You know it's patriarchy when a man claims that women don't carry themselves as queens in today's time and refers to all those who don't, in his opinion, as "bitches" and "hoes." Unfortunately, this is only one example of many in which women are simultaneously held to problematic standards and disparaged.
One of the most recent incidents unleashed an extremely controversial whirlwind on social media. After Ayesha Curry tweeted comments on her fashion preferences compared to today's trends, both male and female Twitter users took advantage of the opportunity to slut shame women for their style of dress. The comments and memes that followed included a call for men to stay strong in a world reportedly full of Amber Roses as they search for an Ayesha Curry, perpetuating the virgin-whore dichotomy of our society.
As our population today holds more people with secondary education and undergraduate degrees than ever, one would think that these supposedly educated people would understand that Ayesha Curry and Amber Rose could easily be, and often are, the same person. The idea that the characteristics these women are most known for are mutually exclusive is one of ignorance. The terrible ill of perpetuating this notion rests on women who claim to be feminists and men who claim to love women, yet who both regularly degrade and dehumanize women based on their appearances, choices, and lifestyles.
You can't claim to love and uplift women in one breath, but treat them with disrespect in the next.
Women have historically been held to higher moral standards than men. Black women, especially, have been charged with playing to respectability politics because of the intersectionality of race and gender. In order to counteract stereotypical characterizations of black women's sexuality, such as the Jezebel, numerous efforts have been made to establish a respectful image. In a time when the black community has again called for people to "stay woke," or conscious of the injustices in the culture and system in which we live, we should build each other up, not tear each other down. When people are fighting against sagging pants and gold chains as a justification for violence towards men, but slut shaming women for wearing tight dresses and short skirts, we have a problem.
The people who gratuitously use and misuse "king" and "queen" have not considered very sound logic when designing their stipulations either. There are many cases in which the men who consistently hold women to these standards are far from meeting those standards themselves. Can you be the Stephen Curry to her Ayesha Curry? On the scale of Russell Wilson to Nayvadius "Future" Wilburn, individual men can only fall into one place.
For the men who claim that women no longer carry themselves as queens, several questions emerge: "What makes you a king?" "Who decided that all men were kings?" "Can you lose your crown if your actions prove that you're no longer worthy of wearing it?" Men typically decide the answers to all of these because our society has historically, culturally, and systematically deferred to them. For some men, a sense of manhood is specifically rooted in and defined by the oppression of women.
Historically speaking, queens and their counterparts were often known to have extramarital affairs, children out of wedlock, and otherwise oppose the conservative moral ideals promoted in society today. Those women were still treated with respect, as to disrespect them yielded strong punishments. Furthermore, as African-Americans have no clue who actually descended from African royal bloodlines, no one can officially be crowned or dethroned. So the queen of the pole, the trap, the social justice movement, the classroom, and your household should all be respected, because they're all queens in their own right. More importantly, they're human beings.
Your mother, sister, daughter, friend, girlfriend, and/or wife all have been or will be called a "bitch" or "hoe" at some point in their lives. No matter what they do, they do not deserve those titles. Defining women by their perceived sexuality or class rather than as complex human beings is narrow-minded and regressive. It does nothing to uplift women as individuals or as the other half of the black community. It does nothing to strengthen sisterhood. While we won't always agree with or accept everyone's choices or expression of themselves, we must still affirm their humanity and dignity in order to set the stage for the women of the future to be empowered.
With a new year beginning, we should endeavor to treat all women with the respect that queens deserve.