Wednesday, March 24, 2010
I've discovered a new use for this blog, though. The Wire! The Greatest Show on TV, one of the faves.
Thursday, February 04, 2010
As a woman endowed with lady parts of any size, take note: Your body is a tool to be used for profit, shock value and publicity. And when a company or cause wants to send a message, you and your ilk will no doubt be called upon to strip down and show the boys what you got.
The latest offender is Love magazine, a new fashion magazine that grabbed attention by putting plus-sized singer and columnist Elizabeth Ditto on their inaugural cover last summer (she later claimed that her image was altered to appear bigger than her actual body size). Their octople-cover third issue features top models wearing nothing but their birthday suits. What else could we expect from such a classy mag?
Of course they have a very good reason for baring the ladies' skin: "We took eight women who are generally acknowledged as the most beautiful in the world, got them to show off their bodies -- widely regarded as the most perfect in the world -- and photographed them all in exactly the same position for for the cover," Editor-in-Chief Katie Grand said. "We did this to show how much they differed physically from one another, which is why we also printed their measurements."
I don't believe for a second that they seriously thought that people would see eight nude super-models, including Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, and begin to see the beauty in their differences. Besides, their measurements may vary slightly, but all eight models are stick thin. Not exactly a celebration of diversity. And I'm not about promoting fatness or thinness or any other body type as ideal or normal or "real" (I mean, Naomi Campbell is just as real of a woman as I am), but I don't think that exploiting the nude female form provides any awareness for anything but the magazine. And if Love is about self-promotion and shock value at any costs, the least they could do is own up to it.
Another issue is the fact that a nude woman has become the advertisement du jour. PETA routinely exploits women for the betterment of their cause. Men's magazines and network TV shows may not be able to show the entree, but they definitely advertise female near-nudity as a side dish. Films with gratuitous female nudity like Monster's Ball are rewarded and applauded for their "edgy" love scenes that conveniently keep the men protected. These images aren't celebrating femininity or the human body; they're used purely to draw attention to a product (or, in PETA's case, an idea) that is being pushed.
And if the shoe were on the other foot, with males being asked to bear everything for the sake of commerce, would these types of outcomes still be acceptable? Doubtful.
Related: 8 Naked Supermodels = Diversity
Monday, January 25, 2010
Good online times!
Friday, January 22, 2010
I think it's incredibly important for Black women to be a part of the pro-choice discussion, not only to support the legality of abortions, but also to help take away the stigma the practice has in our communities. I don't think anyone, of any culture or ethnicity, is thrilled to think of women getting abortions, but Black people in particular are vigilant in their out-and-out non-support or in their silence. It has something to do with the gnarled relationship with "The Church" and our stricter, more absolute ideas about sluts and virgins, that shames a lot of Black women out of getting them or of ever speaking out about their experiences.
TheRoot.com ran a really excellent piece today encouraging Black pro-choicers not to sit out the debate. Here's a passage:
To the untrained eye, it would appear that African Americans are not concerned with abortion rights, one way or another. But that perception could not be further from reality.
According to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control, black women accounted for 36.4 percent of all abortion services performed in 2006. Black women are roughly 8.5 percent of the national population, yet we seek more pregnancy termination services than other minority groups. Yet, when the right to choose is under siege, many in our community choose to remain silent.
Google "African Americans and abortion," and you’ll find many links to sites decrying "genocide" and how "Planned Parenthood has killed more blacks than the Ku Klux Klan;" few provide straightforward information about abortion statistics in the African-American community. Discussions about race and reproductive rights are hard to navigate. Statistically, African Americans are more religious than the general population in the United States; most major religions frown upon the practice of abortion. Then there’s the fact that African Americans have had a unique history in America: We’ve often been the targets of sterilization programs. (Along with American Indian, mentally handicapped and Puerto Rican women living on the island.) The original founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, was also a staunch believer in eugenics, and made specific references to "racial regeneration" through the promotion of abortion.Where do you stand on the issue? Ever had an abortion? Ever had a baby?
Read: Blacks and Roe v. Wade [TheRoot.com]
Thursday, January 14, 2010
Here's a snippet of the story, penned by Rajul Punjabi (I googled to see what her deal was, but could only find a Facebook page):
Essence magazine has caused a bit of a stir by putting NFL yum-yum Reggie Bush on the cover of February's "Black men, love, and relationships" issue. It seems that his status as Mr. Kim Kardashian has a lot of panties in a knot—and not in a good way.
She went on to quote a BET.com blog that had captured a bit of the Essence.com comments about the cover and said this (emphasis mine) :
One crotchety commenter says, "Why put a man who clearly prefers the bottom of the barrel of white women than a good black woman on your cover? Clearly, he has no love for the sisters. This magazine is supposed to empower black women not remind us of the disadvantages that we face in today's society. Please don't insult our intelligence."
But in this day and age, a committed, loving relationship—like that of "Bush and the Tush"—should to be celebrated rather than berated. We applaud Essence and Reggie Bush—because empowerment begins with an open mind.
Beyond the clueless-ness of the author, the comments for the story were a whole other story. One said, "you love who you love." Err, that's great but that's not the issue here.
Another wrote, "I think that the women who complained about this article are exactly the reason they can't find that Black man they want. They are too busy worrying about the ones who are taken." Since when did expressing an opinion make you an undesirable romantic partner? And again, missing the issue.
I noticed after this whole scandal went down last week that a lot of women had this "I don't see what the big deal is" attitude towards the cover. If you don't have an opinion about it, good for you, but don't belittle other people and make them feel like they are overreacting for having a discussion about a publication that is for them, supported by them and, ultimately, should be aware of their concerns. I'm sure the folks at Essence were happy for the feedback, so don't attempt to write off the issue as trivial just because it didn't hit one of your nerves.
YourTango: Is Interracial Dating Racist?
A Belle In Brooklyn: Reflections: Reggie Bush
The Beautiful Struggler: Deep Cover
Friday, January 08, 2010
[Gabourey Sidibe, who everyone says is 250-pounds, covers V's "Size" issue. Another cover features teeny Dakota Fanning]
Most magazine's have some sort of special issue that celebrates the beauty-maligned: Vogue does their annual Age issue to prove that (shocker!) women retain and even acquire great style past age 40; Glamour did a Size issue that they made sure was seen 'round the world. The purpose of that seemed to be more, "See, perfectly-proportioned women are hot even when they're not really skinny."
With the average American woman wearing a double-digit dress size (I didn't have to research that fact; it's everywhere), media companies are running and jumping on the plus-size bandwagon. But most do it really, really wrong.
First off, instead of assuming that different women have different bodies, most of the packages have a sort of zoo animal feel to them that assumes that the reader is thin and learning something new about being plus-sized, when the reality is probably the reverse. And the women are always marginalized. Like, "here's the fat people section," instead of casually dropping a few bigger models in a spread or on the cover of the magazine. The ta-da factor, if you will, is annoying.
V's Size issue is pretty great though. From what I've seen online, they truly celebrate women's bodies instead of giving themselves a pat on the back for recognizing the non-thin population (I'm jabbing you, Glamour).
And, really, I think that's all women want: A celebration of who we are, just as we are. So many magazines seem to exist to change us, to get us to be our best selves, which in and of itself assumes that we aren't already satisfied. There's talk of how to get a man (singledom is hell, y'all) and how to lose weight (fatties to the back) and how to get whiter teeth and how to protect ourselves against breast cancer and how to get pregnant and how to, how to, how to, how to.
[“I loved the opportunity to show that you can be beautiful and sexy outside the narrow interpretations that normally define us,” said V's photog Solve Sundsbo]
What I also love is the fleshiness of the models in the V shoot. I know that sounds pervy, but whenever you see plus-sized models in magazines they've always been posed or airbrushed to appear as these perfectly proportioned people that are just slightly bigger than the average model, and probably around the same size as the average woman. V's shoot seems to not be afraid to show a little jelly. Again, I mean that in the least pervy way.
What do you think of "Size" issues?
Plus-size models buck thin trend in V magazine -- MSNBC.com