Pop-Culture | Posted by Roberta Nin Feliz on 03/14/2016
Why ‘Formation’ Is The Most Important Cultural Event of 2016
As one of the most beloved performers in the world, the release of any new Beyoncé song would have been cause for widespread celebration. But the recent release of “Formation” was something else entirely. The song highlights critical issues facing the black community, like police brutality, the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina and even the natural hair movement. Beyoncé’s choice to pair the video release with a subsequent Super Bowl performance, which featured dancers in outfits paying homage to the Black Panther party, made the experience one of the most timeless and significant cultural moments of our generation.
“Formation” is, overall, a clever exploration of black culture that not only acknowledges but champions the beauty and diversity of black experiences. One of my favorite lyrics, for example, is Beyoncé’s …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 02/15/2016
Are Diverse Barbies Really Progress?
I played with Barbies a lot as a little girl. I remember looking at the nude body of one plastic, blonde doll and marveling at her wrinkle-free knees, being baffled by her hard breasts, and wishing my waist could be as narrow as hers. I was only seven years old.
In late January, Mattel released a line of new, diverse Barbie dolls. These dolls now come in three body-types — “curvy,” “tall,” and “petite,” although the original model, complete with large bust and tiny waist, is still available — seven skin tones, twenty-two eye colors, and fourteen “face-sculpts.” Altogether, there are now thirty-three versions of Barbie.
It didn’t take long for the media to react to and pose explanations for this significant change. Writer Megan Garber, for instance, …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 02/12/2016
What Kesha’s Legal Win Means for Survivors of Sexual Assault
We undeniably still live in a twisted, victim blaming rape culture. Women are shamed and doubted when they seek justice for their assaults and taught they must prevent their assault in the first place. Despite the many efforts of activists and allies to prove why this mentality is wrong, it persists — a reality singer-songwriter Kesha recently, publicly found firsthand.
In 2014, Kesha sued her producer, Dr. Luke, based on the claim that he repeatedly sexually assaulted her throughout their professional relationship. Dr. Luke sued the pop star back based on the claim that the singer tried to “extort him into voiding their contract.” Since then, Kesha’s career had been brought to a standstill. Her contract specifies that she is not to collaborate with anyone besides her producer …
Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 02/10/2016
Why Beyoncé’s “Formation” Video Is So Important
This past Saturday, Beyoncé released the first new song from her upcoming album, entitled “Formation.” The song, and accompanying video, may be the most important works the star has released. If her 2013 eponymous album was the birth of her understanding of self empowerment and goal to empower other women, “Formation” indicates that she will only build on this mission and continue to forcefully declare her political views.
Many things make “Formation” special, but perhaps chief among them is Beyoncé’s evisceration of the respectability politics to which African American women are often subjected. The song can be interpreted as a much-needed declaration of defiance, both against the stereotypical, cultural expectations for African American women and against the idea that African-American women aren’t, and cannot be, leaders in …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Liz L on 02/5/2016
How Grimes Is Daring Music Critics to Dismantle Hierarchies in Pop Music
When I met Grimes — the project of DIY musician, writer, performer, and producer Claire Boucher — after her recent Nashville concert, our first exchange was one of unabashed praise. “Your voice,” she said to me. “It is exceptional.”
As a grown woman with the distinctly high-pitched (frequently mimicked) speaking voice of a 3-year-old on Christmas morning, Grimes’ compliment was utterly validating. Naturally, I cried a little, thanked her a lot, and proceeded to truthfully share my gratitude for her work with the same utter sincerity that she presents within her own striking musical oeuvre.
Grimes is completely unapologetic in her art production and presentation of her own self-engineered pop stardom. The musician conjures visions of a sci-fi galactic queen warrior. She is a keen engineer of sound and …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 01/20/2016
5 Tips For New Feminist Bloggers of Color
The case for feminist blogging.
I became a feminist at 16 years old. At the time, the word “feminist” wasn’t nearly as popular as it is today. In fact, I vividly remember trying to explain sexism and gender inequality to my high school friends outside of movie theaters and coffee shops — to blank stares.
When I was 17, I read Angela Davis’ auto-biography (as well as Women, Race, and Class) and felt my life and feminist identity evolve: I was provided with language for the pain I was feeling as a woman of color in a white supremacist patriarchy. I had an old typewriter which I used to write “articles” about my thoughts on society and power (although I would probably cringe if I were to read them …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Chloe H on 01/15/2016
How Young, Female Photographers Are Carrying On A Powerful Legacy
There’s a strong legacy of female photographers.
The Musée de l’Orangerie is a renowned art gallery in Paris, France. Although it’s best known for housing Monet’s “Water Lilies,” the gallery is currently featuring an exhibit entitled “Who’s Afraid of Women Photographers? 1839-1919.” I was fortunate enough to see the exhibit, which includes the work of 75 female photographers — some famous, some unknown. The featured artists managed to overcome the sexist expectations and prejudices that were part and parcel of the era in which they worked and laid the groundwork for an industry in which female artists have continued to thrive.
Although relatively little attention has been paid to their work, many women have thrived as photographers over the past century. While many women discovered the art form …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 01/4/2016
Why Bill Cosby’s Sexual Assault Charge Is Meaningful For Survivors
Over the past decade, dozens of women have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. Yet, primarily due to the statute of limitations on these alleged crimes having passed, Cosby was never actually charged for any of them. That changed on December 30th, however, when the infamous comedian was
Despite the disturbing number of women who have come forward — not to mention Cosby’s own admission in July to obtaining Quaaludes with the intent of giving them to young women and drugging at least one individual — these survivors were discredited and even derided for years. For example, former model Janice Dickinson …