In last week’s piece about the Universal He Fine/He Ain’t Shit Matrix, I referenced The Gospel of Pussy Prosperity. I received a lot of follow up from folks curious about it. I sat down with my sister-friend Ashleigh J. (@filthycharm) to get answers.
So Ash. The people want to know. What is the philosophy behind Pussy Prosperity?
When folks hear “Pussy Prosperity,” they immediately think of some gold-digging hoe philosophy. For Pussy Prosperity, you don’t need a man’s money—let me run that back: You do NOT need a man’s money to participate in this.
If anything this is about leveraging your relationships to help you live abundantly, not taking someone else’s money. It's not about getting all you can from a man; it’s about enriching your life through your interactions.
Our grandmothers would tell us, “You go out with that man, come home with more than just a wet ass.” This is vintage Pussy Prosperity. Back in the day, women had to align themselves with a man in order to have any semblance of social and economic mobility. Things are different now. Modern relationships are based on want instead of need. I don’t need a man to buy a car or a house like my grandmothers might have. I don’t need my imaginary husband’s permission to purchase anything. I’m not restricted from working in my chosen profession because of my gender. Now we have more choices. We don’t have to rush and lock down a husband. So why not be discerning and try to find someone that enriches my life?
It’s interesting that you noted the words of older women. A lot of them will encourage a woman to find a man with “potential,” whatever that is. How does that fit in here?
When it comes to potential, older folks always used to say, “Find a man who has potential and help him get to where he needs to be,” which is great and I support that. However, as I get older, the less enamored I am with potential; you need to be doing something with your potential. Pussy Prosperity is about not just nurturing someone else’s potential. Your potential matters too, and you should be able to receive that same nurturing you give out. Men can nurture us too, ladies.
So okay. What are the tenets of the Gospel? What am I looking for to see if I’m doing this right?
The four ways a partner can provide value are:
3. Spiritual/Religious Guidance
The first is knowledge because there’s no reason to fuck stupid people. Stupidity is contagious. You should be able to learn from this person.
Next is their network. Most business deals are done before anyone ever hits a conference room. Backchannels and personal relationships are where good business happens. This also applies to the bedroom. Assess your potential partner before you lay down with him. See how he acts in different social situations. What does this person do? Can you contribute to their network and become part of it? How can you serve that network with what you do and vice versa?
The third measure of value is spiritual/religious guidance. This doesn’t mean this dude suddenly becomes Pastor Bae, but it’s helpful when your partner believes in something and y’all can dialogue about it. Even if you’re both atheists, you still have some sort of moral code. You all should be relatively on the same page regardless of the belief system.
Finally, one of the most overlooked things in relationships is support. I’ll reiterate that I don’t mean financial support or shacking up support or child support. I mean the intangible little things someone does to make your life brighter, better, and easier. Do they do things just to make you happy? Do they encourage you? Do they contribute to your dream, maybe through time, ideas, or a listening ear?
Part of this may seem transactional to some. So I have to ask, is Pussy Prosperity a feminist concept?
Pussy Prosperity is incredibly feminist. Essentially it’s making women more aware of their autonomy and making moves to increase and preserve it. Frankly, it’s liberation from feeling like you need to entertain men just to be nice on the off chance he might choose you. What’s wrong with being smart about who you lay down with at night? When you’re at your most vulnerable, utterly exposed. The sexual exchange of energy is real. Picture yourself slick with sweat in sheets that belong to your currently-preferred sex provider. How do you feel after you wake up from that post-coitus nap? Do you feel refreshed or do you feel ashamed? How does that shit settle in your spirit? You have to pay attention to how you feel when someone enters you and when they leave.
The right one (for the moment or forever) should leave you feeling renewed and refreshed. You should be happy, strutting, and secure with your choice—no walk of shame allowed.
Can you give us some example of women who have achieved Pussy Prosperity?
Eve. She’s the Queen Grand Dame of this Pussy Prosperity thing. She went from Stevie J to Maximillion Cooper. This man’s NAME has literally has money in it. I’m sure men will say Eve is a gold-digger, but she has been getting money for years before she ever met her husband. That syndication money is damn good. Trust. She showed us that #YouTooCanGraduateFromFuckboys (shoutout to Robyn aka SBG). Move your tassel over, baby.
And Oprah. You thought Mutha O didn’t know the game? Let us not forget that back in the day Ms. Winfrey was doing the news instead of being the news. She linked up with Stedman and went on to surpass his wealth and prestige. He’s always been her champion, pushing her to be her best self, and we have all benefited from it.
And then there’s Hillary Rodham Clinton. Hillary has always been good at leveraging what she has in Bill Clinton as a charismatic leader to get what she wants. She played her role of First Lady to a tee, did the Heisman on the Lewinsky scandal, flipped her time in the White House to a Senate seat, and now she’s Secretary of State with real potential to run for President. Get into her hustle.
Okay, what about for the rest of us? The non-celebs. What does this look like for regular folks workin’ that 9 to 5 just to stay alive?
I’ve benefited from Pussy Prosperity for the last several years. The idea came to me in 2010 when I was out of a brief but bad relationship, unemployed, and heading to grad school. I looked at my dating life and realized I wasn’t surrounded by the right people. So I made an effort to change the caliber of company I kept. The name didn’t come to me until later, and once I put a name to it in NYE 2012, things began to shift for me.
This shit works. I’m the proof. Last year, I went from being a part-time assistant living at my mom’s house to a director living in my own spot in another state within a four-month time frame. At the time, I was in a situationship with someone who was in the same field as me, and he was instrumental in my job search. He’s still someone I speak to regarding business advice because he’s a little older and knows his shit. Combining my hustle and his advice and support is what helped me get to where I am. I don’t deny that, and I’m immensely grateful to him for it. It wasn’t one sided, because I’ve seen him through things, too. I think my current place is a sign of what can happen when you have folks in your life that genuinely want you to be in a good place.
So what about the fellas? How can they live more abundantly? Is there an equivalent to this for men?
Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U” is essentially her putting in an application to be Jay’s Penis Prosperity liaison. Another example? Michelle Obama. Remember the anecdote about the Obamas being at dinner and the restaurant’s owner wanting to speak to FLOTUS? She came back to the table and POTUS said, “So if you had married him, you would now be the owner of this lovely restaurant.”
FLOTUS replied, “No, if I had married him, he would now be the President.”
(You can read more about Ashleigh J's gospel at her blog, The Authentrovert.)
Maya K. Francis is a culture writer and communications strategy consultant. When not holding down the Black Girl Beat for VSB, she is a weekly columnist for Philadelphia Magazine's 'The Philly Post' and contributes to other digital publications including xoJane, Esquire, and EBONY.com. Sometimes TV and radio producers are crazy enough to let her talk on-air, and she helped write a book once. She cites her mother and Whitley Gilbert as inspirations.