Dear Marooned Alien Princess

Dear Zahira,

Is it just me or are men getting worse, not better, in terms of patriarchy? I'm a woman of color and I just don’t see it for myself in that sense.

It is not just you. At best, men are just as bad as ever. At worst? They regressed. Patriarchy is a deadly scourge. I ain’t even exaggerating, as it’s still our prime cause of death as women.

My upbringing was amidst traditional Dominican machista gender roles. You'd think it was better in the U.S.A. But for women like me, it’s only vaguely better here, if not worse.

The U.S.A. is the land of self-described nice guys who are fucking assholes when it comes to it. The Dominican Republic is full of men who openly proclaim their male superiority and I can't honestly tell you there's even a difference in the amount of shit they'll pull. It's just different methods. These cats here are slick as fuck.

The progressives are just as shitty, they just loop de loop more to justify their fuckboy tendencies and quote bell hooks to assuage you. I’d rather you just give it to me straight. If you ain’t shit, own that – at least I’ll know what I'm up against. Don't come with this faux egalitarian shit that is just gonna end up at the intersection of male ego and your dick. C'mon.

“Modern” men are also good for nothing. Arguing about splitting checks, denying any responsibility or accountability, refusing to claim anybody. In their jacked lil brains not admitting you’re with somebody means you can be as ain’t-shit as you like and nobody can challenge you or hold you to anything. As if basic decency is optional. But they don’t demand any less attention or service. No! They want it all. All the girlfriend treatment, none of the accountability or money spending.

At least old style machistas knew they weren't getting something for nothing and offered an iota of security or support if they wanted your time and body. These dudes now find love and support too taxing but expect a roster of women to be at their beck and call from zipcode to zipcode. If anything they just have way more cake now and eat it and don’t even try to provide anything at all to reciprocate, material or otherwise.

I talk hella shit about the machismo of Dominican men on the island but at least they’re open to loving and supporting you emotionally and helping you financially amidst all their crap. That’s something the cold detached American dating scene does not offer women who are too far from white. We are more likely to be dragged along for years by people who will call you nuts for thinking it meant something.

Dominican machismo is very happy in the U.S. because you get all the perks with none of the work.

So much for the first world and “progress.”

Dear Zahira,

Isn’t it just as bad for Black women and Native women to be materialistic as for white women? Shouldn’t they of all people be anti-capitalist?

See, white “decolonial” radicals also rage when they see a Native American woman has been eating at a nice restaurant. This, in the aftermath of stealing everything from natives and massacring them, leaving them to apocalyptic wastelands, from white settlers who are “decolonizing.”

Perhaps you should take care of that white supremacist bitterness of yours that comes down on people you raped and pillaged, just because they’re eating well now and then? As opposed to what? Starving? Is that the revolution? Emaciated natives? Sounds like Columbus' plan from 1492, bro! Clearly decolonizing should not be left to your silly twisted white settler asses to figure out or we’ll end up in the same hellhole.

Didn’t your studies in Marxism teach you about power dynamics and how people like you have literally owned people like us? Or what it is to be a settler versus a Native? Or who exactly gets to capitalize off of who? Then you didn’t learn anything! Educate yourself. There's a reason so many AfroCubans hate Che Guevara: he was shitty to Black people because his school of socialism didn’t give a fuck about humanizing us, either. This is a pattern! I also notice you are not referring to the iterations of socialism promoted by Black women.

You also rage if Black women buy cosmetics. Apparently only you can have nice things. Your “decolonial” dream is Black and Native women eating only lentils, wearing potato sacks, with no toiletries.

Lordt knows you’re not asking Lena Dunham, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie why the fuck they were born silver spoons in mouth. Or even your white sisters and mothers.

Only the women of color your people have historically enslaved and displaced must answer for not humbly scraping in the dirt at all times. Hence all the white feminist thinkpieces that ask why isn’t Beyonce, one of the rare monied black women who worked her way to comfort, more poor and modest-looking? She must be to blame for capitalism, after all. Never mind that her family was literally the property of white capitalists a generation or two ago.

It's the richest people on earth you should be examining under a microscope over their materialism and resource hoarding (hint: they’re mostly white and old money). Most resources are concentrated in white countries that have few children, meanwhile you yell at women of color to have fewer babies to ease poverty and inequality? That is racialized misogyny. It is neo-eugenics. How very colonial. Now stop it.

If you aren’t aiming for well-loved, well-fed, protected, comfortable Black and Native women, you aint about shit. Non-negotiable.

Dear Zahira,

I grew up in a very strict Christian church that made me afraid and ashamed of my own body and sexuality. I've gotten somewhat better about it but how can I lift this veil of psychological disconnect and aversion?

Unfortunately, this is very common and I can identify. They spend years making you afraid of sex and your own body and then you have no idea how to enjoy sex and live in your body comfortably.

You will have to reconnect with yourself further. There are sexologists who can help you address your particular qualms so please do seek them out if you are able to.

It is possible to get more comfortable with yourself on your own though. Acclimating yourself with your own nudity is a start, so is touching yourself and focusing on the sensation. Even if you’re just stroking your own arm, try to close your eyes and feel your own fingertips and how they feel along your arm. Practice enjoying your own touch. The psychological blockage of sexual repression leaves us with dulled sensory responses. We fear being able to feel things. It takes time.

Try to find sexual partners who will respect you and your wishes and take it as slow as you need (easier said than done, I know, but always crucial).

The other thing is we aren't all inherently interested in sex as much. It is quite possible that you are not necessarily stunted but simply asexual or not that interested in sex. Compulsory sexuality is the law of the land but you shouldn't force yourself to want or do things you don’t desire.

However, if what you want is to come out of your shell because you do feel sexual desire? By all means, practice. I know it sounds odd but, yes, practice touching yourself in both erogenous and non-erogenous zones. Get yourself a vibrator or three. Experiment, expand, breathe easy and take your sweet time. Give yourself permission over your own body and your own pleasure and then follow your desires (safely, but definitely).

Remember, your body is yours to enjoy. Savor and delight in yourself.