When I saw the #BootBae video the other day I honestly felt sad. Sad because this young woman was so insecure she felt the need to “block” another young woman with her foot from getting close to her “man.” And sad because she saw the woman as the problem and not the boy, that she was desperately clinging to, as the real issue. I was also sad because I knew the reaction to this video would be an overwhelming approval of women happy that she was “checking that disrespectful ho/slut/hussie…”
Sexism just like racism is insidious, and just like how racism causes self hatred in those it oppresses, sexism also causes self hatred in women. Women are taught to not like other women, maybe even far more than those who are not white are taught not to love themselves. Girls and women are taught to see each other as competition. When it comes to relationships, if a man cheats, so often women see the other women as the problem, never the man who actually did the cheating. Women will, with no thought, call another woman a “bitch/whore/slut…” without ever once thinking that there are no such equivalent names for men. Women will so easily put another woman down but will not have the same reaction towards a man who exhibits the same behavior. That’s how sexism works. It always places negative traits on women, all while absolving men of any culpability for their actions.
Women have been tricked by sexism. That’s why #BootBae is a problem. Again here we have a woman competing over a man (which from the looks of him is no prize) when clearly he is the one receptive to the other woman’s advances. That is the real issue, not the young woman who approached him. However most women missed this. Most women jumped right to the young woman as being the problem. Sexism is so deeply buried in the minds of so many women that they did not attack the person who was at fault, the guy, but the person who they have been taught to attack, the woman. That’s right, sexism teaches women to always find fault with other women, never fault with the man’s actions. Clearly she was the one out of line, right? Wrong.
I got into a few debates on facebook about this video and the main arguments were: The young woman was disrespectful for walking up to a man who was “obviously” taken, and that #BootBae was not insecure, she “checked” the woman, because that was the right thing to do.
First let me talk about respect and relationships. People outside of your relationship do not owe your relationship respect. Strangers/acquaintances/friends/relatives do not have to respect your relationship. I know people are screaming at me in their heads, but hear me out, the only person who owes you respect in a relationship is the person you are in a relationship with. They are the person who made the commitment therefore they are the person who must “respect” the commitment. No one outside of your relationship has to respect your relationship, period. People can respect your relationship because that is who they are and how they choose to live, however no one outside of your relationship actually owes your relationship respect. If a person outside your relationship attempts to gain the attention of your partner, it is your partner’s job to “respect” the relationship and reject the advances. Why? Because that is the only person who owes your relationship respect. Again, it is not the person outside the relationship that must take action to respect your relationship, but the person in the relationship with you who should respect the relationship by rejecting the outside advances. Here in this situation with #BootBae, that did not happen. So the disrespectful one was not the young woman, but the boy who sat there being receptive to the young woman’s advances. He is the disrespectful one, so why aren’t women so upset with his actions?? Sexism, that’s why. Sexism has taught women that they must fight and prevent other women from harming their relationships. That they have to block “disrespect” from other women. Well other women don’t owe you respect, therefore the person you should turn your fight to is the man who is actually disrespecting your relationship. #BootBae’s boyfriend disrespected her, not the young woman. He is the one sitting there like a happy goofball all ready for the young woman to do whatever she was about to do. But most people missed that. That’s sexism at work.
Now let me address the insecurity issue. I ruffled a lot of feathers stating that #BootBae was insecure. Many women got upset because I say that if you feel the need to “check” a woman or “fight” over your man that that means you’re insecure in your relationship. A lot of women disagreed with me, however, it’s true. When you are secure in your relationship no outside person can threaten it. If you find someone outside your relationship is threatening to your relationship, that means that something inside your relationship is not secure. Let’s look at the #BootBae situation: there she is clinging to the guy’s arm, leg sprawled over him, all signs of showing how much she is “claiming” him yet when the young woman walks up to him, there he is being completely receptive to her advances. Despite all of #BootBae’s effort to claim him, he’s still open to other women. The relationship is not secure. #Bootbae knows this, maybe not consciously, but she knows that the relationship is not secure, therefore she is insecure. That’s why she had to “check” the young woman, she already knew her “boyfriend” wasn’t going to. It is not women outside of your relationship who are a threat to you relationship, it is always the man who is openly receptive to other women that is a threat. But sexism makes women believe that the other woman “should know better” rather than your man/husband/boyfriend “should decline her advances.”
What really should have happened with #BootBae? Her boyfriend should have declined the young woman’s approach. That would have indicated very clearly that he was in a relationship and that he respected his relationship. That’s what any guy in any relationship should be doing. And as far as #BootBae, she should find a guy who respects her enough to do so and who also makes her feel secure enough in their relationship so that she never feels like she has to “check” another woman again. That’s how it should be.