Hip, Whore, Hooray! Vixens & Visions
By Imani Jackson -- Black College Wire   

Some women flip what they got to get what they want.

Two of the most notable vixens are Karrine "Superhead" Steffans and Andrea "Kat Stacks" Herrera.

These beneficiaries are by-products of an exploitative culture.

Wikimedia Commons photo
Karrine Steffans
They represent the intersections of rap, sexism, colorism, absent fathers, capitalism, skewed beauty ideals and most important, personal choice.

While the blogosphere equates both women with licentiousness and limelight leeching, they have profound differences.

Steffans is learned. Her tale is gritty, yet romanticized. She profits from society's fascination with and abhorrence of sex.

Whether for recreation, upward mobility or deeply-rooted/rotted connections with heavy-hitters, she toys with modern voyeurism and brands herself accordingly.

Steffans' trick was to trick, but also to journal the occurrences and share elaborate details about her alleged trysts.

Steffans, ironically, is a Virgin Islands native.

She's marketed as a woman of evolution-from a sexually abused teen to a video-model-slash-harlot-single mother who claimed to love everyone she had sexual exchanges with.

She is simultaneously relatable and for many, repulsive. But, she's smart.

Although Steffans lacks traditional education, she rose from obscurity to infamy and started a domino effect of loose-lipped women, outing their supposed lovers, pimps and sexual partners.

None of the other self-proclaimed vixens' branding proved as memorable.

The best-selling author, erotic instructor and media personality penned Confessions of a Video Vixen, The Vixen Diaries and The Vixen Manual.

Only time will tell how well adjusted her son will be.

Then there's the grammatically sub-par newbie, Herrera, also a mother.

Herrera is of Venezuelan and Trinidadian descent and is more boastful and less polished than Steffans.

She gained notoriety after releasing YouTube videos spilling details about everything from sexual experiences with rappers to how deep the incriminated hip-hoppers' pockets are.

Her biography includes a dysfunctional family and a desire to stack paper.

Rather than publish her accounts of alleged encounters with rappers in books, Herrera tweeted (badly), made YouTube videos and spilled her tea to hip-hop media outlets.

"When I first made the Internet blog, I regretted it, because everybody stopped talking to me.

"But as I got bigger in time, bigger names … all started getting at me. It just upgraded my career," Herrera told XXL magazine.

Both women used society's biases to out men they claim to know intimately.

Many frown upon their methods; but, women and especially women of color, are often stereotyped into sexual silence.

To an extent they control some of the public's fascination with them by pimping themselves.

If their tales are true, then they've both been pimped for so long that it is interesting to note the shift.

It is also interesting to note that they're not so different from the Caucasian, also surgically altered sex workers in the HBO hit documentary Cathouse at the Moonlite Bunny Ranch in Carson City, Nevada.

Switch HBO directors with rappers, beige skin for bronzed and the fact remains: all of the involved women are prostitutes. Their patrons are johns.

But minority aberrance is perceived to be more insidious than White indiscretions.

Today's culture junkies spew venom about these women, but follow their moves.

The most common diatribes degrade them for viewing their lady parts as transaction stations.

Many believe that their biggest transgressions weren't sexual encounters, but the decision to inform the world of their choices.

Not talking about capitalistic carnality doesn't make it evaporate.

Instead a culture of silence helps boost the sex industry, which generates $32 billion yearly, according to the Psychologists for Social Responsibility Web site.

While most escorts and sex workers see a minute fraction of that revenue, realists remember that minimum wage is $7.25.

These lifestyles might not be the preferred occupations; but, women and men who believe the dollar trumps the deed, will continue to test boundaries.

As such, vixens have become as commonplace as Autotune.

One can only hope that modern adults live empowering and safe lives, no matter how that looks to us.

Imani Jackson is editor in chief of The Gramblinite, the Grambling State University student newspaper, which originally published this article.

Opinion articles reflect the opinions of the individual writers and do not represent the views of Black College Wire.

Posted Sep. 21, 2010