Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What's Your Number

You meet a man and after a few weeks of dating bliss he pops the question...No not that question. He asks you how many sexual partners you've had. What do you do? Do you lie and leave a few of those escapades out? Do you answer honestly and hope that your "number" isn't too high for him? I'm pretty sure we've all seen the trailer for What's Your Number? the romantic comedy staring Anna Faris, a woman determined to track down all 20 of the men she's had relationships with to figure out what went wrong. I'm sure the story puts quite an entertaining spin on what can be a very awkward situation. The truth of the matter is, I was once asked about my sexual partners by my then boyfriend. Although my "number" wasn't very high, I knew it was higher than his so I lied. Back then, I wasn't sure why I felt the need to lie, but looking back, I realize I was afraid of him judging me based on a few youthful indiscretions. And let's be honest, as women we are taught not to be like, "those girls," or "loose." It's one of those absurd double standards placed on the female gender by society. A man can have as many sexual "conquests" as he likes while us women are barely allowed to publicly acknowledge that we enjoy sex, let alone actually admit that we've had more than a few partners. As I've gotten older and more comfortable in my sexual skin I no longer feel the need to lie about the number of partners I've had; however not only do I refuse to answer the question if asked, I also refuse to ask others. It doesn't matter to me how many women my partner has been with in his past, all that matters to me is that I'm his present and future. Happy, healthy relationships shouldn't focus on past partners but should focus on being safe! The only thing I want to know about your past is when was your last test and when are we going together. Once that's been established, there's noting sexier than a couple exploring sex without limits :-).

Friday, September 2, 2011

Let Chaz Bono Dance!

Dear One Million

This firestorm you're creating over Dancing with the Stars' decision to cast Chaz Bono on the show is one of the most ridiculous and disgusting things I've heard in a while..And from a group of mothers no less!! First off, let me let you in on something: Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, Transgendered and Transsexual people exist and guess what else...Some of them are even your children! Yep, little Ricky that's sitting across from you at the breakfast table right now has a crush on his school's quarterback. Your daughter Kim feels trapped in the wrong body and may be contemplating suicide because she feels alone and unsupported by her narrow minded, bigoted mom. And for you moms who don't have children that struggle with issues of sexuality and gender let me let you in on something too: Watching Chaz Bono on DWTS is NOT going to "turn them" gay or bi-sexual or have them signing up for gender reassignment surgery. What stories like those of Chaz Bono and Janet Mock can do is open up a healthy dialogue on these issues. It can show those kids (and adults) who are struggling with their own sexuality and gender identity that there are people out there who have felt exactly how they feel and they survived. It can teach kids who are lucky enough to not have to deal with this struggle how to open their hearts to those kids at school who get teased constantly for their perceived sexuality. And most importantly, watching Chaz Bono dance his heart out just may prevent a kid who feels alone and trapped in a body that doesn't quite fit them, from ending their life. Rather than chastising Chaz, you as a group of moms, should be applauding his extraordinary bravery. He did something that so many others weren't able to, and he did it under the scrutiny of the public eye. Thank goodness he has a wonderful, loving, supportive mom in Cher and not one of you because if he were your son we just may be talking about yet another life ended rather than celebrating what his life has become.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

There are NO Madea's in my Family

Yes, I've actually had to say those words to quite a few people and that's the problem with Tyler Perry and Hollywood. I'm not sure if it's Hollywood or us as the supporting audience, but it seems as if only one Black anything is allowed to be hot at a time, and right now, Tyler Perry is hot. His movies gross millions, ($500 million to date),his book, Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life , reached number 1 on the New York Time's Best Seller list, he has not one, but two television shows on TBS, and he's done something that not many Black actors/producers/directors have ever been able to do: He's had crossover success! And while I would never hate on anyone's success or hustle, I often wonder if we (Black women in particular) are paying the price for his success. Far too often I've heard people (both Black and White) make references to Madea and expect me to respond in a knowing manner. In fact, I've heard Mr. Perry himself say on numerous occasions that there's a Madea in all Black families. But the truth of the matter is, there are no Madea's in my family. In fact, most of the characters in Mr. Perry's movies are completely foreign to me. All of the young women in my family are bright, ambitious, and motivated, not lost and looking for love like most of Mr. Perry's female characters. This may sound shocking, but NONE of the young men in my family have been to jail, and while they may not be angels, they're certainly not the woman beating, dead beat dad's so often portrayed in Tyler Perry films. And while my grandmother (may she forever rest in peace) was a force to be reckoned with, she was a far cry from Madea. My grandmother's strength did not come from her handgun or her ability to tackle grown men. Her strength came from her experience. If she saw you making a mistake she had made herself, she'd let you know before you did it. And if you went ahead and made that mistake anyway, she'd call you a fool, let you know that she told you so, and help you figure out how to fix it.

What Mr. Perry doesn't seem to realize is that far too often people believe that what they see on the big screen. And if I didn't know far too many awesome Black women, I would think we all hated men, were over bearing bitches, gold digging, single mothers, down on our luck and were the spawn of Madea. I would think that the majority of Black men are superficial, dead beat dads, that work blue collar jobs. Tyler Perry is in a very unique position: he's a Black man who can actually help shape the way Black families are viewed by non Black audiences. How dynamic would it be for his next films to feature successful Black women happily married to successful Black men and raising children that are ambitious and motivated? Or even single Black women that don't hate Black men and are enjoying life on the single circuit? My hope for 2012 is that Tyler Perry realizes what a powerful medium he has and uses it to help change some of the perceptions of Black women and the Black family...