Pop-Culture | Posted by Aph Ko on 06/29/2015
“Hot Girls Wanted”: White Respectability and the Erasure of Men
Hot Girls Wanted — a new documentary produced by actress Rashida Jones — follows five amateur porn actresses between the ages of 18 to 25 and details their experiences filming porn and living together. While the documentary’s subjects spoke freely, it seems like the filmmakers still crafted the work based on their preconceived notions about porn: Namely, they chose to portray the young actresses as innocent, exploited victims. The film fails to present the possibility that these women have any agency, erases the experiences of women of color in the industry, and arguably most problematically of all allows the men that drive the demand for this industry to remain invisible.
The character whose narrative anchors the film, Tressa, exemplifies this victimized narrative. Tressa is coded as white (although …
Feminism | Posted by Vicki S on 01/19/2015
Lost Women of History: Maria Stewart, the First Black Feminist-Abolitionist in America
“Let our girls possess what amiable qualities of soul they may; let their characters be fair and spotless as innocence itself; let their natural taste and ingenuity be what they may; it is impossible for scarce an individual of them to rise above the condition of servants.” – Maria Stewart, The Limits of True Womanhood
Best remembered as the first recorded American-born woman to give a public speech in the United States in 1832, Maria Stewart should also be remembered as an incredible role model for her lifelong work as a black, female feminist-abolitionist at a time and in a society largely resistant to all of these ideas and identities.
Though she was born to free African-American parents in Hartford Connecticut in 1803, Maria Miller was orphaned by the age …
Pop-Culture | Posted by Carolina G on 01/14/2015
Why Gina Rodriguez’s Golden Globe Win Is So Important For Young Latinas
Gina Rodriguez as Jane the Virgin
If you tuned into the 2015 Golden Globe Awards, you may have noticed an unfamiliar face beating out powerhouse women like Lena Dunham, Edie Falco, Taylor Schilling, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus for Best Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy. This young woman, Gina Rodriguez, not only conquered the awards show, but has also run away with the hearts of critics and viewers alike in the title role of The CW’s Jane The Virgin.
Considering how homogenous American media tends to be, Jane The Virgin is a welcome breath of fresh air. The show is about a virgin who is accidentally artificially inseminated with the sperm of a man she used to have a crush on who is also her boss …
Feminism | Posted by Chloe H on 12/31/2014
A Eulogy for 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 …
Feminism | Posted by Cheyenne T on 12/1/2014
Black Lives Matter: Black Women In Revolution
Though there has been a recent frenzy of media coverage surrounding police violence against black men in America, the murder of black bodies by this society is not a new issue. Beyond police brutality, black and brown bodies have found themselves the targets of various forms of systemic oppression since before slavery. Yet it seems we are currently experiencing a political war between those who choose to be color-blind, to declare that America is post-racial, and those that understand the pervasive, racialized reailty of our modern patriarchy. However, especially considering recent events (such as those that unfolded in Ferguson), it’s crucial that we critically examine how to foster a comprehensive dialogue about racism in America.
On November 1st, I attended a conference sponsored by the African American Policy …
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 …
Feminism | Posted by Maya Richard-Craven on 06/4/2014
“You’re Pretty, For A Black Girl”
“My dick really isn’t attracted to black girls.”
I tried to explain how his comment could come off as a tad bit racist.
“Well, it’s just that I don’t usually like girls like you.”
“You mean, you usually like girls with blonde hair and blue eyes?”
No, this conversation wasn’t with John Mayer. It was with a caucasian male in a fraternity, one of my peers at USC.
I cried that night on my two-mile walk home from “frat row.” I cried the next day. Ok, I cried for countless nights. Not because I was sad about some guy, or because he claimed he “wasn’t interested.” I cried because I was disappointed that American Eurocentric culture still produces people who fear challenging what they have been taught. …
Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Joneka P on 03/17/2014
Black Women Create: Highlighting Black Women in Film and TV
Many people underestimate the power that representation in the media can have for young girls, and especially young girls of color–but connecting with the experiences of another person and empathizing with their stories and lives is powerful. Whenever we talk about why representation matters, I always think about this quote from actress Whoopi Goldberg:
“When I was nine years old Star Trek came on. I looked at it and I went screaming through the house, ‘Come here, mum, everybody, come quick, come quick, there’s a black lady on television and she ain’t no maid!’ I knew right then and there I could be anything I wanted to be.”
Now, though, television seems overwhelmingly white. It wasn’t always this way. I grew up watching shows like Good Times, A Different …