Put Down Your Torches
It is Women's History Month and I have spent a lot of time reflecting on the way I treat women. The way that I treat women that I love and those that I don't know at all, the way that I treat women that I find attractive and those that I don't, the way that I treat women who share my beliefs and those that don't, the way that I treat women who share my skin tone and those that don't, the way that I treat women who are swimming in the same lane as me and those that aren't, etc.
During this reflection, I thought about how hard we are on each other as women. Notice that I said we because I am not excluded. Go review the comments of some of the popular/famous women that you follow on IG or Twitter.
A few that come to mind for me today: Summer Walker. Gabrielle Union. Saweetie.
It is filled with fans and love but also with other women spewing hateful comments and judgment as if these women are not real people. Sure they "know what they signed up for" but does that make it okay? Should it be the norm to expect public hurt and hate from other women for no reason at all?
Now let's take it a step further. Look through your screenshots (don't worry, I did it too). If you don't keep screenshots, jump into the media in your group text or bestie text thread. How many screenshots do you have that you have taken with the sole purpose of tearing another woman down? Talking about her body, her outfit, her business, her hair, her music, her home, her living situation, her grammatical errors? If you don't have a single one, you are excused sis. We all need to get like you! If you found some, this blog is not a "shame on you" piece but a realization for all of us that we need to do better. We need to put down our torches. There are several fights that we as black women face every single day and fighting and attacking each other simply should not be one of them.
Here are a few questions I asked myself and that I would challenge you to ask yourself:
What is it that makes us so critical of other women?
1. Are we coming from a place of love or hate/hurt with our criticism?
2. Would you be hurt to discover that the same things you said about other women were being said about you?
3. What if other women started to comment these things publicly on your blog, Instagram, Facebook, etc?
Lessons I learned while asking myself these questions:
1. My criticism of other women is a mirror into how critical I am of myself. My ego says "If I deserve harsh criticism so do these other women." My friend and I were having a conversation about black culture and the common mindset of "If I had to endure it, you should too." This mindset can be seen in a lot of spaces and I only reference it in black culture because that's my personal point of reference. When it comes to negative things, I want to start shielding others from that as opposed to purposely exposing them to that. As women, we have enough to endure as a whole and individually without also attacking each other.
2. Sometimes my criticism comes from a place of love and in the spirit of evolution and growth for the other party. However, if that is the case, how am I using my thoughts to help sis instead of just silently judging her? Am I fixing her crown behind the scenes so that she ain't out here looking foolish or am I secretly tarnishing it with judgment and gossip? Now don't get me wrong, I have a hard time with difficult conversations so I might approach my trusted girls to say "How should I approach this?" or "Is this worth saying?" because EVERYTHING NOTICED IS NOT WORTH SAYING. But think about your intentions next time you begin to criticize someone in your head or out loud.
3. I am a sensitive soul (a cryin' ass Cancer let a few of my friends tell it lol) and I know that if someone began spewing hatred and negativity in my comments, DMs, or I found out that they were doing so in their group text, it would hurt. I know as strong women, we want to be unbothered and in some cases we are but we all have tender spots. We all have insecurities and it would be painful for someone with no reason to dig into those tender spots.
Final Thought: The goal is not perfection but progress. Let's all make an effort to gossip LESS, be a little LESS petty, judge other women LESS. It's a start that I am committing to. Comment and let me know if you're in!
Put down your torches.