopped at her poster. Barbara Jordan looked like me and I wanted to be like her- a lawyer. I'll write a separate post about allowing 4 year old children to make lifelong career choices- very bad idea :)
But back to the Male Gaze Dependent Wing of Women's Empowerment. . .
It isn't Barbara Jordan's responsibility to get you a man. If you're single and don't want to be, I would suggest you stop reading blogs and go get a life. If you're taking advice about desirability from a blogger, I think you should demand a full length photo and media kit from that blogger. After all, if they are experts on capturing the male gaze, let's verify their credentials. The same goes for bloggers doling out relationship and marriage advice. Where are the video testimonials from their husbands/partners certifying that a) they actually exist and b) they are happy? Don't think such verification is necessary? I present to you the story of Kimkins:
Heidi Diaz joined Low Carb Friends, a site dedicated to low-carbohydrate diet support, in November 2000. She quickly gained attention for her claims of rapid and spectacular weight lost, specifically, 198 lbs in 11 months, all while following her own 'tweaked' version of Atkins. This 'tweaking' involved very low calories and nearly no fat or carbohydrates, which results in a diet of almost pure protein. Heidi freely dispensed advice to others on the various forums, and had an ongoing thread called 'Ask Kimmer' in which she evaluated other people's diets and gave advice. She developed quite the little following of admirers, one of whom dubbed Heidi's diet 'kimkins.' Kimkins eventually gained its own place as an 'other' plan on the LCF website. She also gained several 'haters' with the result that Heidi left LCF in 2006 and started her own for-profit site, kimkins.com. SOURCE
I'm not saying that the leaders of the Male Gaze-Dependent Wing of Black Women's "Empowerment" blogging are unqualified to issue opinions about male gaze capturing, I'm just saying based on the mean spiritedness, humorless, hatred of other Black women, I find it difficult to believe these bloggers are capable of having a happy relationship with ANYBODY- man or woman. You can't give what you don't HAVE! Think about that.