“Vaginagate” Perp Apologizes

Lamaris Bellamy PhotoDecades after publicly humiliating a high school girlfriend about the smell of her body, Kwame had second thoughts. He finally apologized.

The former girlfriend, Stacy Graham-Hunt, found that the incident still hurt long after she had grown up and become a writer. So she “processed the pain” by dubbing the incident “Vaginagate” and publishing the story, first as a Facebook post, then as part of a series of poignant personal essays collected in a new book called Processing Pain. (She has a book-signing scheduled at the Westville’s Mitchell Branch Library on Saturday, June 10, beginning at 2:30 p.m.)

Graham’s stories about growing up in New Haven and Hamden and moving on to college have struck a chord with other people who have lost cherished friendships, felt guilt about a grandfather’s death, wrestled with difficult relationships with their parents, had an abortion, experienced the cluelessness of white people trying to make white visitors to their homes feel “comfortable,” or been humiliated by a teenaged first boyfriend like Kwame. Even Kwame (his name has been changed to protect the guilty) ended up seeing his actions in a new light after Graham-Hunt revisited them.

In an interview on WNHH radio, Graham-Hunt, who is 34 and now lives in Derby, revisited how telling that story and others have helped her move past the painful moments in her life, and how the act of publishing them has led her and others to see them in a new light. Let’s hear what she has to say about the “Vaginagate” fallout, but first check out how she tells the story in the first place.

The Vaginagate Story

(The following section comes from Stacy Graham-Hunt’s book Processing Pain.)

“Stacy, you look like you could suck dick…but your pussy is garbage,” Fernando Thompson blurted out in our school lunchroom. I was sitting at one table; he was sitting at another table in front of me. He was in my class. We were tenth-graders.

I stared at him. I looked at his buck teeth. I looked at his unibrow. I looked at his off-white flea-market jeans, but I said nothing. This was my strategy anytime anyone mentioned my vagina at school.

People were talking about my vagina at school because I let a boy from a nearby boy’s school put his hands inside my panties at my classmate’s beach party the previous summer. He told people that my vagina smelled bad. His name was Kwame, and he was my boyfriend at the time.

The first time I saw Kwame was freshman year. Kwame made our mutual friend, Jack, walk across three connected gyms at my high school’s basketball tournament to tell me that Kwame “liked me.”

I peeked past Jack to see what his friend, Kwame, looked like.

“Meh, I’m straight,” I said. He wasn’t ugly, but he wasn’t cute enough to make me interested.

“But he really likes you,” Jack pleaded. He was determined to walk back to Kwame with my phone number written on a piece of paper.

“I don’t know, Jack,” I said.

“Well…what if I get his number and give it to you?” Jack asked.

“Okay…I guess.” It seemed like a safe compromise.

So Jack walked back across the gym to Kwame to write his phone number down. Jack then walked back across the gym again to give me a paper with the phone number. Kwame stayed on the other side of the gym.

I looked down on the paper.

“KWAME 203-387-1111,” it read.

“What is that?” I asked Jack.

“What’s what?”

“A Kwame?” I tried saying his name. I said it so it rhymed with the word “same.”

Jack snickered.

“No, it’s Kwah-May,” he said.

I rolled my eyes. I didn’t have time for this guy with this high-maintenance name.

“I think you guys are really gonna’ like each other,” Jack said.

“You guys are both funny.”

“How do you know each other?” I ignored his comment.

“Basketball. We play AAU together,” Jack said. “You gonna’ call him Stace? Stace call him!” Jack said pointing air guns to me as he walked back across the gym to Kwame.

Eventually I got curious enough to call Kwame. I didn’t know then that I was supposed to avoid males who let their friends talk for them. His mother picked up the phone.

“Hi, may I speak to K-Kwam…eh?” I was really trying not butcher this name I thought his mother created.

“Kwame! Telephone!” His mother shouted. I could hear Kwame’s feet walking towards the phone.

Then I heard his mother’s voice again. She was speaking low.

“Kwame, there’s a girl on the phone. Who is this girl?”

“Moooommmm stop!” Kwame said frustrated.

He put the phone to his ear.

“Hello?” It was the first time I was hearing Kwame’s voice.

“Hi, it’s Stacy from Hopkins…Jack’s friend.”

For the next few weeks we talked on the phone at all times of the day and night. The night before the last day of school, we stayed on the phone until it was time for me to take a shower and get ready for school. A lot of times we watched the same T.V. shows together over the phone. We were even on the phone the night that car crash killed Princess Diana.

Sometimes Kwame and I had intense conversations about our ninth-grade philosophies. He didn’t think girls should wear sneakers, rather dress shoes, boots and sandals instead. He knew he would never go to a black college because he said he would be more employable as a graduate of a predominantly white college. He also didn’t like girls who wore weaves.

Even though I frequently wore sneakers, I knew I would one day attend a historically black college, and sometimes liked to wear the hairpiece from one of my dance-school costumes as a ponytail, somehow I thought he would make a decent boyfriend. So we became a couple, which eventually led to us meeting at the beach party.

The party happened right at the end of freshman year. My friend Rachel and I were together at the party. Her boyfriend, who was friends with Kwame, met her there too. After we all found each other at the beach, Rachel and I walked off to separate parts of the beach with our boyfriends.

Kwame and I stopped walking after a few seconds. We kissed. It felt like he tried to put his entire tongue in my mouth. He unbuttoned my jeans. I unzipped them. He put his hand inside my floral, maroon panties that my mother bought me from one Victoria’s Secret in one of those 5 for $25 sales. Kwame kind of waved his fingers over my girl parts and then released his hands from my jeans. The whole encounter lasted for about five minutes, and it felt very scientific. There was nothing romantic about this beach make-out session. It was like we had a relationship to-do list, and this was a task that we needed to cross off.

We didn’t talk on the phone for a few days after our beach session, which was odd. Then I got a phone call from his friend, who also went to my church, saying that Kwame decided to break up with me. I have a hunch that Kwame was listening in on the call. This was back when three-way calling and “clicking over” was a big thing on house phones.

Shortly after the break-up phone call, Kwame called me a few days later and told me that I was nasty. He didn’t say how, so for the entire summer I had no idea why he said that. But that was classic Kwame — he would stir up trouble and then run. Kwame was the type of boy who would call my house, but if my father picked up, he would hang up the phone.

I didn’t get any answers until school started again, and we were sophomores.

According to the tenth-grade gossip from 20 years ago, Rachel made out with her boyfriend at the same time I was with Kwame at the beach party. When Kwame and Rachel’s boyfriend got back together, they smelled their fingers and discussed the results. Apparently, Rachel smelled like butterscotch…and apparently I did not.

Kwame told our mutual friends at my school, and his words spread quickly. It felt like people were always whispering about my vagina. We had a student lounge at our school, and every time I walked into the lounge, people stopped talking and/or started snickering. The most obnoxious of the bunch were Fernando, of course, and another classmate named Leah. I’m sure if Instagram existed back then, they would have made countless memes about me.

The crazy part was that there were so many things that I could have ranked on Fernando and Leah about … especially Leah. I could have teased her about her pimply skin, her hair that she forced into a baby ponytail every day, or her weight ... but I never did. I just waited for them to stop.

There was only one girl, who had enough courage to confront me and ask me straight up what happened. We were waiting for our parents to pick us up after school one day.

“Did you let Kwame finger you?” she asked.

“Yes,” I said confidently.

“Well he’s telling everyone you stink,” she said, just like that. She never talked to me again after that.

I didn’t respond. I didn’t have any words. I felt betrayed by Kwame, embarrassed that the girl brought it to me like that, even if she was the only person to confront me. I also felt betrayed by my classmates, who were supposedly my friends, but ditched our friendships for a good laugh. I was humiliated.

They were laughing.

My ex-friends insisting that I had a smelly vagina seemed like too big of a mountain to move. I was already dealing with other mountains. My parents were splitting up, my great-grandmother, the matriarch of my family, had died, and I was still adjusting to my grandmother’s death from the previous year.

Dodging vaginal disses at the same time was a lot.

I did not care about how complex vaginas were at the time and that practically anything could throw off their scent — new soap, old soap, medication, foods, beverages, using new laundry detergent on towels, not washing enough, excessive washing, physical activity, tight pants, the days before your period, the days after your period, your actual period, wearing panties at night, a cold or other illness … I didn’t care. Neither did my classmates.

“The pum pum is so unforgiving,” my friend once said, imitating her Jamaican mother.

The truth was that I did wash my ass before I met Kwame at the beach that day. I was excited about hooking up with him. I felt very prepared. But according to Kwame and a bunch of my classmates, I was not. According to them, I was this smelly chick.

Everything eventually died down by my junior year, but sophomore year was hell to say the least. Because of my experience with Kwame, I wouldn’t let any guy near any part of my body. I didn’t want to give anyone the opportunity to agree with Kwame’s findings.

I had like three or four more boyfriends in high school and talked to other guys on the phone, but I never let any of them touch me. I only let a select one or two kiss me. And if any boy in the state of Connecticut didn’t like me or wasn’t interested in me, I automatically assumed it was because they heard what Kwame said about me. I felt marked. I didn’t let anyone touch me again for years … not until I got to college, and I met this guy named Michael.

Kwame and I somehow remained friends for another year after the VaginaGate scandal. He was even bold enough to start dating my friend Tanya. I didn’t say anything, but as retaliation I kept talking to him and going on dates with him and never letting him touch me. He would often try to convince me to lose my virginity to him. Yeah right. I would tell Leah all of this, knowing that she would tell Tanya. It warmed my heart every time Kwame and Tanya broke up. Rumor also has it that Leah liked him too. She went to his house one day and gave him head after school. Can I remind you that Leah and Tanya were my friends before Kwame came into the picture?

My sophomore year in high school was the year that I learned about loyalty.

A few years ago, my friend and I were bridesmaids together in a wedding. We were dressed and ready to go, but she put on a few more layers of deodorant before we left the hotel.

“I just want to make sure I smell good,” she said.

“Yeah, but that much Monica? Do you really need that much deodorant?” I asked staring at her white armpits that clashed against our peach dresses.

“When I was in elementary school, I started wearing deodorant after I knew that I needed deodorant,” she said. “I was the smelly kid in class. No one forgets the smelly kid in class.”

Actually, I think it’s really us — the so-called “smellies” — who don’t forget.

I think of Kwame every time I use a baby wipe.

Discussing It On WNHH

Following are excerpts from a conversation with Graham-Hunt on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

Graham-Hunt: He didn’t tell me first. He didn’t even go to my school. He told our common friends at [my] school … They just laughed at me. 

WNHH: And you didn’t know why they were laughing at you.

And I didn’t know why they were laughing at first. Eventually, [one] girl [told me] …

You said that it affected you for quite a while …

It did. 

You didn’t date other boys for a while? 

Or if I did have a boyfriend, I wouldn’t kiss them. I wouldn’t let them touch me in any way. Not until I got to college.… All because of this guy. 

I don’t think the whole school knew, I think it was just our group. 

But in your mind I’m sure you felt like the whole world knew.

In my mind it felt like the whole city and state knew. 

So what I found interesting about this story, Stacy, is that … you get in the head of the teenager. When you wrote the story, you didn’t step back and say what it looks like to someone who’s in their 30s. You’re in your mid-30’s?

Yeah.

And it’s so obvious that Kwame was an idiot, righ? Males, anything about sex, it is their whole life, and teenage boys are incredible idiots, right? 

Yes.

So when I’m reading in between the lines of the story, here is a kid who was nervous being with girl for the first time, and he didn’t really know what to do. He felt very inadequate. So he felt inadequate, not knowing what to do, [his solution] was to trash her to feel big. To boast that he had gone to third base with her and then put her down, and say her vagina felt skanky. Would you think that’s a fair way of putting it?

It’s definitely fair and reasonable. I never considered that. 

That’s not to sound more sympathetic. I think it’s worse that he did that. But that’s how I read it as the male who’s 57.

The other thing that struck me about it was, one thing I didn’t know being a male was that you and others go to this effort to affect how your vagina was gonna smell.

Yes.

And why is that? it’s almost like it’s a given that there is something wrong with the way one smells naturally.

I think that’s society. I think, I mean, even if you go on like Instagram, you see memes about this. People joke about this. 

Even when they’re not 16 years old?

Even when they’re not 16 years old. 
 
So what’s the idea? Vaginas aren’t supposed to smell like vaginas? What are they supposed to smell like? I’m sorry, this is the part I didn’t get from your story. This is [the real] “Vaginagate” to me.

This is the adults talking about this. 
 
I’m sure the feminism wave of the ’70s embraced that, right? “Our bodies, ourselves.” And we aren’t supposed to shave our hair, our armpits. We’re not supposed to conform to something that’s not natural. What’s beautiful is natural. 

I don’t think everybody feels that way. 

Even when they’re grown up?
 
Even when they’re grown up. 
 
Because I don’t know anyone I think who would say that. That a vagina smells skanky. Or that’s something to be embarrassed about.

I’ve heard celebrities talk about other celebrities and say things like that about them. 

Why? 

Just to be mean, I don’t know. 

So, what about when you look back on Vaginagate now, did anything change in how you viewed it in your mid-30’s when you wrote this and published it for the whole world to hear? How is it different writing about it and publishing a story about it now?

Writing about it, I felt all of those feelings again. I could put myself right back at Hopkins. I pictured myself, you know, talking to Kwame on the phone. So that’s why it comes out as if I’m this 14 year old. Because I felt all of it.

Which is good writing, which is getting us in your head in that moment and understanding how a 14 year-old sees it.

Yes, I felt all that again. This was probably the hardest story for me to publish. So, when I hit the post button, as I felt with all my stories, my hands would get really sweaty and my chest would get tight and I felt all of that again. I even remember sharing this with one of my friends before I posted it. And she was like “Oh my gosh you can’t share that one.” And I was like “I have to. I have to get this out.” So, I posted it and I just waited, waited to see what was gonna happen, waiting to see what the response was gonna be.

You posted it [first] on Facebook?

And when people were kind of attacking Kwame, it felt kind of good. 

You got your revenge on Kwame 20 years later!

But also, you know, a lot of the woman were like, “Thank you for saying this, because you know we go through so much as women, and we have to keep up our bodies and do all of this stuff.” It can be hard. So I felt a little bit of that. And then Kwame … I change people’s name in the stories.  …

Oh, so he’s not really named Kwame?

He’s not really named Kwame.

Oh bummer. I thought you smoked him out.

But he kind of snitched on himself in the comment section.

Oh, he read it? 

He read it.

Do you still talk to Kwame?

Just through Facebook. 

But you’re friends on Facebook? 

We’re friends on Facebook. He apologized in the comment thread.

What’d he say? 

He said he was really sorry. He didn’t remember it, and he also didn’t realize what kind of impact that could have. He said he was remembering other kind of jerky things he had done to girls, but this never even like…..

He didn’t know what this had done to your life. 
 
He didn’t even remember it. And now that he knew, he apologized, and then other people in the comment section realized it was him and then had their own conversations with him. 

What’d they say? This is so interesting, the power of story 20 years later to revise old wounds.

Some women were very upset with him. There was one conversation he had with a young lady I went to college with, and they kept going back and forth for days. So she was just saying how kind of sexist it was … how, even though he was young, he should have known better, and where’s the respect for women?

So are you glad you did this? Are you glad you wrote about Kwame and publicized it?
 
I am, ‘cause it was very freeing. It’s not something I feel like I’m hiding anymore or don’t wanna talk about.

Click on or download the above audio file to hear the full interview with Stacy Graham-Hunt on WNHH radio’s “Dateline New Haven” program.

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Comments

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 2, 2017  10:17pm

Yeah, Men Suck…....

While I am disgusted by the behavior of White Men toward Women, I am more disgusted by Black Men’s behavior toward the same. It is more forward, macho, entitled, invasive, and disrespectful.

Just walk downtown late at night and you can see it, and if you are un-lucky enough, you can experience it, too.

There is very little respect. Women are objects. And you know, sometime it works.  That’s your lady problem.

This is based on observation, not stereotype, so don’t pull the race card on me in your responses.

I hope Graham-Hunt’s book opens up a serious discussion….this is an Elephant in the Room.

posted by: christopher desir on June 4, 2017  10:05am

So Bill, you come on here and make a blatantly racist comment based on your incredible capacity for “objective” observation, and then preemptively accuse someone of “playing the race card” if they simply point out your obvious racism?

This is Trump-logic. You might as well preface your comment with, “I’m the least racist person that you have ever met.”

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the you and Graham-Hunt are trying to open up discussions on different topics. Maybe you could take your discussion here: https://www.stormfront.org/forum/

posted by: 1644 on June 4, 2017  10:44am

So, at an age when most of us were idiots, and socially inept,  “Kwame” humiliated her among their small circle of friends.  So, now, years later and unable to move on, and at an age where she should know better, she humiliates him to the entire world by publishing a book?  Abetted by the NHI?

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 4, 2017  1:09pm

Experience based on observation, Chris.  Observations in plain view on the streets of New Haven.
— ‘Rape Culture’ is a real problem on all sides of the fence. 

The recent story about KIYAMA and their program also recognizes the imperative for respecting women , which I lauded at the time.  Recognizing and talking about these issues is the only way there is going to be progress.

So take your racist charge against me and shove it….it is just not there, man.
I think you just don’t like that I’m White.

If you don’t like the stereotype, don’t play to it….

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 4, 2017  1:51pm

ps Chris—Thanks for posting under your real name.  That’s where honesty begins….

posted by: EducateourchildrenNH on June 5, 2017  12:24am

Thank you Chris,

As a black male, I find it absolutely amazing that a white male could observe a few instances of rudeness by a statistically small number of black males and somehow feel justified to make the racists comments he does. And them to top it off, states that if you disagree with his “observations”, or call them out for being racist, them somehow we are guilty of playing the race card.

With friends like this….

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 5, 2017  3:41am

Christopher Desir,

Now for my follow-up observations in attempt to be fair, and once again discount your racist accusations.

Back in October, I put on an art exhibit at the Bus Stop on Lower Chapel Street that featured, what some people might consider Objectified Women.  Big, Bold, and Breasty. 

I would like to share this direct experience—it is important…

Four times, a pair of black men walked past the bus stop.  One immediately got offended at the content.  The other immediately defended the work, saying ‘No, No, It’s about Breast Cancer Awareness’

At that point, some real dialog ensued about that issue.  Personal Accounts and Personal Effects.
That didn’t come out of the blue—that came from engaging the issue.  The fact that a 52 year old white man with long hair can pull that off says a lot about the people in this town.

So, while I condemn the actions on one extreme, I highly praise the actions on the other.
Intelligence and Awareness go far, and I was duly impressed with the sincerity and empathy regarding the status of women in the work-a-day world.

I did not, nor would I expect to see that some reaction from White Men.
The power structure we are living is little more than a bunch of old eunuchs grasping at straws to keep their power.

In a supposedly progressive City like New Haven, I expect more.

In fact Chris, if you had more to say other than your racist accusation, you might have extended the conversation into a real place.  I warned you about taking that tack, but you went for it anyway.

So, here I am the White Man making some comments on the Black World.  It is certainly not Judgement. 
Maybe because I am White and not a Woman, I should be dismissed from this dialog entirely.

(though I would like to hear the Female Experience firsthand— it is strangely absent from the comments)

If I was to sum all of this stuff up, based on my experience at the Bus Stop, I would say that Black Men are their own Salvation.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 5, 2017  3:55am

1644,

As you imply, and as the comments bear out, this is another attempt by Paul Bass to be somehow socially conscious on the back of black experience.  NHI is ham-handed when it comes to race.

The “Vaginagate” Headline says everything you need to know about exploiting a story, and I am sure that people are avoiding commenting on a real issue because of that exploitation.

I look forward to what KIYAMA has in store—I respect their plan, and I offer my hand in ways they might see fit…

I am pretty easy to find…....

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 5, 2017  4:24am

Chris,

Your are an advantaged, entitled, Yale Snowflake with some good Media presence…... 

again, thanks for being upfront….

posted by: westville man on June 5, 2017  8:39am

Bill,  Send in some money to Kiyama if you want to help.  That’s the best way to help as a white man.  I did.  And fight the rampant racism in the white community. Leave your “opinions” of Black males out of the discussion.

posted by: EducateourchildrenNH on June 5, 2017  10:12am

Well said Westville Man

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 5, 2017  2:42pm

Westville Man—

Thanks for the heads up regarding KIYAMA.  Unfortunately my financial means are less than my personal ones…..

And I will not leave my opinions (observations) out of it…. isn’t that kind of the point of debate….

posted by: Hill Resident on June 5, 2017  5:48pm

First – let me introduce myself. I am an African American female who has had experiences similar to the author and am therefore ‘qualified’ to comment from a position of knowledge – not assumption.

Bill Saunders:  Your comment was “While I am disgusted by the behavior of White Men toward Women, I am more disgusted by Black Men’s behavior toward the same…. It is more forward, macho, entitled, invasive, and disrespectful.” YOU said that the White Men’s behavior is disgusting but then said you are “MORE” disgusted by Black Men’s behavior. You offered no explanation of what it is that makes you more disgusted when it is a black man exhibiting the same behavior as a white man. You offered no explanation of what makes it more forward, macho, entitled, invasive and disrespectful for a black man to behave a certain way than if a white man did the very same thing.  THAT’s where we as black people see your comment as racist. You said the black man’s behavior was more disgusting and the black man said your comment was racist. You see his behavior one way, and he reads your comment one way … your taking issue with HIS comment sounds a little bit ‘entitled’ to me. You do not, can not and never will see it thru a black person’s eyes. You can’t you’re white ... and it’s OK. But you said it … you were more disgusted by the behavior by Black Men!!!! Maybe that was not your intent, but THAT is what you said, and that is what we read. Can you not just admit that your comment could have come off as racist and accept the criticism? Offer an apology and move on. Maybe start a meaningful debate on how white people can sometimes say some things that seem totally OK to them but offend black people?

And to ‘1644: “So, now, years later and unable to move on, and at an age where she should know better, she humiliates him to the entire world by publishing a book?”  She did not publish ‘Kwame’s’ real name. And he was hardly humiliated … he said he didn’t even remember it.

posted by: 1644 on June 5, 2017  8:42pm

Hill: Yes, he had forgotten about it.  He had grown up, and moved on.  She had not.  Because she never shook her teenage insecurities,  she felt the need to put him down.  That’s what this whole article and discussion is largely about: what a thoughtless person he was.  She is acting like she is still in high school, putting others down, because she still lacks self-confidence.  No, she did not name him, but she did identify him, such that both he and fellow former students knew exactly whom she was speaking of.  As Paul says, we were all idiots then, including her and “Kwame.”  If she cannot let go of something so ancient, she should discuss it in privacy with a psychotherapist, not in public.

posted by: westville man on June 6, 2017  8:29am

Bill-  what about all the $$ you save on haircuts?  just kidding my brother.  But seriously, let me try it this way:
I understand from your posts and comments that you are an artist. I am in business for myself. I assume you know more about art and about being an artist then me, even though I have been to a number of art galleries and took an art class in college. I wonder if you would consider my “opinion” equal to your knowledge on the topic.

So, the fact that you had made a few observations doesn’t give you any knowledge on the topic of race. Yes, you are entitled to your opinion as you say. But don’t become so defensive or bristle when that opinion offends others who have that knowledge.

I hope you think about that some before your next post

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 6, 2017  1:55pm

Westville Man,

I do save a lot of money on haircuts, I guess.  I haven’t had one in 17years….but somehow my hair remains shoulder length (chalk that one up to subconscious hair twisting). 

Now that it looks like my property taxes are going up by 20%, I would urge other property owners who are seeing a decrease, (like many Westvillains) to take that ‘savings’ and invest it in some worthy, local, social causes like KIYAMA…..

As I said, my time is available….  my odd looks and personable demeanor play well on the street…  walk around with me some day and you will see….

posted by: Hill Resident on June 6, 2017  4:38pm

1644:  Wish that you were able to get more out of this article than “he had forgotten about it.  He had grown up, and moved on.  She had not” ...  “she never shook her teenage insecurities, she felt the need to put him down” ... “because she still lacks self-confidence” ... “she should discuss it in privacy with a psychotherapist, not in public”. Hers is not the writings of someone who never shook her teenage insecurities. You have to be a pretty secure woman to publicly share such a humiliating experience. And it is expected that the male perspective on HER experience would be different than that a woman’s perspective. A man could NEVER experience what SHE as a WOMAN experienced (and vice versa), but other women can understand & empathize because as woman we might have. So as an adult woman let me share with you that it is in our younger years that most of the shaping of our adult selves takes place. Biology does that to us - starting between the ages of 9 and 13 - we are thrust onto and into the path of womanhood while we are still children, thru no choice of our own. Negative experiences & poor self images do not ‘go away’ because you age. What is fed will grow. If your negative sense of self is fed with idiot caustic remarks you can only expect that it will continue to grow in distortion until the negative is overwhelmed and outweighed by the positive. Sometimes that does not happen until much later. We all know that terms like fat, ugly, useless, stupid, stinky, whore can have devastating effects on the image one has about themselves. She is retelling her ‘story’ and writing it down was cathartic. It is also helpful to other women (young and old) who are or have experienced the same thing. This is something that I had not thought about for over 50 years, but now I am reminded about the changes in a young woman’s body & can share it with my teen granddaughter. And her sharing it ‘publicly’ might cause a young man to think twice before making an idiot remark!

posted by: 1644 on June 6, 2017  8:26pm

Hill: No teenage boy is going to read this book.  While negative experiences of youth may not go away, time and maturity mean they should fad into insignificance as we gain the perspective, including the realization that almost all of us were idiots.  Much of my own secondary school had a “Lord of the Flies” aspect to it, as does all childhood.  Having just had my reunion, however, I can tell you no one dwelt on past transgressions.  They have always remained buried in the past.  Heck, most of the folks in my nerd college were pretty awkward, too.  I recall one 16 year-old girl from the other side of the country had a hard time adjusting.  By our tenth reunion, everyone had grown more comfortable in their skins.  That awkward girl?  She was a stunningly beautiful, confident CFO of a major company.  People should grow up.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 6, 2017  8:46pm

Victim’s have a hard enough time talking about Rape.
Trauma is the gift that keeps giving…..  there needs to be less judgement and more help.

On the predators side of the equation, all gloves are off…..

posted by: Hill Resident on June 6, 2017  11:39pm

1644: So because ‘She was a stunningly beautiful, confident CFO of a major company’ ... whatever SHE experienced as an akward 16 year old is of no importance because YOU don’t SEE it?  Your comments reveal that you will ONLY see the world one way and you won’t even attempt to see the possibility that there is a reality outside of your own.  That makes your world very small and I would encourage you to venture out into the larger world where other people exist and other opinions are legitimate. Or just stay where you are if that is all you can handle. And if a teenage boy doesn’t read her book that’s OK because some woman will pass the knowedge and insight on to a young female who will receive it and not wait for her opinion of herself to be dependent on what some narrow minded male says she is. But I would hope that any male reading this would consider sharing some insight to a young male and help him to have a broader perspective on life and appreciation for womanhood outside of a locker room mentality that says it’s OK to grab woman by their sacred parts, or fingering a young girl and making a public announcement that ‘she stinks’ and then blame her for ‘not getting over it’. This is an opportunity for many to grow ... male and female. But if that isn’t what you want to do or promote ... then please just get out the way because our youth deserve more.

posted by: 1644 on June 7, 2017  10:45am

Hill:  Actually, my world is pretty large:  hanging with everyone from multi-billionaires to dirt poor on six continents.  Some had lost limbs to war and disease.  Even in my own, most immediate family and closest friends, I know several people who suffered far more trauma and abuse in childhood than this woman did.  Even in the realm of First World Problems, her experience is trivial.  BTW, Stacy is beautiful now, and likely was in high school, too, as she considered the “not cute” Kwame beneath her.

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 8, 2017  3:06am

So Hill Resident,

Do you want me to tell you about the black woman walking past the YMCA that got severe public affront by a black man about her big booty?  Man, he was joyous and friendly about it…..I found it gross. 

I guess I am a nobody, and didn’t see it…which is why it happened in front of me….. It wouldn’t have have happened in front of you.

Do you want me to tell you the Gang culture a white female friend of mine was faced with while having a cigarette outside of a prominent local bar that employed one black man with a red hat, that had some gang friends hanging out with him….

Do you want me to share with you some more personal trauma from women I know who are dealing with things more severe than being called out for a stinky pussy?

Do you want me to say that you know the truth too?

Maybe you consider this behavior ‘friendly’.  I don’t.

As I have said before, if you don’t like the ‘stereotype’, don’t act it out….and certainly don’t stick up for it.
It is an exponential deterrent on the real social growth society has made…...

I am not making a broad statement here.  I am making a specific one based what I see in the world I live in, and how it affects people in my immediate surroundings.

So what do you want from me except being honest about my experiences…
I am not casting a broad net—in fact, to get caught that net, you have to go pretty far…..

If you don’t like the observations, I don’t know what to tell you.  They are real and unfiltered.

Everyone always gets a bunch of chances with me, unless you cross a serious line.

The author is trying to address this.  KIYAMA is trying to address this. 
I recognize this as a serious issue as well, but somehow, I am neutered in the conversation?

I don’t buy it.

Paul brought this discussion up. 
Are you up for the discussion, or just the name calling…..?

As I have said before on this site, the people that call out racism are usually the racists themselves….

posted by: Bill Saunders on June 8, 2017  3:37am

ps Hill Resident….

I am sure you have some observations, too, both good and bad, regarding the treatment of women, though I do understand how you might not have liked how I cast my opinion.

I have shared both sides of my equation, what about you????

I am very interested in what you think about the role models of ‘hustler’ and ‘pimp’ as it relates to black culture, and how those existing ‘stereotypes’ might play out today…..

We don’t have those ‘heroes’ in white culture.  We haven’t needed them to survive.
They are extensions of poor opportunities, generational trauma and racist political systems…

Most of us Honkies are just a bunch of Pansies, I get that, and I get any reservations you might have in engaging this important conversation.

Pick your flowers well…..