If you’ve been on Twitter in the last 24 hours, you might have noticed something interesting — “Harriet Tubman” is trending. Why? The famous abolitionist, who escaped from slavery and then helped over 300 other slaves escape using the Underground Railroad, was the subject of a “spoof” video that was posted to Russell Simmons’ new All Def Digital YouTube channel yesterday. “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” features YouTube actress Shanna Malcolm, as Tubman, having sex with her white “Massa” (master) while a fellow slave records the encounter to use as blackmail, so that Tubman can run the Underground Railroad.
“This our only chance to getting freedoms,” Malcolm, as Tubman, tells her fellow slave.
Yesterday, Simmons promoted the video on Twitter, describing it as “the funniest thing I’ve ever seen,” but the backlash was swift and fierce, and Tubman’s name started to trend as critics expressed their outrage that the video desecrated the abolitionist’s memory, and made light of the rampant rape and sexual abuse that went on during slavery. Eventually Simmons pulled the video from YouTube and posted an apology of sorts to his website Global Grind. Critics, including the NAACP, said the video Keep reading »
Because women who straddled a motorcycle were “distracting” men from driving safely, a county in Kenya is proposing a law that could force women to sit sidesaddle while a man drives the motorcycle or bike. Kisumu County assembly members agreed that the sitting position of women straddling a bike, called ‘bet angewa,’ was unconstitutional and un-cultural. Because women were “exposing their bodies” by opening their legs on the bikes, men began losing respect for them. Now it is the safety and mobility of the women that will be put at risk — especially when they’re wearing long, flowing clothing hanging over the sides of the bike. Kisumu County is actually not the first place concerned about women straddling male bike riders; a city in Indonesia enacted a law requiring women to ride sidesaddle on bikes and motorcycles. Sure there’s a better way to solve this conundrum somehow? One that is less dangerous? [Salon via Standard Media] [Image via MrJam.org]
“They’re young, they’re feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal, and they are just very very connected to the local area.”
– This is MP Tony Abbott, leader of Australia’s Liberal Party, when asked about two female politicians, Fiona Scott and Jackie Kelly. The best he could come up with to describe these professional women were their more … comely … attributes. Just what we all want in our politicians, right? Feisty with a bit of sex appeal! What a ringing endorsement. A reporter for the UK’s Telegraph noticed that even Abbott’s own daughter “appeared to wince.” [Telegraph UK, Guardian UK]
Hey. Get your head out of the gutter! PETA means “go all the way vegan” instead of just vegetarian, obviously. Obviously. Is it really that obvious, though, when PETA’s new “Vegans Go All The Way” ad features Samia Najimy-Finnerty, who is just 16 years old? Keep reading »
Scientists at the University of Edinburgh designed the first ever computer capable of producing jokes on command. Only problem: their PC wasn’t so PC. Following the lead of successful, male comedians, the software was programed to make a statement followed by an unexpected comment. The computer’s algorithm finds unlikely word pairings and makes a connection between them in the form of a one-liner. David Matthews (a computer scientist who helped develop the virtual joke maker, not the guy with the same name who fronts the band) said when they tested the jokes on volunteers — wonderful witticisms such as: “I like my men like I like my court … superior” and “I like my women like I like my gas … natural” — they laughed, but not as much as if a real comedian were delivering the sexist joke. Obviously. Keep reading »
I know we were all just thinking that girls and young women needed another reason to avoid pursuing math and science, so The Children’s Place has graciously started selling shirts for young girls that clearly tell them math isn’t for them. Especially when there’s shopping to do, amiright?! Thank goodness you’re here, The Children’s Place. Keep reading »
LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional networking website, so it makes sense that many companies would want to advertise their business there. One suggestion: maybe try to not make your engineering ad look a little too much like an ad for an “adult friend.”
The company in question is called TopTal. Their advertisement read “We Recruit Top Engineers And Bring Them To You Fast! $1800-$2800/wk. Try For 2 Weeks, Risk-Free.” The wording is pretty ambiguous to begin with, but the photo next to it was what attracted the most attention. As the UK’s Daily Mail reported, the woman pictured, Florencia Antara, is in fact an engineer, but she was photographed in a way that made her not exaaactly look like a woman working in an office. Instead of photographing her in professional clothing Florencia wore an off-the-shoulder shirt with tousled hair. She looks kind of like an ’80s teen idol. Keep reading »
It’s safe to say that Netflix’s latest original series, “Orange is the New Black,” is nothing short of binge-worthy. I devoured the entire first season in under 96 hours (seriously). Groundbreaking on many levels, the show openly displays queer female sexuality and features a uniquely complex portrayal of a black transgender woman (played by the brilliant black trans actress Laverne Cox). What’s more, the vibrant cast of diverse characters offers viewers a rare exploration of what privilege is and how it works. Nowhere is that more apparent than in the show’s main character, Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a perfect lesson in privilege.
I can’t stand Piper. I find her whiny, entitled, possessive, incredibly self-obsessed, an emblem of unchecked privilege. But I actually think that’s intentional; Piper would be the character we all root for, when in reality, she seems to be one of the least liked. As Salamishah Tillet noted over at The Nation, the main character of “Orange” probably had to be white and college-educated for the show (and memoir upon which it’s based) to get picked up, and this is a valid point. But with Piper, we’re also forced to come face to face with her privilege, and we can’t stand what we see. [Spoilers after the jump!] Keep reading »