James Madison University, a well-known public university in my hometown of Harrisonburg, is handling the ‘worst case of sexual assault’ in their history by allowing the perpetrators to graduate and banning them afterward.

Meanwhile, the student who was assaulted lost her financial aid when her grades slipped while trying to deal with bringing her rapists to justice and had to leave school.

The links in question:


So even when there is absolute definitive proof on tape of an assault, the victim is paying the biggest price and the perpetrators are allowed to stay at school.

This is not right.

Honestly, when I first watched the video, I was uncomfortable but I couldn’t explain why. Then I watched it over again… The catchy chorus had me caught up for a minute, but then I started really analyzing it and figured out why I wasn’t empowered by the song or the video.

Black women as props yet again. And what’s worse is that this song keeps getting juxtaposed to Nicki’s Anaconda in terms of body positivity and sexuality, and which is more empowering. A white woman naked, with cheeks split will still be seen as angelic and innocent. (Explicit Example: Look at porn and how innocence is only attached to whiteness, and also works when in conjunction with thinness.) Black women are scripted as hypersexual savage beasts. So the fact that Meghan Trainor is apart of creating this apparent “body-positivity anthem” and offsetting her white body next to mainly Black women twerking and popping their ‘booty’ that Meghan apparently brought back is another way of placing a racist hierarchy on beauty, and therefore worthiness. *Throwback to Justin Timberlake bringing sexy back while also co-opting Black culture but throwing Janet Jackson under the bus when it was convenient to be white.*

This video literally reaffirms what society thinks of Black women. We’re disposable props, hypersexual, and accessible to anyone who wants to consume us.

I got a feel that there’s a hint of “Blaccent”/ co-opting of AAVE in certain lines. On some straight up Elvis ish. Also similar to everyone’s favorite appropriators: Miley Cyrus, Iggy Azalea, Justin Timberlake, Kreyshawn, Lil’ Debbie, etc.

The video reaffirms a lot of problematic cultural norms. If you look hard enough, you can see that there are other examples of how our culture has defined this hierarchy of beauty and systemic racism.

The little girls are playing with dolls but all the dolls are white. "You know I won’t be no stick-figure, silicone Barbie doll." Well, some of us didn’t have a Barbie to reference in the first place. 

Meghan sits at a table with a supposed love interest and he’s a beauty-standard attractive white man fitting the standard of whom we’re supposed to look to for validation (in terms of oppressive thinking). But interestingly enough, white men are the ones in power reaffirming that Black women need to be thinner and whiter because our bodies are seen as grotesque. So, having this ‘booty’ and ‘bass’ only helps non-Black women (primarily white women) when it comes to validation from white men.

The only fat person (SIONE MARASCHINO) in the video (who is slayinggggggg all you basics) seems to be a prop in a video still upholding thinness. Meghan isn’t fat even by white standards. “I ain’t no size 2…” But you’re not far from it, boo. The other women in the video aren’t fat either. **It’s important to note that when critiquing the Black women in the video, their thinness is not the same as Meghan’s or the other white women. Black women’s bodies are other-ed as beastly, ugly, animalistic, and overly sexual. But as a conscious fat black woman, I only see thin women in this video.

Fat people are used as fun accessories too. "Lol, my funny fat friend that defies all odds of fat people! Omg, they’re just like a big teddy bear!" Want your outfit to be cuter? Grab a fat friend to bring out those hues of thin privilege!

Fat people are people, each complex in their own way. We’re not all the same. Our history, our story, our experiences, our bodies are all different. There’s so much more to fat people than oversimplification of “that’s funny” and “they’re so cuddly.” But it is interesting that this video showcased a fat man rather than fat women even though the song is geared towards women- therefore, what oppressive thinking are we really disrupting in this video? BOOP.

So my final two cents: I’m not here for any of it except for Sione Maraschino slaying and taking names because he deserves praise for killing it regardless of this problematic video and music artist.


This afternoon, members of Slam Nahuatl and the Feminist Student Organisation gathered in the VCU Compass in protest against police brutality. Thank you to everyone who came out, got involved, and took part in the conversation.

Our first Open Mic of the season will be September 15th at 9PM in the Commons Underground. All are welcome to attend and participate. We will keep you updated as it gets closer!


A Hands Up for Michael Brown demonstration protesting the murder of eighteen year old Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri, earlier this month. This demonstration took place on the Monroe Park Campus of Virginia Commonwealth University, on August 25th, 2014. About forty people total participated. 

Demonstrators who gave their names for publication include Alex Teschel, Alexis Honeycutt, Brittney Maddox, Courtney Shackelford, Josh Braunstein, Julee Harris, Kelly Gumm, Kitty Novelli, Lala Dozier, Maya White-Lurie ,Morgan Britt, Phen Bownen, Rob Gibsun, Shannon Wright, Shay Patrick, Xander H. Wong, and Zaira Qureshi.

If I have misspelled your name, or if you are featured in the photos and would like to add your name, please message me here, on Tumblr, or by e-mailing activerva@gmail.com. 

You can see the full album of photos here


VCU Friendly Bathrooms List

This list is back and better than ever, thanks to VCU OMSA and yours truly, the VCU Department of Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies. 

A list of single-stall bathrooms on VCU campus that are safer and friendlier to transgender, intersex, and gender nonconforming people. If you click on the images, it gets a little larger. Or click here to view a larger, zoomable version of this list.

For more safer bathrooms near VCU campus or elsewhere, check out refuge restrooms, a bathroom-finder database created by former GSEXer, Teagan Widmer.

Our bathrooms, here in Crenshaw House are not accessible, but just to let folks know, our bathrooms are open to the public. We have one on the first floor towards the back of the hallway, along with a water fountain, and on the second floor, only accessible by stairs, is a very large single-stall bathroom. Under the sink in our first floor bathroom, there are tampons, sanitary napkins, and condoms free to anyone who needs them. No need to ask us!

Hopefully, the new status as a five-digit species animal group brings more support, funding and awareness for the bewildering diversity reptiles continue to reveal.

Snakes, lizards, and turtles, oh my! A VCU Life Sciences professor has created a Reptile Database cataloging over 10,000 species. Shown is the Cyrtodactylus vilaphongi, a tiny gecko found in the jungle of Laos in Southeast Asia, which was discovered by a team of German, Vietnamese and Lao scientists. [Photo courtesy of Truong Nguyen.]

Watch on diaryofakanemem.tumblr.com

It’s about that time! Tickets for the BIGGEST step show a.k.a. Fall Block are on sale NOW! $7 VCU Greeks, $10 VCU Students, $15 Non-VCU Students! The show is on September 27th at the Siegel Center! Doors open at 6pm and the show begins at 7pm. Hope to see you there!

GSWS professors stay busy over the summer. Check out this publication Dr. Lomax just released!

Womanist and Black Feminst Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions

African American playwright, actor, television producer and filmmaker Tyler Perry is an American cultural phenomenon. Perry has made over half a billion dollars through the development of films, plays, and television series that center storylines about bla ck women, black communities and black religion. The success of a Tyler Perry Production, coupled with Perry’s participation in a range of media and in multiple roles as creator and actor, position him as a significant site of black religious and cultural e xpression, and thus critical inquiry and reflection. Womanist and Black Feminist Responses to Tyler Perry’s Productions examines Perry’s works from interdisciplinary perspectives and provides a necessary response to Perry’s current prominence regarding black representation, black religion and black cultural production.

LeRhonda S. Manigault-Bryant is Associate Professor of Africana Studies at Williams College, USA. Tamura A. Lomax is Visiting Assistant Professor of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University, USA.

Carol B. Duncan is Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Religion and Culture at Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada.