Feminism | Posted by Sharmee S on 04/13/2015

Why I Bought Skin Lightening Cream At 11 Years Old

One brand of fairness cream

I was 11 years old when I succumbed to buying my first tube of “fairness” cream. It was right after a popular boy teased me by calling out “Weh blackie” to me.

Before he teased me, I internalized most of my negative feelings about my dark skin. As a second generation Indian, I felt the influence of the inhumane Indian caste system which idolizes those with fairer skin. Lighter skinned individuals are considered superior within this system and those with darker skin are regarded as dirty, useless and — especially in the case of darker women — less desirable. This boy’s remark, though, was the first time I felt so deeply humiliated. I felt hatred and disgust towards my skin.

Although I was lucky enough …

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Feminism | Posted by Anonymous on 04/8/2015

My Mixed Race Features Are Not Pieces of a Puzzle

I identify as mixed-race

What Are You?

I find myself being asked that question more often than I like to admit. It takes many forms, broken down and built back up again, that same old question rattling around in my head like a single penny in a tin can. It makes so much noise, demanding attention. It’s a person’s desperate attempt to make sense of my loose curls, almond shaped eyes and light complexion. That strong human instinct to organize and categorize, coming from the depths of a person’s consciousness, causing many people to squint and nod their head as they try to piece my features together like a puzzle.

I’m Mixed.

Telling people this makes most people smile as they are finally able to put me in a category. …

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Feminism | Posted by Carolina G on 03/16/2015

If You’re Latina, Then Why Are You White?

A few weeks ago, I was at a party with a few of my friends. I had been casually using a new dating app and had been talking to a guy that seemed pretty nice. He mentioned that he happened to be out in the same area, so I told him where I was, figuring we could have a drink. He arrived with a few of his friends and I said hello. The first words out of his mouth? “False advertising. You’re not Latina.”

Sofía_Vergara_May_2014.sized

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Sofia Vergara

I wish I could say this surprised me but it really didn’t. Ever since I joined the world of online dating, my ethnicity is question

You may be thinking, “Oh, a white girl is complaining about being white.” That’s not the …

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Feminism | Posted by Trip E on 02/24/2015

The Major Problem With Patricia Arquette’s ‘Feminist’ Oscar Speech

Patricia Arquette was largely lauded for her Oscar speech Monday night. She called out the gender wage gap, stating, “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights. It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” But honestly, her speech—not to mention her subsequent comments backstage—have left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

“But Trip!” you say, shocked at my callousness, “Do you NOT care about the wage gap? Do you NOT spiritually identify with the GIF of Meryl Streep’s fist-pumping reaction? Have the meninists gotten to you?”

Listen, reader, I hope you know I care tremendously about the wage …

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Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 12/31/2014

A Eulogy for Misty Upham

Misty Upham

It was recently reported that Misty Upham, an actress best known for her work in Frozen River and August Osage County, was found dead in a ravine. It was later revealed that her death was caused by blunt force trauma to her head and torso, although the precise circumstances of her death are still a mystery.

Misty was a rare gem in the entertainment industry. As a Native American woman, she represented a demographic rarely accounted for in the media. According to a study conducted by the USC Annenberg School, only 3.6% of characters in top-grossing films qualified as “other” in 2012. This category includes American Indian/Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and characters with two or more apparent racial/ethnic origins. 83.9% of characters …

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Feminism | Posted by Celeste Y on 12/8/2014

On Having Exclusively White, Male Professors

Academia was introduced to me as an essential part of life at a young age. I have been lucky enough to have been educated in environments in which curiosity was encouraged – a value that has shaped my life in and out of classrooms. I think this explains many things about my self-conception and the way I do things, like the perhaps unnecessarily diligent approach I take to reading (such as, most recently, Amy Poehler’s wonderful book). Admittedly, I attack many books with my highlighter regardless of whether or not I’ll be tested on their content. For me, my school and out-of-school life have been two sides of the same coin: a coin which my parents and I are willingly spending on a higher form of education this year.

A …

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Pop-Culture | Posted by Vicki S on 10/8/2014

Are “Empowered” Pop Stars Claiming Sexuality or Giving Into the Patriarchy?

Nicki Minaj in "Anaconda"

Typically, the heterosexual male gaze controls the depiction of women’s bodies and sexuality in pop culture. Music videos especially tend to enforce the idea that female sexuality is defined by what is pleasurable for men. However, some female artists have recently been trying to combat these conceptions about women’s bodies and sexualities in their music videos – to various degrees of success.

Nick Minaj’s new music video, Anaconda, which has an unapologetically sexual overtone, is a major recent attempt at this. Many have criticized the video for being too sexually charged, and support themselves with the claim that Minaj is forcing girls to sexualize themselves at such a young age. Despite this moral outrage, though, it’s evident that Minaj actually benefits young women by claiming …

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Feminism | Posted by Lana S on 10/1/2014

The Importance of Colored Feminism

Alice Walker: proponent of womanism

As a Latina living in a society in which white privilege is very real, I have come to understand the importance of colored feminism. It turns out that while the fight against racism and the feminist movement are similar movements in many ways, it’s important that the feminist movement lives up to these ideals and features the voices and perspectives of women of color.

There are many ways in which sexism and racism in this culture create unique situations that only women of color experience and these experiences deserve to be addressed. Take for example the various racist and sexist ways porn depicts women of color. Many people assume Latinas are “spicy” in bed and that Asian women are quiet and submissive because this is …

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