One day in college, during track practice, I wore a bandanna to my work out. I was having a spectacularly bad hair day and that thin piece of printed cloth made me feel safe from criticism. My coach, who was a hard ass, wasn’t having it and ordered me to take it off immediately. I ran back to the locker room, did my best to make my mane look presentable but still, I cringed as I walked back to the track, embarrassed of what my teammates would think.
Like many black women I know, I have always had a tumultuous relationship with my hair. If it didn’t look good, I didn’t feel good and often it dictated whether I would have a good or bad day. But my own criticism of my hair wasn’t something I could have ever controlled; it was something that started with my ancestors, long before I was born. Keep reading »
I do not like my nose. Although I no longer hate it with the same gusto I did at 15, I still do not accept it.
I do not like my thighs; they’re huge and riddled with stretch marks thanks to a growth spurt at 12, and my stomach refuses to be flat – but I guess I have Lombardi’s pizza to blame for that one. I wish my ass was perkier; my boobs are too big and too saggy, my lips should be less thin and pout on command, and my teeth are too small — straight, but small. My dentist refuses to give me veneers; we’ve been arguing about it for years.
In other words, I’m not very keen on my body, and I certainly don’t accept it. If one more person tells me I have to, I’m going to lose my shit and throw something really heavy and dangerous. Keep reading »
This piece is crossposted with permission from Role/Reboot.
My dad grew up a poor boy from a small fishing village, just minutes away from the site of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” He spent his childhood playing along the walls of the great Venetian fortress. His village dates back to antiquity, his childhood colonialism, and his youth decolonization. He fled his country to get educated and build a better life in New York City. And he did. With graduate degrees from an elite institution under his belt, he rose up the corporate ladder and married two times to American women. Despite all his economic progress, he held fast to tradition.
I grew up a middle class girl in a suburban town just minutes away from New York City. I spent my childhood playing soccer and hanging out at the mall. My town dates back to the postwar era, my childhood consumerism, and my youth social justice. I fled my country to get a more affordable education and build a global dream of equity in Montreal. And I did. With graduate degrees from elite institutions under my belt, I moved through the social justice industry living and working in Latin America, Africa, Europe, and the South Pacific. Despite all my cultural development, I fought to change my father. Keep reading »
Dear Gentlemen Of The World:
Hello. My name is Sara Benincasa. Pleased to meet you. I’m an author and a comedian and a human with a vagina, otherwise known as a “lady-person.” I’m about to school you in exactly how to tell a stranger lady that she is great. I’m also going to teach you how not to talk to girls you don’t know.
But first, I’d like to tell you a story. I know, women be talking, am I right? But seriously guys, listen up, for I have knowledge to share. Useful knowledge. Think of my words as tools, and your brain as a box in which to place said tools, and a mutually satisfying encounter as the project you are building with these tools.
Okay then. On to the story. Keep reading »
Last week, I was in a conversation on Facebook in which I admitted to not liking kids. (My comment: “Real talk: I don’t actually like babies, actually, or children.”) I thought about taking it down as soon as I posted it. An hour later, I was still thinking about taking it down. No one paid much attention to the comment; it’s not really a secret among my friends that I feel this way, although one friend wrote “Yikes,” which I’m still not sure how to respond to. Nevertheless, I felt like I had crossed some serious line. I post everything I write — mostly personal essays that connect to my political beliefs — on social media. As such, this status is definitely not the first time I’ve insulted someone with my beliefs. Yet affirming my dislike of children on Facebook seemed like a whole new level of evil.
But still, I didn’t take the status down. Keep reading »
As a kid, I was used to standing out for lots of reasons, like my “Star Wars” obsession or the black eyeliner and vampire chic that made up my high school wardrobe.
I never expected my race to be one of those reasons.
I grew up as an Asian-American among Asian-Americans, so I certainly wasn’t used to being viewed as what we English Lit majors call “the exotic other.” Even when I went to college in St. Louis, it wasn’t that much of a problem. I did go on a date with a guy who went on about his trip to Japan and the extreme “femininity” of its women, but that was about it.
It wasn’t until I moved to the UK that it kicked in: men – and it was always men – shouting “NEE HOW MA” or “KOH-NEE-CHEE-WAAAH” or even “Me love you long time!” as I walked down the street; starting conversations with “Soooo … are you from … China?” before they’d even asked my name; playing up their supposed interest in Asian culture while going on about how “feminine” and beautiful Asian women are. Keep reading »
“Game of Thrones” is one of my favorite shows on TV, not just right now, but of all time. I must be some kind of magical unicorn, because by virtue of the fact that I have a vagina — I literally just double-checked and, yep, still packing lady parts — I am supposed to hate “Game of Thrones.” This is according to Thrillist’s Renata Sellitti, who wrote an article about why women “hate” the show and offered advice for how “Game of Thrones”-loving men can entice their girlfriends into watching it with them. It is, as you might expect, the biggest pile of direwolf excrement I’ve seen on the internet this week. I am tempted to print out her article, pull down my smallclothes and make water all over it, that’s how bad it is. I’m breathing wildfire I’m so pissed. As Cersei Lannister would say, if she were a woman of the 21st century, BITCH, PLEASE.
Now, I don’t disagree that there are certainly some women out there who hate “Game of Thrones.” (I just don’t happen to know any of them so they clearly weren’t in Renata’s control group. … She polled a wide variety of women in order to determine that basically all of us hate the show, right? I’m sure she did.) But there are also some women who hate “The Bachelor,” “The Real Housewives” franchise and whatever other female-targeted TV shows likely litter Renata’s DVR queue. (I’m not hating on your boob tube choices, girl, I watch those shows too.) And there are certainly men who hate “Game of Thrones,” possibly even for some of the reasons Sellitti claims women are turned off by the show. Oh, yes, the reasons. Let’s review and refute them, shall we? Keep reading »
I have a specific problem when it comes to dating. I mean, I have many problems (I’m attracted to unavailable guys, ranging from gay men to to fictional characters), but there’s one that has significantly affected me.
I’m short. I’m 4’11”. I’ve been this size since I was about 12 years old. So, NO, to answer the question you were probably wondering and men on dates have actually asked me, I am not a little person. If you take a look at me – either by Googling me or assessing my corporeal being — you can tell that I am of average proportions.
Now, while there are obvious perks to being petite (Saving money by shopping in the children’s sections! Wearing high heels guiltlessly! Getting picked up spontaneously! Wearing a hoodie to a Mexican restaurant and getting a kid’s burrito!), there are some times where I do get the short end of the stick, pun heavily intended. I don’t just mean that I have to weed out all of the shady men who have a petite girl fetish, but something about being a short lady brings out the alpha — or, unfortunately, misogynistic — in some men in a variety of ways. Keep reading »
“It’s unfortunate because he’s a great guy, he just has stupid advisors around him.”
This is Reebok CEO Uli Becker, as tweeted by Footwear News, speaking about the rapper Rick Ross. Amongst Ross’ “great guy” credentials? Rapping in a song by Rocko the following lyrics about drugging and raping a woman: “Put Molly all in her champagne, she ain’t even know it/I took her home and I enjoyed that, she ain’t even know it.” When critics decried his rapey lyrics and he got dropped by at least one radio station, Ross called the whole thing a “misinterpretation” because he never said the word “rape.” (Ross also added he wants all the “sexy ladies, the beautiful ladies” to know rape is bad.) After getting dropped as a Reebok spokesperson, two weeks after the initial kerfluffle, he finally issued an apology, calling rape a “crime” and “wrong.”
I was reminded of Rick Ross just yesterday when I read about Constable Jason Peacock, a veteran Toronto police officer who was found guilty of assaulting his then-girlfriend and damaging her home. On Christmas Eve morning 2010, Peacock showed up unannounced at her place and refused to leave; he punched holes in her walls, smashed glasses, overturned her kitchen island, and shook her hard by the shoulders. In her statement, his then-girlfriend wrote, “There was a period where I thought he was going to kill me.” The judge who sentenced Peacock to 100 community service and $4,300 in restitution fees called the officer “a good man who, but for his involvement with [the ex-girlfriend], led not only an unblemished by exemplary life.”
Or what about the late Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, who was defended by John Thompson, Jr., a former Georgetown coach, as a “good man” who did “something that he maybe would be sorry about.” That “something” that Paterno should “maybe” be sorry about was allowing child rape to happen.
Let me be the first (apparently) to tell you, guys. You are not good men. Keep reading »
On April 22, Anna-Megan Raley, under the pseudonym of Claire Crawford, wrote a blog post for CBS Houston titled, “Is This Girl ‘Too Chunky’ To Be An OKC Thunder Cheerleader?” In the post, she spotlighted Kelsey Williams, a three-year veteran of the Thunder Girls, the dance team that performs during the home games of the NBA’s Oklahoma Thunder. Referring to a picture showing Williams in her uniform — a bra-like halter top and short shorts — Raley questioned whether Williams was “bad-looking,” noting she had “pudginess around her waistline.” Although she praised Williams for being “comfortable wearing that tiny little outfit,” she wished the dancer had “a little more on top, if you know what I mean,” and asked readers, “Is this chick ‘too chunky’ to be a cheerleader?” Then the half-assed statement, “We think she’s beautiful,” followed by a poll allowing readers to vote on the options: “She has no business wearing that outfit in front of people” or “She could use some tightening in her midsection.” Keep reading »