Culture Thoughts

Why Can’t Women Enjoy Things?

TikTok challenges aren’t anything new and in her first piece for Sistem, contributor Ife takes a look at the latest viral crazes and the impact it has had on one particular hyper visible Black woman. Regardless of what you think of these glow up-come-sexy dance trends, does any of it warrant abuse online?

With outside being closed for the foreseeable future, there’s little choice (other than work) then to entertain ourselves with whatever craze social media has to offer.

The #BussItChallenge dominated and for a while, our timelines were beautiful. Women from all over the world transforming from dressing gowns & scarves to perfect beats paired with their favourite PLT sets 😍😍 all whilst twerking to the intro of Erica Banks’s Buss It.

Of course, it would be impossible for everything to remain fun for long! We are talking social media here, and the woman in the firing line this time? Chloe Bailey. She was recently moved to tears on an instagram live after receiving backlash for creating the #SilhouetteChallenge

For context, Chloe was simply dancing to celebrate reaching an instagram follower milestone after a mere week of having her own page, it was the rest of us who made it into the red-room extravaganza it became. But it was Chloe Bailey who was left on instagram to answer for what users condemned as attention seeking and shedding her good girl image. Now I don’t know about you but I genuinely wonder, why is Chloe celebrating her own body suddenly a problem? 

“why is Chloe celebrating her own body suddenly a problem? “

We’ve seen this happen time and time again, a trend becomes popularised by women for other women & woo woo cue the morality police. Whilst other celebrities have enjoyed; Gabrielle Union, Tiffany Haddish & Tracee Ellis Ross, amongst many others. There is a certain amount of vitriol reserved for Chloe.

What’s so different about her and why can we only respect a specific type of woman at a time?

Chloe being found attractive isn’t a new nor unexpected. Tweets calling for the ‘sexier’ of the Bailey duo to go solo have been flying around for some time. Even though Chloe (and Halle) are young adults now, the internet refuses to let them present themselves as such. And this is where the problem lies; your struggle to see her as an adult isn’t her problem and we shouldn’t have to see her cry to understand that. 

It’s no surprise that the policing of Black women’s bodies hasn’t taken a break during the panasonic because if you’re not equating what a woman looks like to how they deserve to be treated then what are you doing?

Misogynoir, a term coined by queer Black feminist Moya Bailey is definitely at play here. From being told what to wear or how to behave, Black women have always had to learn how to navigate platforms that shame us for cultivating attention for features that we were traditionally taught to loathe, and having shapes that are so coveted and celebrated on others. Quite frankly, the level of respect you have for a Black woman should not depend on what we choose to do with our bodies, celebrate our sexiness or share publicly.

“It’s no surprise that the policing of Black women’s bodies hasn’t taken a break during the panasonic because if you’re not equating what a woman looks like to how they deserve to be treated then what are you doing?”

One thing the Chloe Bailey pile on has taught me is that; social media is definitely not as progressive as we think. Women should be able to have complete agency over their own bodies. Full stop. It is a right, not a privilege. Finding a source of joy during one of the most traumatic periods of all of our lives shouldn’t be met with put downs or faux-worry only meant to undermine confident women.

Whether it’s online or offline, whether covering up completely or bussing down for the world to see, we should and ARE free to do exactly what we want.

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