Feminism On Deck: A Woman on Twitter Pissed Me Off Today And Here’s Why.

women 1I’m not writing tonight to be quirky. I’m not writing for hits. I’m not writing to make you feel all sugary sweet inside. I’m writing cause someone on Twitter pissed me off.

It’s Twitter, right? Therefore, I’m supposed to take every digital musing with a grain of salt. Twitter isn’t supposed to make me mad. There are people I willingly follow who are infamous for tweeting off-the-wall shit. It’s precisely why I follow them. They’ve branded themselves as comedians, douchebags, or a combination of the two solely by tweeting any and every thing that comes to mind. Today, one of them retweeted a series of tweets. But, this time I wasn’t really entertained by the unbridled humor. Now is when you can insert the “Are you on your period, Tyece?” query.

I’m supposed to pull a screen shot of those tweets I’m referencing. But, I respect other people’s right to confine their assholery to a few hundred followers. Plus, I’m about to type an entire rant about how women should not shame other women. So, grabbing the screenshot of the woman’s tweet would defeat my tirade.

I can paraphrase the tweet pretty accurately myself: “Women should not be surprised if they wear revealing clothing and then men talk to them like pieces of shit. After all, you know what your body looks like. If you choose to leave the house half-naked, men talking to you however they please is the risk you’re willing to take.”

I struggled with what to title this post. I thought of several names including “Women Should Not Shame Other Women” and “In Praise of Badass Women” until I finally decided I should just tell you the truth exactly as it happened. I shied away from inserting the word “feminism” because it evokes too many images of frolicking in a field of daisies or belligerently burning one’s bra. I am not good with extremes. Nonetheless, it encapsulated today’s theme.

I didn’t think her sentiment in the tweet could be serious. That is, until I realized, through a string ofwomen 2 subsequent tweets, that she was dead serious. Oh, but it’s Twitter. So nothing is supposed to be taken seriously. Bullfuckingshit.

If a man expressed the exact same sentiment in the aforementioned tweet, I would still be pissed. But, it broke my heart into a few jagged pieces to see another women endorse that treatment of other women. Just to be clear regarding my stance on the subject, I could care less if a woman walked out of her apartment with her right titty hanging out intentionally–I wouldn’t condone anyone talking to her like a piece of shit. No. As you saw in my tweet, I’m not here for that.

I’m not going to smother you with some Kumbayah women empowerment speech. I’m already too mad for Kumbayah. I’m going to choose common sense instead. And, common sense says that how we talk to each other as human beings, and particularly as women, is so fucking fragile. The treatment we endorse of one another is so fucking fragile. We ourselves are so fucking fragile. Simply by virtue of owning mammary glands, there’s a host of things we shouldn’t endorse when it comes to other women. I’m not going to recite a list. You’re grown. You know better.

But, I witness a growing mentality among women to be “one of the boys.” To casually toss around sexist expletives or announce how they “don’t like other women” in a futile effort to obtain honorary membership into the Boy’s Club. What do you mean you don’t like other women? No, boo, you don’t like your damn self. Those things don’t make you “one of the boys.” They don’t make you carefree. They don’t make you any more accepted. They make you set back your own sex back 1,000 steps.

Women are so incredibly badass. Now, is the time for you to turn on Beyonce’s “Run The World (Girls)” so I don’t have to narrate some cliche list of all the things women do and have done. But, to be a woman is to exist in such a delicate and perplexing position with the current often times pushing against you. To not acknowledge those same waves pushing up against the women around you is to not think critically enough about the world you’re sucking up air from on the daily.

Xoxo,

Tyece

Things Will And Should Affect You.

Affected by something other than emotion, I suspect.
Affected by something other than emotion, I suspect.

Don’t you hate that person at the party who is a total killjoy? The person who gets into a tizzy and single-handedly sucks the energy out of the room? Ugh, I hate that person.

Unfortunately, yesterday, for approximately 19 minutes, I was that person.

Thanks to a complete misunderstanding toward the end of what was a fabulous day, I got pissed off. And, then I got pissed off at myself for being pissed off. A subsequent set of apologies and clarifications to the people around me ensued and, of course, I grabbed some fodder for today’s post. What else would you expect?

“He used to hit that” was the phrase I wrongfully assumed was applied to me at the close of yesterday’s festivities. I’m not sure if I’m speaking on behalf of a broad populace of women when I say I hate that phrase. It’s reductive. It takes everything about a woman and characterizes her solely by a romp in bed. It de-personifies her, narrowing her down to a “that.” An entity. A sweet piece of ass that was conquered, forgotten, yet up for discussion at any time and any place. So, yes, when I thought those words were being used to describe me, I flipped my shit, turned it over, and flipped it again. In the end, we figured everything out and my assumption was corrected but not without me feeling a pang of sorrow for the girl who the phrase was being applied to standing only a few feet away from me.

Now that we’ve completed today’s women’s studies lesson, I’ll continue.

I pride myself on being someone who can typically roll with the punches. I hate indulging in gritty drama because, like most people, I’ve gone through some real harrowing shit so I know that most things are simply not that serious. But, perhaps as a consequence of some of my harrowing shit, I take precautions to guard how I am perceived. When one’s entire sexual self-perception is turned on its head and left to implode because of one pivotal moment, the guard comes up and it takes years to lower.

Nonetheless, true life experience has taught me that the little pinches are inconsequential compared to the gaping wounds. So, I remain hyper selective about where and how I exert my emotional energy. Even so, on occasion, things affect me. People affect me. Words affect me. I am not emotionally immune to disparaging comments, feisty attitudes or ungrateful sons of bitches.

For anyone to tell you “Don’t worry about it” or “Brush it off” or any other airless peg of advice is to gift you with the biggest crock of bull I’ve ever heard. (And, we are all guilty of saying that, self included.) But, you’re human. You are conditioned to worry. To feel. By default, you are susceptible to the never-ending waves of the human experience. Yes, eventually, you can and will brush it off but rarely in that precise moment when the sting of something is brand new will you have that ability. What matters isn’t if you’re affected but how long you choose to stay down. What matters is whether or not you let the negativity fester and eat away at your insecurities or if you choose to be proactive about releasing it.  It does not matter if you are affected; it matters if you remain affected. It matters if you let fear or other stupid shit wash over you and drown you in a sopping puddle of self doubt or if you pause, feel, extract the lesson, and continue. The former will make your existence a self-induced living hell; the latter just makes you a damn strong human being.

Xoxo,

Tyece

 

 

 

 

Susan Patton Said Women Should Find Husbands In College, So I Guess I Screwed Up.

Not exactly looking for my husband at that moment.
Not exactly looking for my husband at that moment.

I was munching on a batch of Skittles yesterday afternoon when I saw something about Susan Patton pop up on my timeline. I didn’t know who Susan Patton was. I didn’t think I needed to know who she was. That is until I saw that she wrote a letter in the Daily Princetonian entitled, “Advice for the young women of Princeton: the daughters I never had.” (Scroll to the bottom for the full text; I couldn’t link to the Daily Princetonian because that bitch crashed the site.)

The pillar of Patton’s argument? Women should find their husbands in college. Her exact words are: Here’s what nobody is telling you: Find a husband on campus before you graduate. Yes, I went there.

I shy away from responding to mainstream media frenzies on this sacred and sarcastic space. But, after three consecutive tweets about Patton’s letter, I knew I had more to say than what I could squeeze into 140 characters.

Patton goes on to write that college is the optimal time to be exposed to the highest concentration of men who will be “worthy of you” and it will “frustrate you to be with a man who isn’t as smart as you.” As compelled as I was to initially dismiss Susan Patton’s words for the flaming pile of shit they were, I had to admit that her manure was laced with those few gems.

It is true college provides the highest concentration of men who are perched on the same wavelength of your intellectual capacity. Not the only concentration, but certainly the highest. Yes. Ask any of us who are stumbling our way through Plenty of Fish and DC nightclubs trying to snag a date; we will attest to that. It is also true that being with someone who is not as smart as you, or worse, is a witless idiot, will frustrate you. Call me a pompous ass. You wouldn’t be the first.

Now that I’ve done my writerly duty of considering this from a different angle, it’s time to light some fire on Susan Patton. Recently, I went on one of my routine panties-in-a-twist rants so you already know how I feel about women and our many choices or non-choices.

Finding a husband wasn’t on my list in undergrad. It wasn’t on my radar. It wasn’t even a constellation floating around in my universe. By senior year, I was too busy teaching kids how to string together a sentence at the writing center, busting my ass to hold down at least one job and an internship simultaneously, and cramming in a weekly session of ESPN and 12am shenanigans with my then hookup. Looking for Prince Charming? The closest I got was reading Machiavelli.

Yes, I nurtured a serious relationship during my junior year. But, at 19, the concept of marriage felt faraway and fuzzy. Even now, most days it feels that way. Marriage is the roller coaster that I’m still not tall enough to ride so instead I stand in awe of the thrill seekers jumping on. For Patton to advise post adolescent women to search for a husband in college is to add a boulder to the weight already hoisted on our backs. The weight to be successful. To be smart. To be pretty. To be funny. To be demure. To be ambitious. To be subdued. To be coy. To be flirtacious. To be nurturing. And, of course, to be marriage material. To be a colorful and painfully impossible conglomeration of characteristics justified merely by what is hidden in between your thighs.

Susan Patton wrote a letter to the daughters she never had. Let’s all breathe a collective sigh of relief that two X chromosomes did not meet for her. Those girls would be fucked.

 Xoxo,

Tyece

 

High Heels and Hyphenated Last Names: My Recent Qualms With Womanhood

high heels and hyphenated namesThis post is an excerpt from Twenties Unscripted: A Journey of Womanhood, Writing, and Relativity. The full essay is available in the book, which is currently available for pre-sale here.

 

I’ve also been thinking about marriage and babies. That sounds so premature that it’s cringe-worthy. But, I haven’t exactly been thinking about marriage. I’ve been thinking about my last name. “W-I-L-K-I-N-S.” I’ve spelled it out to so many phone operators that it’s perfunctory at this point. I was spelling it out to a JetBlue sales representative earlier today in an effort to snag my $15.00 dollar voucher thanks to last week’s in-flight entertainment service not working. And, then I started to think, oh, shit, one day if I don’t wind up a spinster, this won’t be my last name. Oh, shit!  I don’t understand why I have to give up my name or why I have to compromise and hyphenate it. Or why I have to make my maiden name my middle name. Or, something like that. And, then, I think that thinking those things makes me some renegade bra-burning type of bitch who will ward off potential suitors. I just don’t understand why so many people gasp at the prospect of me not inheriting someone else’s name. This is my name, dammit. I don’t find it disrespectful or blasphemous in the least that I’d like to keep it. Maybe that’s why I’ll end up an old spinster.

 

Just in Time for Valentine’s Day: A Chat With Kaneisha Grayson, Author of “Be Your Own Boyfriend”

kaneisha 1
That’s Kaneisha in case you couldn’t figure that out.

When I met Kaneisha Grayson at last year’s Blogging While Brown Conference, I was one of those overzealous fans cornering her while she finished a bite of food. I didn’t really care. I had started following her work only a few weeks before the conference and seized the chance to exchange biz cards with her. Kaneisha’s an entrepreneurial powerhouse, teacher, avid fan of the word “delicious,” and an author, among many other things. Her self-published book, “Be Your Own Boyfriend” starts taking over the world by storm today. Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I got a chance to ask Kaneisha a few questions about her book and what “Be Your Own Boyfriend” really means. Enjoy. (And stay tuned for my first Twenties Unscripted giveaway–a free signed copy of “Be Your Own Boyfriend!”)

1. How did you come up with the title for “Be Your Own Boyfriend” and what does it mean?

A few years ago, I hit a particularly low point in my life where I realized that I cared more about my relationship status than I did about being happy and healthy. I was trying so hard to keep my long-distance relationship afloat that I was letting other things go by the wayside—my friendships, my health, my coursework. Even as a highly-educated and driven woman, I realized that I was subconsciously waiting to start my “real life” when I was married, and this was sabotaging my happiness. That’s when I came up with the concept of “be your own boyfriend.” Treat yourself with the love, attention, and respect that you would want a man to show you. Envision the life you want to lead and build it right now – not later. I think if you always ask yourself, “why not now, why not me,” and look for ways that you can have what you want right now, you’ll uncover a lot of your driving motivations, fears, and beliefs. Be Your Own Boyfriend helps readers get clear on what they really want, and then provides some advice and insights for courageously going after what you want.

 

BYOB-book-cover-Nov2012-1-final

2. What is one thing you hope readers take away from the book?

After they finish reading Be Your Own Boyfriend, I want readers to get their hands dirty doing what they want to do. Stop talking so much about it, taking one course after the next, reading more books, and having more informational interviews. In Be Your Own Boyfriend, I write that “clarity comes not through thought but through engagement.” This is something that I learned from my friend Laura Roeder. If you want to start your own business or pursue a particular passion, take the first step today to move toward that dream. You will make mistakes along the way but you can’t make mistakes and have successes if you are paralyzed by overanalyzing or overthinking it.

3. What was the hardest part of writing the book?

The hardest part wasn’t writing it; it was polishing the manuscript from what felt to me like finished to an actual final draft form that was ready to be shared with the world. After I finished writing the book, I worked for months with an editor to make sure we included the best content I had to offer (we removed quite a bit of content to only include my very best), and we made sure that my sassy, quirky voice came through clearly in the writing. My creative director meticulously combed the manuscript to make sure that all of our interior layout was consistent and provided a delightful reading experience for our fans. I had a deliciously eye-catching cover designed to make sure that I would be able to entice the interest of casual browsers in stores and online. When you self-publish a book like I did (or “handcraft a book” as I like to think of it), there are so many more tasks involved besides writing out your thoughts and then sending it off to a publisher.

4. What’s next for you?

I’m very excited about promoting Be Your Own Boyfriend in creative ways that work with my desired lifestyle of freedom, flexibility, inspiration, creation, learning, and community. I’d like to do some live and online workshops related to Be Your Own Boyfriend using the book as the main textbook with luscious worksheets to go along with it. A Be Your Own Boyfriend retreat in Jamaica would be amazing! I look forward to asking book lovers to write reviews online, and to Skyping with book clubs around the world so that my fans can interact with the author behind the words and I can surround myself with fabulous, high-vibration women. I’m excited about doing what I call a “slow book tour,” meaning I host meetups of my fans in various cities as I travel to those cities naturally for conferences or to visit friends. Of course, if a group of women pooled some money together to bring me into town for a book tour stop, I’d be totally down for it! Until then, slow book tour it is!

 

Follow Kaneisha on Twitter @KaneishaD

Purchase her book at www.beyourownbf.com