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It's been a while since I've posted a substantial essay, but I wanted to stop in and talk about an issue that's very important to me as a black, sex-positive feminist. That is, sex, obviously; specifically the sex that black women are or are not having, and how the conversation about their sexual agency keeps getting derailed.

As I've written about several times now, (here, here and relatedly here) conversations about sex and sexuality become very different when you are talking about a black body. This is because of the historical context of the negative sexual stereotypes that were applied to those bodies in order to dehumanize, subjugate and ridicule them, and elevate white (female) sexuality in the process. Black men were uncontrollable, brute savages who would rape a white woman as soon as look at her, and black women were lascivious whores, always searching for a dick, unrapeable by their very existence.


The loaded racist history of these still prevalent tropes leaves black women especially, in a misogynoirist double bind. Either we deny our sexuality entirely in order to be considered respectable and worthy (not so coincidentally placing ourselves firmly into Mammy territory), or embrace our sexuality, as all women should have the right to do, and be seen as a confirmation of negative black sexual stereotypes.

In effect, our choices as sexual beings are wrapped up in a lose-lose catch-22 that denies our agency from the outset, and punishes us for trying to exercise it. All the while, black women's bodies continue to be used to ridicule our very existence and deify white female sexuality.


So what does this have to do with Beyoncé? Everything.

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