I’m about to get a certain segment of the population hot. Again. An interesting thing with me is that I tend to be quiet about many things. That is until I decide to speak up and then I’m extremely blunt. A former sports coach said I had two speeds, stop and go. Something I’m about to be “go” on is this thing about Black women complaining about seen as Thots.
A Thot, for those who boycott social media, or stay in a cabin living off the land, is an acronym for “that hoe over there.” Modern slang for a promiscuous woman. Many Black men have got in the habit of referring to Black women as Thots and rightly so many Black women have complained about having this term applied to them. Can’t say I blame them. There’s only one little problem with this. Let me share that problem with you.
People who follow me on YouTube are aware that I have done a few videos based on the recent Netflix series,” She’s Gotta Have It,” by legendary director Spike Lee. The series itself is an update of his classic 1986 movie of the same name. Overall I liked the series especially from an artistic point of view. The interesting thing is that though the main character, Nola Darling, wouldn’t like the label, she was a Thot. She was engaged in multiple simultaneous relationships with three men and a woman thrown in for good measure. Regardless of how someone wants to frame it, in the streets Nola would be called a Thot. Despite this, many Black women identified with Nola Darling. Indeed many admitted to living that lifestyle.
Another show I reviewed was HBO’s “Insecure.” In this show not only the main character but her best friend engaged in behavior that would be considered that of a Thot. Yet many women, many Black women, celebrated this behavior.
There are other shows such as BET’s “Being Mary Jane,” and ABC’s “Scandal” where the main characters were mistresses. Not the wives, not the main woman, but mistresses. There are probably many other examples but I think the reader gets the point.
Black women are complaining about being seen as thots, mistresses, and other negative stereotypes of Black women. Yet only a very tiny minority of Black women are complaining about these portrayals. Indeed these shows are among the most celebrated in Black America.
If instead of “She’s Gotta Have It” the show was called “He’s Gotta Have It” about a Black man having simultaneous relationships with three women there would be an uproar as well as a network TV special. Black women would be talking about boycotting the show and don’t let there be a white woman involved. All hell would break loose. Yet Black women are celebrating and embracing images that quite frankly are making them look bad.
I’ve always said that Black women need to lead the charge against negative portrayals of them in the media. One thing about Black men is that we complain loudly about negative portrayals of us. We let people know we don’t consider a media image of us to be realistic. I have not seen the same effort from Black women. Indeed, many Black women will have watch parties for these shows portraying them in a manner which they will otherwise complain about.
People who are media savvy know how powerful a media image can be. Despite what people want to think otherwise a media image can shape perceptions. If collectively Black women don’t want to be seen as Thots, or mistresses it’s up to them to do something. It starts with ceasing to celebrate such images.