Black Sexuality in Mass Media
Impacting Traditional Gender Roles: Shoop – Reclaiming Female Sexual Empowerment
As I have been emerging in my new sex positive career as a Sex Coach and Sexologist I have gained a new perspective on the messages I hear in the media. Lately, there has been an up rise in women speaking out against sexual harassment by men in power, but we all know that’s nothing new. When evaluating traditional gender roles women have been looked at as subservient to men. When we challenge or take a position of power we can be harshly judged. In today’s world women have yet to gain equal rights, equal pay or equality from persistent double standards. Women are a driving force not to be reckoned with and we are empowered to ask for what we want, even when it comes to sex.
On my drive into work this week I was listening to the radio and Shoop by Salt N Pepa came on. The song came out in 1993 when I was a freshman in high school so, of course, I knew most of the words. It’s really Pepa’s first verse that prompted this post.
Here I go, here I go, here I go again (again?) Girls, what's my weakness? (Men!) Ok then, chillin', chillin' Mindin' my business (word) Yo, Salt, I looked around, and I couldn't believe this I swear, I stared, my niece my witness The brother had it goin' on with somethin' kinda, uh Wicked, wicked (ooh) had to kick it I'm not shy so I asked for the digits A ho? No, that don't make me See what I want slip slide to it swifty Felt it in my hips so I dipped back to my bag of tricks Then I flipped for a tip, make me wanna do tricks for him Lick him like a lollipop should be licked Came to my senses and I chilled for a bit Don't know how you do the voodoo that you do So well it's a spell, hell, makes me wanna shoop shoop shoop
First, what does “makes me wanna shoop shoop shoop” mean? Frankly, she’s trying to fuck. Language is funny that way. A word on the surface can be innocent but it’s the context that drives meaning. For instance, when I am driving and trying not to curse in front of my daughter I will call a less skilled driver a jackwagon. I know it means jackass but it rings innocently to the ear. So shoop it!
When Pepa says “here I go again” she is acknowledging this isn’t her first time. She is confident in her sexuality and has no trouble letting a man know she’s interested in him…” I’m not shy so I asked for the digits.” There was a time when a woman approaching a man was unheard of. We are supposed to be shy and innocent and wait patiently for a man to approach us. Why? If you see someone you are attracted to why not approach and express your interest. What’s the worst that can happen? You get rejected. And rejected is such a harsh term but it’s how most people feel. If a man approaches you and you aren’t interested that’s not a reflection on him. It doesn’t diminish his character. It just means he wasn’t your type, or you had no interest. Same applies to women. A “rejection” doesn’t end your life or your pursuits.
She goes further to say, “A ho? No that don’t make me…” This prompted an entire conversation with a male friend who has, to me, a completely antiquated view on female sexual empowerment. Read my blog post on the subject to see the unfiltered conversation we had. Weigh in. What is a hoe to you?
Pepa then says that she wants to “lick him like a lollipop should be licked.” Can you guess what she means here? If you guessed suck his dick then you would be right. Here you have a celebrity Black female publicly, if yet euphemistically, telling the world she enjoys giving head. I celebrate that because giving head is something we do but not something we talk about.
There is a continued movement towards female sexual empowerment and as we can see it didn’t just start. Twenty-five years ago (sheesh) Shoop is an example of that movement. Salt and Pepa are pioneers in that regard. We have been taught to suppress our erotic nature and energy in professional and personal settings. If we express sexuality in the workplace, which could be as simple as wearing clothes that hug your body, make-up or high heels (I wear these things every day to work) somehow, we tarnish the workplace. Why? Because we make it hard for men to concentrate. They are driven by their penises and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it doesn’t give an excuse for sexual harassment.
In our personal relationships, it can be the same, if we let it. We can be victims of shaming, name calling and stigmatism for being confident in who we are. I say fuck them! Judgment is a product of fear and nothing else. We cannot be afraid to own our sexuality and reclaim our power.
I ran across a blog by Emma McGowan from March 2016 called “9 things every sexually empowered woman should have in her bedroom.” Here is her list. What do you keep in your bedroom?
Copy of Bust magazine
Favorite kink items
There was a time when women who carried condoms with them were looked at as forward and perhaps promiscuous. I couldn’t disagree more. A woman is entitled to ensure she is safe and set up to have a pleasurable sexual experience. I personally keep my toy and lube close by. In fact, there are two likely places in my house where we have sex so there is upstairs and downstairs lube, lol.
It’s truly a shame but double standards still exist. It’s time to turn the tables. All the things that people say that are intended to instill hurt and shame can be reclaimed.
Nasty Woman is what Trump called Hilary during the election. As a result, he incited a movement.
"By getting this exclusive 'Nasty Woman' shirt, you’re joining Samantha Bee and countless other smart, fearless women and men in supporting Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project Los Angeles County, standing up for women’s (aka, human) rights and helping to pave the way for a brighter future," reads the shirt's description. "
Women created Bitch Magazine and redefined the word. Instead of being a derogatory term they reclaimed it. Bitch is used as an insult to women who speak their minds, who have opinions and don’t shy away from expressing them, and don’t sit uncomfortably by if they are bothered or offended.
A woman who wears an empowering outfit that makes her feel strong and sexy will often be referred to as a slut. In 2011 a Toronto police offer said that for women to avoid sexual assault they shouldn’t dress like sluts. He outright blamed rape survivors for being raped and also triggered a huge outcry of opposition with the Slut Walk protests. Anyone with any level of common sense knows that rape is a power dynamic. Consent is a requirement for sex. Whether you participate in sex for pleasure or work it is your right to have uncoerced sex.
Whether it’s hoe, thot or anything else those words do not define us.
I heard a song by Kanye West and Little Pump called “I Love It”. This song confuses me because in one breath it sounds like an empowerment song embracing the word Hoe but then you listen to the lyrics, not so much. An excerpt is below. Listen to the whole thing and let me know your thoughts.
Wishing You Love, Peace and Great Sex!!
[Intro: Adele Givens] 'Cause you know in the old days They couldn't say the shit they wanted to say They had to fake orgasms and shit We can tell niggas today: "Hey, I wanna cum, mothafucka!” [Chorus: Lil Pump] You're such a fuckin' ho, I love it (I love it) You're such a fuckin' ho, I love it (I love it)