Pop-Culture | Posted by Zoe G on 04/6/2016

This is Why We Need To Stop Asking Celebrities If They’re Feminists

Enough is enough.

It seems that one of the most common questions journalists ask female celebrities these days is, “Are you a feminist?” Considering that feminism was essentially a dirty word in the mainstream media for years, the fact that major publications have been posing the question at all seems like progress. But this “progressive” question actually points to some pressing issues with contemporary feminist discourse — namely the way in which feminism seems to have shifted from being a collective political movement to an individual identity and media buzzword

Celebrities have two options when they’re asked “are you a feminist?”: They can say “yes,” and get a pat on the back for being politically learned, or they can say “no” and risk being branded ungrateful, ignorant, or just dumb. …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Gabby C on 03/25/2016

We Need To Address The Music Industry’s Gender Gap

Female musicians rock.

“I’m tired of men who aren’t professional or even accomplished musicians continually offering to ‘help me out’ (without being asked), as if I did this by accident and I’m gonna flounder without them,” the Canadian singer Grimes wrote in a now-infamous tumblr post about sexism she has experienced. “I have the best job in the world but I’m done with being passive about any kind of status quo that allows anyone to suffer or to be disrespected.”

Though Grimes wrote this in 2013, it seems little has changed. Although Lana Del Rey made the cover of the issue featuring the list, of the 127 artists featured on last year’s Billboard Power 100 List, only 15 were female. Less than 5% of established producers in the world are …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 03/23/2016

What Kesha’s Sexual Assault Case Reveals About The Trauma of Shame

#FreeKesha

In 2014, Kesha sued her producer, Dr. Luke, for allegedly sexual assaulting her. More specifically, she sued for freedom from a contract that bound her to only producing music with her assailant. Her decision to do so added fuel to the already growing fire that is the current conversation about rape culture. One of the world’s biggest pop stars publicly admitted she had gone through something that’s still very much stigmatized in today’s society and even risked her career to fight for herself and countless other survivors by extension.

Much of the conversation surrounding this case has focused on the trauma of sexual assault itself, and rightfully so. But it seems Kesha’s experience highlights another aspect of the experience of assault: the trauma of shame. Shaming and blaming women …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 03/21/2016

Bust Ghosts, Not Women: Sexist Responses To The ‘Ghostbusters’ Trailer Have Got To Go

The new Ghostbusters cast.

The new Ghostbusters cast.

From Fantastic Four, to Zoolander 2, to Disney’s live-action remake of The Jungle Book, it seems that 2016 might be the year of cinematic reboots, remakes and sequels. Perhaps one of the most anticipated reboots of the year, however, is the all-female Ghostbusters. Yet the response to the recently released trailer was more critical than were previous, celebratory headlines about the film — for reasons both valid and upsetting.

Plenty of people feel a unique sort of discomfort about sequels or reboots of beloved movies. It’s easy to feel unsure how the new film will be unique without losing the essence of the original on which it’s based. Nobody wants a new addition to ruin or taint their memory of the original.

As …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Roberta Nin Feliz on 03/14/2016

Why ‘Formation’ Is The Most Important Cultural Event of 2016

“Formation.”

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 …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Saskia G on 02/15/2016

Are Diverse Barbies Really Progress?

Screen Shot 2016-02-10 at 12.07.14 PM

Diverse Barbies

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, …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Kinder L on 02/12/2016

What Kesha’s Legal Win Means for Survivors of Sexual Assault

Kesha

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 …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 02/10/2016

Why Beyoncé’s “Formation” Video Is So Important

Formation

Formation

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 …

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