Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 07/27/2015
Rihanna’s ‘BBHMM’ Video and Our Resistance To Black Women’s Subjectivity
Rihanna performing BBHMM live at the 2015 iHeart Radio Music Awards.
As anyone even mildly interested in pop culture likely knows, Rihanna recently dropped a new music video for her song Bitch Better Have My Money. I found the video itself interesting, but honestly found the critiques of it even more so. Many of these critiques demonstrate that mainstream culture still doesn’t know how to meaningfully engage with black women and the popularity of the work they create. Specifically, it seems that critics of black, female artists try to understand their work through the lens of static theories that reiterate racist tropes, and which produce prescriptive, limiting understandings of their work. We’ve seen this with panic over Beyoncé’s feminism, shock in response to Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda album cover, …
Feminism | Posted by Molly H on 06/3/2015
Abercrombie and Ditch? Why Abercrombie and Hollister Are Ditching Sexualization
An Abercrombie model
Academics, parenting blogs, and activists have protested the media’s inappropriate and gross hypersexualization of girls. Nearly every TV commercial I watch or department store I visit reminds me of this — Target has a bra section for girls pre-teen girls, most of whom have yet to develop breasts, just to name one example. It’s a major problem in plain sight.
While it’s true that girls are probably sexualized in the media at a much higher rate than boys, a recent Buzzfeed article revealed how Abercrombie and Hollister are rejecting sexualization of all. In a statement made on April 24th, Abercrombie announced that they will remove all types of sexualization from their advertising and promotional events by July 2015 — including the hypersexualized, shirtless men they …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 10/17/2014
Street Harassment: It’s Not A Compliment
It was a hot Los Angeles Saturday and I decided to walk my dog down my usually quiet residential street. I was sixteen at the time and wearing jeans and a T-shirt. Three men, probably in their late twenties, pulled up to the curb next to me in a black BMW sedan. The driver, who was wearing black Ray Ban sunglasses, opened his window. “Hey,” he said, raising his eyebrows at his friends. “We should check her for STDs before we f*ck her!”
He smirked and his friends laughed and hooted. I stood frozen. My mouth fell open slightly, in shock. The driver revved the engine and zoomed down the street. For a few minutes, I couldn’t move while my dog tugged anxiously at her leash. What just happened? …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 09/24/2014
The Freedom of Topless Beaches
Why can't we go topless?
In popular culture, women’s breasts are often seen as the ultimate symbol of sex. Women are bombarded with a variety of consumeristic options to “improve” our breasts: we can buy numerous types of bras (gel, push up, “bomb shell”…the list goes on), which all seem designed to emphasize women’s breasts up to the point of actual exposure. It’s a thin line: women are encouraged to clearly demonstrate their cleavage, yet actually going topless is considered shameful and reserved for Playboy. In settings where men can acceptably go shirtless, like the beach, breasts “need” to be covered. But why do women “need” to constantly cover — yet simultaneously strategically expose — an ultimately benign aspect of our bodies?
This past August, I was fortunate enough to …
Feminism | Posted by Ines R on 07/9/2014
Sexism and Soccer Balls
The other day my friend asked me if I thought a true feminist can support the World Cup. Until this year, I probably would have immediately answered yes: I just associated the World Cup with a somewhat rarefied joy and excitement. Over the years, I have loved witnessing the passion other countries have for their nation’s team and choosing a team to root for with my family (we usually just hop onto the bandwagon of the favored champions since our country, Peru, has not been in the World Cup since 1982). But this year — maybe because I’m older, maybe because it seems more obvious than ever before — I’ve noticed various sexist dynamics surrounding the World Cup.
The World Cup has had a significant impact on women’s lives all …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Julie Z on 02/17/2014
Why #Unapologetic Barbie Might Just Help The Body Positive Cause
As a feminist blogger who consistently deconstructs the way things like Barbie and digitally altered images of models objectify women and hold them to unachievable standards of beauty, I completely understand the growing rage over the frame of Barbie’s newest job as an #unapologetic Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition model. What exactly is Barbie refusing to apologize for, one is left wondering? Her anatomically impossible proportions that have, in fact, been proven to make young girls feel badly about their bodies? Or for sending the message that not even digitally altered models (most of whom meet the criteria for anorexia) are suitable for idealized objectification? But critiques that frame this campaign as the peak of such sexist objectification (though certainly valid — it’s hard to think of a more …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 01/8/2014
Women’s Football: Feminist or Sexist?
Football seems to be the sport that excludes women the most. In this day in age we have women’s leagues for softball, baseball, and the WNBA, but football always had men in the spotlight being cheered on by cheerleaders on the sidelines. However, this is no longer the case. The Legends Football League, founded in 2009, is a women’s tackle American football league. These women are passionate about football, and they have a place to play: games are played in the spring and summer in professional men’s arenas and stadiums including those of the NFL.
In many ways the LFL seems like a feminist victory: giving women an opportunity to play football at a high level appears to be a step towards equality. Most teams are coached by former …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Sam H on 10/28/2013
The Black Girl Conundrum
I will never forget the noise that my mother made when she first saw it. We were navigating the streets of New York on a busy Saturday in 2011, running late for a hair appointment. She was walking so briskly that I struggled to keep up. But then she stopped dead in her tracks and made a sound of absolute disgust. I looked around, trying to figure what would make my mother risk being late for an appointment. Then I saw the massive billboard with a black child and the words “The Most Dangerous Place for an African American is in the Womb.” At the time I didn’t understand the message: I could think of hundreds of places that I felt unsafe as a black child. To me, volcanoes, tigers, …