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The HipChick Gossip Column

KlashkaTse: Survival of the Prettiest

A freewrite in progress
It finally grew out my hair to the length my rotten ex-beau wanted. I can’t even call him a boyfriend, just a beau. At least my classic term sound better than friends that fuck.
A girl’s hair is her life and given the flowing tresses of women of other races, it’s difficult for the wooly haired Black woman to compete for the best that maledom has to offer. Heck, our short hair renders us as merely female, and not women at all to many a man. Therefore, we end up knocked up and abandoned with our children by predatory males. Something to be used and thrown away. What are the other causes of this phenomenon? Some say that its the emasculation demeanor of the Black woman. Bullshit, my Irish best friend insists that Northern European women have the same zeal. So, what else could it be than beauty? According to Rose Weitz’ Rapunzel’s Daughters, White men are attracted to thin teenage-esque bodies, but Black men will trump all other beauty demands in favor of what is rare in Black culture: naturally long hair. Regardless, whether it’s Western world’s obsession with thinness or a Bantu/Khosian African hair fetish, beauty (in all forms) is woman’s most potent power ( outside of bearing children) and the woman who possesses it can advance further in life.

My character in KlashkaTse is Sylvia Soleil, Tabby’s mother. I like to think that Tabby as the daughter I would’ve had with my ex-beau if I were brave enough to bare a child out of wedlock. However, Tipper Gore’s crusade against indecency in the media which inadvertently caused a paranoia of the urban community made me too paranoid to take such a leap.Therefore, I chose asexuality and solitary existence outside the office. You just never know when contraception may fail and I refuse to bring a child into this world only for it to be hated by the likes of more extreme versions of Sara Palin. Suspicious, paranoid, suburban housewives everywhere have been my lifelong adversaries. Today, thanks to Jean Shinoda Bolen’s Goddeses in Everywoman, I can avoid generalizing all housewives and narrow the shrews of the demogrphic down to a nifty, memorable, mythological term, “Heras“.

Allowing women their beauty may turn out to be one of the most difficult aspects of personal liberty

-Karen Lehrman

The Hera’s of the world demand a that you dress up to show respect for your betters, yet declares DEATH on the woman who turns out to be prettier than they are once the advice is followed. For those who aren’t familiar with the myth, Hera was a spurned earth goddess and consort of Zeus who was honored with the title of wife but bore lackluster if not horrible children: Hebe the goddess of youth and Ares the god of war. As fate would have it, Aphrodite compelled Zeus to seek other women who bore far superior offspring which drove Hera mad with jealousy. I like to akin Aphrodite’s meddling to ElfQuest’s “recognition” which is a phenomenon that occurs when two elves meet they know they will haven’t extraordinary children. Hera, understandably, could not bear to see Zeus’ illegitimate children rise in power over her own, and thus became a outraged, raging bitch. Nevertheless, her logic is unfair. Zeus either tricked or raped the women who bore Heracles, Hermes, Artemis, Apollo, Persephone and the remaining 17, the paramours didn’t invite him, but Hera doesn’t care. She’s too much of a coward to punish her husband. Therefore.  Hera’s archetype is any woman who would rather torture her husband’s paramours and their children rather than confront her husband herself. Women like this are abundant in right-wing religious right propaganda media.

After a harrowing social science presentation in her journalism class, Tabby returns home to confront her mother on her decision to be a single mom. To justify her decision and restore her illegitimate daughter’s self-worth, Sylvia tells Tabby the story of the Olympian progeny, and compares herself to Leto, Zeus’ consort her seduced as a swan. Hera prevented Leto from giving birth anywhere on Earth, but Leto found refuge on in an remote island and bore Artemis and Apollo, Zeus’ favorite children. Sylvia makes the analogy that there are many Heras in the world who feel that only they have the right to breed. As for the philandering husbands, in Sylvia’s and the case of many other women, she was the one of many conquests that lead to Tabby’s father’s marriage to the “perfect woman” or the ideal that the rich boy’s parents or society compels him to merge his assets and continue the family bloodline with.
Women are ranked and Black women are at the bottom of the list in the U.S. This is a distinctly American practice. Although Blacks are have been marginalized in Western and Near Eastern societies for ages, Black women enjoyed a higher standing. There are Black Queens of Greek Pharoahs in Ancient Egypt and in the Middle Ages, many wealthy Arabs.

To paraprase the Arabian Nights Entertainments, Arab women resent this preference and lash out by calling Sub-Saharan African women ( which I prefer to distinguish by language like every other race in their cultural contetx Bantu/Khosian) as camel-lipped negresses. Regardless of name calling, North East Africa loved Black women, so there wasn’t the despair over not winning a qualified husband. In contrast, the marriage issue is very different for Black American women.  Sylvia has a B.A. in biology from U.C. Berkeley where she met Tabby’s father, but that did not impress her beau’s family. Low birth is low birth and marriage to Sylvia would never be considered to be a good match. As far as the top 2% is concerned, Sylvia is just another scholarship student who’s parents do not own property. Hurting like Hell, Sylvia stuck to her guns to have the child of the man of her choice and gives birth to Tabby. Sylvia Soleil may not be as financially well off, but at least the Hera’s of the world can not call her worthless and stupid.

Returning in the mythology theme, Sylvia assures Tabby that although her nameless “Zeus” father married someone else, she is his best offspring: free-spirited Artemis or Persephone.

Tabby muses a bit and remembers that Athena, born out of Zeus’ head from his first wife Metis who dwells inside of him, was the favorite. Sylvia admits Tabby is correct, but no matter. So long as the wife Tabby’s father’s turns out nothing but duds, she’ll take comfort in assurance that a lateral socio-economic class is not the key to a successful marriage.
Sylvia giggles to herself. Catharsis at his cattiest.

Sylvia Soleil is the epitome of the single moms I grew up with. They were not wealthy, but they weren’t welfare queens and did not live on alimony. They were the mama’s who made the dollars to paraphrase Destiny’s Child. Sylvia chose to live the life of an artist than follow the path of pharmaceuticals that most botanist who want a 7 figure salary and live in Marin County follow. Instead of a half timbered house in Mill Valley, Silvia and Tabby live in a warehouse live/work space in West Oakland. Tabby is called Ghettorella by the Dozens Crows in homeroom, who tease her incessantly. As comforting as her mother’s story is, Tabby still resents her mother’s decision deeply and plans to get out of the ghetto with her own talents. However, Silvia won’t let Tabby stop there.  Sports and music are seen by many Blacks as the way out of the ghetto, but mother knows education is the path to happiness.

Tabby is a mixed race Black who passes. Sylvia is well aware of her daughter’s plans and for the reasons of career and social advancement, chooses to support them. Reconciliation with ethnic identity will come later. Despite the copious opposition, Tabby will face from the Black community, Sylvia knows the advantages Tabby’s exotic appearance will garner. It’s likely that Tabby will leave the ghetto and lever look back. Many successful Blacks have done just that. They’re not welcome back anyway. I speak from experience. However, people get older and attitudes change. Sylvia knows Tabby won’t have a total reversal and fly off the handle as a gangster rapper once her identity conflicts are resolved. Education levels the head. Instead Sylvia is confident that though education at the proper college for daughter, Tabby will use her talent to change the world and media that disparages the inner-city. There is so much more to the inner-city than gangs and violence. In fact there are people who live in such communities and never see or hear peep out of these occurrences the news media loves to exploit to the hilt for their headlines. Among the alternate inner-city denizens are the artists who live wherever it’s cheap but close enough to commerce to sell their work. The news media loves to ignore the virtues of powerless communities, but it’s just as well. Scaring sheltered money people keeps the rents low and leaves large live-work spaces available for people who will actually use them for the structures original purpose, instead of wealthy bachelor pads.

The idea that women will achieve more if they only didn’t have to waste time on beauty is nonsense. Women will achieve more when they garner equal legal and social rights and privileges, not when they give up on beauty.

-Nancy Etcoff author of Survival of the Prettiest

Once again, Beauty is power. Actually, beauty is one of the most powerful tools in a woman’s arsenal. Beauty is intimidating. Beauty can also be disarming and has subdued many powerful men. Just look at Helen of Troy who won over her cuckolded husband in Euripides’ “Trojan Women”. Helen attained power through beauty and sex. She won Menelaus and became his queen. Unfortunately. Sparta proved to be a bore for her so she ran off with Paris for a 10 year shopping trip to Troy while tens of thousands spilled blood outside the city’s wall trying to retrieve and retain her. The woman went through husbands like toilet paper. After Paris’ death she married another powerful protector, only to hide his sword to face a defenseless death by Menelaus in order to be absolved from blame, once he showed up in her bed chamber to climb his lost prize. The Helen of Troy myth is mutable. Men may have loved her (many against their will and cursed their second brains) but women loathed her. According to the Rhodesian’s story, Helen met her fate on the island Rhodes after being driven out of Sparta after Menelaus died. She was hung from a tree for her crimes by the tearful widow of Tiepolemus who died in the Trojan War. Helen’s crime was hubris. Lesson: the pretty girl must wield her power, very, very carefully.

Tabby will use her beauty to advance in life and it will be a challenge for her to balance her hubris with congeniality. It would be Hera and Athena Aegis-like behavior to deny Tabby the right to use such a powerful tool. She’s not going to turn into a tart or anything, but the Hera’s of the world are everywhere and have a habit of coming out of the woodwork when a girl is most vulnerable to attack. A Hera can make her competition feel like shit for years or even cripple her victim’s sense of self worth for life. Eliminating the competition is just what a Hera wants. She is a goddess of family power and she’ll defend it mercilessly. Unlike her husband, Hera is not known for forming alliances. Hera doesn’t need any friends, power over the weak within her own clan gets her though the day. Every other archetype, however, needs, craves and loves the company of friends for they are the family one chooses and sometimes you need a force of Aphrodites to kick the Gone With the Wind Old Guard of frothing Hera’s asses.

Tabby’s pike of Aphrodites is KlashkaTse. As a member of KlashkaTse. Tabby is in the company of 4 other beauties to protect her from the Old Guard. Klashka will make them cry for their youth, Tse will shock them to silence, Jen will kill them with kindness and Sigrid will tell them where to go…properly over tea of course. They know their industry. Pretty people sell music and products. Unfortunately for non-cosmetically appealing people. the practice has spilled over into other industries. Pretty people get hired over their less then pretty counterparts. Less attractive people, when they are hired, are pigeoned holed in the sea of cubicles, never to be considered for management. Management is the path to job security over ageism, but it also requires a candidate to be the face of the company and clients love trim, tall bodies and pretty faces. It’s all horrendously unfair and against everything that Big Bird and Sesame Street taught in respect to diversity–but we don’t live in a Sesame Street world. No. We live in Barbie and Ken’s universe.

Maiden, Mother, Crone. Beauty fades. By the time women reach 40, they become invisible. No one will deny that Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren were/are beautiful in their juicy crone years, but opportunity favors the young. The Maiden stage of a woman’s life is when she makes the most money off of her appearance. In the context of popular music, the target market music is age 13-30. Klashka is pushing 30 and because she’s no fool, has a masters under her belt.–and the student loan debt to go with it! Klashka is a reluctant beauty who would rather be known for her considerable talent for music than her Apollo blonde appearance, but brilliance isn’t marketable unless you’re established. I paralleled the experiences of Pat Benetar who is a classically trained opera singer, but her record label mandated garb of a rock-sex diva, making her absolutely miserable. As brilliant as Klashka is as a composer, she doesn’t want to be as poor as Mozart, so she’ll use her DD assets to cash in before gravity takes its toll. She can win her Grammy and Oscars with pro bono composing projects when she’s 40 a la Annie Lennox, in her very own paid off Malibu beach house.

Tabitha watches and learns. What else is popular music, but glorified mating calls? Therefore, it helps when the chirping cricket is cute. Not to worry, much like the aforementioned identity issues that is sure to arise, exploiting her good looks will temper with maturity and plenty of people to slap Tabby around when she gets too full of herself. Sylvia knows this, for she went through it herself. Like any wise Demeter, Sylvia knows when to stop shielding her Persephone from the challenges of the Underworld and meet the Hades media and growing pains on her own. The Sub-conscious will not seem not such a scary place once Tabby figures out which way is up. When she does, Hermes will guide Tabby to those who love her most and will protect her from those who contest her right to exist, flower and flourish.

Works cited:
Survival of the Prettiest
-Nancy Etcoff

Rapunzel’s Daughters
-Rose Weitz

Goddesses in Everywoman
-Jean Shinoda Bolen

Gods in Everyman
-Jean Shinoda Bolen

Goddess in Older Women

-Jean Shinoda Bolen

Blonde Like Me: The Roots of the Blonde Myth In Our Culture

Natalia Ilyin

History of the Wife
-Marilyn Yalom


About SoleilSmile

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