The narrative of dismissing and invalidating Black womens’ trauma needs to end.
If you’re active on social media, you’ve probably seen the recent buzz on Megan Thee Stallion.
'Hot Girl Meg' is almost impossible to miss on today's music scene. Her quick witted bars, entertaining performances and general talent is undeniable.
In fact, her music releases have often had the effect of 'breaking the internet'. In her short three-year career, she has bulldozed her way through the music industry, proving herself with her unique and smooth flow and has secured collaborations with Beyoncé and Cardi B. Known for her confidence and brazen lyricism, she actively subverts the hypersexuality of Black women by actively taking control of her narrative and owning her sexuality.
In an interview with Billboard she champions her feminism saying: ‘
We gotta break these double-standards and allow women to loosen up a bit. We gotta show them that we can do what we want to do how we want to do it. If someone doesn’t like it, they can get to stepping’.
Megan is a standout rapper and public figure and it seems her sound and values will define female rap for years to come. It’s Megan’s time to shine, but the dark cloud of misogynoir still unfortunately hangs over her.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, misogynoir refers to the overlap of racism and misogyny which specifically affects Black women. Coined in 2008 by Moya Bailey, she describes the notion ‘as a way to talk about anti-blackness and misogyny that black women experience simultaneously’. Whilst misogyny is an umbrella term to describe the institutional and everyday oppression of women and femme identifying individuals, misogynoir points directly to the dehumanisation of Black women. This is often perpetuated through detrimental caricatures and stereotypes such as ‘the strong Black women’. Meg has been failed by these banal stereotypes within the hip-hop community and the social media community.
Recently, Megan Thee Stallion was shot by the well-known singer and rapper Tory Lanez. The reactions on social media and news outlets were mixed. However, the ‘jokes’ and a constant dismissal of Megan’s perspective of the incident was a blatant response. The public mocked and memed her, highlighting the systematic notion that Black trauma is something that can be treated facetiously.
In an emotional Instagram live, Megan took to the platform to explain
‘I didn’t deserve to get shot’ before pausing to ground her emotions. ‘It was just the worst experience of my life and it’s not funny. It’s nothing to joke about and nothing for ya’ll to go and be making fake stories about’.
The decision to speak publicly on the incident was of course Megan’s decision, but the demand for Black women to provide an explanation and validate their suffering is rooted in misogynoir. It’s truly heartbreaking that in order for the world to ‘believe’ and validate her experience, she had to relive the situation rather than being given the space and respect to heal. This is a narrative that Black women face more often than not, and we need to dismantle the habit of belittling Black trauma; it’s dangerous and debilitating for our mental health. Black women deserve to be treated with gentleness, and to be loved and supported as much as the next human being in all aspects of their lives.
Megan’s story reflects the harrowing reality of Black women’s feelings being ignored or invalidated in society.
Quite frankly, this narrative is exhausting to watch. Black Lives Matter is not just about existence, it’s about our emotions, experiences and minds. In order to protect Black women, we have to dismantle the myth of the ‘strong Black female’ and treat our trauma seriously. We have to break the cycle of Black women having to ‘prove’ that their trauma is valid. We still have a long way to go in tackling misogynoir, and we need to continue to practice intersectional feminism to highlight and disassemble these harmful biases.