Mama Used to Say
One of the most unhealthy, dysfunctional behaviors that is crippling the Black community today is the practice of women selling pussy. It’s so common, so accepted, we don’t even blink an eye when we hear songs like Erykah Badu’s Tyrone suggest that ass in exchange for cash is not only perfectly acceptable in a relationship but it’s to be expected. “Bill collectors at my door. What can you do for me?” The last decade of Black erotic books has cemented in the minds of young women that what’s between their legs is something men will pay for and they market their pussies like a commodity on the stock exchange.
Almost without exception, every single solitary show on television that has Black women depicted bringing nothing more to the table than their beauty in various stages of hot pursuit of men with high incomes. There are some sex educators who will tell women that if they don’t sell pussy, if they don’t demand money from their sexual partners, that they are disadvantaged and stupid. They will tell you that women who don’t have sex for money are petty, jealous, and envious of the women who sell pussy; that women who sell pussy are empowered and masterful manipulators of men. Rather than telling women to develop and evolve their intellects, their employment skills, and their relationship skills, they tell women to hone their sexual skills in order to do more tricks in bed and get men to pay more money. It’s well-known by athletes, artists, friends of athletes, and anyone even remotely close to someone famous that any major sporting or music event becomes a mecca for Black women all over the country to sell their goods and services. Capitalism, greed, and the insane need for things, not just things but offensively and outrageously expensive things, has created a culture where sex and money go hand in hand.
For many Black women, the advice to exchange pussy for payment, the belief that selling sex is a viable employment option comes from our foremothers. It is, very much so, a legacy of oppression, patriarchy, and sexism being internalized and passed down from generation to generation. Born during the Great Depression, raised under the oppressive weight of Jim Crow, surrounded by racism, sexism, bigotry, and poverty everywhere, Black women during our (great) grandmother’s time had little options given to them. They were not just women during that time, they were BLACK women. They had less opportunities for survival than white women. It’s easy to see how a Black woman during that time came to the understanding that having sex for money was a viable and valid option. She couldn’t get employment making the same wages as white women, she couldn’t get an education, she had to rely on her own devices to earn money. For many Black women of the time, being molested and abused by their fathers, brothers, uncles, cousins, grandfathers, Pastors, and just about everyone else was the norm. Many black women internalized that abuse, accepted that it was just the way things were supposed to be and internalized the messages that went along with it, that they were only good for one thing, what was between their legs. For a woman of that era to come to the understanding that it having sex with men for money was a legitimate and reasoned thing to do was understandable.
Unfortunately, what women of that era didn’t understand were the larger implications of giving their bodies to men for money. They didn’t understand that they were actually devaluing themselves. They didn’t understand that they were creating monsters in the men whom they got paid to lay with who would think of women as things to be purchased and not ever want to honor them as real women but just whores they paid for the night. They relegated themselves to being holes to be used, receptacles for men’s unhealthy lust and they got no love, respect, or concern for their well-being in return, just a few bills on the nightstand.
It’s understandable that women of that era who had to take that route, who lived in impoverished areas and who weren’t members of large sororities and mega churches and who didn’t have access to libraries to provide them a window to worlds that were emotionally, psychologically, and mentally healthier how they might teach their daughters to “be sure he pays the bills before he drills.” I don’t want anyone to think that for a fraction of a minute that any woman expressing or espousing sentiment that to her daughters, or her granddaughters, was sexually empowered or enlightened in any way. She was a victim of her circumstances and her environment and she did what she had to do in order to survive. There’s no shame in that whatsoever.
If a woman raised during that era, or even the 60s or 70s, passed down her “words of wisdom” and beliefs to her daughters and granddaughters that pussy has value and that she should sell it in order to keep the lights on, it’s understandable to some degree how women could grow up thinking that it’s right, never questioning it, believing that there is inherent truth in it. We are all byproducts of our parent’s belief systems and it takes an incredible amount of introspection to be able to say that what we were taught was wrong. Teaching girl children that spreading their legs for undeserving men who bring nothing to the table but a few twenty dollar bills is, unquestionably, misguided.
Our grandmothers should have been taught by their mothers and grandmothers that they were priceless and that there is no amount of money that a man could pay to earn her body, her heart, and all that comes along with having sex. Sadly, our foremothers weren’t taught that. Sadly, they were raised in a society that didn’t allow them that luxury. But, that does not mean that we must continue the dysfunction of allowing men with no social skills, no valor, no honor, integrity, and no sincere motives into our sacred spaces just for a dollar. And it most certainly should not mean that we teach our girl children that.
We say, “Prostitution is the oldest profession in world,” like it’s the truth when in fact it’s not even close to the truth. Women didn’t start selling pussy until money became a tool to control and oppress others, until men became obsessed with objectifying women, using us, equating sex as a weapon, and sex became something they did for recreation, not as a form of intimacy. The women who sell their bodies today, who “use” men to pay their bills, who consider pussy a source of income get defensive, offended even, if anyone suggests that what they are doing is detrimental, unhealthy behavior. They will tell you that there is nothing wrong with it, in fact, they will tell you that it’s an informed, empowered, fiscally intelligent choice. What I would say in response to them, what I would ask is, what price do you pay for men who don’t love you, care about you, who wouldn’t lift a finger to help you in your time of need because they only see you as a product, a hole to pump and dump? I’m not saying the women who have been socialized to believe that their greatest/only value lies between their legs are bad women, I’m not calling them sluts, I’m not putting more blame on them than I am the males who are their “customers”. I am saying that we must evolve, heal, and grow. We must escape the blinding disease of materialism and place more value on who we are as women, as human beings. We must understand that the things our grandmothers taught us were based on flawed, misguided, and unhealthy belief systems.
Sex for money isn’t going to go away any time soon. The porn industry is becoming bigger every day with women choosing sex as a career plan. Sex workers have been given a more glamourous, less stigmatized status in society, completely ignoring the fact that men pay to use sex workers in disgusting, foul, perverse and unspeakable ways. Hook up culture is prevalent, our youth aren’t even versed in the skills of forming a real, loving relationship; rap music tells our young women that they have no value if they aren’t charging top dollar to rent their vaginas. And the women who only sell pussy in times of need, who only do it as a last resort, who don’t make a career out of it but who know that they can call an old friend when they are short on the rent will vehemently degrade and denounce other women in public to hide the fact that they feel twinges of guilt and shame in having to sell pussy. We live in a society that tells women that they shouldn’t even enjoy sex, that it should only be for procreation, that if you have sex with anyone other than a husband that they are whores and sluts. Regardless of how women defend or deny their actions, they will feel pangs of conflict because their actions will be in conflict with society’s standards of virgin and sexless women being the only women of virtue and value.
Victorian, conservative morality is certainly not the solution to our plague. Casual, meaningless sex should not be the goal we are striving for either. Informed, empowered, intelligent sex, with partners who care about us for more than the holes we have to stick their dicks, men who help us out financially not because we let them climb on top of us and do their business but because they are INVESTED in us as partners should be what we are striving for.
To the women who sell pussy, to the women who think they have no other options, who think it’s easier than working a minimum wage, dead end job, I’m going to say that I hope that there is some part of you that will see fit to look back on your life and your choices, look back on the men who have paid for your body and if there is a tiny bit of discomfort, if there is even an inkling of a sensation that your daughter deserves better, teach her not what your grandmother or mother taught you but that she has lots of options for income and that selling her sacred pussy to undeserving men should not be one of them. Teach her to DEMAND that the men she invites into her sacred yoni need to bring more than cash but they must respect her, honor her, they must court her and win her affections with their efforts to prove that they are worthy of her time and her energy and her body. Tell her that she can have as many partners as she wants, but that they must not be simply for money or empty pleasure but they must be men willing to get to know her, respect her, and value her priceless gift to him. Teach her to own the power of her pussy and the pleasure that it gives but I beg of you to never have her put a pricetag on it. NEVER.
Copyright 2014 AfroerotiK