Author Archives: K

Interracial couples

I have read most of what has been written by my classmates,and what their thoughts on interracial couples. Living in the south, I believe dating outside ones race is perceived as more of an abnormality than other places. Collins discussed some reasons for resentment within the African American community as women feel abandoned by men dating outside of the race. Most talk of interracial marriage concerns White females and African American males, and interracial relationships are mot often depicted in this manner. I often wondered the true reason for  Black women not being more open to interracial marriage. Collins describes resisting the temptations of men of other races as the way African American women maintain their virtue, as is vital to not be perceived as too promiscuous. The idea of White men being able to  resist sexual partners available to Black men is also stated as a factor as to why there are not more Black women/White men relationships. I have problems with this because historically White men and men in general are not very choosy about their sexual partners. Black women are also not limited to only White men, so there does not have to always be the connection to the slave master/slave relationship.  Collins argues that it is not sex, but partnership with Black women that White men avoid, thus leading Black women to appear overly available if they choose to date outside their race. The marriage market is ever shrinking, and I wonder what other reasons there are for Black women limiting their partner options because I believe there is a large difference between being available and being desperate or cheap. Interracial relationships can promote African American Feminism by expanded the discussions, to individuals in mixed relationships who would normally not care to be involved.

The art of art

Art has always been subjective, meaning something different for which interpreter.Sometimes it is a protest against the ugliness the artist sees in the world that they feel is ignored, an ugly reality of life . the thin line between offending to make viewers aware, and the act of offending for shock value is an often contested one that is argued by art critics and artists alike.  Recently I came across two videos that I believe both cross the line to un-artistically obscene. the 1st is a music video glorifying the idea of Black women getting pregnant to be on welfare to absurd dimensions. The ‘artist’ claims that her work is in the air of humor, but seems to loathe her sex and race on some level as many of her other videos are in the same vein as the EBT for me song. The second video is perhaps more disturbing because it is at a Swedish culture minister participating in cutting up a cake of a African woman, vagina first. According to the artist this was to  protest female circumcision, however the execution of it all leaves many wondering if shock and not awareness was the true goal. Throughout the party, the artist was in black face screaming in agony. I didn’t enjoy watching either of these videos particularly, but they make me ask questions about art and free speech. Does controversy really raise awareness and it is the kind of awareness that invokes change, or are these just too sad example of Black people being mixed up?

 

 

Anita Hill

Hill was empowering to watch because of her assuredness in her speech. It is obvious that she has spent her time accumulated knowledge of the law and the art of teaching. I assumed that she would discuss the court case more deeply, and although I was initially disappointed, but I get the point of it. Her speech was inspiring in the fact that she shows that life is an epic journey of self-definition. She is not self-defined as a victim although she is labeled that by some. She self-defined herself as not a victim when she called out Clarence Thomas.

Female Athletes=Too Aggressive.

Someone posted a crude joke about the WNBA draft on my facebook and rather than respond, I thought about females in sports. As a kid I loved sports but never had much of a competitive streak in me. I always told myself it was for fun and exercise and the outcome was irrelevant. I don’t believe sports have to be taken as life and death, and I also don’t believe your value should be rated by how much you can win. However, I have heard older women who have cautioned me against being overly c0mpetative as it is a turn off for men, especially black men. The reasoning was simple;women are not competitive or aggressive, men are. If you are competitive you might have other negative attributes. This is displayed in the real world not only by Olympic grade athlete Caster Semenya being subjected to genetics testing, but the Venus sisters being formally warned against the volume of their grunting during tennis matches. Being a successful female athlete comes secondary to casual viewers to that of a feminine beauty. Danica Patrick and Anna Kornakova are testaments to that. times are shifting and women are active, but do negative stereotypes of women competing in sports still resonate? Why is the NBA revered and the WNBA openly mocked? Will there ever be a sport that is dominated by women and watched more than its male counterpart, will it involve lingerie?

MWM: Egypt Edition

With the situation in Syria continues reaching new levels of turmoil, it is easy for news stories to get lost among the shuffle. Although the million man march is known by even the casually high school educated historians, the million women march in Egypt that happened just last year is one that mainstream media has all but overlooked. Egypt, like many countries in the region are at a crossroad, not only for the future of their political policies, but their human rights policies as well.

The first MWM was organized on October 25th, 1997 in Philadelphia by Phile Chionesu. She and other women acknowledged the Million Man March and the day of absence, but felt that they were not represented within the ranks of the men. Their intention was to provide hope and guidance in improving the lives of African Americans. Estimates range from 500,000 to 1.1 million women attended the Million Woman March in Philly.

 

The Egyptian MWM is one of many protests going on in Egypt as of late. Outcry over the murder and deplorable treatment of female protestors have led women who usually err on the side of political neutrality, to join in march regardless of the consequences.

This relates to African American feminism is a plethora of ways. The most obvious being that Egyptian women are seeking the same level or human rights from their government that American feminists once demanded, and having to deal with a violence that many did not. The outcry, men killing/assaulting women and dragging them through the streets mimics the civil rights movement and violence perpetrated against blacks in the form of jim crow laws and lynchings. Reports of not only protestors, but reporters being physically attacked, as riot squads attempted to disperse the  crowds.(disturbing vid below, provided by the huffington post)

egypt protest

 

Experts will argue that this is nothing new and that women fight, in all parts of the world for equal rights. The point of this was to show that although this is a long drawn out struggle, it is obviously not over until human beings are not dragged through the streets and stepped on.Even with the threat of violence looming the Egyptian Million Woman march attracted about 1000 women. If America’s Million Woman March devolved into such violence, how many would still openly protest?

 

Fast Food and the community

Initially I wanted to write this blog about the recent Mary j. commercial by Burger King where she sings about her love for fried chicken. However, the commercial has since been pulled, and Mary j. has formally renounced the commercial portrayal. Burger King and Mary J. say the commercial wasn’t finished; which is hard to believe, but not impossible.  I was also going to tie it in with the Dr. Pepper 10 commercials that boast the tagline  “its not for women”. While researching these polarizing advertizing messages, I realized that McDonald’s has a separate website just for black people (www.365black.com, which does not even have mcdonalds in the title, btw). I don’t really like that at all considering their food is atrociously bad for you, and even they say you should only eat it once a month (although there is one on every block). Is it appropriate to be so blatant in their attempt to solicit African Americans to eat fast food with a nation struggling with obesity. the site claims to be a 365 celebration but its mostly just one big job application/viral marketing page.  What do you think about advertisers having such in-depth and shameless solicitation of the black community. Is their philanthropic work with children and college students enough to excuse an obviously exploitative corporation? Do any of these ad campaigns offend you?

Stay in school

Politicians will say anything to get reelected. Recently, Obama was attacked by the republicans when he said he believed all Americans deserve the opportunity to go to college. He was called an elitist by political opponents for this hope. In the land of the free, should college be only for the elite? Does lacking a college education leave black women feeling further marginalized, and at what point has America’s education system been surpassed by much of the industrialized world? Isn’t is suspicious that there is a consistent blind eye turned to the education system within the country(with the exception of the lottery)? Why isn’t education valued as it should be, not only by women, but the black community as a whole? The bachelor degree isn’t what it used to be and more and more it seems to be in the class a degree is required so why isn’t it the main emphasis of politicians. Probably because there wouldn’t be enough desperate women to manipulate.

FCP and slut shaming

My class for women’s sexuality was required to read the novel Female Chauvinistic Pigs and it got me thinking about the similarities I see within this class between black women objectifying themselves in the name of independence. The fact is, in the 21st century women are still judged for their appearance, and now perhaps more than ever beauty is revered within women. Being beautiful can literally make you millions. Women are constantly put in the impossible position of profiting from their looks and being seen as sluts or being seen as invisible, unattractive, and without worth. The book emphasizes that, over time even feminism has co-opted bad habits of sexualizing women, by socializing them to be extremely free(have extremely relaxed boundaries) about their body and sexuality. At the same time this freedom still comes with an extreme stigma that I believe is evident in many aspects of our culture (strippers fist fighting over their pimps on the Jerry Springer show, video girls dating rappers, Real Housewives of Wherever).

Slut shaming is a common practice whether we identify it as such or not. The slut walks nationwide do what they can to provide awareness that slut shaming is still a reality. The 1st lady gets slut shamed all over the internet. Women are demeaned in music, especially rap, and turn around and dance to it because they say they like the beat; no one takes it too seriously, because everything is framed as a joke. Slut shaming is still a large issue that rearing its ugly head in even the most unlikely situations and needs feminist activism to continue to combat it.

Invisible Children

There has been a video circulating since 2006 about vicious war criminal Joseph Kony of Uganda. The videos purpose is to raise awareness of the child soldier problem within the African continent. The story is told of a ruthless man who exploits the children of Africa for his army and sex slavery. Over spring break, my facebook wall exploded with Kony 2012 updates and the video was reposted over and over. I cannot fault anyone for caring about this issue, as I believe awareness  is vitally important, but I do take concern for all the complacent comments I saw in the aftermath. The video depicts vicious brutalities of a war that is almost one-sided, but are nothing new for warlords. Why then, are people surprised that this still happens in the year 2012? As Americans of any color, I believe we have become desensitized to such things, and the media has tired of reporting on it. People who criticize the documentary say that Uganda has stabilized and that the threat is not as bad as it once was, and that the documenters collect profits that should go to the children. Others only criticize the fact that this happened before, and the U.S. is presumptions to step in expecting tidy results. I am torn because as a feminist I would like nothing more than to liberate those who are oppressed, but I can see a bit of shade in the fact that we are focused on only one man instead of the bigger picture problems plaguing the continent. After watching it, I also felt that the females in captivity are even more invisible because they are not soldiers, but concubines.  Does anyone have any thoughts about this short film or the Kony 2012 movement?

 

Donna Edwards

When discussing the direction of the women’s rights movement it is often beneficial to scan the field for allies and role models. Although many women are still reluctant to pursue politics because it is seen as a male sphere, there are many women who challenge the status qua. For black women, being in politics requires a thicker skin than any other form of politician because of the existence of multiple jeopardy. Female politicians have a tempestuous relationship with voters and media and often have to come off twice as electable as their opposition.

Donna Edwards is great example of a black female politician(she was the first African American woman in the House of Representatives, born in NC). In an interview she discusses the differences she experiences campaigning compared to other politicians.  Within politics the personal is always political, this is often used against female politicians in any way possible. Edwards explains that there is a dire need for more African American politicians and that no one is going to implore you to run, but it is important and putting yourself out there is essential for progress.

http://donnaedwards.house.gov/

Link to article concerning female politicians in India featured in the Huffington Post. Article states that female politicians inspire young women in India to pursue an education.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/18/mit-study-india-female-leaders-politicians-aspirations_n_1213998.html