Don’t Take Her Choice Away

anle104

Painting by Annie Lee

*Disclaimer: This critique was written before the domestic TERRORIST attack on a Colorado Spring’s Planned Parenthood. This critique is a direct response to the “Scandal” episode, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” that aired November 19, 2015. May justice be served. 

Abstain and there is no need for abortions. The world loves to think that us women aint sexual beings, just ripe enough for their picking. Olivia got an abortion and Fitz once again spoke about his sacrifices. He doesn’t know about it. He didn’t know about Mellie’s rape either. Yet, he’s maintained his sacrificial superiority for five seasons. How many men refuse to look in the mirror only to repeat the same mistakes with a new woman?

This critique is not about religion. It’s not about if it’s wrong or right. It’s not even about conspiracy. It is about women, women having to sacrifice silently. It’s about how the world thinks that those chosen to bring forth life are ill-equipped to have an ounce of authority over their uteruses. Let’s talk about the mommy whisperers of child birth. How it’s so beautiful (up until the moment you’re screaming because you’re pissed at God) and its what makes us women. How about people knowing what God prefers. What exactly has Fitz sacrificed again? This critique is about those shoe boxes we bury in backyards. It’s about rape culture. It’s about a one minute long scene about abortion and women everywhere unanimously shaking our heads in understanding, holding that last sips of wine—letting it burn a little.

Thankfully, I haven’t had to rack my brain, weigh the pros and cons about having to make a decision about an actual life, having to make deals with the universe—but I know women who have, and it ain’t no crystal stare—often times it hunts you. Hell, I’ve probably even said some insensitive shit because of my young, idealistic naiveté. I know women who’ve lost children before they’ve had fingers and the pain that lingers. I’ve gotten drunken phone calls of despair at 4 o’clock in the morning. I know women who’ve had painful pregnancies and weathered through. I know women that has given birth prematurely. Marissa Alexander was wrongfully incarcerated and separated from her premature baby that was still accustomed to breast milk. Those bouts of unsympathetic cogitation women receive for frequenting the hospital when something seems wrong with their unborn child. I know women who can’t move during menstruation. I know women who can’t have children that are supreme nurturers. I know women who have seven 7 children and 20 grandchildren. I know politicians who don’t give a shit. There are countless women who risk their lives despite the perils that may ensue in the event of full term pregnancy.

This episode had plenty of character quirks worth mentioning, this stood out because let’s face it ABC is not cable. The opening scene of scotch and decisions set the stage. I loved that “Silent Night” played during the abortion scene. That song has always been morbid and sonically unpleasant. Olivia realized her elation with Fitz was that she didn’t have to be his everything.

This episode on the surface was about Planned Parenthood. But below the deck it was about a women’s choice and power. Exquisitely, shading the guilt bestowed upon us by men with God complexes; despite our ability to bring forth life and nurture it. Choice and courage is why I think she left.

My critique is no uterus is the same, thus no woman is identical either. And in less than five minutes Shonda Rhimes and her team of writers on “Scandal” manage to display what many women have chosen to do, for a number of reasons that don’t deserve your opinion.

We’re all still waiting for Liv to be satisfied.

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Scandalous Ain’t Even The Word

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Every Thursday if I’m lucky or Friday afternoon, I tune in for my weekly dose of Shonda.  That’s right, Shonda not specifically Olivia or McDreamy.  As the screen connoisseur that I think am, big or small—Shonda has managed to satisfy my addiction of a well written storyline matched with superbly developed characters.

Despite James Wolcott’s truthful claims of the small screen outshining the big screen, there has been a serious onslaught of controversy directed towards Rhimes’ primetime show, “Scandal.”  The unanimous concern seems to be with Olivia, a powerful black woman, having an on & off steamy affair with Fitz, the white president.  It conjures historical dynamics between female slaves and their masters.  It makes Olivia look like a slut.  It has magically awakened the dutiful powers of “clean up women” everywhere.

I tried not to write about this.  I really tried not to write about this.  I endlessly conversed with a friend to rid myself of this urge to respond to those that are appalled by the affair that does not encapsulate the entire scope of the show.  It was therapeutic, but clearly it did not work.  Those in contempt are so infuriated that they have begun to judge my fellow gladiators all because they watch the show.

Funny thing is, I used to watch General Hospital religiously up until last year.  Soap operas are as dramatic as it all, can get.  People judged me.  It didn’t match me: my locks, my demeanor, my school of thought, or my character.  Nonetheless, most didn’t know that I was a valedictorian in high school; graduated from Howard University, or that I am currently embarking on a Masters in Computer Science.  Their judgments were baseless.

To be honest I have more dreams about being more like “Mr. White” than Olivia Pope.  I daydream more about perfectly positioning a Strela-3 to explode a helicopter because of my intimate relationship with “Call of Duty” but not sitting on my couch drinking endless glasses of wine waiting for Olivia to pick up the phone call from Fitz.

Huck is my favorite character.  Harrison is perfect for Olivia.  I actually root for Mellie because, hello, she’s the wife.  After last week’s episode I’m sure Mellie’s back story struck a cord with many women.  Sacrifices are made but not always readily available for appreciation or oftentimes go unreciprocated.  Let’s just say, Mellie is stronger than battery acid. No matter how intricate the other characters storylines are what the world sees is a black woman laying down for a powerful white man.  As painful and haunting as this country’s past is; interracial relationships of many kinds are prevalent and growing in wedded numbers—without sexist, demeaning power structures, unrealistic gender roles or racial overtones.

I’m not a big fan of hypocrisy or double standards.  No one screams and shouts about Blair Underwood’s on screen white lovers.  At least not to this degree, that is if the argument is about a misrepresentation of cultural love and solidarity.  Hell, there are fewer articles about Will Smith and Denzel Washington not having sistas as their mates in their million dollar flicks.  “Independence Day,” is the last movie Will had a black lover (Vivica A. Fox), if I’m not mistaken.  It’s because we already know whose coming to dinner.  Maybe we’re just selectively possessive, in a sort of do as I say not as I do kind of way.  We bestow certain freedoms to men that are not offered to women, especially not to black women.  It is naive to think that this show has spearheaded an emergence of black women sexually expressing themselves how they want. Women like sex too, contrary to society’s belief.  Black women like sex too.  We women can’t get excited as we read “Fifty Shades of Grey,” but men can watch as much porn as their appetites require.  Have you notice, no one really talks about Fitz’s part in this ménage?

Strangely, enough the argument is rarely about infidelity.  I suppose that’s because many have stepped out while in exclusive relationships.  Still, it can’t just be that Olivia is black and Fitz is white.  It is too self-righteous to sit and argue about a fictitious character that mirrors your very mistakes and/or regrets.  I knowww, it’s different—it’s your mate’s fault.  Most importantly, if you are a black man or woman for that matter and you are currently mistreating your loved one in the same way Fitz has mistreated Mellie and has swooned Ms. Olivia—GTFOH.  “The tempted bares as much guilt as the temptor.”

What I resent is how the black community engages in believing what one black woman does, all black women do (and vice versa).  There’s nothing I abhor more than generalizations.  Never mind that Olivia Pope is portrayed by Kerry Washington, an actress.  Moreover, I do not desire an interracial relationship extramarital or otherwise nor have I developed such a craving.  African men are my only preference.

As stated before, I am a fan of Shonda Rhimes’ creativity. This show or no show for that matter does not have the power to dictate what I do or brainwash my character into something that it is not. If you’ve done it, you were going to do it—it was already within you, to do so.  Don’t express your complete disdain for “Scandal” but you watch “Basketball Wives,” “Love and Hip Hop,” or “Real Housewives of Atlanta.” If you can watch reality TV, most certainly you can give “Scandal” a break.

Side note: The objectification of any woman, by any group of people is still just that, objectivity.

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