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Amanda Seales On Why Marriage Isn't A Priority For Some Black Women

"There is a revolution among Black women and our independence."

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Amanda Seales is not one to shy away from what tf she has to say. She is unmatched at gathering you by the collar, and she won't apologize for the way you feel afterward. She's blatantly black, and openly opinionated through and through. Watch what you say about her people, because sis has built an entire career on checking stereotypically formulated responses with logical carnage, all whilst bearing the burden of all emotional labor she takes on as an advocate of gathering your edges in the process. Sis is here for black people's uprising, and black people only, and she doesn't give af who doesn't like it--which is what we love the most about her.

Outside of a cultural heavyweight, Seales is also a savvy business woman, a comedienne and host. Through her comedy, she has perfected the art of interchangeably mixing cultural and political conversations; her primary focus being, and always being, protecting--and advocating--for the image of black women.

So when the subject came up in an interview with Refinery29, she pounced on it in the exact nature of how we would expect her to. When asked head on why black women marry later in life, have lower marital rates, and higher divorce rates than any other demographic, she responded:

"What comes to mind is that Black women have become very focused on our self-care and wellness. In doing so, we have really focused on making changes that the patriarchal society that we live in doesn't support yet. So, typically we are a head of the curve and this demonstrates that.There is a revolution among Black women and our independence. We have done the work but there seems to be a constant imbalance between us and what our partners are expecting of us."

She continued:

"We live in a world that has made actual efforts towards dismantling the Black family.We are in a society that consistently undervalues us. We are constantly in a political fight that gets in the way of our romantic togetherness. I believe that our power dynamics within relationships are less about whether we are getting paid equally or doing more work. It goes deeper historically and with the representation of what the Black family is. Look at the amount of images of couples in the media. It's not Black couples. It continues the pervasiveness that Black men and Black women can't exist together."

And she would know a bit on the subject of relationships, as Seales herself has proudly been flaunting around a new bae on the 'gram. She captioned a photo:

"I haven't claimed/been claimed by nann negro on this Gram for the 8 years I been on it...so y'all gon' get these pics lol"

A mentally checked-in sis, aware of the dynamics and challenges black women face in relationships--while simultaneously in a fresh, new, promising relationship--is something we can absolutely get behind. Amanda, we are here for this, girl! Here's to having a fulfilling and deserving relationship from now to always.

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Feature image via Featureflash Photo Agency / Shutterstock.com

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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