I Need To Stop Arguing With Brick Walls

Missing the point, one offensive sentence at a time, is Marcus:

It is unfortunate that you seek to vilify our cause. We have stated from the very beginning that our movement was inspired by SW Boston that we had the good pleasure to attend and participate in. At this stage we are only drumming up support for the cause and God knows we have a few wrinkles to iron out! That said, once everything is resolved and we have a concrete blueprint for the event we will officially submit a request of affiliation (as a satellite) with SW Toronto. The final decision is of course theirs. I would also like to point out that the movement started out as a grassroots, DIY-er and any attempt to excessively centralize and stifle similar endeavors is something that one would hope doesn’t happen. This is about free speech and peaceful protest. This is about making a point, taking a stance and doing it in a manner that is sexy while also being engaging and instructional.

We would love to have both of you join our cause and express solidarity, just as we have been expressing our solidarity with ALL the other satellites. When skepticism turns to negativity, it harbors the same detrimental emotions that lead to repression and a stifling of one’s rights and free speech. Negativity is what has resulted in the all the antiquated patriarchies in the world and the time is ripe to make a difference.

Tiara, bless, engages with the patience of a saint:

I have told you multiple times where your efforts have gone severely misguided, and how they can bring harm to Iranian women (and even the foreign women you want marching on your behalf). Until these issues are resolved, it is in everyone’s best interest to *not* participate in SW Tehran. You have shown no concern for other women, you are imposing alien ideology onto cultures that you don’t understand and don’t respect (as the burqini photos on your profile and your anti-burqa stance shows), and you have not given us any reason to even believe who you say you are.

It is two in the morning and I suddenly have a reservoir of patience, at least enough to type up a response:

*sigh*
Marcus, it’s amazing how much you keep missing the point and end up being exponentially offensive.

I have already pointed out that Slutwalk is a western movement that no one has any right to impose on on anyone else; it’s been pointed out elsewhere that Slutwalk is not a movement for every westerner to participate either (not that there is one particular way to do Slutwalk, as your organization have unfortunately shown). This is not a one size fits all deal, and you can’t arbitrarily make that decision for Tehran’s women- again I say, you are just reinforcing the problem.

Participants in Slutwalk did not protest because they were trying to be sexy. Asking for victim’s rights to not be blamed for being raped is not sexy, it’s just a request for a bit of human decency. Whether or not the other organizers choose to endorse you is on them. My bone to pick is with your continued perceived entitlement of our support.

Good intentions, and I will freely admit that I am skeptical that you and your project’s are in fact good, do not excuse you from criticism. The best intentioned plans, even within widely acclaimed movements can still cause a lot of hurt. I have had enough experience as a woman of color with well intentioned people with no concept of their privilege though they deigned to teach me about what my rights were.

I do not want to join your cause, and I have been clear about my reasons, so has Tiara for that matter. Expect no solidarity while you trample over other’s voices.

Where’s a privilege denying dude tumblr when you need one?

Advertisements

On Will.I.Am’s Idiocy and Irresponsibility

via abortiongang:

Will.I.Am- producer, actor, singer, songwriter, Black Eyed Peas member, among other things- sat down with Andrew Goldman of Elle magazine and spoke about several random topics, thrown together by Goldman to create the portrait of a complex, philosophical, highly intriguing man that seems to be at the forefront of pop culture (He’s not really any of those things, but that’s the crux of Goldman’s article).

Naturally, because Will.I.Am is a rock star and rock stars are pegged as sexy sex-machines, the topic of sex does arise during the interview, and boy oh boy (should I say, “girl oh girl?”) does Will.I.Am really tell us women how it is.

“If she had condoms in her house, that would just fuckin’ throw me off. That’s just tacky.”

[…]

Remarking about condoms in a way other than, “wear a condom to protect yourself and your partner” is just plain irresponsible.

Why Can’t We Really Run This? (Review of Beyoncé’s Run The World)

I see B’s still doing what she does best: trick me into liking a song then dropping two or three problematic lines that make me cringe and seriously question just why I’m still listening.

It starts off well enough (and I apologize for the missed lyrics).

Girls, we run this motha (yeah!) [x4]

GIRLS!

Who run the world? Girls! [x4]
Who run this motha? Girls! [x4]
Who run the world? Girls! [x4]

Crazy aggressive beat and lyrics that are both fierce statement and obvious answer, except for the “girls” part (which rubs me the way “geek girl” does), I’m dancing in my seat so far. We go straight into a verse that’s all swagger and no apologies.

Some of them men think they freak this like we do, But no they don’t.
Make your checks, come at they neck, Disrespect us no they won’t.

Boy don’t even try to touch this, Boy this beat is crazy,
This is how they made me, Houston Texas baby.

This goes out to all my girls, That’s in the club rocking the latest,
Who will buy it for themselves and get more money later.

I’m loving it. Then…cringe #1:

I think I need a barber, None of these hoes can fade me.
I’m so good with this, I remind you I’m so hood with this.

I ask, in a song that’s supposed to be all about solidarity, was it really necessary to say “None of these hoes can fade me”, wordplay aside? Really, really?

Cringe #2-100 comes along right after:

Boy I’m just playing, come here baby,
Hope you still like me, If you [not sure what this word was] me

I’m sighing now, because exactly what this song didn’t need is her saying “I’m just playing”, and especially not to say it to a guy. B plays that line well, aggressive but not too aggressive, it is practically her business model. But what is so damn wrong about an aggressive woman? Are heterosexual men really that insecure, so much so that a woman saying “I run this” about her life is so threatening that B had to drop the hard base line and croon at the dude. I get that women are complex, we’re not just one way or the other, but in a song with the title “Run The World”, I want lyrics that step to a baseline and work it out, a la “Diva”, whether or not I’m addressing a guy.

She drops a bit that sort of reclaims the verse:

My persuasion, can build a nation.
Endless power, with our love we can devour.

You’ll do anything for me.

Swagger comes right back in the next verse and I’m smiling again:

It’s hot up in here, DJ don’t be scared to run this, run this back!
I’m repping for the girls who taking over the world, Help me raise a glass for the college grads.

[41?] rollie to let you know what time it is… Check.
You can’t hold me I wrote my 9 to 5 better cut my check.

This goes out to all the women getting it in, you on your grind,
To other men that respect what I do, Please accept my shine

And then it gets shaky again:

Boy you know you love it, How we’re smart enough to make these millions,
Strong enough to bear the children… Then get back to business.

Not that there’s anything wrong with the biological ability to give birth, just that placed in the context of explaining to a guy exactly why he really shouldn’t be threatened by all this power, it’s a bit uncomfortable. Then again I guess you could read it as, women are strong enough to deal with whatever (because giving birth is not a cakewalk).

She goes on to end the song with more chants of  “We run the world!” finishing it all out with a final chant of “Who run the world? Girls.”

The result, well I’m not sure.

Okay B, I really want to love this song, because I’m all for a woman getting hers, and doing it all with a significant amount of talent backing her (not to mention a badass beat). More than that, I want to be able to go through your songs without picking and choosing lyrics! I want to be able to run through songs like this and “Upgrade U” without having to deal with lyrics like “Still play my part and let you take the lead role believe me/I’ll follow, this could be easy” which instead of cutting through the trophy wife stereotype they try to subvert, only enforces it.

I’m holding out for you, B. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be over here replaying “Diva”.

The Rom-Com Conundrum

I just read an article on romantic comedies and sexism, The Astonishing Sexism of Hollywood and What it Means for Girls; it does a good job of spelling out what we already knew- the damage the classic romantic comedy female lead role does to young women and girls who watch these tropes and internalizing them.

As I read through it, I thought about the absence of race in this conversation which got me thinking. Do I even want women of color leading rom-coms?

On a basic level, I want to say yes, more diversity in media, plzkthnx!

The classic rom-com female lead is either a type-A (exerts too much control) or wild-child (frivolous and childish- manic pixie dream girl) trope, and white (typically blond). Women of color tend to fall into the role of the sassy best-friend or side-kick, giving sage advice to the misguided but adorable and  likable female lead while having no character development for themselves. More than that, even in so called “urban-targeted” films, we’re controlling, ball-busting or soul crushing- certainly not the adorable blond who needs to learn a lesson. No, we’re the harpy who needs to get taken down a peg or five. Do I want this, no need this to end? Hell yes.

On the other hand, I’m not only a black person, I’m a woman. Do I want to see women of color stripped of dignity and agency, made to be more vulnerable so that they appeal to an audience? Do I really want to see them perpetuate harmful stereotypes of women? Do I want to see them exist for the sole purpose of advancing a male character’s development? Do I just want a ‘whiter’ female character of color?

Certainly not.

Even as I argue for more diverse casting, I can’t ignore the inherent sexism present in the entertainment business. As much as I want to see more women of color going past the sassy best-friend token role, I don’t know if I could bear it if they jumped from one oppression to another. This sort of conundrum is why I scoff at anyone who ignores intersection in anti-oppression work. Not only must we completely disrupt the institutional sexism in Hollywood, we must at the same time disrupt the instituionalized racism, ableism, queerphobia, etc. We need to have romances that aren’t heteronormative, where the woman doesn’t have to be shamed/taught a lesson to be seen as relatable or appealing, where women of color can flourish as fleshed out strong characters.

I do want to see a woman of color leading a rom-com (my ambivalence to rom-coms as a genre aside, it is a significant part of the box office biz), but the rom-com role itself has to change.

Related Articles
Counting Colored Cash – POCs can make an impact—even though we’ve proven it time and time and time again—and will make the flimsiest excuses to justify why POCs shouldn’t be visible in the media and why our dollars don’t count. Excuses I’m about to debunk and with this post.

Open discussion: Rom-coms, Ars Marginal style – Why don’t we take on all the rom com bullshit? Let’s subvert the fuck out of what this cliche-ridden drivel shovels to us about sex, love, and romance!” Take something you hate about rom-coms, then flip the script and make it something awesome!

%d bloggers like this: