Feminism, Pop-Culture | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 12/12/2016
The Exploitation Of Women Of Color In Music Videos Needs To End
Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake It Off’ music video
As a black feminist who is usually conscious of how normalized our misogynistic and often racist pop culture is, I am mostly displeased by the portrayal of black women in music videos. From Taylor Swift to Jason Derulo, artists across genres and of all identities seemingly fail to recognize that the fetishization of black women’s bodies in their music videos translates into their hyper-sexualizaiton in the real-world.
This treatment is first and foremost evident in the stereotypes about black women these music videos frequently perpetuate. Such stereotypes propagated about black women include the “angry Black woman,” the “sassy Black woman,” and the “hypersexual Jezebel.” But perhaps the most typical caricature of Black women is the sassy, finger-snapping, gum-popping, grill-wearing, twerking woman. And …
Feminism | Posted by Faatimah Solomon on 09/23/2016
The History Of Banning Black Women’s Hair
Amandla Stenberg wearing her hair natural
When I turned twelve, I started faithfully straightening my hair every single week. By the time I was fourteen years old, therefore, I had straightened my hair at least one hundred and four times. At least. But eventually my hair started falling out in large clumps and my mom demanded that I stop severely damaging my hair.
It was then that I began the emotionally draining process of learning how to love myself. I read countless books about feeling beautiful in your own skin and body, stuck a number of pictures of beautiful black women wearing their natural hair on the walls of my closet, and followed Instagram accounts that celebrated the beauty of having black curly hair. With time, I began to love …
Pop-Culture | Posted by David G on 06/22/2016
The Problem With Gossiping About Beyoncé and ‘Lemonade’
We missed the point.
We are now almost two months into the post-Lemonade universe, and it still seems the biggest public conversation the album has inspired is a debate about the true identity of “Becky with the good hair.”
Look, I can’t say I didn’t have loads of fun with “Sorry” (the song in which Becky is infamously referenced) and Lemonade as a whole. “Becky with the good hair” was my entire Twitter bio for an obscene amount of time and I was undeniably entertained by the tabloid-worthy speculation about the state of Bey’s marriage. I think we’re all at least a little guilty of indulging in this type of gossip. But these conversations not only insult the integrity of Beyoncé’s work, but also ultimately go completely against Lemonade…
Feminism | Posted by Cheyenne T on 12/28/2015
How I Discovered The Power Of Black Womanhood
After spending the last school year immersed in political turmoil and tension on my college campus, I decided this past summer that it was time to actively choose to either eject or change the things in my life that make me unhappy. So I did: I stopped wasting time on people who didn’t reciprocate the energy I put into our relationships and stopped participating in activities that were not directly contributing to my happiness of self-betterment.
In addition to rejecting negative influences, I decided to allow myself to indulge more in the people and daily activities that I enjoy, including things that are societally labelled as feminine, such as makeup and fashion. I initially rejected such practices upon first identifying as feminist because I thought they were at …
Feminism | Posted by Saskia G on 10/5/2015
Why We Still Need A Woman On The $20 Bill
I took a seat on a vinyl chair next to my father in the event room of the American Legion in Weehawken, New Jersey. Weehawken is an urban township across the Hudson River from New York City, and its greatest claim to fame is that Alexander Hamilton, the founder of the National Bank and first Secretary of the Treasury, was shot there in a duel by Aaron Burr in 1804.
I have lived in Weehawken my entire life. I have attended duel reenactments and visited the rock against which Hamilton supposedly slumped after being hit. On this year’s anniversary of the July 11th duel, there was even a lecture on Hamilton and Burr’s relationship and the nature of dueling in general.
I opened a brochure that had been …
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 …