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Tag Archives: Black women

Not sure how to feel about: “Girlfriend Intervention”‘s black fairy godmothers

by SweetMidlife

I’m afraid this “Lifetime” might be wasting mine.

Leslie here!

Because I write about entertainment, pop culture, and various entertaining goings-on and hooha, I have a lot of interest in news about upcoming movies and TV shows, both for professional reasons, and because I like knowing what on the horizon might be worth interrupting my steady stream of “People You Do NOT Want To Meet In An Alley In Any Lighting Situation For Reals” on Investigation Discovery (this is not a real show, but you know you’d watch it. Heck, I would.)

You know what is a real show, or at least is going to be? “Girlfriend Intervention,” Lifetime’s new “Queer Eye For The Straight Guy”-esque deal that substitutes pulled-together, savvy (and likely sassy) black women for the pulled-together, savvy and sassy gay men. This is how the press release describes it:

“Four wise, poised and stylish African-American women, who, in each episode, help a white sister seeking a complete makeover to restore her confidence and inner glow.”

Umm…not so fast there, Lifetime Television For Co-Dependents. On the one hand, it’s nice to see a network that considers black women the go-to for style and refinement, unlike, oh, pretty much every other network. (As the home of the black “Steel Magnolias” remake and the Fantasia movie, it’s clear Lifetime values black women and the women who like them as an audience, without weave-pulling).

And if “Girlfriend” matches “Queer Eye” in tone, any tough love and joshing at expense of those being intervened upon will be worth it at the affectionate and successful reveal. I like encouraging togetherness among women (I’m looking at you, Bravo’s “Real Housewives of Ethno-Cultural-Class Stereotypes and Public Shaming.”)

But…(and you knew that there was one)…I’m not sure how to feel about so much of it, because the premise deals in some mule-tired stereotypes that I’m not sure are a good look on anyone. Even the title makes my teeth start itching, because it reminds me of white strangers who, upon meeting me, suddenly go “How you doin’ girlfriend?,” in some weird Southern/Brooklyn/imagined black person accent when I swear I just heard them speaking in proper English sentences that ended in consonants before they turned to me. Umm, one day I might be your girlfriend, as in your good pal. But let’s start with “Leslie,” OK?

Here’s the other thing – that “girlfriend” stuff opens to the door to an otherness that’s at the root of every other comedian on “Def Jam” – the “black people be like this and white people be like this” thing. And yes, there are some truths in all stereotypes, whose exceptions don’t become apparent if the only people that you encounter from another groups are the ones you see on TV. And continues a really, really lazy trope seen everywhere from “Ghost” to “The Help” – that black women exist mostly to teach you a lesson, make you grow as a person and heal your aching heart, until your soul glows and they get back into their magic Escalade and go off to save some other white people, like Atlanta Mary Poppins.

Then there’s the weird message that white women are somehow obviously more clueless about body image, style and getting-it-togetherness than black women, because I know some dang fine white women who are actually my personal “Girl, what is wrong with your nails?” patrol. Is that OK? And how come these “Girlfriend” folks aren’t helping black women, or Latinas or Asians or Native Americans? Is it assumed that we don’t need any help? (Because I don’t want to get too personal, but if I go too long between pedicures my husband starts making random references to “getting that talon attended to.”)

I have a lot of friends who are black and white and Latin and biracial and Indian and Sri Lankan-Australian and Jewish and atheist and whatever else you’ve got. We all help each other. Some of us have strengths that fit stereotypes, and some of us defy definition. We do for each other not because of some ethnically-defined mission to meddle or swoop in. We are friends. We are not each other’s staffs or acolytes or fairy godmothers with no lives other than the one in which we’re of service.

I am gonna check out “Girlfriend Intervention” because I kinda have to now, don’t I? And also because it could prove me wrong. I thought “Queer Eye” was going to be full of gross stereotypes, and although it sometimes was, it was also bold, sweet and gave the world Carson Kressley and my food boyfriend Ted Allen.

I just wish it didn’t have to be another show about clueless white people and the magic black people who live to help them. Because as my husband – sisters need help sometimes, too.

Answers for Single Black Women?

by SweetMidlife


 by Lynne Streeter Childress

So, a few weeks ago, a friend (Hi Lynn!!) sent me this article and thought it would be good for the blog, and then another (Hi Audelle!!) linked it to her Facebook page and said that it might be a good topic for us too.  And I know that it is, but I have also been taking my time with it because it is such a sensitive subject, and that subject is interracial relationships.  Actually, it’s more than that.  It’s about a possible remedy to the fact that Black women are statistically less likely to get married than other demographic.  I knew we needed to write about this, but as well, a Black woman, I have so many personal thoughts about this, and because most of them are grounded in my own experience, they are subjective, and I didn’t want to speak to something like this in generalizations, because, again, my views are personal.  So, I decided to start with laying out the article and letting it speak for itself, and then asking you guys for your thoughts.

The article, written by Ralph Richard Banks (he himself a black male writer) the Wall Street Journal says that….

  • Black woman are the demographic group least likely to get married;
  • There are less desirable Black men available to be married (either because they are in jail, or because they have less education than the majority of Black women. I had some issue with this);
  • With Black men in short supply (the article’s words),  they have more options then Black women in terms of mates;
  • More educated Black women often “marry down” (again, the article’s words, unfortunate in this case, I believe. Actually, this cheeses me off) when they marry Black men with blue collar jobs, and these marriages often fail.

So, the article offers, a Black woman seeking a compatible mate should consider dating non-Black men, because they might find someone that they have more in common with from an educational and financial standpoint. It also suggests that in doing this, we might be more desirable to black men and gain more “leverage”, which might result in more marriages between black people in the end.

NOW, my thoughts, and I will make them brief because it was hard to formulate them.   I have dated both black guys and white guys, and had crushes on guys of other races (but who I didn’t actually go out with).  There was actually a point where I thought I would wind up with a white guy because, it didn’t seem like black guys were asking me out (I wasn’t cute enough or down enough, it seemed).   That went away, and though I had other deal-breakers, race wasn’t one of them.  Actually, my two most serious dating relationships were with black men, and I married one of them (YIPPEE!!). All that to say, I was open to dating white guys not because they gave me leverage with Black guys, or because I thought they were more educated than Black guys. It was because I decided to open myself to all possibilities in the race realm. But that was me. Some people have preferences, either from experience, or just from knowing what they like, and they would rather not cross that line.

So, what say you, readers? Do you respect the author’s assertion, or at least his attempt to address the issue? Do you agree? Are you insulted? What do you think? We want to hear. A note, though: This is a highly personal and sensitive topic, and we trust that all comments will be honest, but respectful. Okaybee?

Let the debate begin!

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