Tag Archives: Love & Hip Hop

Mean Girls

Earlier this month, researchers at Iowa State University published “Frenemies, Fraitors, and Mean-em-aitors: Priming Effects of Viewing Physical and Relational Aggression in the Media on Women“. The study, which observed 250 college women, found that viewing mean girl antics such as social exclusion, gossip and emotional bullying on shows like Basketball Wives, Love & Hip-Hop and Real Housewives of Atlanta, primed viewers to be more aggressive towards each other. The part of me that believes in Sisterhood, found this surprising, disturbing and sad. The part of me that is logical, viewed this as a sign that we are weak-minded, easily influenced and lack moral fortitude. The part of me that is in entertainment said ‘here we go, blaming television for our problems again’.  When Essence Magazine first published a related article on their website, I posted the following comment:

“They say if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything. The fact that a person’s behavior can be altered by watching other people’s ignorant behavior on television is very sad and disappointing. I think it speaks more to how weak-minded and fickle these women are if they begin to emulate the bad behavior they see (on television). So then my question becomes this: if they are inundated with more positive behavior represented on television, will they adapt and emulate that positive behavior also? I’m just saying, while we’re brainwashing, we should make it worthwhile.”
 

I’ve previously admitted to watching reality shows. Lately, I’ve found myself wondering “whose reality is this really“, where women are constantly backstabbing, backbiting, fighting and behaving as if they are wild animals fighting over the last scraps of prey, that they didn’t even hunt? This behavior is evident on Basketball Wives (which has turned into WWE Part 2 in Miami), Love & Hip Hop concluded their season after lots of fist fights and drink throwing, no matter what city they were in, and Real Housewives of Atlanta has turned into Sheree versus Everybody Else. Not to mention the woman who threw a ziplock bag full of flour on Kim Kardarshian while she walked the red carpet at a recent charity event. Who does that? Mean Girls do that.

I’ve never been the type of woman to surround myself with a lot of other women. I was raised to believe that you only need one really good girlfriend and a few close girlfriends, but no more than five. I’ve lived like that for almost 40 years now. I’ve learned through experience that the more women present in a room, the more problems could arise. In my younger years, I had more than my fair share of girls and young women who were jealous of me for what I viewed to be silly and superficial reasons, so I preferred to keep to myself. I believed that things would improve as women matured, and if not, that’s okay because I enjoy my company just fine. 

Then something happened.

I met a Mean Girl. Unbeknownst to me, she was already in my midst – like a snake. She is someone I’ve known for the last few years and considered to be a dear sister-friend. I was clearly wrong and had ignored her character flaws, possibly out of love or because I just wasn’t paying attention. Maybe she was just that slick. Well, recently she showed her true colors, as snakes often do. For the last few years, I’ve been so busy working on things in my life that were important to me (traveling, building the Super Woman Brand, sending my son to college, and enjoying my life), and avoiding men with hidden agendas, that I completely overlooked the woman who had come into my life with a hidden agenda of her own and envy in her heart. She flew right in under the radar and nested herself into my life for the sole purpose of getting whatever benefits were attached to being associated with me and being known as my friend. And she got away with it for years. Once she couldn’t get her way any longer, because I have my own life, goals and dreams, she began to show herself to not be a good friend, but to be a superficial, insecure, vindictive and malicious person. My life had never revolved around her to begin with, but for some strange reason, she assumed she was my only friend and that I somehow relied on her for my mere existence. I found that to be hilarious. She actually had the blatant audacity to send me a text message that said “you’re gonna need me before I need you“. For what?  When I think back, that wasn’t true, and wouldn’t be true. She hadn’t contributed to any of my personal or business accomplishments. She hadn’t introduced me to anyone of importance. She hadn’t done anything truly significant. So again, I ask – for what? She doesn’t have anything that I would covet and my only competition is myself

Just like the Mean Girls on reality television, she began to say terrible and untrue things about me (mostly behind my back to anyone she thought would listen, because that’s what cowards do). I immediately recognized this as an attempt on her part to make her feel superior because she is insecure. Strangely enough, she’s at a time in her life where she should be happy. She’s recently got married and has a beautiful blended family, bought a house and has a grandchild. So when others would be relishing in their life’s accomplishments, this woman is directing her energy into attempting to discredit or harm me. Obviously, she’s not very happy. However, I’m not responsible for her happiness and nor will I take responsibility for her unhappiness.

Mean Girls develop their own false truth. A false truth that is often laced with insecurities and judgment against others, that they persuade themselves into believing in order to compensate for what they lack as an individual. Fortunately, for me (a) I have real girlfriends (b) I have self-esteem and confidence that is virtually unbreakable by another human being, and (c) I have a life. Therefore, I’m not too concerned about this woman and the lies that she attempts to spread out of anger and animosity. No one of any importance knows her or cares about the venom she’s spitting. I’m also not too concerned about any other women like her, regardless of who they are. Personally, I believe that if she were both a mature and respectable woman, she’d have a conversation with me, face-to-face, woman-to-woman, instead of talking about me to other people behind my back like a second grader. Instead of telling other people what (she thinks) I am or not, she’d tell me directly what her problem is with me. Instead of her stalking my Facebook pages to see what I’m doing, and who I’m doing it with, she’d be enjoying her new husband and family. Instead of telling other people how much money (she thinks) I have or don’t, she’d be building her own career. By the way, if she wants to count my money and assets, she should make sure to include my copyrights, trademarks, service marks, intellectual property and stock dividends. I don’t have a lot of material possessions because I don’t need them to be happy. I have everything that I truly need; God, food, clothing, shelter, family, career … and a fabulous shoe collection.

I truly pity Mean Girls. They are so consumed with making other people miserable, being dishonest, fighting and being manipulative, that they miss out of the joys of true friendship and sisterhood. They are so concerned with the latest trends and material possessions, that they forget what life is truly about. No matter how much stuff you buy, you can’t take it with you when you die. No matter how much stuff you buy, it won’t make you a happier or a better person. No matter how much stuff you buy, it’s not going to add value to who you are, because you’re likely buying it to impress people who don’t like you very much or are just as materialistic. If a woman considers her material possessions, her mean attitude, who she’s married to, what kind of car she drives or what city she resides in to be the sole determining factors of her worth in comparison to another woman’s, she has a very sad existence.

She’s not just a Mean Girl… she’s also a Sad Girl.

I learned to be more observant of people who try to come into my life, as a result of this experience. But I still don’t have time to revolve my life around someone else’s to make them feel good about themselves. I’m responsible for myself. My goals and achievements are mine to either attain or take responsbility for if I fail. Plus, jealous words from unhappy individuals don’t hold any weight in my world. My world is already Super.  

*Those I trust most, are those who have earned my trust, by not betraying my trust* – Urban Confucius

 

Who’s Mad At Brian White?

I follow actor Brian White’s career as a fan and on Twitter. Early in February 2012 he did an interview with Shamika Sanders of Hello Beautiful, during which she asked Brian why he thinks people hate Tyler Perry. His reply was, “Because Tyler holds a mirror up to people. Stereotypes are not stereotypes today. The most popular character [in, Why Did I Get Married?], and it’s not the one that Tyler picked as the most popular, is Tasha!”  What he said is completely true. But, Shamika Sanders decided to call her article, “Does Brian White Hate Black Women or Is He Spot On? EXCLUSIVE”.

Does anyone else see what I see or is everyone going to side with Shamika on this?

Shamika was supposed to interview Brian about his upcoming movie projects. She asked him a question. He gave an honest answer and backed it up with several examples to support his point of view and at no time did this man say anything about hating black women. What in fact Brian White said, to sum it up in my own words, is that black AMERICA in general gravitates towards the more negative and stereotypical portrayals of ourselves (both men and women) in television and in movies, instead of looking at the more positive, learning the lessons filmmakers like Tyler Perry are trying to teach us, and appreciating the quality projects that are put out that portray us positively.

Did you understand that?

Brian’s reply got turned into a one black man versus all the black women in the world debate by Shamika Sanders. Maybe it was not her intention to do so. Maybe she doesn’t write well. Maybe she was unable to convey what Brian was saying using the written word. Maybe she doesn’t understand responsible journalism. Maybe she forgot what her interview was supposed to really be about. Maybe she was personally offended by what Brian White said and thought it would be a perfect opportunity to take his words out of context, pour gasoline on them and light them on fire to boost her own career. Anything is possible.

I agree in large part with a lot of what Brian said in his interview, although it was skewed to be more negative than he intended it to be. He touched on how black women behave on reality shows and therefore are also portrayed as characters in movies. However, we complain about being stereotyped when WE are the ones watching and supporting the shows and behaving in the same manner. I admit I watch Love & Hip Hop and RHOA, along with a few other reality shows. Part of it is entertainment and part of it is research for me as a writer (and a woman) for ‘what not to do’. The reality shows starring black women aren’t any different from reality shows starring white women. White women fight on television, too. But it’s often handled with a different approach by the media. It’s also handled with a different approach by their peers. In black AMERICA we constantly criticize, scrutinize, disrespect, and demean each other, then turn around and do the exact same thing we were mad about someone else doing. What do I mean by that? Women get upset with Mona Scott Young for being the brains behind Love & Hip Hop because Chrissy Lampkin acts a fool, fights and argues constantly on the show, but those same black women are trying to get on reality shows themselves; and not in an effort to change the way we’re portrayed in the process. They want to be famous, just like Chrissy…or Kim Kardashian, or whomever they idolize that particular week. They think that reality television will be their in into acting or fame because going to acting school or developing a talent takes too long.  Often for black women, reality televisions shows only end up as their way into a men’s magazine…bent over. But the white women who participate in reality shows receive spin offs and offers for Dancing With The Stars. But, I digress.  

Maybe Brian White needs more media training to learn how to phrase his opinions differently so that sensitive people who can’t digest the absolute truth won’t get offended. But at the same time, the fact that some black women are actually angry about what he said astounds me completely. It speaks to the misconceptions we have about how other people look at us when we’re on television and on movie screens. It speaks to the fact that we allow ourselves to have lower standards of ourselves in television and movies than we should (Brian would like us to support quality work, period).  It also speaks to the fact that we (black women) can take the most genuine comment in support of Tyler Perry and make it all about us for absolutely no reason.  

I’m not mad at Brian White at all. He said what he meant and he stood behind his convictions without apology. Maybe if more of us did the same thing, we wouldn’t embarrass ourselves or each other as much as we do on television in the first place.

◊ When you know better, you do better.

∞ Support the I Feel Good: Mind, Body & Soul Women’s Conference in Detroit, MI so that young black women know that they don’t have to be on reality television to make something of themselves in this world. www.ifeelgoodmbs.com