“Sexy Sexism”: Tricia Rose’s Article

Tricia Rose’ argument in her article “There Are Bitches and Hoes” is that rap culture is promoting a view of African American women as prostitutes to the point which women are now adopting this portrayal of themselves to fit in with the culture and become desirable. (p. 322, pp. 2).

I think Tricia is drawing very interesting parallels between an individual’s expression of their sexuality and the culture’s representation of a group’s sexuality. Where some women are choosing to adopt this portrayal of themselves as essentially sexual servants to men out of their own free will, Rose seems to be indicating these ideas create problems for a group as a whole. In other words, when men are making “sexism sexy” (p.325, pp. 1) and women are living up to this idea of what is sexy, it’s not just those women who are being affected, it’s a whole group of women who are being affected.

In light of our discussion on porn, I’m not sure many would agree with Rose that the medium/manner in which a person expresses sexuality can affect other people outside themselves negatively. If a woman wishes to portray herself as sexually subordinate to men, should we stop them for the “greater good”? Not to say that the woman is culpable for the womanizing climate. Rose’s resolution is for us to “…demand that empowered women be in charge of their own sexual imagery and give them the freedom to express themselves as they see fit” (p. 325, pp.2). My question is, how do we balance representations of women’s sexuality as seen in rap with not cutting over a person’s freedom to express themselves? 

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Language and the “Weight of Womanhood”

This isn’t a new discussion, I’m just moving my old post from the comments area into a new post.

Questions for discussion Fri. Sept. 7th:

1) Something that stuck out to me was the use of Tambu’s native language throughout the novel with little explanation of the meanings of these words. Tambu also expresses a lot of anger when she finds out that her cousins and her brother have forgotten Shona (pg. 42, 53). What role do English and Shona play in the novel? What is the significance of Tambu’s own story being narrated in both English and Shona?

2) Another quote that has stuck with me as we continue to read is from Tambu’s mother’s speech early on in the text about the “burden of being a woman” where she ends with “As these days it is worse, with the poverty of blackness on one side and the weight of womanhood on the other” (pg. 14) How does this tension play out in the lives of the other women in the novel? Even though Miaguru is kind of alienated from the rest of her family because of her education, is her situation (or Nyahsa’s) really better off or different from the other women?