Dressed in White: The Media’s Assault on Black Women’s Humanity

March 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

I wrote this thesis paper on the media’s sexist and racist objectification of Black women for my Junior Inquiry research class last semester. It’s 12 pages of what I hope is feminist and anti-racist empowerment so please continue reading below the fold if you’re interested. Enjoy!

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Portia de Rossi: Sorry for my “selfish” marriage

March 23, 2009 § 1 Comment

Pure genius.

I have to say, I was a little angry when she married Ellen because it meant that I couldn’t marry Ellen. Now I’m disappointed that I can’t marry Portia too.

Via Shakesville.

Styles Section Enlightenment: “Teenage Girls Stand By Their Man”

March 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

Once again, NY Times Styles section, thank you for providing the fodder for intense feminist criticism. Today, the front page of the Styles section featured an article that detailed how teenage girls are dealing with their first bout of extreme violence against women in the media.

Even after they saw a photo of Rihanna’s bloodied, bruised face, which had raced across the Internet, they still defended Mr. Brown. “She probably made him mad for him to react like that,” the other ninth grader said. “You know, like, bring it on?”

Should he be punished? No, said the girls, whose names were withheld at the request of the school. After all, they said, Rihanna seemed to have reconciled with Mr. Brown.

“So he shouldn’t get into trouble if she doesn’t feel that way,” one girl said. “She probably feels bad that it was her fault, so she took him back.”

Her friend nodded. “I don’t think he’ll hit her like that again,” she said.

Wow. This is basically gross. Who are these girls? Where do they come from? Because my faith in humanity is not great enough to denounce Jan Hoffman, who wrote the article, as a fabricator of evidence, I believe that there are teenage girls like us out there who genuinely pity Chris Brown. But how? How can they justify violence? How can they pass off the pictured bruises as mistakes? And how can they blame the victim, knowing nothing about her situation except for what is featured in the tabloids?

I’ve got news for you, featured teenagers and NYT: not all teenagers think like you. I, for one, am fiercely against violence, especially when it results from patriarchal inequality that ubiquitously shows up in bruises, broken necks, and, for too many, death. I am not alone in this opinion. For every Chris Brown sympathizer you give me, I’ll give you a protector of women’s — of human’s — rights who is not willing to let this injustice be dealt with through the pens of tabloid reporters.

Rihanna and Chris Brown Reunion

March 2, 2009 § Leave a comment

I have mixed feelings concerning blogging about Chris Brown and Rihanna, mostly because I think that Rihanna’s privacy has been invaded enough. However, I do think it is important for us to discuss and to provide an alternative to the way this has all played out in the media. I’m writing this post in response to the “Chris Brown and Rihanna reunion” that is already all over t.v. and the internet. From the little that I have heard and read about the “reunion,” it seems that they are getting back together.

The responses of other celebrities and of the media to the domestic violence allegations against Chris Brown have been more than disappointing. And while the recent news that Rihanna and Chris Brown might be getting back together has sparked some responses that emphasize the message that the move is sending to girls, there are still huge problems with the way the media is covering Rihanna and Brown.

Throughout this ordeal, there has been way too much pressure and scrutiny placed on Rihanna and now is no different. I think that whether or not she decides to get back together with her alleged abuser, she will be portrayed as having made the wrong choice. The media coverage might as well be a crash-course on victim blaming. Of course personally I hope she uses her image to become an advocate for victims of domestic violence. However, I really just hope we lay off of Rihanna for a while and that we get up the courage to call the media out on the way they have portrayed the entire situation.

The tabloid dichotomy

February 28, 2009 § 7 Comments

curvation1I was flipping through People (which, full disclosure, I glance at if it’s in the apartment) this morning and had to lift my gaping jaw off the floor when I saw this ad.

???!!?!!?!!!!!?! An advertisement featuring a fat woman who isn’t being mocked, chastised, or scrutinized? My favorite thing about this ad – which is for Curvation, a lingerie company – is that the woman has a body that’s not just a bigger version of your standard super-skinny model. This model has somewhat different proportions than the beauty ideal, and (gasp!) her stomach even has a little roll of flesh! And she’s in a mainstream magazine!!

I also like the text, which reads…DRESS: will hug every curve. MAKEUP: just mascara. ACCESSORIES: confidence, style, wit. Most of us feminists have known for a while that fat women have just as much confidence, style, and wit as other gals, but it’s taken tabloids like People (and don’t try to tell me it’s not a tabloid) a fucking long time to get in on the secret. Kudos.

Unfortunately, I ignored my instinct to put the magazine down while the going was good, and glanced at the Oscar coverage. There was the usual “ZOMG what did you eat for breakfast today?!” section, and an estimated 99.97% of the celebrity women had egg whites in one form or another.

No offense to anyone who eats egg whites – whether you have a health issue that prevents you from eating yolks, like my grandmother, or you just like the taste – but I have a really hard time believing that so many women truly like their flavor and texture. Personally, I’d rather just skip breakfast than eat some scrambled whites – and I am not the sort of person to ever, ever skip meals. I’m reminded of what Julia Louis-Dreyfus said when asked about how she stays slim at the Emmys a couple years ago: “Basically, I never have any fun. For breakfast this morning I had scrambled egg whites. BLEH!” (Forgive me, I can’t find a full quote or video of this hilarious exchange; this is the best I can come up with.)

In summary: thank you, People, for the long-awaited gift of putting a seriously hot fat model into your magazine. When your next issue comes out, I’ll ask around to find out if there are any other great ads, so I can go straight to those pages and skip all the diet commentary that tries to make me feel guilty about my 3-real-egg-omelets.

Oh, this is rich.

February 26, 2009 § 1 Comment

So, well-established Republican, misogynistic, hate-mongering, asshole radio host Rush Limbaugh has just realized that women aren’t his biggest fans.

The first unsolicited reports from the upcoming female summit already in. They’re saying it’s a waste of time, women will not like me any more than the ones that already do, that you have to be an Oprah today in the media to attract.

No, Rush. You don’t necessarily have to be an Oprah to attract women (I have never personally been a huge fan of hers.). You have to not be a (as previously stated) Republican, misogynistic, hate-mongering, asshole.

I Love You, Dustin Lance Black.

February 25, 2009 § Leave a comment

This is going to be quick. Did anyone catch Dustin Lance Black’s (writer of the film Milk about the gay politician Harvey Milk) emotional acceptance speech? I think it’s beautiful and touching and extremely hopeful. So much love.

For your viewing pleasure:

Kenan Thompson on the Chris Brown “scandal”

February 25, 2009 § 4 Comments

I’m no stranger to celebrity crushes disappointing me now and then. Kenan Thompson of Saturday Night Live has held a special place in my heart ever since that Weekend Update segment where his input on the financial crisis was to “FIX IT!!!” But that love has definitely been relocated now that I’ve read this horrendous bit of misogyny. Here’s his thoughtful two cents about inviting Chris Brown to perform on the show, in light of recent events.

It’s not up to me, but I’m sure we would if he had another hit single. We don’t care about scandal. We just care about what brings us ratings! [It's] an unfortunate situation…I don’t know the whole story, but I know how women can get when you get a text message from another female, so I’m just saying, you have to learn that you can’t put your hands on a female.

Oh, I get it. So it’s okay to violently attack a woman if she gets irrationally angry?

Go read Kate’s spot-on response to this bullshit. A taste:

I don’t even have words. “You know, I understand how tempting it is to beat a woman when she’s acting all nutty because she found, you know, evidence that you cheated on her or something — but you just don’t do that, dude! LOL!”



Teenage Girl’s Guide to Surviving Sex Slavery

February 19, 2009 § 1 Comment

Here’s Eve Ensler’s video from the Turning Pain to Power tour stop at the 92nd St Y:


A New CoverGirl

February 15, 2009 § 1 Comment

It was announced a while back that Ellen Degeneres would be the new CoverGirl for CoverGirl Cosmetics, but I hadn’t seen an ad featuring her until literally minutes ago. I really enjoyed it. Not only is she refreshing as a model because she’s not traditionally beautiful, but I also love how she appears to be making fun of makeup commercials throughout the entire commercial.

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