March 9, 2016 by Kambili M.A. Chimalu
Yesterday, I was having a conversation with some young people. We were discussing the Comparison and Contrast mode of writing when one raised up his hand and said, “I have the perfect example for us to use for this topic. Let’s compare “ladies” and ‘THOTS.'” For those who don’t know, “THOT” translates to “That Hoe Over There.” I was taken aback. Different thoughts battled to the forefront in my mind, with me trying to make sense of what I had just heard: “Why would he say that?; do they know I am a feminist?; should I ignore it and move on?; do I use this as an instructional moment?” This battle on how to address the concept of “ladies vs. THOTS” occurred in the space of a few seconds, but if felt longer for me. Finally, I decided that I could not let this just go. I needed to use this teachable moment providence was kind enough to provide me. I figured that I may never have the opportunity to address this with this particular group of young people ever again, so I plunged right in.
I paused the discussion and addressed the young man, “No, we cannot discuss that because I do not believe in the concept of “THOT” or ‘Hoe.'”
Just like that, the conversation started. Different people chimed in with different opinions. I was glad that some of the young men were of the belief that a woman has the right to do with her body as she pleases. I was also overjoyed that most of the young women stood firmly in their womanhood, and reaffirmed their right to explore their sexuality without shame or judgement. By the end of the conversation, the young man was not as staunchly supportive of his earlier stance. I don’t know if I changed his mind, but I do know that I planted a seed that will hopefully germinate into something bigger. More than likely, he will reevaluate his opinion of women and realize that he may need to adjust his thinking.
I have written about my disdain for the unhealthy fixation people (Nigerians) seem to have with the hymen/women’s purity [All Hail the Hymen]. It is not a stretch for me to proclaim that I equally despise the notion of referring to women as “hoes,” “THOTS,” or any other degrading name society conjures to further shame women into submission/oppression.
This shaming occurs regularly in Nigeria through the concept of people believing women are “being used” by men whenever they have sex. I remember a long time ago, when I was still a teenager, I was having a conversation with a friend who announced, “Tufiakwa, *Belinda allowed that guy to use her.” I was dumfounded. I retorted that nobody is being used if both parties consented to the activity.
I flipped it by asking, “Why didn’t you say that Belinda was using *Paul?”
To my friend, the concept of a woman enjoying and willingly engaging in sex can only mean that she is loose. What an archaic way of thinking. Therefore, Nigerian women are trapped in the nightmare of not exploring their sexuality for fear of being labelled “used,” or “THOT.”
I am going to repeat exactly what I told the young man yesterday: a woman’s body is hers to do with as she pleases. Her sexuality is nobody’s business, and people (society) definitely do not have the right to sit in judgement of her based on the number of sexual partners she has. They also do not have the right to refer to her as anything other than her name. One of the rights we should all enjoy is the right to self-determination. Why then do people think a woman should not be able to determine how many sexual partners she wants to have and how frequently she engages in sexual activities.
If I, Kambili M.A. Chimalu, want to have sex with just one, one hundred, one thousand, one million, or every man on the face of the Earth, I reserve the right to do so. I can make my own decisions because it is my body. The fact that I may decide to sleep with just one man does not make me “a beacon of chastity,” and the fact that I may decide that I want to sleep with every man on Earth does not mean I am impure/immoral. In the words of Beyoncé, “I’m a grown woman; I can do whatever I want. I can be bad if I want. I can say what I want. I can live fast if I want. I can go slow all night long.”
People need to take a chill pill because “Hoes” and “THOTS” DO NOT EXIST.
I will leave with this. Just after having the conversation with the young man [and other people there], I went on Twitter to find FeministaJones tweeting about the same topic. Great minds think alike, anyone? I have attached the screenshots of some of her tweets. Enjoy!
Peace people, and remember, women are autonomous beings. They do not need society’s permission to enjoy sex.
Image Credit: “Judgements” by Rosea Lake.