For A Fast Girl: Epilogue

You own your body and all that happens to it.

The first eighteen years? You are at the mercy of people. But after that? The remainder of your life is up to you.

In her book Eloquent Rage, Dr, Brittney Cooper talks about the intersection of Black, female and sexuality. She talks about her own struggles with embracing her body and sexual pleasure. Dr. Cooper talks about the process she herself as a proud Black feminist went through when it came to sex and being fast!

Those feelings of shame, guilt and denial of pleasure are real.

What I hope that you have gotten from this four week journey is that you embrace all that you are. That you value all you are, and will become. I want you to know that being fast has nothing to do with the way you wear you hair, the fit of your dress, or your number. You are entitled to your entire personhood as a woman. You are and were entitled to be protected as a young girl. You have the right to demand respect from any person that wishes to share time or intimate space with you. You have the right to please and to be pleased.

When you become a woman of a certain again, and in certain company, you can even joke about being fast. Why? You now determine what it means. You determine when you say it and in what context.

We have to understand that our grandmothers, mothers and aunts were of an era where a how a woman carried herself meant everything. How a woman was perceived would garner her ridicule or respect. They did as best they could with the wisdom that they had, believe the best way to protect was to overprotect; to over correct; to shame was to prevent the post assault conversations of “What did you do?” or “What were you wearing?”

Take this info to heart, dear ones. Remember that you, all of you, is valuable and to be valued. You determine your path and whom you take with you. In the famous words of Lil Wayne in 6 Foot 7:

“You can stand under me, if they don’t understand me.”

If they call you fast while you are living your best life, they were never meant to catch up anyway.

 

For A Fast Girl: The Black Girl Body


For as long as I can remember, my body has been policed.

From how I wore my hair, to how short a skirt I could wear. My aunt even told me this golden quote:

“Jenn, all you had all your life was legs and ass!”

True story.  But I digress.

But, I remember the first time I was called ‘fast’ or that I was ‘trying to be fast’. I had no idea what that meant as an 8-year-old girl. I knew that when I started to get taller, my mother and father got worried about how they could keep me looking like a little girl. I remember the vinegar my grandmother had her in mouth when she even said that word ‘fast.’  I remember my Aunt Linda said I was ‘switching’ and did I think I was fast?

I had no concept of that.

Later on I found out that I have a slight curvature to my back, and that causes me to ‘switch.’ It wasn’t anything I could control. I remember feeling bad about my body and wishing to change it. I didn’t want to have long legs. I didn’t want the butt I had. I just wanted to change!

I remember I was in third grade when the first boy touched my butt. I was told this was normal and ‘some boys just do that.’ I remember in third grade when a boy told me to open my legs and let him touch me. I remember I pushed him away, hit him and cried. I remember telling my teacher what happened and us both being sent to the principal’s office.

BOTH. OF. US.

I didn’t tell my mother, or aunts, or grandmother what happened. There was no note sent home, and he stayed in my third grade class. For me? The worst thing was to be considered ‘fast.’ Especially when I had no concept of what it really was to be it; or what it meant to be called it.

Girls, now women, of a certain age know what it’s like to have that look on older women’s faces when they call you this name. This look of disgust, horror and anger. I remember I couldn’t have red nail polish. I couldn’t wear my hair certain ways. And I always had to have a slip when I wore skirts so ‘no boy would look up my dress.’ In the reflection of my womanhood, I know that a ‘fast girl’, to be labeled a ‘fast girl’ is to be called  a slut or a whore. It’s a sweeter way to tell a girl, especially a little Black girl, that her body is a temptation to men, even as young as seven or eight.

Being called fast is supposed to be some type of deterrent. A way to warn you to control yourself before the outside world pounces on  you. It puts the onus of all sexual interaction or interest on a girl.

A little girl.

And the word is so ingrained among the African-American community that is hard to stop using it–even in casual conversation! But let us examine this further. We tell little Black girls how precious they are, how pretty, and then tell them they have to be cognizant of how they sit. The nail polish they wear. How they wear their hair. We police everything about them.

Why?

The world outside our doors never sees them as girls. We know there is research that exists that think Black girls as young as five are sexualized. Being fast is another way of asserting that same control the world has a little Black girl, until she falls in line. Until she sees her body as weapon and temptation. Until she cannot celebrate her full lips, curves or plump rear end.

Now this is not a deterrent to decorum. I believe little girls should be able to be little girls, for as long as possible. But there are other ways to affirm this other than policing what they can’t control.

Little Black girls deserve to be protected and loved too. The world already seeks to devour them. Let’s not serve the world’s lion the meat of their flesh before they are able to identify them. And run from them.