In any event, "Someone Like You" is, well, this review is so doggone good and gets right to the point, so let's just read it aloud together:
Consider Someone Like You, in which heroine Jane Goodale (Ashley Judd) is summarily dumped just before embarking on a live-in relationship. This so devastates her that she begins compulsively poring over psychological, anthropological, and philosophical tomes, all in an effort to make sense of the inconstant way the male animal conducts himself. Eventually she alights on a possible explanation in the natural world -- the reluctance among bulls to mate with a given cow more than once -- and less-than-scientifically projects this characteristic across great swaths of the mammalian kingdom to conclude that unfaithfulness is inherent to the male gender, regardless of its species.
Her research for this theory, which she dubs the "New Cow" theory, takes for experimental subjects not only Ray (Greg Kinnear), the aforementioned ex-lover, but also Eddie (Hugh Jackman), a womanizing coworker with whom she must move in after her falling out with Ray leaves her homeless. As Eddie brings home one sex partner after another, Jane psychoanalyzes him relentlessly -- culling information for a monthly column she eventually begins writing for a men's magazine, yes, but also trying, by proxy, to distill Ray's actions into an abstract principle. This will let her turn her recent breakup into an inevitable act of nature and she can thereby avoid the unthinkable alternative, the possibility that something in her identity leaves her singularly susceptible to rejection: "If this theory's wrong," she wails to Eddie later in the movie, "men don't leave all women -- they leave me."The "New Cow" theory was bunk and, ladies and gentlemen, such is the case for the "No Wedding, No Womb" campaign. By the way, if you're thinking of any words that begin with the letter "H" right now, I'm judging you---and me.
As I explained in Part I: Sloganeering and Slacktivism: The No Wedding, No Womb Campaign, organizer, Christelyn Karazin, was so ashamed of her symbol of unprotected, premarital sex---pregnancy---that she bought a cubic zirconia ring and wore it on her wedding finger to protect herself from the ridicule and judgment of strangers. I guess she didn't like it, so she put a ring on it.
|Is that a ring you're wearing? Look, Bish, don't judge me!|
But without a general understanding of Women’s History and previous attempts at policing women’s expression, in general, and their sexuality, in particular, delineations and reformations of the Victorian-era-derived “Cult of True Womanhood” will continue, in spite of itself. This is why the dichotomy continues and why, even in Black Christian churches, various choirs (hilariously) reformulated Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” and turned it into some type of spiritual hymn (or Deacon remix), curiously wagging the finger (like Mother Wisdom) at single women in the congregation.
|What? Y'all think I waited? I'm way too flexible for alla that!|
|Uh uh Oh, oh oh oh oh oh ohhhhh...|
I find myself usually alarmed (and then quickly annoyed) whenever I see attempts at moral suasion without any substantive, socio-political analysis or inclusion of social justice or any form of direct action. For example, listing the many statistics which showcase the results of “single parent” and/or “fatherless households” relative to education, crime, poverty, etc., is important but short-sighted, especially when the focus is placed upon people of color---and No Wedding, No Womb, is nothing if not focused upon African American women who have the highest rates of female-headed households in the country.
|This is What an Effective Campaign Looks Like *side eyes* NWNW|
We all have concern for our families and children in America. But to deny or otherwise diminish the role of the system of white supremacy, the impact of structural inequality, poverty, discrimination against the working poor and to exclude any direct action (or even moral suasion!) against the injustices of ongoing segregation, disinvestment from public education, the school-to-prison pipeline and the prison industrial complex upon people of color, in particular, is wholly irresponsible and ultimately, as Christelyn, participants in “No Wedding, No Womb” and many others have seen, ineffective and irrelevant to the daily realities of our lives---despite seemingly good intentions.
Why would I talk about the system of white supremacy, structural inequality and the relationship between that and the condition of Black families? Because in 1960, many of our families were in tact, not only as nuclear families but extended as well (yes, the African village some wish to deny exists). But something else happened in 1960 and it was the dramatic, climatic rise of an extraordinarily successful campaign that would further ignite the Civil Rights Movement. I'm going to get to that in my next post.
|Y'all see all this hate? Whatev, I'm not turning back the clock! I'm not your Auntie!|
It's a white supremacist idea, rooted in economic competition, disguised as a "New Cow" theory. And too many people have fallen for it, including too many persons in the Black Church. Mind you, George Bush's Faith-Based Initiative checks helped, didn't they, Eddie?
|"You like my cologne? The secret ingredient is holy water. Praise Him!"|
Another such person who seems to be entirely ignorant or in deep denial of what's happening here is Christelyn Karazin. But she has many in the Black blogosphere who unconsciously, unknowingly and unfortunately harbor and perpetuate these notions as well. Quite often, they appear as a brigade of intelligent Black women (and they are) whose painful life experiences with Black men and their clear inability to understand or counter the system of white supremacy has led to the "Black men ain't sh*t" messaging of internalized racism. In some ways, they beckon my compassion, as we have all been hurt, but like Ashley Judd's character realized in "Someone Like You", the "New Cow" theory is not the solution to our problems; and neither is internalized oppression. Instead of theories, take a look at the facts from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on parenting, especially non-marital parents (thanks, @saigrundy).
We don’t need a professional, Black, Bristol Palin who feels the need to prescribe an abstinence to which she didn’t subscribe. The fact of the matter is, had Sarah and (ex-patriate promoting) Todd Palin been pragmatic about their daughter’s curiosity and engaged in full sex education and birth control (even with an emphasis on abstinence) as opposed to turning a blind eye to the realities of a teenage life in America while preaching abstinence-only, then we would not have to suffer through seeing her on “Dancing With the Stars” or Levi Johnston’s pitiful run for Mayor or his interview with Lawrence O’Donnell but no, they didn’t spare us, so I won’t spare them.
|"Hmmm, how can I get out of this and still shame other women to please my Mom?"|
On the NWNW FAQ page (which she tweeted to me), in answering the question, “What gives you the right to do this?”, she responded: I’m a baby mamma’ LISTEN TO MY MISSION: [which was a plug to the theme song] I do this for my daughter, and my daughter’s daughter, and all the children of our future.” I find this more than interesting because a “baby mamma” is actually a woman who has a child and is not married. According to Christelyn, she found a man who happens to be white, they fell in love and he accepted her and her child as a package deal. So, technically speaking, she is NOT a “baby mamma”. But what would make her say such a thing? Being plagued by having been one…
I should note that almost 24 hours after having written a large portion of this post, I asked Christelyn a few questions on Twitter and she never responded. I was extremely respectful to her (see below). My questions were:
|Start from the bottom and scroll up. That's how Twitter works.|
There is just too much that doesn’t add up and there are tons of other ways to support children, create a more egalitarian society and provide holistic education about safe sex, the realities of parenting and available options for birth control (including abstinence), that can and will continue despite a campaign that cannot sustain the shame upon which it is founded.
|I'm amazed at this album cover. It's brilliant!|
Let’s talk about sex, baby
Let’s talk about you and me
Let’s talk about all the good things
And the bad things that can be
Let’s talk about sex
Let’s talk about sex!
Notice how we have a great song which invites open conversation and learning without shaming or placing a heavier emphasis upon the female body? You had no idea Salt-N-Pepa were this deep, hunh? On this same album, “Do You Want Me?” provided an anthem that helped me decipher man-speak and manipulation and gave me a phat beat with which to jam as well:
You said it loud / and I heard ya
Never tried to hurt you
Some say I’m old fashioned
I like to take my time and do it slow, you know?
But don’t try to rush it
So, ride it like a horse / and let nature take its course
Get to know each other
Be my friend, no just my lover
Share your thoughts with me
Love my mind, not just my body, baby!
Do you really want me, baby?
Let me know
Cuz if you really want me, I suggest you tell me so
Got no time for playing games, that ain’t even why I came
Cuz I may be / the kinda guy you like
Those lyrics became an anthem. I was not ashamed to say I was old fashioned and I loved how the question was posed to the man, asking "Do You Really Want Me, Baby?" while rejoicing in the phat beat that could make our booties shake but did not require us to give them up.
“No Wedding, No Womb” does actually have a nice theme song (which is why they call this a multimedia campaign) to which I promptly did the snake and began gyrating my pelvis:
So maybe, like other artists, this campaign should stick moreso to its singing than anything else.
We must be ever vigilant so that we do not end up evaluating each other using a standard of measurement created by white supremacist thinking - bell hooksJesus Be Solange’s Womb Producing Julez.
Special Shoutout to Saida Grundy @saigrundy for her excellent timeline, @alvinthethird for the bell hooks quote and Twitter's continued elucidation on #NWNW