This past Sunday, Mikki Kendall (@Karynthia) from HoodFeminism started an important conversation via twitter. Risqué under the current paradigm, the hashtag #FastTailedGirls was used to sparked a discussion about the sexualization of young black females. It began to explore the stereotypes thrust upon women of colour and the abuse they must endure. The term ‘fast tailed girl’ has been used for decades in the black population as a warning against girls with loose morals. It is an expression that erodes communities and discriminates against their female population.
It tells girls that they are not to wear tight clothing, spend time with boys, show skin, or speak their mind. Young black girls should never fall victim to such a label, yet they do for far too many reasons.
It teaches boys that it is fine for them to actively pursue women in a sexual manner. It teaches them that a girl who actually takes them up on their offer is somehow flawed. Many young boys grow up to understand that predatory feelings are inevitable and WOC (women of colour) are to be ogled, catcalled and degraded.
Warnings of ‘fast tailed girls’ always seem to lack a conversation about the importance of men respecting black females. The onus is put on girls to ‘act their age’ or ‘be a lady’, rather than inspect the male role in all forms of gender abuse. It blames young women for actions for which grown men are responsible.
Within this term, no one seems to discuss that all women are equal and deserve appreciation, regardless of race, sexual orientation or class. Society tells us that only quiet, modest girls are of value. WOC who have opinions, are ‘one of the guys’, or explore their sexuality are ‘fast’ and therefore oh-so-tragically heading down a path of sin.
The hash tag #FastTailedGirls brought together bright minds from around the world and welcomed a crucial conversation on social justice. It was a pleasure to soak up insights from empowered WOC.
Here are some highlights from the brilliant minds that joined the conversation this weekend.
- "@dopegirlfresh: the phrase #fasttailedgirls makes exceptions for abusers. it creates villains out of children, and absolves men w/ no self control." https://twitter.com/dopegirlfresh/status/406862397324800000
- "@blackgirlinmaine: The shame and stigma of #FastTailedGirls is yet one of many reasons there are real cultural differences between BW and WW in the US." https://twitter.com/blackgirlinmain/status/407557098600292352
- "@deluxvixens: #fasttailedgirls is ultimately about a community projecting its own collective helplessness onto its most vulnerable members." https://twitter.com/deluxvivens/status/407604633880649728
- "@youdamnskippy: A cop asked me for my number. I told him I was 16. He told me he does whatever he wants. #FastTailedGirls" https://twitter.com/youdamnskippy/status/406881933579132929