You know how the typical misogynist logic goes, women should stop bringing rape and harassment on themselves by covering up. Because…yeah…I’m so tired of this type of thinking. It has long been time for men (and some women too) to be held accountable for this backwards logic, but alas, people like Farrakhan make it seem so glamorous by masking erroneous patriarchal ideas as truth.
Farrakhan has been reaching out to different influencers in the Black community to spread his message, most likely promote his upcoming Million Man March.That part of what he’s doing is appreciated. There is truth in a lot of things that he says, especially when it comes to racism, promoting more positive imagery in hip-hop, and organizing within the Black community. However, his thinking when it comes to women is backwards and dangerous at best.
In a recent video shared on his Facebook page, he talked about a variety of issues, but when the lone woman sitting at the table asked him, “What is [a woman’s] specific role as a female artist?” It got frustrating.
In answering the question, Farrakhan applauded Beyoncé, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj for both their talent and physical beauty, but then started going there.
“Today you strip the woman of her clothes. How can a man think straight, looking at the beauty of Beyoncé?” he stated.
The woman followed up with another question about what he would say to people who manage these artists about this perceived problem, to which he went in:
Help us to be more sane. A man is made into a dog by a way a woman presents herself to a man. There ain’t no preacher out there that’s that holy that a woman can disrobe herself and a man can still think Bible, still think Quran. How do you rule a man? You rule him by the beauty of your body and the suggestion of sex. So when you strip a woman down, a man becomes a dog. You don’t make a man? You make him to treat you like an object of sex instead of the creative genius that you are.
You have to educate the managers. Jay Z is a good man. Jay Z is a good manager. But now, your woman is on display. Do you want men looking at your woman, being tempted by your woman, to make advances at your woman? Who wouldn’t want to be with Rihanna? Who wouldn’t want to be with Nick Minaj? But you strip them then their body is being used as the tool of the degradation of a woman and the subjection of a man.
He does have a moment where he praises women with:
There’s no man doing something that a woman can’t do, and in some cases do it better. Man is Hakeem. That’s the attribute of God, that means wise. She’s Hakeema that means God has made her to be a possessor of wisdom.
Don’t degenerate your woman and make her nothing more than an object of sex. She’s more than that.
But then he goes left by telling Jay-Z it’s his responsibility to make Beyonce cover up:
So I would encourage Jay Z–and I hope you’ll take it in the spirit that I give it, out of love for you and honor for your greatness and honor for the love and beauty and greatness of your wife. I would love to see our women clothed, demonstrating the gift of their talent. The gift of their form should be seen by those who are worthy. You got an unworthy dog looking at something beautiful that he wants to paw at but can never have. Do you know what that does to a man, when he can see you and can’t have you? Then he wants to go home and attack a child.
This is frustrating language that basically lets men off the hook for what often turns into street harassment and other forms of sexual violence. Men need to learn that women are human beings with free will and independent thoughts, not puppets or objects for sexual desires. Women were not put on Earth for the male gaze, unwanted touch, or entertainment, and any man who “cannot control himself” or who “turns into a dog” has a personal problem that needs to be dealt with by the only person who can deal with it–himself. And for the record, women who are covered up get harassed too, because, again, it’s not about clothes.
He tried it with that grandaddy wisdom. I know it came from a place of love, but it was still misguided.