I heard this term used recently and decided to repost this from a piece I wrote a couple of years ago. The Struggle continues.
So, check this out. A couple of weeks ago I got a message in one of my in-boxes from this woman who wanted to submit an application. (More about that later.) Now, I’m always respectful and polite when people send me messages, even when I don’t solicit them. Regardless, I responded to her and later on that day, we proceeded to chat on the phone. Well, as she began to tell me a little about herself, she made the comment that she was looking for a “dime piece.” She said that she was “vain” and wanted a certain kind of woman on her arm. I was rather stunned, first because I hadn’t asked her what kind of woman she was looking for and second, because she used such an archaic and misogynistic term that signaled the commodification of women and their bodies. Well, I sort of let it go for the moment, and the conversation proceeded onwards.
My problem, however, is the term in which she used to refer to the type of woman she was interested in dating. But first let me mention a bit about this wonder of a woman. From what I gather, she is newly out and continually referred to her lesbian identity as a “lifestyle.” I was offended, but figured she was only parroting the heterosexist terminology that is floating around in American culture today regarding lesbian and gay identities as a lifestyle choice, rather than as an ontological state or as an identity. (But that’s another blog.) She mentioned that she had been out for five years which might explain her rather heterosexist attitudes, but who knows? Either way, this chick has three kids, the youngest of whom is 12 and all of them at home and never mentioned a job. I thought to myself, “She talkin’ ’bout looking for a dime piece, what, pray tell, is she going to do with her when she finds her?” It seems to me that she has her hands full raising her children, and might want to focus on that rather than searching for a woman who is only 1/10th of a 100 percent of a real person.
Finally, by the time we got to phone conversation two, this woman wanted to talk about intimacy (ok, sex). Really? Now, I’m a firm believer in having those types of discussions with someone with whom you have decided to become intimate. But shuga, I don’t even know your last name. Is there any particular reason you want to know what I’m into behind closed doors before you even know my favorite food? Is there anything wrong with getting to know someone BEFORE the sex questions come up? Sheesh!
So the moral of the story is this: don’t refer to women as articles of currency. Not only is it crass, but it suggests that women are objects to be bought and sold based on physical attractiveness and according to whose standard of beauty anyway? And I thought we stopped selling Black women in 1863. Black women should be slapped up side the head every time one of them mentions a “dime” piece to remind them of their fore-mothers who were bought and sold on the slave market.
And lest any of you think I’m hating on beautiful Black women, I’m not. ‘Cause I’m one of them. But I just wish we would think more about how we’ve internalized heterosexist attitudes towards women, and stop engaging in behaviors and speaking in terms that dehumanize and commodify each other.