Have I Become The Angry, Black Woman?
My latest post has had me judged, weighed and found wanting.. actually it found me 2kgs heavier than last week, clearly winning at life because hello food! I always find it interesting that every time a black (Fijian in my case) woman decides to have an opinion about any particular subject that we immediately get boxed into this ideology of being an angry, black woman. That the thoughts we dare voice out is nothing more than just the rantings of a clearly delusional, incompetent degenerate completely devoid of any relevant discussion points. That the idea that a black woman can be passionate about how she gives an opinion, albeit peppered with a few strong and sometimes unsavoury words means that she's just being a nag and won't deliver a solution because she's too caught up with emotion. I mean I must admit, my style of writing is not everyone's cup of tea and that's OK because I'm not here to please everyone or pander to your comfort zones. In actual fact I'm here to make you feel uncomfortable, to make you question why am I so invested into an issue that might seem a non-issue to you but is equally important to me. This personified label of being an angry, black woman is becoming tiresome. Why should I have to constantly check myself and act appropriately because a select few think it so? Are we not living in 2018 where what is subjectively considered appropriate language and behaviour is one that is quite frankly mind-numbing and spirit-reducing. A black woman trying to change the status quo is constantly having to be at war with wanting to come across honest and raw with unbridled passion and confidence but at the same time told to quieten down, be acquiescent and think of the children .. LAWL (I couldn't help adding that. Think of the chewldrewn Isabella, the chewldrewn! Ok I'm digressing.. as usual).
But let's really get down to the gist of it all, my choice of a few strong words really grates on the idea that I have to be proper and write like a Fijian woman is expected to because that is the culturally and morally right thing to do, right? Some may argue that those who chose to focus on the 8 out of 1770 words (yes I counted because like I said in my previous post - I'm a pedantic OCD Amazonian-sized feet Queen) have reduced it to just that forgetting there was an important issue also being written about in my flippant style of reviewing. The issue about accountability and delivering a quality of work worthy of it's readers. My writing was merely to express my frustration at how disappointing and anti-climatic the experience was for me. Demeaning, maybe but sometimes strong language is needed to get the point across. Let's be clear I'm not here to justify why I wrote it, but merely to point out how ironic it is that whilst we seemingly accommodate for sub-standard effort, we don't accommodate for opinions that say otherwise, let alone one from what has to be reduced to being from.. an angry, black woman persona.
I've also been accused of being anti-women after writing the post because I focused the majority of my critique on the female editor not bringing the themes together in a cohesive style expected of a publication in 2018 but that's simply not true. Editorial work is a hard, thankless task and I can imagine as a start-up company having a negative review on your first launch does not help matters at all. But and there's always a but, we as women cannot simply use our gender as a pass to get support for everything we do. If we are to fight for that seat at the proverbial table then we need to do the hard yakka on the ground so when we do show up, it blows them away. I keep harping on about the responsibility of being a first and granted it might not even register to people it was directed to but as a Fijian woman with daughters, its very important to me that when Fijian women step up and choose to be pioneers in tasks they undertake, that they also understand that they carry that responsibility of raising the bar and setting the benchmark for young Fijian girls and women. Our collective Black Girl Magic cannot and should not to be dulled by mere get-over-the hill efforts, we need to have the drive to bulldoze that hill and make our own damn mountains so that our young girls and women know that the seat they're holding up for you is on solid ground and worthy of anyone else coming after. Don't get me wrong, I do celebrate women, especially women from our cultural background because we don't have enough platforms doing so. One such way is my series on Fijian Women Of The World where those women who are being celebrated have not only stepped up to the plate but also shown up amazingly. And that's what I mean about being a pioneer in what you do and delivering.
My writing has clearly struck a chord with some, which is to be expected, to the point that I have been told that instead of wasting time diminishing people's efforts with their start-up's that I should get a real job. I take it the concept of a personal blog is one that clearly goes over your head because sorry to disappoint, this isn't my job. Far from it. If anything, its the random, uncomplicated, unapologetic musings of a confident, outspoken, larger than life Fijian woman. I'm a stay at home mum and I like to say that it's my job for now but know that it doesn't define me. Time and time again, stay at home mums are likened to vegetative neanderthals carrying out day in and day out tasks around our families. The fact that those who have come before us and fought so hard for the rights of women to have the freewill and choice to stay at home to raise a family is clearly not enough to convince the actual neanderthals about the equally important role we play in society. I wasn't raised by a stay at home mum, my father was. There was 11 of them - let that sink in for a minute - but all 11 of them went on to become successful professionals in their respective fields. The eldest in the family being one of the first Fijian women to work in the civil service in the late 50s and early 60s, this was before our independence and when it was almost unheard of to have Fijian women in such roles. It doesn't come as a surprise to me that most of those who were sending me critiques were male and it must be frustrating for them that I refuse to yield to their expectations of how I should speak, write, behave, think or even live my life.
Maybe being considered an angry, black woman isn't such a bad thing after all. Maybe having that push-pull factor to it will serve as a constant reminder to those who dare silence other angry, black women that we are not here to succumb to being the compliant, silent majority but more so here to be that check that everyone needs every now and then. So let's not get too carried away and belittle women who choose to stay at home because they're able to and if they want to blog about their experiences then more power to them. For the stay at home mums killing it everyday doing what you do, and still able to have succinct, fully loaded and articulate conversations I salute you for being able to rationalise with those who don't even measure up to your capabilities. For those who can't or won't come around to understanding us.. Do one.