i’ve been in a season of self-care. after making a conscious decision to stop normalizing anxiety and stress, i’m seeking a simpler life — one that’s judged by the quality of my experiences, not the quantity of my possessions. thankfully, i’m not doing the work of re-evaluting my position in the american rat race alone — sisters of the yam by bell hooks has been my bible and sister’s circle dc has become my congregation.
between the ma’at tattoo under her breasts, countless instagram pics and the recent lui magazine cover, rihanna’s breasts receive lots of attention. therefore, we shouldn’t be shocked that her nipples played a starring role when she received the cfda fashion icon award last night. rihanna’s dress was covered in swarovski crystals — and not much else.
she looked ethereal, almost other worldly with the sparkling dress, gloves and head wrap. with the dress and her nipples earning a spot in media outlets around the world, i’m wondering what it means for a woman to bare her breasts and disregard norms that typically make such an action taboo.
first, rihanna’s pixie dust dress demands a conversation about double standards. in a society where the way a woman dresses invites judgments about her purity and sexual mores, women are held to much stricter rules about acceptable styles of dress than our male counterparts. for example, why is it appropriate for a man to show his chest, but not a woman? pondering this very question, scout willis (demi moore and bruce willis’s daughter) recently started the #freethenipple campaign to protest instagram’s rules that ban women’s bare breasts, including those of breast cancer survivors and breastfeeding mothers, but allows bare chested pictures of men. in fact, rihanna’s lui magazine cover was initially removed from her instagram account by the social media empire for this reason.
the day after an injustice you wake up and wonder if it was a dream. you search your memory to recall the events from the day before. you remember the news reports, the twitter feed, the facebook posts. they all remind you of the verdict: not guilty. the day after an injustice you feel restless. rally? prayer vigil? scream? no solution to mend a weary soul comes to mind. the day after an injustice you go to church and wait for the pastor to deliver a message that will make sense of hundreds of years of oppression and violence, but it doesn’t come. you walk around the city aimlessly, looking for something, anything to help numb the pain. the day after an injustice you think about your grandparents and ancestors who experienced injustice with no retribution their entire lives. you think about all the stories they told you about segregated schools, lynchings, white mobs and backbreaking labor and know that nothing has changed. the day after an injustice you turn to your mentors, james and grace lee boggs, dorothy roberts and bell hooks to help explain this world. the day after an injustice you feel the blow to your will to fight, but arrive at a renewed spirit to continue the struggle in the name of those who fought before you. the day after an injustice you re-dedicate your life to ending inequity because that is the only reason you were born.
rest peacefully dearest trayvon. we will always remember.