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Ray Rice Inspired Makeup Tutorial

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Privilege and Using Individual Compliments/Insults To Derail Conversations About Oppression

When I discuss how oppression functions structurally, often times among the replies that I receive are compliments or insults. See, for some reason (usually lack of understanding of structural power, oppression, privilege and intersectionality, coupled with that person’s personal “like” or “dislike” of me) people think replying with a compliment or insult is somehow contributing to that topic. As if it validates or invalidates complex issues. As if their personal feelings about me makes oppression any more or less true. Racism isn’t “true” because someone White likes me or “false” because someone White hates me. Sexism isn’t “true” because men like me or “false” because men hate me. That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works. And to be clear, I am not agreeing with the ignorance that accompanies lack of lived experience where the privileged will suggest that the reality of oppression in our lives can be discussed “objectively.” (The oppressor and the oppressed are invested and affected. How I feel about this matters, not just how I think about it; this isn’t divergent.) I am suggesting that compliments and insults are regularly used to assuage guilt, derail or harm, in this context.

A topic that I find both helpful at times (if discussed mostly with Black women) and triggering many times (if discussed with people who degrade Black women) is beauty politics. Obviously this complicates for Black women because of how sexism, misogyny, misogynoir, colourism, fat shaming/ableism/classism (for some), racism, and anti-Blackness itself impact perceptions of Black women’s appearance and thereby humanity; as they’re connected. This impact is not solely about “insults” without repercussions. It’s about oppression. “Ugliness” ascribed to Blackness directly correlates to how Black women are harmed, degraded and deemed “deserving” of violence. Beauty has never been “just about looks,” but ascribing value/non-value on humanity itself, and excluding Black women (especially salient for Black trans women) and Black people in general from “humanity.”

Thus, when I discuss Black women and beauty politics, the very last things I am interested in are insincere compliments from White women. I…never said I thought that I am ugly. I…don’t think that. They do. They’re socialized to think that. (In fact, everyone is and unlearning this is important for Black women. Not because we “need” to be “pretty” in an aesthetic sense, but because perception of “ugliness” places our humanity itself as non-existent because of anti-Blackness/misogynoir.) Thus, out of guilt about how White supremacy and Eurocentric beauty standards centers their appearance (and even in the margins; i.e. who is the face of fat positivity and plus size web sites, for example, White women; White privilege still exists in the margins) they feel the need to force a compliment in to assuage their discomfort with their guilt over this itself and over whatever conversation I might be having.


Conversely, when I discuss beauty politics and oppression, some White women (and at times non-Black women of colour) immediately decide that I am “jealous” of them. (In White Women’s Aggression Against Black Women In Public Space, I mentioned how beauty stores are often very hostile spaces for me because of White women’s aggression.) Jealousy? Because I discuss how colourism attributes to State violence on Black women and longer prison sentences for darker Black women? Or because I discuss how White women force themselves into Black women’s natural hair spaces lying about “shared experiences/oppression” yet Black women are still facing discrimination for natural hair in the workplace? Or because I discuss the sheer violence involved in the cishet Black male gaze when it perpetuates the notion that I better think that Lupita Nyong’o is “ugly” but Amber Rose is “beautiful?”

The lazy responses of compliments and insults never actually address the structural nature of oppression. And this compliment/insult nonsense doesn’t only happen when I discuss beauty, though for obvious reasons it occurs most frequently then. It happens when I discuss Black women’s epistemology and people’s exploitation of my work; Whites rush in to tell me that I am “smart” (because they think sheer consumption plus compliment equals “allyship”) or call me “stupid” based on me using language that they don’t understand. It happens when I discuss street harassment in Black communities (and this is not an assertion that it happens nowhere else nor have I ever asserted that); some Black men rush in to advise how they "aren’t like that" and would be "nice" to a "beautiful Black woman" like me and how they'love' Black women,” while others rush to engage in misogynoiristic insults or assert that I “hate” Black men. And…Black men using the "you hate Black men" line basically functions as "you wish you were White." It is violent, meant to harm and carries a weight with a long history, especially since Black women are expected to serve and support Black men but are deemed “divisive” or “hateful” for expecting anything in return. 

What people approach me with as an “opinion” about oppression is usually unfounded, anti-Black, misogynoiristic, and includes expecting my humanity to be a “debatable” topic. There is no “both sides” of an issue when one side is dehumanization and the other side is survival. My humanity is not debatable. These are the insults. The compliments usually come from someone privileged (usually Whites/men) in terms of whatever facet of oppression I am speaking of as again, a way to control/derail the conversation and assuage their guilt. I’m not here for coddling White guilt or men’s need to center themselves and be told "not all men." I do not care.

Another way this compliment/insult tactic operates is to silence my dissent about exploitation of my work and my words. People rave about how they were “inspired” by my writing so felt the need to regurgitate my words without citation, or violate my content use policy altogether, if academics (and the abuse by academics [and journalists] is daily and unrelenting). I don’t care about their “inspirations.” I care about the fact that people think exploiting Black women’s lives and labor is “allyship” and justice, and how the compliments about “inspiration” quickly turn to insults and violence if I demand consent and accountability from them. Compliments and insults function in the same way when they come from people who do not value my humanity or Black women’s humanity, in general. Even what some White people think is “kindness" is actually violence. Being applauded as someone to exploit as a Fact Portal is not a compliment.

In terms of dealing with racism and White supremacy, one of the reasons why Whites insist insulting White people is “racism” isn’t just because they cling to pathetically simplistic, structurally incorrect dictionary definitions of racism in order to false equalize structural power Whiteness has to Black people reacting in self-defense from anti-Blackness that dehumanizes us. It’s because again, they cling to the idea that an insult is an adequate response, a valid interrogatory and critique of oppression. Thus, if they elevate compliments and insults to that which can remove or critique oppression, they engage in epistemic violence. In other words, the notion that Whites’ definitions of their violence and power are the only valid ones and that replies meant either assuage their own discomfort or inflict personal harm in any way addresses actual oppression, is how they seek to control language/concepts and use it as a form of violence.  

Because of this epistemic violence, they try to equalize actual slurs used against Black women/Black people/people of colour that are/facilitate oppression as structural with insults Black people make of Whites. This is why some still engage in the epistemic violence of suggesting “mayo” and “cracker” are slurs (they are not) with the gravity and weight of “nigger.” This is why they use the word "racist" as "nigger" as well, calling Black people “racist nigger” as a slur; when we suggest their words/behaviors are racist, we’re stating a fact not calling them a name. I mean, they even try to suggest “not loving Whites” “oppresses” Whites, when it does not. The oppressor demands the language, the labor, the time, the space, the bodies and even the love of the oppressed. All violence. White supremacist thinking can only support external individualism. It doesn’t support introspection. It doesn’t support examining institutional racism and all of its tentacles into every space. (Everything is an “isolated incident” to them.)

I’m not interested in anyone “liking” or “disliking” me because they think doing so is some sort of anti-oppression praxis or proof that oppression is not what it is. I’m not interested in anyone so guilt-ridden or intellectually dishonest to think that compliments and insults can address structural oppression and how it impacts both individuals and institutions. And since people cannot divest of misogynoir to be able to think about how compliments about what good fact portals and doormats Black women make for them, I’m not interested in their compliments meant to mask their dehumanizing gaze, their theft of my work and words. And I’ll never view their interpersonal abuse as valid criticism of structural oppression.

Related Posts: 10 Ways That White Feminist and White Anti-Racism Allies Are Abusive To Me In Social MediaOn People Who Respond To My Stress With Unfunny, Never Clever “Jokes”

In addition to the difficulty of comparing data sets of varying size and depth, however, comparing male versus female online “harassment” is problematic for many reasons.

First, as Young points out, women’s harassment is more likely to be gender-based and that has specific, discriminatory harms rooted in our history. The study pointed out that the harassment targeted at men is not because they are men, as is clearly more frequently the case with women. It’s defining because a lot of harassment is an effort to put women, because they are women, back in their “place.”

Second, online comparisons like this decontextualize the problem of harassment, as though a connection to what happens offline is trivial or inconsequential.

Third, the binary frame camouflages the degree to which harassment of people, often men, is frequently aimed at people who defy rigid gender and sexuality rules. LGBT youth experience online bullying at three times the rate of their straight peers.

For girls and women, harassment is not just about “un-pleasantries.” It’s often about men asserting dominance, silencing, and frequently, scaring and punishing them.
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Christina H. Sommers “Are Video Games Sexist?”

"Are video games rife with sexism? Do they promote a culture of misogyny and violence that must be dismantled? My answer is no.”

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6 Insane Stereotypes That Movies Can't Seem to Get Over:

We’ve talked before about how some negative stereotypes from the past are, somehow, still showing up in today’s movies, and even in recent video games. But those are our grandfathers’ prejudices, just in a modern form, like an old man cursing at an Asian nurse with a megaphone (that’s why we don’t visit, Grandpa). It turns out there are other, more subtle ways that Hollywood has been enforcing wrongheaded ideas right under our noses, and sometimes in our favorite films. Like …

#6. Everyone in Africa Is Uncivilized or a Warlord:


In Hollywood movies, Africa is a shitty place to be. One of the most iconic scenes in action movie history comes at the end of Independence Day, when we see that the invading army of aliens has finally been defeated by a concerted, collaborative effort by the entire world (but mostly the U.S., and mostly Jeff Goldblum), and we get a montage of the wreckage on different continents. America gets a military base, Australia gets some of that crazy architecture, and Africa gets … naked dudes brandishing spears?

Apparently, barren land is the closest thing the aliens could find to a major population center in Africa. That’s because for Hollywood, the entire continent hasn’t advanced much since Jesus was still around. The opening to Casino Royale, for instance, introduces us to Africa with the image of a bunch of black guys betting on a fight between a mongoose and a snake.

In Hollywood, the one area where Africans have caught up to the rest of the world is guns: They don’t have any modern buildings yet, but they’ve figured out how to attach a rocket launcher to the side of a truck. This is only natural, since half the continent’s population consists of corrupt soldiers.

Congo, Black Hawk Down, Blood Diamond, Hotel Rwanda … all these movies spend the whole time telling us that Africa is scenically beautiful, but terrible in every other way.

So What’s the Deal?

In the same way that Hollywood needs to dumb down a novel to turn it into a hit film, they also dumb down Africa’s reality, because they assume that you’d White people would be bored by a realistic portrayal of the continent (or simply wouldn’t believe it). They do have things like poverty and corruption and giraffes in Africa, but they also have universities and industries and modern cities, like Nairobi.

Imagine if every single movie set in America was filmed in Alaska and focused on gang violence — that’s how Africans feel every time they watch a Hollywood movie about warlords fighting in the desert. Which is a problem for their tourism industry: A board member for the Association for the Promotion of Tourism to Africa even takes the time to explain that there are “middle class people in every African country commuting to work every day, complaining about taxes and watching their kids play soccer every weekend.”

That’s right: Instead of focusing on the rich wildlife and history, the tourism industry actually has to remind people that coming to their country isn’t a fucking death warrant.

#5. Movie Women Can Only Talk About Men:


In the ’80s, feminist comic artist Alison Bechdel introduced a test for movies consisting of three little rules: The films only “pass” if they have (1) at least two female characters who (2) talk to each other at one point about (3) something other than a man.

It seems pretty simple, but here are some movies with “strong” female characters that don’t pass it: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Dark Knight Rises, The Lord of the Rings (all three), Pirates of the Caribbean (1, 2 and 4), Tomb Raider, Underworld and every movie on this list. Most of them fail at the “talk to each other” part. If the test was reversed (male characters who talk about something other than a woman), all of those movies would pass.

But most of those are genre movies, which are mainly aimed at men. What about romantic comedies, which are usually aimed at women? Nope: When Harry Met Sally, Kate & Leopold, Marley & Me, 50 First Dates, (500) Days of Summer … even ones specifically made as vehicles for female stars, like How to Lose a Man in 10 Days with Kate Hudson or Material Girls with Hilary Duff don’t pass the test.

Obviously, the Bechdel test on its own doesn’t prove that a movie is sexist (or, for that matter, bad), but it does show that, in general, women in movies tend to be defined by their relationships with men, whereas men can be defined by a variety of things (their work, their weapons, their Adam Sandlerness).

So What’s the Deal?

Turns out this isn’t a coincidence. Apparently, film schools specifically discourage screenwriters from writing scenes where women talk about something other than men, because they believe that this is an easy way to lose the attention of the audience fast.

It’s just one of those film industry tricks: Use a calendar to show the passage of time, show a bomb to create tension, don’t write female characters that sound like real people. What’s more, according to a study by the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, women made up only 29.9 percent of the speaking roles in 2007's top movies. As a reminder, 51 percent of all people are women. Again, it's about playing it safe: Movies have been making money with male leads for decades (with both male and female audiences), so why change it now?

In the same year, Warner Bros. CEO Jeff Robinov reportedly said that the studio wouldn’t develop any more movies with female leads after the latest Jodie Foster and Nicole Kidman vehicles underperformed, which doesn’t make sense — when John Carter and Battleship flopped, they didn’t stop making movies with men; they stopped making movies with Taylor Kitsch.

Now, Warner did go on to make The Women the next year, which has an all-female cast … but all they do is talk about men. So they do develop movies with female leads, you see, as long as the characters themselves aren’t too developed.

#4. White People Are Better at Being Asian Than Real Asians:


Last time, we used The Last Samurai as an example of how movies whitewash foreign history, but we didn’t mention that there’s something even weirder going on in that movie: Namely, the fact that Tom Cruise’s character is somehow better at being a samurai than the actual samurai.

Turns out the whole “white character beats Asians at their own game” thing is pretty common: In Rising Sun, the aggressive Japanese business tactics threaten American interests until Sean Connery learns to use their own strategies against them. If you haven’t seen it, the entire movie can be summed up by this clip.

In Kill Bill Vol. 1, the Bride (Uma Thurman) is better at martial arts than not just Lucy Liu, but an entire army of yakuza warriors. They even have Lucy Liu’s character, who has spent her entire life training and clawing her way to the top of an international crime syndicate, specifically say that the Bride is a better samurai than her.

So What’s the Deal?

Hollywood has a big fascination with Asian mysticism, but an even bigger fascination with making lots of money. Since it’s believed that you can’t have a hit movie without a main character who’s white, that means transferring all the positive values of the Asian culture to Tom Cruise, Sean Connery or Uma Thurman and relegating the Asian characters to villains or supporting roles. Unless you’re Jackie Chan, Jet Li or, more recently, Ken Jeong.

For example, in the ’70s, Bruce Lee was developing a TV series called The Warrior about a kung fu master who goes around the Old West kicking ass. Ultimately, it was decided that America wasn’t ready for a show with a main character who was Asian … so they developed the series anyway, but called it Kung Fu and put David Carradine in the lead, a non-Asian playing a half-Asian martial artist. The network was fine with Bruce Lee as a masked limo driver in The Green Hornet, but putting him in a main role? No way, that’s crazy talk.

Lee would go on to prove himself as a bankable star, but it was too late: Hollywood had stumbled upon a magic formula that allowed them to cash in on Asian culture without taking any risks, and they’ve been using it ever since.

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OKCupid Dude Will Not Be Ignored: ‘You Self Involved Princess’ | Jezebel

Hot new trend: Dudes on dating sites freaking out at you when you don’t immediately respond to their entreaties to hang. (If this were a true trend piece, the title would be something like, “Men: Are They the New Women?”)

A reader emailed us this text exchange that occurred after she went on a “nice” but otherwise not noteworthy first date with a man she met on OkCupid. Afterwards they texted briefly, but she had plans (and also wasn’t sure if she wanted to see him again) so didn’t respond to two subsequent texts he sent over the following few days. After the last message, he didn’t take her radio silence as an indication to cool it; instead, he sent her another text chastising her for not wanting to go out with him because she is a “self involved princess.”

The timing of this particular message was bizarre; just last night I got an email from a friend who got an even more intense response than this one from a dude who was upset she hadn’t responded to him – for one evening. After she nicely told him that maybe he shouldn’t immediately freak out at women he barely knows for not being at his every beck and call, he then got mad at her, telling her that “People get excited sometimes and I’m not about to apologize for it,” before explaining that he is a “good guy and not a “douche” with a “messed up pickup line and shirtless ab pic.”

Good guy or not, spurned by many former unresponsive ladies on OkC or not: dudes, chill the fuck out. If you were a woman, the world would be calling you clingy and crazy. As it stands, you’re just a few characters away from being a dude who sends long rambling rejection messages. The only plus side to this is potential internet fame.

anonymous said:

Making fun of male problems but crying over the word bossy, focusing on women in video games instead of women in third world countries, telling others to check their privilege while on their iPhones & laptops & tablets, using gay people as a crutch for their movement, avoiding female-on-male abuse, saying that men can't be raped, using female celebrities to raise feminist propaganda, false rape claims, censoring everything, putting down egalitarians.


There’s a problem when straight guys hand out dick pics like they’re candy yet female celebrities are consistently the only ones to have nude photos leaked.