06 12 / 2013
"Let me make something clear right up front: you have no real idea what it’s like to be discriminated against on the basis of race. Neither do I. You know why? Because we’re white. We’re white people in America, and that means almost every aspect of the country we live in is geared toward us: 99% of books, television, film, magazines, and even porn is made for us and represents us. Maybe you read (though for some reason I deeply doubt it) my article on the absurdity of #WhiteGirlsRock. It’s absurd because white people don’t need an extra reminder of their value…because it’s reaffirmed for them (for us) every single day by the people we see in the media, by the people that run this country, and yes, even by the people that act as our educators. American education has long been under fire by people who use their brains over the continued teaching that Christopher Columbus was a great dude and a hero and someone we should all celebrate year after year. But you probably still think that, don’t you?"
02 12 / 2013
Social Justice Sally: DC should have Gina Torres play Wonder Woman!
Alex: Weren’t you complaining about how The Last Airbender movie changed the character’s races a few years ago?
SJS: I’m saying that the characters’ backgrounds were integrated with their cultural history!
Alex: So the fact that Diana has a Greco-Roman mythological background isn’t important?
SJS: Avatar had real life subtext, not just mythology!
Alex: Aside from the fact that the series is named after a Hindu religious concept, how many Tibetans, Chinese, or Inuit in real life can control elements by waving their arms?
SJS: [DEAFENING SILENCE]
Actually there is a huge difference in that whiteness isn’t underrepresented in TV or film in the Global North/West. Racist geek culture never seems to have a problem with the whitewashing of people in comics, film, video games, and television. We’re told again and again that it’s all about who’d be best in the role, what makes sense, it just so happens the character is white. It isn’t until there’s a PoC playing a canonical white character that there’s an issue. See: arguments around Donald Glover playing Peter Parker and the disgustingly racist comments brought on by the suggestion that a PoC would dare play that character.
All of this. The majority of geek fandom never seems to get mad when chromatic characters or shows get whitewashed, but even a hint that a PoC might play a formerly white character, and the tidal wave of truly awful racism begins.
Recent examples are: the casting of Michael B. Jordan as the Human Torch, asking for a female and/or chromatic Doctor Who, casting Idris Elba as James Bond, etc. Go look at the comments for articles about each of these things, look at the people arguing how the character can only be white, that they would look wrong if played by someone not white, count up how many people use the word “tradition” to keep their characters white. Hell, make a fucking bingo card of all the racist reasoning for keeping a character white.
And again, that’s just in the last six months.
Plus Greco-Roman history is not exclusively white, despite history’s racist attempts to paint it so. So asking for a black woman as Wonder Woman is not wrong nor historically inaccurate.
23 11 / 2013
"Fetishes, on their own, aren’t harmful, wrong, or shameful things. Whatever floats your boat is fine—as long as it harms no one. The important element to fetishes that don’t harm people, though, is that they all involve a degree of performance and the ability to move in and out of fetish space. If you have a thing for people wearing ostrich-feather tails, your partner is free to prance around the house in hot pants and a tail as often as she likes; and when she’s not into it, she can put the tail away.
Racial fetishes, however, are based on objectifying someone because of her race, which isn’t something she can control. An Asian woman can’t choose to take her Asianness off for the day, a Black woman can’t decide to not be Black while she walks down the street. These are lived, inhabited identities that cannot be turned on and off; there is no safeword for race. You live these identities throughout your life, experiencing the good and bad things associated with them, interacting with your community through and around this identity.
Someone who says he (and it is usually a he) ‘prefers’ women of a specific race isn’t exercising a preference based on orientation or experience. He’s viewing certain kinds of women as dateable material on the basis of racial discrimination; and it’s telling that most men with racial ‘preferences’—which are really racial fetishes—use very racist, stereotypical descriptions when talking about why they ‘prefer’ women of specific races. Asian women are meek, say, or Latinas are fiery, or Black women are exotic and know how to deliver in bed."
Why I am not here for race players and racial fetishizers.
“The important element to fetishes that don’t harm people, though, is that they all involve a degree of performance and the ability to move in and out of fetish space.”
18 11 / 2013
this right here, this comment right here pisses me the fuck off.
you’re in your every right to like one company more than the other but cite “better women” as your reason is not only insulting to the amazing, wonderful female characters DC has created but also hailing marvel’s female characters for all the wrong reason.
If you said your reason for liking one company more than the other is because Marvel treats its female characters better or is starting to, i would completely agree with you and probably have a discussion.
BUT THIS. THIS IS NOT OKAY
There’s also the fact that it goes against every notion of feminism ever.
"Better Women" is reducing a whole group of women to one broad gesture, and using it to degrade another group of women.
No woman is better than another, and DC’s women certainly aren’t terrible. They’re amazing. And so are Marvel’s; all women are.
DC treats it’s women like shit. That’s not their fault, and it doesn’t make them less than.
Here’s the thing. I knew this was coming.
Every time a Jennifer Lawrence or Anne Hathaway challenges an interviewer’s question on the basis of sexism/feminism – asking why their male counterpart got the “good” question about his work and she got the question about her outfit and workout routine we come a little bit closer. We do a tiny bit better.
Moments like these are praised, especially on Tumblr. Gifset after gifset of JLaw or Anne Hathaway makes its way across my dash with thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of notes, praising the actresses for rejecting the systematic sexism thrown their way in interviews or speaking out or being vocal for (white) feminism.
Yet when Nicole Beharie does it, we get a soundbite turned gifset stripped of its context, spun around, and flipped on its head to paint Beharie, Fox’s breakout star, and Black America’s latest hero, as some fronting, demeaning, sexist, spewing divisive, anti-feminist logic with a misogynistic undercurrent.
HUH! Well will you look at that! It’s the Miley Cyrus twerking debacle all over again. As I scroll through the “Nicole Beharie” tag I’ve tracked on tumblr I find myself taking a deep cleansing breath to rid myself of the frustration that’s come over me, and realize the smell of sexism and feel of racism permeating my lungs is all too familiar. And expected.
Beharie’s comment about preferring Marvel over DC because they have better women, wasn’t “reducing a whole group of women to one broad gesture, and using it to degrade another group of women.” On the contrary, she was praising Marvel for it’s better treatment, visibility, and writing of their women/female characters – thereby declaring her preference for Marvel’s story telling. The darnest thing is that somehow when I watched this interview, I squealed in a total fangirl moment that consisted of a gasp & “me toooo.” Y’know…because I got it!
Dear white feminists who don’t know the true meaning of intersectionality, take your puppet strings and weak attempts elsewhere.
*Defaulters refers to the default gender, sexual orientation, (& in this article in particular) race, etc. here in America. I seriously shouldn’t need to spell it out any more than that. :O)
What in the FUCKING FUCK? How does anyone read that very brief exchange, even stripped of context, as ANYTHING OTHER THAN “I prefer Marvel because their women characters are treated and written better?”
Oh, yeah, right. Racism, that’s how. JFC, people.
16 11 / 2013
There were 20 of us testing that year. I was the only African-American woman and Jordan Peele was the only African-American male there.
[After two hours, my name was] called. The assistant director introduced himself to me and asked me to check the set and if I needed anything. As I checked the table, set up my wigs, and props, I noticed that Lorne Michaels, Seth Meyers and Marci Klein were sitting at a table à la “American Idol” adjacent to the camera and behind them in the bleachers were possibly the writers. It was about 10-15 people, mostly white men.
I started my audition.
'Hi, I’m Nefetari Spencer and this is Michelle Obama.'
Six-point-five minutes and seven characters later I said, ‘Thank you.’ Two people in the hall told me, ‘That was so funny, you were great.’
I found out I didn’t get it the day they announced the new cast members. It was hard to digest because it seemed kismet. I thought of the contract that I signed that could have changed my life and about me moving to NYC. With Maya Rudolph no longer being on the show, they were going to need a Michelle Obama. I mean all of the signs were there. I had been working tirelessly for years to get to that level. I couldn’t help but feel sad, but I also felt I left my heart on that stage and that’s all I could do."
Black comedian and actress Nefetari Spencer on auditioning for Saturday Night Live (via 2brwngrls)
the most damning part of this whole thing, for me, is that apparently jordan peele didn’t make it either (unless i am mistaken? was he ever on snl??). i am not familiar with this woman’s work but i am very familiar with peele’s work from madtv and key & peele. no one can, in all seriousness, claim that peele is not funnier than the vast majority of the performers snl has had in the last few years.
14 11 / 2013
"There’s a form of mental torture called “gaslighting,” its name taken from a play in which a man convinces his wife that the gas lights in their home she sees brightening and dimming are, in fact, maintaining a steady glow. His ultimate goal is to drive his her into a mental institution and take all her money, and soon the woman ends up in an argument with herself about whether she’s losing her mind. American race relations have a similar narrative: An entire set of minorities confident that the everyday slights they’re seeing are real and hurtful, and an entire set of other people assuring them that they’re wrong."