18

Girl, What? Tamera Mowry-Housely Can Keep Her ‘Good Girl’ Advice On Snagging a Hubby

Touch my magazine collection and you’re likely to lose a limb. I’ve hoarded my glossies across three states—Tennessee, Indiana, New York—to the dissatisfaction of every person whose ever helped me move. They’re all like, “Girl, you need to let some of these 1994 VIBE’s go. They take up too much space.” And I’m all like, “Trick, you done lost your mind!” Then packing all my mags neatly in the moving tubs commences.

Women’s mags are my favorite, with all its criticisms that I promise aren’t new. I love being a woman, I love womanhood, I love when women share our stories. It’s why I’d pick up [insert name of your favorite woman’s mag here] on the newsstand over Esquire knowing Esquire is going to have the superior writing. What’s hard as a magazine junkie and journalist is overlooking the way many women mags talk to women as if they’re clueless pre-teens who need their hand held through life. I grow frustrated with the “Change this about your body, buy this product, do this amazing move in the bed to please your man” articles that show up every month in our favorite chick glossies.

I’m into non-sexist advice on love from both men and women in the same way I dig women’s mags. I recognize its flaws but revel in the beauty of what’s presented when done right. When the love advice takes an ugly dip from ‘this is what worked for me’ to ‘you can’t turn a ho into a housewife’ is when I bow out gracefully.

One half of my favorite child star twins, Tamera Mowry-Housely (Sister Sister), sat down with Angela Burt Murray’s (former EIC of ESSENCE) new site CocoaFab.com to talk marriage and mommyhood. Tamera’s a gorgeous positive image on cable television amiss the drink throwing that dominates reality TV. She and her sister Tia snagged seemingly loving husbands in an industry that relies on superficiality all while maintaining careers. Everything about the girls who used to yell “ROGERRRRR!” reeks Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious happy all the time. So her roadmap for women who eventually want to be wives and moms had to be harmless, right? Oh so wrong. Tamera prefaced her advice with a Nicotine like warning for what was to follow.

“I’m very traditional. I’m old school and that’s just how I am. It’s in my DNA. I had to get to the point where I just had to embrace carrying the torch for the traditional girls out there. I love representing the traditional black woman.”

Traditional? Cool. My awesomely feminist ass is traditional in the sense I enjoy chivalry, I want to feel protected (yes, my man walks on the side of the sidewalk closest to the street) and I’d like to be married before popping out any beautiful brown babies. Traditional! Tamera’s brand of traditional, however, is not something that I’d willingly get down with; and it has nothing to do with the virginity she lost at the age of 29. Bravo for her. Obviously the nuggets of miseducation wisdom she imparted upon all of the Internet worked in her favor, but the first two pieces of advice left me wanting to throw something at my perfectly functioning MacBook Pro.

Tamera says,

“Be refined. Like my grandmother always said, ‘dare to be different.’ While it’s popular these days to be the Rihanna to his Chris (okay, sans the abuse fiasco), consider being different from all of the overly sexy, turnt up girls. Guys want someone who stands out from the crowd. Remember, there’s a HUGE difference between wifey and wife! Don’t get it twisted.”

Girl. GIRL! Tamera can have all the pew seats in the back of her grandmama’s church with her respectability politics bullshit. (Note: Tamera jumped on Twitter to go on record that she never mentioned Rihanna or Chris in the interview, so I won’t even address how problematic that was). You have to wonder if Tamera was giving a similar interview to ELLE.com would anything about being “turnt up” have been mentioned. Me thinks not. But because it’s a site tailored to the black female demographic she felt she had to put on for her audience. Whatever works for you, boo boo.

What is wrong with a woman being “overly sexy?” Everything women do is not for the attention of the male gaze. It is her body to adorn the way she sees fit. If dressing sexy is what keeps women from eventually checking the married box on tax forms those marriage stats should be declining any day now. And if a woman does care about meeting men, what does Tamera think gets the guy at the bar to approach a woman he finds attractive? It usually isn’t her bare faced, sweaty pits from a fresh work out at Crunch. Men don’t tend to approach women based on how many books she looks like she’s devoured in her lifetime.

My problem with the whole act refined so a man will wife you argument—beside it being utterly ridiculous—it’s rooted in this fallacy that all men like the same kind of women. Khloe Kardashian, Jada Pinkett-Smith and P!nk are all very different women who’ve never seemed too concerned with refinery. They’ve all managed to walk into wife territory. It’s dangerous to sell the idea to women, especially black women whose image has been pathologized and scrutinized since forever, that only a certain type of woman gets to have the long wedding gown, three tier cake dream.

It gets worse.

“If you start having sex at such a young age, by the time you’re in your 30s and 40s, it’s old. And you’re trying many different ways to keep it new. I wanted to experience all of that once I got married and living with my husband. Perhaps trying all of the kama sutra positions with your jumpoffs and boyfriends isn’t the best thing. After all, that will leave nothing new to explore for your husband.”

Mrs. ‘I held on to my V card until I was 29 so I’m special’ really tried it. Everyone ain’t you. This is slut-shaming in its most boring form. As someone who didn’t take the plunge into headboard knocking until a few years ago, I’m not sure how she’d know how, when, or if sex ever gets old. While I understand the idea of wanting to leave some sexual exposés for your husband only, that’s a personal choice between a woman and her vagina. Women who’ve been having sex for over a decade by the time they’re 30, or women who’ve done everything sexual with anyone they damn well choose shouldn’t feel shamed for it, or made to feel marriage may skip them because they did one too many doggy styles with men who weren’t their husbands.

Legions of women are interested in what folks (although I wish more of us would be more discerning with which folks) have to say about how to find a man then get him to say, “I do, I do, I do,” (Jeezy voice). It’s exhausting that all the advice is focused so much on how women have to be able to always stay classy in the streets but p-pop on a handstand in the bedroom, cook five days a week, don’t give up the proverbial cookies too soon, don’t be a pushover but not too mouthy, be nurturing but not too needy and make sure you look like a superstar at all times. Thank you, patriarchy. Actually patriarchy, go ride one.

It bothers my soul when women buy into patriarchal attitudes of what makes a woman ‘good’ or wife material. The Madonna-whore dichotomy is soooooo played out. Sort of like the phrase played out. Women are human beings who have the brains to make their own choices for whatever is right for their lives. Do you. A man can get in line with the you that you love or he can ride off in the sunset with the Natashas* of the world.

And let’s just keep it all the way real, sister to sister. Tamera is giving all kinds of snooze. I think I’d rather take advice from Amber Rose. She’s married too.

* Natasha was the 20something Big went off to marry after his breakup with Carrie. Carrie thought Natasha was so perfect in comparison to her. We all know how that ended.

Comments 18

  1. I AGREE WITH THIS ARTICLE 1000%. I am not a fan of slut-shaming or women playing into gimmicks to snag a husband. Tamera is not a person I would take advice from only because she doesn’t seem open to the world. From watching her show she seems very reserved and often unsure of herself and that only means she’s got a lot more experiencing to do, and her advice show also be reserved.

  2. I think if you would rather take advice from Amber Rose then you should take advice from Amber Rose. That’s why there’s more than one type of wife in the world as you stated. But realistically there are a whole lot more Ambers in the public eye, and the world, than Tameras. So why not give the ones who do want to wait and who don’t necessarily want their a$$ on display at all times a platform too? How is her snooze vibe bcuz she did decide to wait any less virgin-shaming than her comments are slut shaming? If we can be comfortable woth the message to learn to slide down a stripper pole to get a man’s attention what’s the problem when it comes to hearing something else?

    1. I feel like I answered your questions in the post. It’s overall a patriarchal message that I reject. The tone of much of her advice is shaming women who’ve had “sex too soon” or act “ratchet.” She’s also making general statements about how a woman should be a “good girl” to get wifed. That line of thinking is problematic because it’s rooted in sexism. What makes a woman good? Who gets to define that? Why does a woman have to be refined to get married? As far as the Amber Rose line, it’s tongue-in-cheek hun. Something writers do often. Thanks for reading!

      Best regards,

      Bené Viera
      Multimedia Journalist | Writer | Bogger
      http://beneviera.com
      Twitter: @writtenbyBene

  3. Yea, while I love Tamara, at the end of the day, the way we act or carry ourselves is how it’s going to be and if we change, it’s not US as people. God rules all connections of the world. Period. When it’s time for single women to meet the men they are supposed to be with, it will be ON POINT and effortless!

  4. Well excuse Tamera for having morals and holding herself in high-esteem. I’d take her advice over the ” ‘Do you’ even if it’s wrong” mentality. Just because you feel like having sex with everybody and their mom doesn’t mean you have to. Since when did honoring the Lord with one’s body and sacrificially serving your spouse (which is the view I believe Tamera holds) become degrading? And since when did waiting to have sex until marriage, being quiet-spirited, and gracious become patriarchal values? As far as defining manhood/womanhood, *news flash* It’s the creator of the world who defines manhood/womanhood. It’s unfortunate that many of today’s men and women lack ALL types of understanding in this area. I commend Tamera for not compromising her godly values just to fit in with the current worldview, which could be something totally different years from now. I’d rather stick with what’s solid, reliable, and true.

    1. Sigh. There’s not enough time in the day to unpack how misguided what you’ve written is. I just want to politely note that I hope you don’t think you’re winning over non-believers or those who’ve strayed from God with your message. But have a great day. 🙂

      Best regards,

      Bené Viera
      Multimedia Journalist | Writer | Bogger
      http://beneviera.com
      Twitter: @writtenbyBene

      1. “smirks* at ‘misguided’. At least we feel the same about each other’s views. It’s not my job to ‘win over’ non-believers. But to speak truth? Absolutely.Hopefully God will be gracious enough to open your eyes.

    2. So slut-shaming is now regarded as morals? She holds herself in high-esteem? If she really felt that way about herself she would have never needed to announce that she lost her virginity at damn near 30 years old…cos you know that was classy :-

    3. Since when is choosing to be a virgin, strictly and solely related to GOD? Did SHE mention that her reason was God related?

  5. i’m with you, b.

    tamera can have her morals (re: cara’s comment), but she doesn’t have to shame other women in the process. i was ignorant for awhile myself about making other women feel guilty about their “get it, get it” time, so tamera may not even realize the damage she’s doing. hopefully the backlash makes her wake up.

    it’s simple: amber did her thing and got a man–it worked. ditto for tamera. but me? i’m doing it my way, no frank sinatra. women as a whole have got to let each other be who we naturally are without the shade, smh.

    and while we’re here, let’s all note: tamera popped that you-know-what before marriage (born again virgin), so the holier-than-thou jig is up.

    1. You win the internet with this: “women as a whole have got to let each other be who we naturally are without the shade.” YES! That’s basically what my post boils down to. I love Tamera (and Tia). I think it’s dope that she held on to her virginity so long. I have not one ounce of a problem with that. I don’t know how folks came to the conclusion that I don’t respect her for that. My point was simply let women do them without the shaming. We all have our lived experiences which is how we ultimately determine what’s best for us. I can find value in Tamera and Amber Rose and Michelle Obama and Rihanna. And I’m going to do me regardless of anyone’s advice no matter how useful or not I think said advice is. Appreciate the comment love.

      Best regards,

      Bené Viera
      Multimedia Journalist | Writer | Bogger
      http://beneviera.com
      Twitter: @writtenbyBene

  6. I think the way the Coco Fab article was constructed is a bit problematic.

    When you visit the site and read the interview, what Tamera actually said is broken up by quotes, with the author’s tongue-in-cheek paraphrasing mixed in the same paragraph. That’s where the confusion about the Rihanna line and the Kama Sutra line stem from. Those weren’t her words. The way the article has been block quoted here could reinforce that misinterpretation.

    With that being said… I agree with you in saying to each her own. I don’t really feel the need to take advice from celebrities about my relationships. Choosing to wait works for me, but I’m also aware that what works for one, doesn’t always work for another. It’s not putting a ring on my hand any faster than someone who chooses not to. I think you highlighted counter examples well in this post. Kudos.

    We just have to be more careful as a whole about passing judgement on those who choose to do things differently than we do. Especially those of us who are Christian. The Bible clearly says there is no condemnation in Christ… so… there’s that.

    1. No one ever passed unrighteous judgement on anyone. But will I righteously judge sex outside of marriage (or any sexual impurity) as being wrong? Yes, I will, because it’s based on God’s perfect standard. As far as there being no condemnation IN Christ, yes that’s true. But OUTSIDE of Christ where people openly support and encourage ungodly attitudes and behaviors? …well, there’s that.

      1. Hi Cara,

        My statement was a general observation that you seem to have taken rather personally. We can agree to disagree about judging the actions of others. Everyone does not ascribe to the teachings of the Bible, and in keeping with your reply to Bene, it’s not our job to “win over” anyone. There’s a difference between standing firm on your beliefs and expressing them, and condemning those who do not share them.

  7. I agree that women have enough people telling how to be how not to be and looking down on them when they don’t fit those pre-defined parameters. I think people should tell their story and let others take what they want from it. It’s actually funny that I am watching Tia & Tamera right now and it’s the episode when Tia participates in a burlesque show. Tia got annoyed that Tamera was placing her views on what she would on want Tia should do and how she views it. Essentially Tia explained that your view on it is different than mine but neither is wrong. I also love them and their show but women don’t need anyone looking down on them for being themselves no matter their differences so I get your post. I also have issue with telling people to act in a manner that is not who they are. We all need to accept ourselves for who we and look for a partner that honors that. Otherwise that’s false advertising and you both lose when the real you appears.

  8. Though I’m more of a Rihanna type than a Tamera type, I get what she’s saying and I don’t think she’s trying to throw shade or talk down on certain women. There are a lot more sexual women on display and being praised for it,and the women such as herself who are more traditional and modest seem to be getting the shit end of the stick these days when it comes to be adored.

    I didn’t take her tone in a negative way, it’s just her opinion on dating and what she thinks is the best way to get a man. I mean, she’s not entirely wrong…she has valid points and that’s what worked for her and many of my friends. To each his own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *