After news of Love and Hip Hop Atlanta star Mimi Faust’s sex tape hit the web, Steve Harvey took a few moments at the end of a recent show to admonish Faust, and give his female listeners a sermon on protecting their most precious gifts.
During the closing of his nationally syndicated show, Harvey warned his young female listeners to be cautions about what they say and do on the Internet because it will be on the web forever. And he should know; many of Harvey’s flubs are floating around YouTube (like this one), as are rumors of his alleged infidelity.
Had Harvey stopped at that little lesson—think before you put every detail of your life online—no one would have cared, but he took it upon himself to remind young women that their worth lies in one magical place: their vagina.
Although Harvey told his female listeners, “God didn’t create you for sex,” he went on to tell young women that, actually, sex is their most valuable asset, and it should only be shared with those who are willing to work for it.
See everything God made, he buried deep. He made it hard to get to, a pearl you got to dive to the bottom of the ocean to get to. All his precious minerals are buried. Gold, you got to dig in the side of mountain and way down in the ground; diamonds you got to bore deep. Ain’t no diamonds laying on top of the ground, they don’t grow like corn. You want oil you got to burrow miles into the ground to get the precious minerals of God. He put them in hard to reach places. And this thing that y’all sitting on, this thing that every man got to have—your body, that precious jewel that’s in the most hidden place on your body. Think about that.
God is smart, that’s why he put it where he put it because it’s hard to get to. We can’t get to it unless you show it to us or you give it to us. Think about that for a minute. Don’t pass it around like it ain’t nothing to it, because you’re actually sitting on a gold mine. Please act like it young ladies. Act like you’re sitting on a gold mine because it is what every man is after and we will pay dearly for it.
Ummm, I’m creeped out, how about you?
What Harvey fails to understand is that Mimi took his advice. She treated her body like a “gold mine” and cashed in (reportedly for $100k).
But never mind that. Harvey’s words are problematic on several levels.
First, he tells women they were not created for sex, but in the next breath argues a woman’s sexual organs—not her intelligence, her ingenuity, her heart, her creativity, or her personality— are her “most precious jewels.” This sets women up for failure because it describes them as nothing more than body parts made for a persistent man’s consumption.
And we won’t even deal with Harvey’s ridiculous statement that men can’t get to a woman’s jewels “unless you show it…or you give it” to them. Umm, has he never heard of rape?
Next, while Harvey appears to be uplifting young women by telling them to honor their bodies, what message is he sending young men? Are they not precious jewels in need of protection? Should they not reserve their “valuable gifts” for just the right person? Should they not make someone work hard or drill deep (or something) in order to be with them? Or are young men just walking around with discount peen because they are not valuable, precious, or worth the effort in any way?
Finally, Harvey’s advice posits women as delicate, and dumb, creatures who are waiting around for a man to come along and dive to the bottom of the ocean to earn sex. But then what? After he’s “earned it,” what happens if he no longer wants it, or better yet, what happens if–gasp–the woman no longer wants him?
While I’m a fan of courting and getting to know a person before sleeping with them, that’s my choice, just as it would be my choice if I decided to sleep with a man I just met. Either of these choices would not make me more or less valuable as a woman because my worth–or as Harvey puts it, “my most precious jewel,”–is not tied to what’s between my legs.
While many women will cosign Harvey’s speech, I wish he would keep his patriarchal, antiquated, bullsh-t to himself—or at least direct his advice toward his brethren. Because between Harvey, Tyreese, Chey B, and pastors telling women to “shine it up” to keep their husbands away from “hoes,” we’ve got more than enough questionable advice to tide us over for the next millennia.