This piece was originally published on xoJane.com.
When I was a senior in high school [above left], I attended this college prep program held in the sanctuary of a Baptist church across the street from my grandmother’s $1 Soul Food restaurant in south central Los Angeles. High-achieving nerds from all over the city would meet up every Thursday to talk personal essays, financial aid and application fees well past 11 o’clock.
One night the guy I was crushing on gave me a ride home in his mom’s new-but-used white BMW. I think we were debating the merits of the Common app versus the UC app and listening to Tupac at a medium volume when those angry telltale lights began to flash behind us. Jay looked at me and laughed. Those couldn’t be for us.
Of course they were. Keep reading »
Women hold less than 25 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs within the field, and are less likely than males to work in a STEM occupation. But while I understand that there is a severe lack of women within the science field, this PSA out of the European Union of what my days would be like as a female scientist looks anything but appealing. Keep reading »
Sometimes I get worried that we’re progressing too quickly re: women’s rights and race in this country, so it was with some relief that I saw the press release for the Field Guide to Chicks of the United States, which apparently offers “amusing insights into the most distinctive physical characteristics, vocalizations, behavioral tendencies and mating habits of American Chicks from regional and ethnic subculture (or species) across the country.”
Ethnic subculture?! Species? Keep reading »
The issues of male rape and sexual abuse get plenty of sensationalistic air time on “Law & Order: SVU,” but not so much substantive awareness in our day-to-day lives. While it is true that reported sexual abuse of girls and women is far more prevalent than male abuse, I also assume acknowledging or discussing male sexual abuse brings up uncomfortable feelings amongst guys about masculinity and what it means to be a “strong man.” There’s even vicious stereotypes that dog gay guys — who are routinely denigrated as being “not manly enough” — that they must have been sexually abused as kids. In a way, that’s kind of all you need to know about what some (perhaps many) people think of male sexual abuse survivors.
So it makes sense then, from a messaging standpoint, that to reach male victims of sexual abuse, the UK group Survivors UK would address “masculinity” head-on. Their new campaign, which launches this week in time for a rugby tournament in London, features a rugby ball (speared by a nail, I think?) and the slogan: “Real men get raped: and talking about it takes real strength.” Keep reading »
“It’s more interesting to imagine this conflicted situation here and a strong woman and — you know? But that’s been an image that people have tried to paint of me since the day Barack announced, that I’m some angry black woman. … You know, I just try to be me. And my hope is that over time people get to know me. And they get to judge me for me.”
– First Lady Michelle Obama reacts to portrayals of her as an “angry black woman.” Michelle has been dogged by this stereotype from the beginning of her husband’s campaign when rumors abounded that she ranted about “whitey”; more recently, New York Times reporter Jodi Kantor’s new book, The Obamas, alleges Michelle sparred with her husband’s staff. It is sad in our culture that a woman — who just happens to be black, and may or may not have reasons to be angry (ahem, ahem) — gets dismissively painted with a wide brush as an “angry black woman,” as if she is just behaving the way stereotypes say she is expected her to behave. The new book by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women In America, is sadly quite timely. [Bossip]
Girls, we say some totally annoying things to our gay guy friends. Just stop it, okay? It’s getting embarrassing. [YouTube]
Foosball, cricket, video games and hot dogs — it’s just another afternoon at Sydney IKEA‘s new “man cave,” where weary husbands and boyfriends can unload while the womenfolk go shopping. I know you’re expecting me to start ripping my hair out at the gender stereotypes here. And I will, in a moment. But I actually think this is a good idea from IKEA corporate’s standpoint. If whining make the customers leave before they spend more money, get rid of them. It probably costs IKEA very little to distract men in their new “man cave,” while allowing the person holding to credit card to cha-ching! even more. Children have their own play station at IKEA — it’s called Smaland — and now another group not known in aggregate for their dedication to long shopping excursions have their own place. I just wish it weren’t so “dude” specific. Not all women love shopping and us ladies would love a “man cave” of our own. [YouTube] Keep reading »
I almost feel bad for black women. It seems like the majority of the time they’re written about in the mainstream media, it’s about one of two topics: Why aren’t any of them married? as a question or None of them are married! as a statement. How frustrating that their representation in culture is thinned down to their marital status, right? The latest example is a new book by Stanford law professor Ralph Richard Banks called Is Marriage for White People? How the African American Marriage Decline Affects Everyone about the so-called “man shortage” among middle-class blacks. As promotion for his book, Banks also published a piece in The New York Daily News last week entitled, “Why Black Women Are Justifiably Bitter: The Bleak Relationship Picture For African-American Females,” which began with the paragraph:
“Stereotypes of black women as angry or bitter are pervasive. They are also more accurate than many people would like to acknowledge: many black women have perfectly good reasons to be angry or bitter.”
Oof. Keep reading »
When I first saw Wendi Deng Murdoch spike that foam-pie-throwing comedian-protestor’s head like a volleyball, I giggled with glee. Then I sighed with relief. Here, finally, was a portrayal of an Asian woman I could embrace. No timid China doll or obedient geisha, no mere trophy wife, Deng was the tiger wife, defending her assets – er, I mean husband – with a single, long-armed swipe.
But now I’m torn. While positive, tiger wife is still a stereotype, “a popular belief about specific social groups or types of individuals,” in this case Asian women of a certain age, and a tidy media invention banking on the popularity of Amy Chua’s tiger mother, and perhaps the Chinese phrase, lao hu, old tiger, said of ferocious older women. A stereotype with international appeal, and yet another one I’ll have to battle sooner or later. Keep reading »
Yesterday, thanks to Summer’s Eve douching products, I learned that my vagina is “the most powerful thing on Earth and that samauri warriors and medieval jousting was all about fighting over a good, clean vagina. It turns out there are more douche-y douche commercials where that came from. Keep reading »