Last week, Twitter joked about Megan Thee Stallion being shot and prayed for Kanye’s health in the same breath. We revisit social media’s love of using Black women as a punching bag for clout. People couldn’t find empathy for Summer Walker, Lizzo, or Azealia Banks’ mental health either. But they have no problem finding it for harmful, Black male celebrities like Bill Cosby, Kodak Black, and R. Kelly being held accountable.
Megan Thee Stallion recently revealed that she was deliberately shot in the foot twice and is dealing with trauma from the incident. She announced that she would be taking a break from social media to spend time healing. Megan had to disrupt her peace (twice) to tell Twitter that her trauma was serious. There were jokes sexualizing her being shot and jokes masculinizing her. They joked about Tory Lanez shooting her because she rejected him. Black men even tweeted about shooting other “Hot Girls” all summer. People went from saying Black Lives Matter to laughing about harming Black women. This is why many of us don’t feel included in this fight for Black lives.
It’s easy to write off social media “jokes” as just a small minority of ignorant people. We can say that it doesn’t represent real life, but these are real people tweeting. To say that this harmful rhetoric starts and ends with social media is dishonest. The misogynoir seen there reflects real life. The feeling of being unprotected that Black women have is real. Black women have been killed for rejecting men. Many Black women are killed by their own partners. We see videos on social media of Black women being beaten by men in public while people record it. A lot of us have the experience of being harassed by men while no one intervenes.
Instead of showing us that we are protected, and working to dismantle misogynoir, we are gaslighted by both Black men and Black women. We are told that it’s not just Black women being made fun of, social media is equally unsympathetic to everyone! Like that’s a good thing. Where are all these outspoken people that gaslight us when they see Black women being slandered? Since we are protected and allegedly just creating “false narratives” about Black men.
We are taught to extend grace to Black men who harm us and to keep them protected from white supremacy. Meanwhile, Black women are left to fight for themselves. Our lack of protection is why people consider us easy targets for cyberbullying. Lizzo was picked apart just for being fat and not fitting society’s views of how a fat, Black woman should behave. Summer Walker was picked apart just for having social anxiety. I even recall posting about Chrystul Kizer, a victim of child sex trafficking, and some people comparing her looks to a man. They couldn’t even extend sympathy to her. Yet if we are against harmful Black men like R. Kelly and Bill Cosby, we are accused of being agents of white supremacy. Everyone should pray for Kanye and be patient with his mental illness. But, Azealia Banks is bitter and she deserves every horrible thing that happens to her. Even being spat on by Russell Crowe, and being held at gunpoint by her racist neighbor.
It has gotten to a point where I’m tired of explaining what misogynoir is. It is blatant on social media and in real life. It’s more than just trolling or jokes. Misogynoir has caused serious harm to Black women. It would be easier if people would admit that they don’t value Black women, instead of having us pull up proof of misogynoir just to be gaslighted.
If you do value Black women, listen to us. Intervene when you see us being harmed. Being harmed isn’t just physical, words can be harmful as well. Cyberbullying is harmful. Your smooth lines about loving Black women mean nothing without any action behind it. Do better.