Category Archives: Sexism

I’m Not a Sensitive Black Female.

by Kiana, x-posted from Propertalks.

I absolutely love Serena William’s photo for ESPN’s “Body Issue.” Not nearly as much as I love Dwight’s, but it’s definitely worth a spot on my refrigerator door. I’m hoping it will deter me from all things fried.  Okay, maybe not all things fried since Serena looks like she knows how to befriend a Twinkies or two.

Aside from the obvious touch ups (where’s the cellulite? Hello Beyonceweave) the good folk at ESPN did a good enough job to stop me from bemoaning yet another magazine cover with a half nekked (yes, we say nekked ’round these parts) woman.

ESPN did well, though I won’t go as far as  former Vibe and KING Magazine editor, Jozen Cummings, and hope that  larger magazines with a predominately male, and white, demographic publish more covers like this one, or KINGs, for men such as him to appreciate, whatever that means.

I agree with Cummings, Black women should be celebrated in the mainstream more often, but there’s something about this article that has irritated me since last week. It isn’t his quick dismissal that the cover is no Saartjie Bartman or how he does not acknowledge the fact that Black women have been subjected to years of sexual exploitation. Rather, the thing that bothers me the most about Cumming’s piece is that he used KING magazine to defend the celebration of Black women and our bodies, when KING magazine did none of that.

When KING flopped, I was happy to see it go.  KING was able to provide an alternative to the mostly white, mostly skinny women who grace the covers of most men’s magazines, but that doesn’t mean it was any less misogynistic, sexist, chauvinistic and all those things that made it controversial.

I know that KING wasn’t made for me, but as the type of woman the magazine claimed to celebrate (I am both Black and curvy;  in college Angela and our friends referred to my butt as if it was its own entity: The Kiana Booty) I never felt a connection or a sense of pride when I saw the magazine on newsstands.  In short, I never felt celebrated.

Instead I felt the women on display were cheapened, used, and angry (peep the photos of KING magazine in Google Images and you’ll be hard pressed to find a cover with a woman smiling). More…

Your Monday Random-Ass Roundup: Nuts about ACORN

Today in my office, a pimp and his prostitute came looking for advice on where to score some blow and advice on how to fill out their W-2s. When I told them what they could do, they accused me of encouraging them to engage in public masturbation. I hope Beck and Co. don’t get hold of the video:


It’s hard out here for a pimp. No, really. James O’Keefe and Hannah Giles (not pictured above) risked their lives, limbs and a camcorder to infiltrate the den of “thug criminality” that is the largest organization of poor and working families in America.

This is a time for us to appreciate their deep commitment to maligning ACORN, which clearly is an issue of utmost importance in these most troubled and divisive of times. I am sure their hearts and motives are pure.

Now if we can, let us move forward and consider some of the news of the weekend:

1. As always, if you want to learn something new or interesting or possibly infuriating about health care reform, reading Ezra Klein is essential. (Blackink)

2. Are pregnancy, bunions, acne, or receiving therapy or counseling pre-existing conditions that might allow health insurers a reason to deny people coverage? Of course. Best health care system in the world, eh? (Blackink)

3. Officially, according to a U.S. Census report, the Bush years were full of fail. h/t John Cole. (Blackink)

4. Go with your first instincts, Roxanne Wilson. (Quadmoniker)

5. Massachusetts might appoint an interim replacement for the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by the late Ted Kennedy by the end of the week. (Blackink)

6. In an e-mail sent to friends and supporters last week, Van Jones made his first public comments since resigning from the White House. Said Jones: “Of course, some supporters actually think I will be more effective on the ‘outside.’ Maybe so. But those ideas always remind me of that old canard about Winston Churchill. After he lost a hard-fought election, a friend told him: ‘Winston, this really is just a blessing in disguise.’ Churchill quipped: ‘Damned good disguise.’ I can certainly relate to that sentiment right now. :)” (Blackink)

7. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty is cutting federally funded child care in the poorest wards of the District. Making it more difficult for single mothers to bring in money (or inviting child neglect cases) seems like a counter intuitive way of addressing city budget issues, at best. (Shani-o)

8. Something we probably won’t see in any campaign brochures from Texas Gov. Rick Perry next year: Texas remains first in the nation in rates of uninsured residents and uninsured children. Upholding family values and rebuffing creeping socialism … I love my home state. (Blackink)

9. Also related: Perry is not a very smart or honest man. (Blackink)

10. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH) backed off prior claims that President Obama is a socialist because, uh … he’s not one. (Blackink)

11. Among those at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was the clear choice for 2012 Republican presidential nominee. The 600 voters said abortion was the most important issue in determining their choice. What else is there to say about that? (Blackink)

12. Also at the Values Voter Summit, the chief of staff for Republican Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma made the case that: 1. we should trust the sexual instincts of prepubescent boys; 2. bigotry against homosexuals is fine by him; and 3. “all pornography is homosexual pornography.” Video here. Sigh … Michael Schwartz and his ilk are almost completely beyond ridicule. (Blackink)

13. So rather than resort to ridicule, Amanda Marcotte moves the conversation forward to talk about some of the very real problems with porn. Which don’t include making boys turn gay. (Blackink).

14. Don’t you love links about porn? Yes. Well, here’s another: “The awkward truth, according to one study, is that 90 percent of 8-to-16-year-olds have viewed pornography online. Considering the standard climax to even the most vanilla hard-core scene today, that means there is an entire generation of young people who think sex ends with a money shot to the face.” Whoa. (Blackink)

15. Feminist Finance speculates on where she’d be if she hadn’t rejected all the “dudely money advice” she’s received over the years. (Shani-o)

16. BitchPh.D puts out a call for volunteers for the 40 days for CHOICE campaign. (Blackink)

17. For John and Elizabeth Edwards’ sake, I hope his former aide is lying about this: “Mr. Edwards once calmed an anxious Ms. Hunter by promising her that after his wife died, he would marry her in a rooftop ceremony in New York with an appearance by the Dave Matthews Band.” Please let that be a lie. (Blackink)

18. Let us mourn the death of American civility with Jude at First Draft. (Blackink)

19. Bruce Bartlett remembers Irving Kristol, father of neoconservatism. (Jamelle)

20. According to Marcus Buckingham at the Huff Post, women have grown increasingly unhappy as they made professional and social progress over the past 40 years. There’s a lot to digest in the provocative piece, and I get the feeling something is missing from this analysis. I need someone smarter than me to fill in the gaps. (Blackink)

21. After six years, Leslie Bennetts says The New York Times is finally attempting to set the record straight about the “Opt-Out Revolution” – well-off women who quit their careers to become full-time mothers. (Blackink)

22. Crooked Timber highlights a recent op-ed in The Chronicle of Higher Education that points out the problem of poor, black and Hispanic students choosing to go to less-demanding college institutions and an overreliance on standardized tests. (Blackink)

23. Colorism isn’t just the purview of black folk — it exists in the South Asian community as well. Sepia Mutiny notes a campaign that’s attempting to address the fear of darker skin. (Shani-o)

24. After charges were dropped last week against five men accused of raping a Hofstra University freshman, Amanda Hess parses some of the many problems of living in a rape culture. That includes false rape accusations. (Blackink)

25. In case there was ever any doubt, Andrew Sullivan has major pull. (Blackink)

26. While I was watching the Giants thump the Cowboys and the season premiere of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” apparently Neil Patrick Harris and the Emmy Awards were putting on quite the show. (Blackink)

27. I’m finding myself agreeing with Alyssa again: you should definitely get down to your nearest newstand or bookstore, pick up a copy of the latest New Yorker and read Ta-Nehisi’s piece about MF Doom and hip-hop. And, like her, I might quibble a bit with a few parts of the feature. Then again, we’re both from the South. (Blackink)

28. Harry Allen asks if Kanye is doomed to become “the next O.J.”? At the least, Kanye’s “victimization” of Taylor Swift has drawn out some of the bigots among us. (Blackink)

29. Nearly four-fifths of NFL players are bankrupt or struggling financially within two years of retirement. The Business Insider looks at some of the reasons why. (Blackink)

30. And because I’m from Houston and hate the Dallas Cowboys, I really enjoyed this:

Feel free to drop some links that would be of interest or chat among yourselves. Let’s hope we’re all in for a great week.


Sexual Assault Prevention Tips Guaranteed to Work.

Blackink shared this on Twitter, and I thought it was worth reposting here. Without further ado, via No, Not You, here are ten sexual assault prevention tips that are guaranteed to work!

1. Don’t put drugs in people’s drinks in order to control their behavior.

2. When you see someone walking by themselves, leave them alone!

3. If you pull over to help someone with car problems, remember not to assault them!

4. NEVER open an unlocked door or window uninvited.

5. If you are in an elevator and someone else gets in, DON’T ASSAULT THEM!

6. Remember, people go to laundry to do their laundry, do not attempt to molest someone who is alone in a laundry room.

7. USE THE BUDDY SYSTEM! If you are not able to stop yourself from assaulting people, ask a friend to stay with you while you are in public.

8. Always be honest with people! Don’t pretend to be a caring friend in order to gain the trust of someone you want to assault. Consider telling them you plan to assault them. If you don’t communicate your intentions, the other person may take that as a sign that you do not plan to rape them.

9. Don’t forget: you can’t have sex with someone unless they are awake!

10. Carry a whistle! If you are worried you might assault someone “on accident” you can hand it to the person you are with, so they can blow it if you do.

And, ALWAYS REMEMBER: if you didn’t ask permission and then respect the answer the first time, you are committing a crime- no matter how “into it” others appear to be.

Without getting too ranty, let me just say that the sexual assault prevention tips given to women are such garbage. Rapists are responsible for stopping rape, not victims. It’s like the Canadian case I posted about a few weeks ago: rape is never a ‘crime of opportunity,’ and especially not if you create the opportunity by drugging a woman.

These tips made me laugh, but they’re also awesomely simple and effective. If we could circulate this among boys and young men, while simultaneously teaching everyone how to exercise good judgment and be aware of their surroundings, I think it’s safe to say that we’d all be much better off.

Semenya May Be Intersex.

A few days ago, I lamented that South African runner Caster Semenya was forced to perform gender to allay the public’s suspicions that she was a man.

I still lament that fact.

But right now, having read unofficial reports that Semenya is intersex, I feel very sad for the 18-year-old, who is discovering something life-changing in front of the public eye. Renee at Womanist Musings writes, much better than I could:

Today, Caster is the same person as she was before the intimate details of her physical construct were revealed to the world. Unless she has her testicles removed and takes estrogens, her racing career may be over. It may well seem to her, that she is being punished for being who she is and in this, she would be correct. Not only will she be prevented from competing in a sport she clearly loves, the intimacies of her body are now news for public fodder. Intersex bodies should not be treated as though they are sickness that needs to be cured, nor should she face social stigmatization for the narrow-mindedness of some.

Perhaps she’ll end up like Erik Schinegger or Maria Pinto or Santhi Soundarajan, who have gone on to lead very productive lives. At the least, though, I hope she’s getting the counseling she needs and that she will be able to withdraw from prying eyes for the time being.

Caster Semenya’s Answer.


I suppose this was inevitable.

Caster Semenya, South African runner we’ve talked about here and here, got her nails painted and donned a sequined tunic in SA glossy You magazine. According to Tracy at Salon:

Instead of her yellow-and-green tracksuit, she dons a sleek black dress that covers up her washboard abs; gold jewelry, not sweat, drips from her neck; and her cornrows are combed out into a bouncy coiffure. The South African glossy declares in a headline: “Wow, Look at Caster Now!” Also: “Athletics star Caster Semenya as you’ve never seen her before – transformed by YOU from powergirl to glamour girl.”

Well, Caster certainly does look glamorous.

But my first reaction was: how incredibly sad. How sad that this powerhouse of an athlete, this strong human being, this person whose abilities are the admiration of runners the world over, had to sit in a makeup artist’s chair and let stylists drape her with sparkly clothing. All of this, in order to prove to us that she’s a woman. More…

When ‘Opportunity’ Knocks.

I have no commentary on what comes below except to say *headdesk*. Repeatedly. From the Curvature:


Trigger Warning

Three years ago in B.C., Canada, a woman woke up in the bed of the man in the image to the left. She was bleeding and bruised, and though she remembered going out for a night on town, she didn’t remember how she got in this bed, or what had happened to her. Medical examinations determined that a man had vaginally penetrated her, and also found sedatives in her system.

The man’s name is Fernando Manuel Alves, and he pleaded guilty to sexual assault in the rape of this woman. He was initially charged with sexually assaulting three other women, and administering a noxious substance, though those charges were eventually dropped.

Despite pleading guilty, though, to the rape of a woman who has described since feeling the loss of both her will to live and ability to feel safe, Alves is not going to spend a single day in jail. No, instead, he received a 9 month conditional sentence, and placement on the sex offender registry.

Why, exactly, is Alves not being sent to jail for his violent crime, when non-violent criminals are sent there all the time? Well, that would be the point of particular interest:

In sentencing, the B.C. provincial court judge said Alves was not pathologically dangerous but had committed a crime of opportunity.

The judge ordered that Alves be placed on the sex-offender registry for the next 20 years but that he not spend time in jail.

Yes. Seemingly, since the judge felt the need to express as much during sentencing, Alves is not going to jail because he is believed to be not pathologically dangerous. And the way we know he is not dangerous is because his crime, his rape, was one of of opportunity.

One can only assume that when a rape is called a “crime of opportunity,” the “opportunity” in question is a woman being in the rapist’s presence.

That’s right. According to that judge, a woman’s mere presence means she’s presented an opportunity to any man in the vicinity to rape her. Go read the rest of Cara’s post. Send it to your friends — especially the ones who think it’s a woman’s job to protect herself from all the men out there who only rape when given the ‘opportunity’ to do so.

Dangling Conversation.

Last March, after a very fraught period during the run-up to the presidential election we got to listen to Barack Obama make a personal and moving speech about race – not only its role in his life but that of America as a nation. After we breathed a sigh of relief that the Reverend Wright nonsense would disappear from the headlines for a while and basked in the  brief warm fuzzies some of us mused about whether Hillary Clinton would make ever deliver a similar address about gender. Some speculated that it could be a step in the right direction toward having a candid discussion about the sexism which played a heavy part in criticisms of Clinton during her campaign, not to mention the overall patriarchy that contributes to pervasive gender inequality and misogyny even in our daily lives.

But we women knew that speech wouldn’t happen.

It didn’t happen for the same reasons that this post very nearly didn’t happen. More…