Monday, March 28, 2016

The problem with #ICanBeBoth

     The newest trend sweeping the internet invites Black Women to stand up for and represent themselves by posting photos with the hashtag. #ICanBeBoth is to debunk the ever long good girl vs. bad girl mindset forced upon women for centuries, especially Black Women. This idea pits the Bad girl/hoe/slut against the good girl/school girl/good christian woman; as if there are only two types of women.

     People have participated by posting either a split photo or two photos, one of which would be of said poster wearing something "sexy" or more revealing, probably going out to a club looking presumably promiscuous and the other would be of the same woman dressed to go to work, or school, or church, etc. looking presumably conservative and/or educated.
     #ICanBeBoth is the newest feminist movement. We as women, all women, are multidimensional and free to express ourselves how we want, and we have a right to that freedom without being policed or restricted by other people's perception of how a woman should live her life on the basis of misogyny and patriarchy.

     However, I see it to be flawed. Firstly, the hashtag itself implies that there is indeed  a "both". This supports the whole "Good girl/Bad girl" discourse, validating it as a way to categorize lifestyle and styles of clothing as personality traits. Good girl wears white, bad girl wears black, good girl either shows cleavage, mid-drift, or legs(not all); bad girl does not "leave anything to the imagination", good girl wears stockings, bad girl wears fishnets with rips and tears in them; etc. etc. As far a fashion is concerned, aside from the person, there are no essential good girl/bad girl styles, trends, or stores; therefore no way or no reason to narrow it down. They are JUST CLOTHES. Now, considering the person, unless they are living a double life there is no "both" they can possibly be; they can only be one person. Personally, weather I wear an oversized crewneck sweater with skinny jeans and a pair of Chucks; or Doc Marten boots with fishnet stockings, high wasted ripped shorts, and a small cropped tank top; or long Black high-neck dress that emphasizes my booty; OR a flannel shirt with a knit sweater over it, blue jeans, and boots with a little heel; I am still me. I am one person, who has a job in a professional setting, a job in a more relaxed setting, someone who is a matriculated student, and someone who likes to go out at night and have fun. There are not several sides to me that fit into categories dictated by the male gaze, I am me. Upon getting dressed I do not say to myself, "Tonight I am wearing a short, tight dress, I am sexy." or "Today I am wearing a fitted blazer paired with fitted slacks, I am a career women". I dress appropriately for the occasion, not as if I am a Barbie doll who is conservative by day and slut by night, but because this is who I am as a multidimensional human being.
     I have taken into consideration that my problem is mostly with the hashtag itself. The notion is a good one but the whole "I can be both" or "Get you a girl who can do both" discourse has to be done with. In response to one who states they can be both, I would ask "Both what?". I am curious to know what labels they put on themselves.

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