Erykah Badu, the perennial homegirl, almost-ass-whipper of Azalea Banks, one of the few neo-soul singers with two nude videos and the queen spirit animal of every Black woman without a perm made Black Twitter say “awww hell nawww!” yesterday when she tweeted an essay advocating for young women to wear longer skirts to protect themselves from predatory, horny young men. Here are the consolidated tweets in their entirety:
“There was an article ruling that high school girls lower their skirts so male teachers are not distracted. I agreed because I am aware that we live in a sex-driven society. It is everyone’s, male and female’s, responsibility to protect young ladies. One way to protect youth is to remind them we are all sexual in nature and as they grow and develop it is natural to attract men. It is not them who is doing anything wrong by being beautiful and attractive but with such imbalance in our society it is smart to be aware and awake. Men and women both go thru cycles of arousal. Men automatically are attracted to women of child bearing age. I want my daughters to understand this. I want them to be themselves and wear what they like, yet be aware. Not ignore our differences. Males should be taught to be responsible for their actions from childhood. It’s not ok to “prey” on young women. But do I think it is unnatural for a heterosexual male 2b attracted to a young woman in a revealing skirt? No. I think it is his nature. If I had a school I would make sure that the uniform skirt length was a nice knee length. It is fair to everyone…”.
Aside from spreading the illogic that the decisions of rapists and child molesters are wardrobe-based, Miss Badu wades into the murky waters of victim-blaming and turns above-the-knee skirts into scapegoats for predators.
Here are a few other equivalent statements that follow Erykah’s line of reasoning:
Racism? Just accept it – Erykah says of women, “it is not them who is doing anything wrong by being beautiful and attractive but with such imbalance in our society it is smart to be aware and awake.” If only she had stopped there, but she adds, It’s not ok to “prey” on young women. But do I think it is unnatural for a heterosexual male 2b attracted to a young woman in a revealing skirt? No. I think it is his nature. If I had a school I would make sure that the uniform skirt length was a nice knee-length. It is fair to everyone…” Maybe we should feel the same way about racism. Maybe we just don’t understand the way Klansmen and supremacists naturally feel. Hate is as valid an emotion as arousal, maybe we just need to find ways to accommodate prejudice. Ms. Badu believes that women should accept the fact that, “Men automatically are attracted to women of child-bearing age…” and apparently the way to lessen the danger of men who prey on women is all about changing hemlines and not minds. Maybe white people are automatically racist, and black people just need to find a way to mitigate the fire damage when they burn crosses on our lawns.
Black boys should wear bulletproof vests around cops – If we want to protect our young boys, following Erykah’s reasoning, maybe they should wear Kevlar vests whenever they are approached by policemen. By now it should be obvious to everyone that policemen have an affinity for killing black boys, so maybe we should tell our sons to keep themselves safe. I don’t think what happened to Trayvon, Tamir or Mike Brown was ok, but if a cop can’t control his trigger finger, then chest protection is fair to everyone. The idea that women can dress or act a certain way that will make men who mean them harm change their minds is no different than telling young men to find a way to absorb the impact of bullets.
Maybe those women shouldn’t have been so thirsty around Bill Cosby – According to Badu’s logic, we should investigate why women’s throats suddenly got so parched around Bill Cosby. You mean to tell me all y’all were spontaneously thirsty? And why didn’t they look in their glass more carefully before they drank it? Quaaludes make your drink cloudy, and one time I was at Red Lobster (because I ____ her good, so she took my ass to…) and I spotted a hair in my strawberry lemonade, and I got 5 free shrimps, so don’t try to convince me those women didn’t know what was going on.
Stop being Black – Perhaps this is the key to ending the suffering of Black people. I know it sounds dumb, but if women can prevent men from preying on them by somehow being less attractive, then obviously being less Black would ease our woes. Badu doesn’t say girls shouldn’t wear skirts, just not above the knee. Similarly, I’m not saying you can’t be all Black, just a little less Black. Light-skinned. Mulatto. If hemlines can curb rape, maybe skin tone can cure hate…
See how stupid that sounds?