Harriet Tubman, shero, used her wit, intuition, high (if unschooled) intelligence we can call genius, and spirit to run the Underground Railroad and later said: “I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.”
Biographies of her life flew off the shelves when I was a school girl, inspiring females across racial lines and giving us an inchoate sense of sisterhood because of the sheroics Tubman pulled off, navigating by intuition and starlight, unschooled in anything but her own elemental womanliness. She is one of my all-time favorite role models. We might need her example of an underground ourselves one day, as women for women and girls.
There are today Harriet Tubman dolls to inspire girls, e.g., http://www.girls-explore.com/servlet/the-22/Harriet-Tubman-Doll-Set/Detail. And then there’s this week’s offering by Def Comedy Jam’s Russell Simmons, who thought it funny to You-Tube post a parody sex tape suggesting Harriet Tubman’s success resulted from post-rape “seduction” taping of her “massa” to blackmail him into letting her take slaves to freedom. http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/russell-simmons-harriet-tubman-sex-608491.
Even Spike Lee responded angrily with an is-nothing-sacred type online screed that resulted in Simmons taking down the YouTube. Everything Lee said on Twitter might as well be said about pornography or rape which sadly not all women abhor (just as during slavery not all slaves abhored their slavery and not all slaves let Tubman take them to freedom on her Underground Railroad). Lee asked: “Why Do We Desecrate Our Ancestors?Why Do We Hate Ourselves?” http://www.businessinsider.com/spike-lee-slams-russell-simmons-for-producing-mock-harriet-tubman-sex-tape-2013-8
Simmons assertedy was surprised that this offended anybody, and was particularly surprised that it offended black women so mightily. This is just more reason to appreciate that individually far too many men have no clue when it comes to what matters to women, and think about life as if their brains were from another species.
I’m no longer interested in why that might be. Nature, Nurture (or the lack thereof), or some combination of biology and sociology, it makes no difference because we will never know for sure and by evolution (socially and biologically) the game is always changing any way. What we need to do as women is look at male behavior, individually and collectively. Treat men as if a silent movie and only watch what they do. Consider this our joke: “How do you know a man is lying (or saying something inane or hypocritical)? When his lips are moving.” This should be our baseline unless and until any man proves himself consistently to be otherwise in favor of ending men’s asinine behavior against women, starting with any one of our own lives where they need to make some serious reparations.
Would Simmons of Def Comedy Jam think it funny to do a sex-tape video about MLK, Jr. or Gandhi? No, it would never happen. But in MLK, Jr.’s case, with the known womanizing in his history, http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/2430999/posts, the tape would at least be based in the truth of his seduction of women, unlike Tubman who did not seduce men but was instead a female slave sexually abused by males.
In Gandhi’s case, with the known creepiness of his bringing young teen girls into his bed theoretically to test his spiritual purity (which hurt his reputation in India and Pakistan but seemingly not among new-agers in the USA), there would be validity to the truth of his creepy relations with females sexually as a man of immense political and social power.
As usual, as Simmons proved this week, men regularly reverse the truth about women, erase our sheroics, and act as men to our detriment as females of every age, every day of our lives.
Underground railroad to freedom, any one?