BIG PHOTOSETS FOREVER FOR THEY ARE MUCH HARDER TO IGNORE / a lot of these don’t have hi-res versions available, but i still want to post them
This was not an exaggeration. The government ignored the issue of HIV/AIDS for years before anything was done. Gay and Queer communities had to form their own clinics because no government agencies cared for them. Back then, being diagnosed was equivalent to a death sentence or extreme debt and poor quality of life/a significantly shortened lifespan.
Things got so desperate that people literally had “Die-Ins”— in contemporary usage this refers to masses of people simulating death in order to protest something (like the War in Iraq). In this case, however, fatally sick people would literally lie down in public places and protest with what little energy they had left until they died. There is some footage of a church Die-In in the documentary Beyond Stonewall. The middle image here of that person’s jacket is not an extreme political statement; it’s what people had to do because they had no other options.
queer politics aren’t all hrc t-shirts and shiny lobbying. So many people have already forgotten this extremely recent history.
FREE FIGURE'S CONSENT RALLY!
Black women are not animals. We are not exhibits. Our bodies do not exist for your entertainment or your curiosity. Our bodies are worthy of autonomy and respect. Our hair is NEVER yours to touch, defile, question, gaze upon, or eroticize.
Pretty sure this happens to everyone in every race. It happens to me and I’m not black.
So I keep getting a ton of comments about how hair touching happens to other races, alternative hairstyles, and to genders other than women…
- First off, I find it interesting how people consistently turn conversations about the plight of black women into a universal conversation about every-fucking-body. In this particular example, you’re invalidating the importance and empowerment of this photo set in order to make the conversation about how “this happens to everyone though!” Or someone makes a comment about how racism has nothing to do with the dehumanization of black women, or women of color, or people of color in terms of hair-touching. Are you fucking kidding me? But seriously… are you fucking kidding me? The premise of turning this conversation into an “everyone issue” is evident of how irrelevant black women’s issues are seen in society. It perpetuates the idea that black women just whine about things that don’t exist through the context of race and gender simultaneously, in addition to other facets of our identity (see: intersectionality). And also, it makes it very evident that people do not believe that misogynoir or anti-blackness are realities for black women. Recognize that people of color are not all treated the same or have similar experiences just because we’re all not white. Recognize that all women do not deal with hair-touching within the same context just because misogyny and the presumption of ownership over women’s bodies is prevalent within our society.
- Secondly, I never once mentioned that hair touching doesn’t happen to other races or other genders, or to specific hair styles/ textures/ types. But with black hair comes a variety of texture that is not depicted positively (or at all) within beauty standards. Our hair becomes “othered” and seen as a museum exhibit because omg, how strange is it that our hair defies gravity and has body on its own?! How weird is it that we create and innovate hairstyles over and over again and never have to commit to just one if we don’t want to?? How freaky is it that our hair is not naturally straight?? “Omg, is that your real hair?? Omg, can I touch your dreads?? OMGGGGGG, I WISH MY HAIR WOULD DO THAT!!! So ethnic! So fre$$$h! GURL, IS THAT YOUR REAL HAIR? I WISH MY HAIR COULD GROW THAT FAST, LOLOL~~ !! Can you do cornrows for my Ke$ha costume?! I’ve never felt black hair before!!!! OMG, you have the good hair!!! HOW IS YOUR HAIR SO LONG??? I THOUGHT ONLY WHITE PEOPLE HAD NATURALLY LONG HAIR.”
This shit happens EVERY FUCKING DAY FOR BLACK WOMEN. And wait, before someone does that whole “omg, this doesn’t happen to my black friend!” or “I’m a black woman and this doesn’t happen to me!” or “I love people touching my hair. Its a compliment!” thing, let me stop you. There will always be exceptions to the levels and experiences of racism and misogyny different black women go through. There will always be people who say they like something that can be coded in racism/ sexism but they can’t recognize the problematic nature of it (um, that’s the goal of white supremacy). But these exceptions, these go-to examples of friends that never go through this, and those who do not view things through a first-hand marginalized perspective will never negate the reality of institutionalized racism and sexism. It will never negate the purpose and necessity of talking about issues that disproportionately affect black women.
So the point is… Are body autonomy and consent issues that affect everyone? Yes. Do the issues of body autonomy and consent differ and complicate through the context, lens, and intertwining of gender, race, class, and sexuality? ALWAYS. This photo set isn’t about anyone but black women. If you find empowerment in the fact that your hair gets touched against your will and you hate/ understand it, good. But I’m not going to devalue the purpose of this project in order to make you feel more comfortable because it specifically addresses the body autonomy of black women.
On point, absolutely. It never ceases to amaze me how many white people assume that basic good manners don’t apply when talking to black people. Curiosity is not more important than someone else’s bodily autonomy. Ever.