Having already seen “The Fault In Our Stars” and “Glee,” I don’t think I’ll be tuning in for Fox’s “Red Band Society,” a new dramedy produced by Steven Spielberg about teenagers living in a hospital. But it’s come to my attention that on a promotional ad for the show, which debuts September 17th, the Oscar-winning actress Octavia Spencer, who is Black, is labeled the “Scary Bitch.” Portraying Black women as unpredictable and scary — gee, we’ve never seen that in Hollywood before. To be sure, the show’s labeling of other characters in the promo ad isn’t too original either. For example, the hot blonde girl is the “Mean Girl” because of course she is. Still, Spencer’s “Scary Bitch” label stands out as especially harsh and problematic. There are plenty of ways to portray someone as an antagonistic character without relying on a tired stereotype. Would “Nurse Ratched” have gone over America’s collective heads? (If so, go watch “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” now.)
In last week’s Mommie Dearest column, I wrote about Debra Harrell, a South Carolina mother who was arrested for “abandoning” her nine-year-old daughter at a park while she worked at a nearby McDonald’s. (Just yesterday we learned that Harrell has been let go from her job.) I had mentioned in my post that Harrell is Black, prompting a few folks to ask why I needed to note her race. Instead of penning my own response, I thought it would be a good idea to hear from women of color who are mothers. We gathered for a virtual roundtable to discuss Harrell’s situation and explorehow race impacts motherhood in the United States today. Meet:
Our conversation begins after the jump: Keep reading »
Contrary to oh-so-popular beliefs, there is still no conclusive evidence that women actually talk more than men. Different studies have found varying results on the issue over the years — some have even found that men talk more! A recent scientific foray into the subject has found that men and women actually talk about the same amount.
According to New York magazine, a paper called “A Meta-Analytic Review of Gender Variations in Adults’ Language Use” details the work of two researchers at the University of California Santa Cruz [Banana Slugs represent! -- Amelia, Class of 2001], who used sociometers to gauge the speech habits of both genders. Sociometers are small sound recorders that get more candid results because they capture conversations in more natural settings than, say, a research lab. The researchers found that results depended heavily on the environment and situation the speakers were in. Keep reading »
When a Topshop customer in the UK came across this necklace while shopping at the chain store, she complained to a customer sales representative and was told that the necklace was “acceptable, because it was vintage style” and therefore “not racist.” The necklace depicts an early 19th century stereotype of East Asians — as Refinery 29 explains, “The charms bear an uncanny resemblance to the caricatures in anti-Chinese propaganda cartoons of the 1880s, when the Chinese Exclusion Act and all its institutionalized, dehumanizing policies were in full effect.” Is that what the clerk meant by “vintage”? The stereotype has always been racist — it didn’t become racist when we decided to acknowledge it as such — and it’s racist now. What’s next, Mammy hair fascinators? Ugh. [Refinery 29] [Photo: @summoningesther]
Who is Laci Green and where has she been all my life? Like a sex-positive Disney star on speed, Laci hosts a YouTube channel called Sex+ where she covers everything from hymens and consent to buttplay and sex with disabilities. Laci is also a loud and proud feminist and yesterday she posted a video addressing three common myths about “The F Word” — that is, feminism. It’s more for the new-to-feminism types — like, say, your little sister — but I for one am really glad that chipper, upbeat and funny videos about feminism exist. [YouTube]
Could it be that plain old mental habit is the reason for gender inequality at work? According to consultant and former businesswoman Caroline Turner, that’s pretty much what it comes down to. In a blog post for the Huffington Post, Turner said that the biggest reason women aren’t proportionately represented in business leadership positions is a set of “mind-sets,” or unconscious ways of viewing the world. The most powerful and deep-rooted of these mind-sets, it seems, is the “double bind,” or the idea that if a woman channels her more feminine energies, she’ll be liked by her coworkers but not seen as a leader. On the other hand, if she allows her masculine energies to lead the way, she’s likely to be judged and disliked. What I take this to mean is that the biggest obstacle we’re up against in the workplace is essentially subconscious stereotyping. Keep reading »