Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"..Protect Your Womanhood..."

"Recently I got the opportunity to watch agreed to watch the movie "For colored girls". I, admittedly, had no interest in seeing Tyler Perry's version of Ntozake Shange's stage play. As I recall, the last time Tyler Perry had his hands in something, it was lack luster and terrifyingly scaring (ie. "Why did I get married too" and "Precious). But, surprisingly, I enjoyed the movie.

Its hard to form an opinion of something that you've never seen, but I managed to come up with my own thoughts based on what i've heard or read. Those pre- judgments deterred me from watching the movie. Many of my friends (as well as critics) gave the movie such labels as "man bashing" and "making black women appear weak". After watching a movie like "Precious", you can understand why I placed "For colored girls" in the "woe is me, black people" file and walked away. I guess that goes to show how wrong pre- judgments can be.

When I watched "For colored girls" I didn't see any of the negative aspects those that criticized it were so quick to point out. What I watched was an modern day adaptation of a 70's play that stayed true to the original words (the play consisted of 20 poems) that narrate the lives of women who, through different situations, are forced to find the strength within themselves. Although I have never been through an abortion, raped or even considered suicide, i still was able to relate to the adaptation. I believe that many African American women are.



 It is a little known fact that the play, originally titled "choreopoem" (later changed to "For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf"), documented Shange’s own personal experiences and attempts at suicide. Both the play and movie consists of  real issues (with a dramatic flare of course).When Shange first wrote her play she stated the play was honestly raw including the lost of virginity, abortion, rape, and the need of all the characters to find love despite some unpleasant experiences. 


This is the strength of the black female, to overcome.


What I took away from this movie is that regardless of all that each individual woman went through, in the end, they were able to come together and strengthened themselves. Although they were not instantly relieved of their demons and burdens, they were left with a sense of self and a sense of hope that they did not have before.


The "men- bashing" notion of the movie/ play, admittedly is not a stretch, but it isn't as severe as it is made out to be. There are too many instances, both past and present, where black women are made to succumb to their circumstances. If the potential of black women is to be the supportive role for the black man (orange moon theory), then the black woman subsequently becomes an object to be utilized by another human being. The potential of black women stagnates. She becomes the role she was made to play and she cannot begin to think in terms of self-determination for herself or black people in general. 


I don't believe that taking a stand against only being a "supportive role" necessarily equates to being a "man basher". Gone are the days of feminism. Too many black woman are being made to believe that elevating themselves to positions of power, which is positive, consequently weakens the position of the man which then makes them less of a commodity. What is often misunderstood is that a woman is completely capable of being both independent and submissive. A history of oppression and abandonment has given the black woman a special strength. Undoubtedly, the Black woman is capable of handling anything. But that is a well kept secret. 


Where do these black women get this theory? They get it from black men (and women) who are intimidated by them. Most black women, for the sake of companionship and lack of opposition to groupthink, lose their inner feminist and lower their ideals. They settle out of despair and then become content in their supportive role. They then go on to raise their daughters to believe that they, too, would have to face the hardships that are part and parcel of being black in America.


Consider this: what would the life of black women be if we were to redefine what the words "strength" and "independence" be?


Editors Note: Although created from a man for a man, realize as a woman you are a precious gift. Realize that you possess a gift more powerful than what's hidden between your legs. Beware of those who tell you different. Beware of those who do not encourage you to embrace your womanhood. Uplift one another. Support one another. Don't combat one another... Build, don't tear down. Protect your womanhood." -  Ricki_Says

"Young woman proceed by any means necessary..."



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