I am a grown ass woman….not a male child: The Enigma of “Boi”
by Carmen O’Day
I am a Black Lesbian. Born and bred in one of the largest cities in this nation, I have seen alot. I have seen my loved ones die due to violence and AIDS. I have seen the strength of young Black gays and lesbians coming out, and getting thrown out of their homes, only to emerge as hardy and determined adults. Witnessing the victories has given me hope despite rampant racism, sexism and homophobia. With all that,we have along road ahead of us and a lot of the demons we must struggle against lie within our own gay and lesbian communities.
So imagine my conundrum of a whole group of lesbian women referring to themselves as “bois.” Boi this, boi that….I thought it was cute at first, and drank the Kool Aid. Then I woke up one day and realized how bizarre it is for grown ass women to refer to themselves as “bois.”
For the life of me, this seems to be the very in thing among some Black lesbians, particularly ones under 30. And as a Black Lesbian, I just don’t understand grown ass women referring to themselves as male children. What do I make of it? Well, observations:
1) Many so called “bois” are living the fantasy of teenage boys. Emotionally immature, their behavior, including but not limited to rampant promiscuity, intoxication and just all out irresponsibility, reminds my of boys in high school. I knew one boi who would joke that she was a “17 year old surfer dude”….so not sexy and definitely not cute!
2) The whole “bois” movement is based on a fantasy that at some point one is really “male” or even “male minded”….forget the fact that these women are grown with major tatas and vaginas, let’s live the fantasy of male privilege and patriarchy. Notorious bois are known for telling their hurt buddies to “man up” and “think like a man.” I have heard “bois” say they have never really thought as girls. I have also heard “bois” disrespect, to the utmost, the women that love them, making Ike Turner look like St. Francis.Who wants their woman to call them “b*tch” to their face?
3) These labels do nothing but promote patriarchy and woman hatred in dyke face. I have been in the company of “bois” and felt like I was hanging with Spanky and the Little Rascals. The woman hatred, the name calling and woman bashing was incredible….I joined in, thinking that I was fitting in, but in the end, it didn’t feel right. I realized I was talking about myself. I also realized that many of these women were just parroting male images as presented in rap videos and the neighborhoods from which they come. Self hatred runs rampant in these communities of bois. I also discovered that many have body trauma which led to the hatred of their bodies.
Finally where does this lead? It depends on the woman. Some women take it to the extreme and start to mutilate their bodies by voluntarily cutting off their breasts. Others try testosterone. Some have chosen to walk around with their dildos daily. I have opted to seek therapy to love myself. I also have started reading feminist lit and realized a lot of the behavior I was seeing in this boi movement was about self-hatred and patriarchy. I also had to come to realize that women are women regardless of how we dress. Clothes are not the issue. It’s just another way for women, for females, to get side tracked in to mimicking the woman hating hierarchy of this culture which always puts women last and at the bottom. I have decided that I will no longer be part of the problem. I am working on myself to be part of the solution.