Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Someone dig up, Freud....

I happened across this cover art while making my way through the internet, digital nomad that I am:


In some ways, I wish I'd not seen this because it is so absolutely disturbing. I feel like whoever made this image should see a psychologist as soon as may be. On the other hand, I think it perfectly reflects the negative consequences of a single parent household where a little boy has no connection to his father and can only relate to his mother. The resulting situation I think can be broken down rather accurately thanks to what's visualized in the above image.

First, let's make it absolutely clear: There is a child in the picture, and the posture of the woman strongly suggests that she is his mother or a maternal figure. 

But the audience is meant to focus not on her authority over this boy as his mother/maternal figure. Instead, the eyes are meant to key in on her large uncovered rump. The way she is dressed implies that she is a sexual, promiscuous being. Her posture from the back suggests she is offering herself to the viewer indiscriminately. "She's a ho."

Second, the absence of a serious father figure on the cover combined with the sexual nature of the maternal figure implies that the child has no father, or at least no father figure of note (would a decent man be satisfied with a woman parading around her children in such a sexual and semi-nude manner?). The boy child is left to represent the role of male to the maternal figure's female. Which pushes this image even further into the creepy column.

Third, the implied inequality and emasculation.  We've already discussed that the boy is left to represent males due to the absence of a father figure on the cover. You'll note his expression is an unhappy one. He's being chided for some action by the maternal figure, who by leaning over him is showing her dominance and authority. The male is a little boy before her; an unequal who can't do what he wants without being called to task for undesirable behavior. 

But again, her barely dressed form and heavy emphasis on her bottom makes this impression false: The implication is that she exists as a sexual object for any man that wants her. She has no real authority or self-control. What the male pictured WANTS to say is, "Shut up, b*tch! You are here to sexually serve me!" Or "shut up, you can't tell me what to do, because look at you! You ain't no good!" Maybe when he's old enough and big enough to get away with it, he does say this. Perhaps to his mother and to every other woman he encounters. This person has no point of reference for non-misogynistic beliefs about the opposite sex. And no sensible father-figure to correct or eliminate this simultaneous hatred of and sexual desire for his mother.

Yes, you read that last part correctly.

The fourth and final observation about this image is that the Oedipus complex is heavily implied. What else can you say about an image where a maternal figure is offering herself up in a sexual manner in the presence of a male child? Even worse is the sexual confusion that this imagery demonstrates: Being both the child and mate in this relationship. Are we seeing a single mother who expects her male child to be the "man of the house" because she has no partner? The "man of the house" is not a platonic role: it is a role where the man is truly her equal (and the head of the household, with authority over the woman in some belief systems) and the father/father-figure over her children, with whom it is ordinarily expected that she have sex and procreate

A mother is expected to be in authority over her children and at least the equal of her mate, so asking a son to be your equal, if not your better, and then chiding him because he is unequal to you is a confusing situation to say the least. Asking a son to be a platonic mate in a role meant for a mate with whom you are sexual and procreate? Confusing, creepy, and absolutely inappropriate.

I actually wondered what the heck an image like this could possibly have to do with a rap song called "No Lie". It's by some rapper I've never heard of (2 Chainz) and another rapper I've heard of, but don't listen to (Drake). After viewing the lyrics, I found no explanation whatsoever for the artwork as it related to the song. However, it shouldn't be surprising that someone using such a deeply disturbing image of a black mother as cover art, would be rapping about kidnapping, raping, and disrespecting women.

Perhaps therein lies the truth: This is a testament to why these men feel the way they do about women. They cannot reconcile an image of women, especially black women, as worthy of love and respect. Even as an authority figure in the form of a mother, she is to be disrespected and loathed as a sex object. She is seen as unpleasant and emasculating and needs to be reminded as to "her place". This nonsense is pandered by boys who grow into pseudo-adulthood without a dad to correct this viewpoint. They then pass this on to other father-less boys who grow up resenting their mothers and desiring a male-centric message they can "relate" to.

I am tired of people, especially black women, acting like crap like this is harmless and that there is no "truth" in how these persons feel about black women. The misogyny and history of despicable behavior preached and acted out towards women in this genre of music is a reality. Combined with ridiculous OOW rates among African American women, it's time to acknowledge that imagery like this, both in lyrics and in art, did not get created in a vacuum. Do all rap artists sell this image?  Nope, but I think pretending that this type of music is on the side of black women is a load of bull. And if you are listening to artists that sell this image of you as a woman and especially as a mother, you need to take a step back and think about why you have no problem giving money to man-children that feel this way about you and your womb.


Awake. Aware. Alive. said...

I read the lyrics. Absolutely disgusting. I think it's high time that we BW's started making some clear distinctions between ourselves and the women who support the rap industry. A line needs to be drawn. Period.

This is also proof that BM do not care to do anything to change their image as degenerates. They are they main people who keep the rap industry going. They don't need our help.

Toni said...

@Awake. Aware. Alive.

I actually agree with the need for a line in the sand. We are beyond the point of no return and it is clear that we are dealing with persons that are proud to broadcast their foul regard and intent for us.

And I don't see the point in cooperating by paying money for their music or going to their concerts.

Time and energy could be spent elsewhere, where one is not being degraded and insulted.

Dee Dee Russell said...

And the artists are Black identified and the women and boy, do not look Black they look mixed.

Ha. Black women are the canary in the coal mind, what happens to us is gonna happen to the rest of the women.

Toni said...

@ Dee Dee Russell

That's a very good point. Both characters look "washed-out".

socialitedreams said...

oh man...i saw this on facebook and instantly thought back to this post. Here's "momma dee" from love and hip hop dancing on a stripper pole which is bad enough but she's doing it to her SON'S song...really now? these mother/son relationships are WARPED in the black community:

Flaming_star said...

It's called sexual emotional abuse, it's happening in a bunch of households where there boy children w/ no father. It's weird but it's happening.