empowering women of color

Viola Davis Just Called Out Hollywood For Ignoring Dark-Skinned Women
Viola Davis is on a crusade for more "sexualized" black women on screen.

“When the actress removed her makeup and wig on an episode of “How to Get Away With Murder” last year, it was a powerful and poignant moment, not just for her character Annalise Keating, but for black women on TV. Over the 15-episode season of the hit Shonda Rhimes drama, Davis’s performance challenged stereotypes about black women by simultaneously displaying vulnerability and strength.

But the 50-year-old Davis has been most vocal about her character’s unapologetic sexual nature, as conveyed through volatile relationships with her husband and lover. In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Davis points out that before playing Annalise, she had never seen black women who looked like her – dark-skinned and middle-aged – allowed to be sexual in movies or television. She said:

There were lot of things that people did not allow me to be until I got [the role of] Annalise Keating. I was not able to be sexualized. Ever. In my entire career. And here’s the thing that’s even more potent: I’ve never seen anyone who even looks like me be sexualized on television or in film. Ever. When people say they’re tired of hearing that, I always say, ‘Okay, well, you give me an example and then I’ll stop talking about it. But I’m gonna talk about it until you hear it.’

Read the full piece here

Note to readers: I routinely post about the sexualization of women in an objectifying manner. Here Davis isn’t asking for black women to be objectified, but rather to be shown as empowered sexual agents.

Among the most troubling consequences of the failure of antiracist and feminist discourses to address the intersections of race and gender is the fact that, to the extent they can forward the interest of ‘people of color’ and 'women’ respectively, one analysis often implicitly denies the validity of the other. The failure of feminism to interrogate race means that the resistance strategies of feminism will often replicate and reinforce the subordination of people of color, and the failure of antiracism to interrogate patriarchy means that antiracism will frequently reproduce the subordination of women. These mutual elisions present a particularly difficult political dilemma for women of color. Adopting either analysis constitutes a denial of a fundamental dimension of our subordination and precludes the development of a political discourse that more fully empowers women of color.
—  Kimberle Crenshaw, “Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color,” Stanford Law Review 43, no. 6 (July 1991): 1241-1299, 1253.
all the woc are good, all the freaks are white, but some of us are brave

I see posts like this and it makes me both sad and frightened. when people say things like: 

“To me, calling criticisms of tropes, kinks, and ships in fandom and fan fiction “purity wank” reads like just another form of writing off said criticism as prudish/coming from prudes who only want to police women’s desire and sexual expression. “

okay but what about when criticisms of fandom’s erotophobia and sex-policing are written off as coming from “racists” and “pedophiles”? are these categories so concretely and completely exclusive? how are you so utterly convinced that the only people arguing for fans’ rights to explore the full spectrum of sexuality and desire through fanworks are racist anti sjws?

“Remember, a core foundation of the meta that shall not be named was that fandom and fanfiction are spaces for women to explore their sexuality and desires.  It erased the fact that women of color are in fandom and therefore payed no attention to the fact that we deserve the right to explore our own sexuality and our own desires without seeing characters of color erased, minimized, or tortured in order for white male characters to take center stage”.

ah, my favorite rhetoric. rhetoric that positions “women of color” as the arbiters of empowering, healthy, un-problematic desire for all time and across experiences, orientations and tastes. behold, the mythical Woman of Color Fan who’s never conflicted, kinky or messy. Where, in this equation, is there room for q/woc who have fantasies that involve torture and trauma? Where, in this equation, is their room for q/woc who fantasize about punishment and violence and mingling sex with fear and power imbalances? Do we not exist? Are we not “women of color” because our fantasies don’t fit neatly into approved categories of “healthy” and “empowering”?

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anonymous asked:

feminism is about empowering women and letting them be themselves.. pink is just a color. it's not wrong for a girl to like it, just like it's not wrong for a guy to like it bc it's just! a! color! (btw mya im going through your studyblr rn and i love your feed it's rlly aesthetically pleasing!)

I totally agree with you; pink is just a color! thank you so much for your kind words (:

How Women and Girls Are Marching Toward Equity in Sports

Tthe United States has a long way to go in order to achieve gender equity in sports. Girls have 1.3 million fewer opportunities to play high school sports than boys have and are offered only 43 percent of the opportunities to play sports in college. Despite the passage of Title IX, many girls and young women lack access to safe practice conditions, appropriate equipment, reliable transportation to and from games, and the funds needed to participate in organized athletics. These setbacks cause girls to drop out of sports at twice the rate that boys do.

Though there’s still much more work to be done, it’s important to celebrate the recent progress that has been made in women’s sports. Here are a few of the most notable recent wins for women athletes.

U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Dominates

Wins: In 2015 the U.S. women’s national soccer team became national heroes after their show-stopping performance in the Women’s FIFA World Cup broke television ratings records. Team members were featured in advertisements and Alex Morgan became the first woman on the cover of EA Sports’ FIFA video game. Even President Barack Obama commented on how “badass” this team is.

Losses: Despite the team’s accomplishments and the overall increase in popularity of women’s soccer, the general media coverage of women’s sports remains depressing. In 2014, ESPN’s SportsCenter dedicated just 2 percent of its airtime to women’s sports. Additionally, compared to their male counterparts, women soccer players are paid significantly less and exposed to poor practice conditions. Abby Wambach, the team’s former captain, was paid far less in her career than her male peers were, despite having scored more goals than any man or woman in professional soccer history. 

Serena Williams Continues to Crush It

Wins: Williams was named Sports Illustrated’s Sportsperson of the Year in 2015, making her the first woman in more than three decades to nab the title as well as the first solo woman of color to ever hold the honor. As the number one women’s tennis player in the world, Williams earns more than $13 million in endorsements and is a trailblazer for women athletes all over the world. She continues to empower girls and women, especially women of color, every step of the way.

Losses: Even with her many achievements, Williams often receives harsh media criticism about her body image and physique. Williams is also subjected to limitations on her ability to obtain endorsements and is paid less than professional male tennis players. Her endorsements fade in comparison to male tennis stars like Rafael Nadal, who made $28 million over the last year, and Roger Federer, who was paid $58 million in endorsements.

Women Coaches Gain Visibility

Wins: It’s no secret that there is a lack of women’s representation and visibility in major sports, but a few coaches are challenging the traditional notion of what it takes to be a leader and coach in men’s professional leagues. Across the country, women are getting hired to coach men’s professional sports teams. Last year, Jen Welter became the first female assistant coaching intern in the NFL and Kathryn Smith was hired as the league’s first full-time woman coach.

Losses: Even with the progress that has been made in hiring women coaches, professional leagues have a long way to go to reach gender equity. Women lack serious leadership roles in professional sports leagues across the board and remain vastly underrepresented on the coaching staff of both men’s and women’s professional teams.

Women’s Hockey League Is Finally a Thing

Wins: In case you missed it: There is now a professional women’s hockey league in the United States. That’s right; for the first time ever, professional women’s hockey players will be paid for their talents on the ice. This is big!

Losses: As in other women’s sports, reaching equality in athletics doesn’t just stop with the creation of a league. Women hockey players face one of the most dramatic pay disparities in professional sports, with the typical player being paid a meager average annual salary of just $15,000. Hilary Knight, one of the most talented and experienced players in the National Women’s Hockey League, will be paid only $22,000 this season. This salary is just a quarter of 1 percent of what Patrice Bergeron, the highest-paid player on the Boston Bruins, will make this year. Ouch.

The recent achievements of women in sports show that women athletes are no longer sitting on the sidelines. But even my beloved March Madness has a long way to go to reach equity for women’s athletics. AAUW found a significant pay gap between coaches of men’s and women’s basketball teams, and a gender pay gap among graduates from nearly all the schools competing.

Title IX is best known for helping to ensure gender equity in athletics, but the law goes deeper than sports, preventing sexual discrimination in all areas of education. Title IX requires that every school designate at least one employee to coordinate the school’s compliance; however, many coordinators don’t have the resources to do their job effectively. In some cases, many don’t know they’ve been assigned the role. Help AAUW enforce this critical law by pledging to deliver resources from the U.S. Department of Education to your school’s Title IX coordinator.

This blog was written by AAUW Senior Program Association of Campus Leadership Programs Paige Robnett.

Calling out my fucking fandom

Dear Clex@,

Y’all are tripping the fuck up.  You guys were the ones who were begging people of color to come watch this fucking show by saying how it was so diverse and had good representation.

But when I watched the show myself, I saw racist tropes EVERY FUCKING WHERE!  You know how it fucking feels to be a black lesbian that watches a show that empowers women and queer women, but shits on people of color?  No, of course you don’t because a lot of you are fucking white and don’t fucking get it.

You motherfuckers did not care about racism when Lincoln and Raven were getting tortured every season, sometimes multiple times in one season.  But for those of you who like Bellamy all of a sudden care?  Yeah, I’m calling out the colorism that is evident when you choose your favorite POCs in the show.  And those of you who don’t like Bellamy are saying that what he’s doing is in character.  Yeah, because the Bellamy who called himself a monster for killing someone would definitely help slaughter 299 people in their sleep just because (sarcasm).

Then you fucking ask POC in the fandom to tell you why we think the show is racist, and when we tell you, you laugh at us and tell us that our reasons are stupid.  Like your mayonnaise-ranch-dressing-no-ass-having white girls understand how racism works.  Shut the fuck up and stop talking over people of color.

And now, some of you are complaining about Ricky “spoiling the show” for you.  Grow the fuck up.  Seriously, are fucking kidding me?  Ricky’s character was tortured multiple times so that Octavia could have a story arc about becoming a strong woman aka black man gets hurt to elevate a white girl.  He also went out of his way to interact with fans and keep us entertained while we waited a year for the 100 to come back.  And you’re complaining about him spoiling the show for you?  Promos and episodes have been building to Lincoln’s departure since last year, and you’re just now figuring it out.  Sorry, you must have been blinded by the two white girls kissing.

Also, if you expect me to continue supporting Clex@ or the show because there are LGBT+ characters and one of them is bisexual, I would like to refer you to the show How to Get Away with Murder where the lead character is a bisexual black woman.  Two white girls kissing does not count for diversity anymore.  If you want queer POC to support your white LGBT+ shows, you are out of luck.

Ricky gets to complain because for all the hard work he put in, he got crap from JRoth in return.  ADC is a guest star and got more promotion than a series regular on the show.  Fucking take that into consideration.

Also, I would also like you all to google “intersectional feminism” because y’all seem to have forgotten that POC exist and fucking matter.


A bitter ass black lesbian who is tired of the racism in this fucking fandom

Listen, twerking is not feminism. Thats what I’m referring to. It’s not—it’s not liberating, it’s not empowering. It’s a sexual thing that you’re doing on a stage; it doesn’t empower you. That’s my feeling about it.

-Annie Lennox on Beyonce

She went on to comment about “overt sexuality thrust—literally—at particular audiences” calling it “disturbing,” “troubling,” and “exploitative.”

Tell me why all these random, irrelevant ass White Feminists seem to think anything remotely ‘sexual’ in their eyes done by women of color (primarily black women) can never be 'empowering’ as if being 'empowered’ in every single action is the single goal of feminism and they are the One True Arbiters of what qualifies and what does not.

Fuck this lady with her second grade analysis of empowerment and sexuality and her racist entitlement to dictate to Beyonce how feminist she is.

“I’m about empowering young people, women and people of color — everybody, I try my best to be a light source in a dark world sometimes.” 

Zendaya photographed by Emily Hope and interviewed for Footwear News Magazine


Empowering young girls of color with art that looks like them.

More from PBS NewsHour.


We’re spending the day at TEDxTeen! Follow along as we live blog below (after the jump), and tune in to the live stream here starting at 10:15 am EST >>

Rebecca believes that if we end the stigma surrounding child sex trafficking, we can truly change the world. 

Rebecca started a major billboard campaign in her city, spreading messages of awareness. “Being a prostituted teen isn’t a choice — it’s slavery,” read the billboard. “Teens sold for sex aren’t prostitutes — they’re rape victims,” read another.

“We need to love our children. We need them to understand that we love them. And not just your own children, but all children in this country,” she says. She also details different types of “pimps” — guerrilla and romeo — who target young women. 

“We need to show women of color and empower them and have them know that they don’t need to allow their bodies be there for the sexual exploitation of men,” she says. “The greatest impact we can have is in our own communities. Sometimes we just need to dig our feet into the soul of the Earth…because we can make the greatest impact right here at home.”

Rebecca Dharmapalan is a 19-year-old artist. She had a friend in high school whose boyfriend used to pimp her out in order to pay his cell phone bills. When she finally refused, he beat her so badly that Rebecca never saw her friend again. 

“I was on a mission to change the way people saw child sex trafficking in America. That it was a real, tangible thing. So what I did was make film…I realized that art was extremely powerful,” she says.

Oakland, California is one of the most diverse cities in the country, but as any city, “with diversity comes this harsh underbelly of violence.” So, Rebecca used art to change a major city problem. 

“100,000 children are trafficked in the United States. And hundreds of thousands more are at risk of having their bodies sold,” she says. 12 is the average age of entry. “Girls were being sold ten to fifteen times a day…these are girls in the United States of America. In our own backyards. In our communities. This is right in front of us.” 

Keep reading

Supergirl looks cute, but I noticed a distinct lack of WOC in the trailer. It’s reminding me of Agent Carter… Like Supergirl has a plus in that it’s already more diverse with Mehcad Brooks and David Harewood as main characters, but the lack of WOC in a show that is being praised for “female empowerment” is so distressing

I’m super tired of shows and movies that have no WOC being touted as “female empowered” and I’m super tired of having to point out that feminist shows with no WOC is not truly feminist.

WOC stands for women of color. Female empowered shows should make sure to represent us as well. Female empowered shows should represent ALL women. When female empowered shows only center around white women and fail to represent WOC (not to mention queer women, women with disabilities, etc.), what is implied is that WOC do not matter.

I’m so tired of being invisible. It’s 2015. “Female empowered” shows shouldn’t have to be reminded to include WOC. WOC should already be included.

I’m hoping that Supergirl at least has WOC in supporting roles. I’ll give it a few episodes before I judge, but if there are no WOC at all… I have other shows to watch.


Twerk It Girl

Self-proclaimed “twerk scholar” Kimari Brand created this five-minute documentary on twerking as a feminist issue while studying at University of Texas. Brand used her experiences—including a course on feminism and performance art, her study abroad experience studying Caribbean culture, and her own experiences as a black woman—to argue that twerking is empowering, and not demeaning. The fact that twerking is appropriated as extremely sexualized and as pertaining to low-income people of color have given it stigma, which Brand fights against. I love this documentary because the represented groups are women of color who are being empowered and not exploited by the content creator—a scholar and woman of color herself.

Black women have been fetishized, objectified, and exploited for their physical features for centuries—perhaps one of the clearest examples of this is Sara Baartman, “a Khosian woman who was taken from Cape Town to Europe in 1810, where she became a traveling human exhibit of racial and sexual difference. […] she was ‘inscribed as the iconic figure of African womanhood in metropolitan fantasies: as fundamentally primitive and lacscivious” (Munro 390). This stereotype of women based off of the example of Baartman “shaped the ways in which black female bodies are viewed: with an emphasis on the rear end as a signifier of deviant sexuality. As a result, such associations of black female sexuality with animalistic characteristics emerge not just in pseudo-scientific studies of human anatomy but also in popular culture” (Munro 390). It is in this very way that twerking is seen as sexualized, when in reality it is merely “performance art,” as Brand says.

Source: Munro, “Caster Semenya: Gods and Monsters”

ATTENTION:  Disabled Black Women, & Other Disabled Women of Color

I’ll be conducting a presentation near the end of March about disabled women of color, & I’d love to have my amazing followers share something for it.  

Your submissions doesn’t have to be long - a few lines will suffice, but no more than 2-4 paragraphs total.  (If you go over, don’t stress!)   

Here’s what I’m seeking to gather from you all in your responses:

What are some of the challenges with having a triple minority status (being disabled, Black / of color, & female), & what can be done to empower disabled women of color?  

Deadline:  Tuesday, March 15th, 2016.

How to Submit:  You can send your responses to me via email at Vilissa@rampyourvoice.com, or by hitting up the RYV! Tumblr inbox.  

If you decide to send an email, you can place your responses in the body of the email, or in a Word document.  The choice is up to you as to what’s easiest.  

Important note:  No real names will be used for this (I’ll be creating pseudonyms for the narratives I use), so be as candid as you’d like.

@dollhospitaljournal, would you mind signal boosting this, & participating?  :)  

SIGNAL BOOST this please!!!

~ Vy


‘General Hospital’ Actress Nancy Lee Grahn Disses Viola Davis’ Emmys Speech For Some Inexplicable Reason

Viola Davis made history at Sunday night’s Emmy Awards when she became the first black woman to take home the Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series trophy. Her acceptance speech, which touched upon the lack of opportunity for women of color, was poignant, emotional and empowering.

I am truly, truly, heartbroken. I am scared. It feels unreal. And yet it is real and this election is a mirror. Look America. Look at yourself. You are racist, sexist, homophobic, uncaring of so many different groups of people. And you still set off your fireworks on the Fourth and you still celebrate Columbus Day, because, I don’t know, that’s just the way it’s been. Look at yourself. You are pulsing ball of negative energy. You are a monster. You have forsaken the grandchildren and great grandchildren of those you only emphatically took in only a short time ago. You are uncomfortable with the thought of women having power. You are uncomfortable with the thought of people of color having equality. You are uncomfortable with yourself and your life didn’t go the way you planned so you are anxious and the only vibration you can meet is fear. And so you are angry.

I am scared but imagine how the people of color, the women of color, the LGBTQ community, refugees, the indigenous peoples who are fighting for clean water and a small swatch of land that was vainly promised to them though they’ve lived here first, how they feel. And first, for centuries. Imagine that little girl, who now knows, a woman is not equal to a man, for the poignant fact that anything that is said about a woman sticks to her and is seen as true. Men do not suffer this. What ever notion a person has about a woman, whatever inkling, evidence or lack of aside, it is burned and branded into her. These people. This beautiful, hard working, soulful, and still powerful community of people, with immeasurable strength inside, these people do not deserve this President. These people who are white men filled with delusion, they deserve this white “savior”. And so they shall have him.

What may be shocking to you or me about the results is not shocking to most women or people of color. They knew this ran through their county. What was always there. It was palpable. And now it is on top. It is here for all of us to see. He won with white women. Why? Because women in this country do not trust other women. We do not lift each other up, we push each other down. We gossip, we ridicule, we do the exact same thing that men do to us. Out of fear. If I uplift and empower another woman it subconsciously make me less. Less everything. The ego cannot be less. Unless it is nothing. The ego can only be more or it can feed off misery and concede that she is nothing. Worthless. This is where women vacillate, between self hatred and the hatred of others for the sake of the self. Actually, it’s where we all are, however, for women, self sabotage, guilt, and insecurity are all we’ve ever known. That is the woman’s experience in America today. Women do not feel safe. Women do not feel equal. Women do not feel heard. How could they?

I need to stress how jarring and destructive these results will be for women who have experienced assault in any form. America, you just said it doesn’t matter. You just said that a man, who has assaulted several (or even one) woman, is fit to take the highest ranking office in the country and also the world. You just invalidated everything a victim has said and induced trauma. You are okay with rape culture. It does not bother you. You have a mother, a daughter, a sister, a cousin, a friend. You know a person who has experienced sexual assault, even if you don’t realize it. How do I know? Because I know they haven’t told anyone. They don’t talk about it. How could they possibly speak about the festering anguish inside them when this society they identify with ignores or, more likely, refutes and then punishes them for doing so? You wouldn’t. Still, you don’t care. You think this man and his promised new life for you you are worth it. It’s all going to turn around and it’s going to be great. Again…

This is so profoundly unsettling it is heard to grasp the monumental weight of this decision, how it will affect the bulk of Americans, and the world. It is crushing. I’m not going to say everything will be okay because I truthfully don’t know that and neither do you. It’s not okay. America is not okay. It is rampant with hate. Hate some take pride in and embrace. Hate is not just Hate though. Hate is the continuum of fear. Fear is the source of evil. Fear is where hate comes from and most people don’t even realize they are living in fear but that is the base from which they operate so it all looks the same to them. Us vs them. And yet, with all the true, valid fear, women and people of color live with on a daily basis, they are the ones who choose hope. They are the ones who carry on in the face of extreme bigotry and hatred at every turn. The people who have known fear for their lives and safety day in and day out. THESE people are the pillars of strength, sanity, and love in this country. THESE people who were ENSLAVED in our country. THESE people who are KILLED at traffic stops. These people who are ridiculed their whole lives for loving their partner. These people who are born with a different identity in their soul than what this same society is forcing on them. These people who can’t wear head phones or hoodies walking home at night. These people who stand in strength and silence and endure hate speech as a constant, and just walk away, with their heads up. THESE people, who fight every day for their right to live the way white men have lived since the country’s inception, THESE people are the true backbone of this country. The rest, they haven’t got one.

I am as angry as you. Enraged. I am as sad. Heartbroken. I am shaking and crying. I am repulsed and distraught. This is what you have chosen America and you will feel it for at least four years and I can only pray that all progress I have seen in my lifetime and more will not be lost in those four years. I beg of you, in this horrific moment in history, keep faith. I beg you to be strong. Not right away, and not all the time, but keep it there, in your heart. We are with you if you cannot be at this moment but I promise you, you have the strength of God within you. It has made the world continue to turn and it will endure. This trying time will not. I beg of you to spread compassion. Pause and look around you. These people you pass every day. These are people. The are exactly like you. The most powerful thing you can do to bring about justice and peace is to become aligned with love yourself. Doing so will set a chain reaction of goodness. When you love yourself, you have no choice but to love and accept others. That is fact. When you love yourself you hold all the cards, you have all the power. When you love yourself you see the blindness of other people and forgive them while trying to teach them. You lead by example and illustrate integrity. Love yourself. Align yourself with peace. And then take action. We will get nowhere sitting idly by wearing tote bags and t-shirts with our feelings scrawled across them. This is our wake up call. How involved in politics were you when this man was brought to power? If you are like me and say, not much, you are responsible. Young people. No one is going to do this for us. Obviously. But if I know anything I know this: Our action today, in this now, will set the fate of this country and possibly the world. We are all here, at this time on Earth to bring about change. We know better and we can do better. We have to listen to everyone. We have to unite as a human race. We have to rally around the gospel of women of color and empower them. We have to protect those who are still not accepted in this country based singularly on the color of their skin. This is the reality of our situation today. Yes, mourn. Yes, be upset. Purge. Feel what is inside you for that is real and it is always your duty to honor your feelings. But after we have purged, it is time for strength. It is time for action. It is time for research and work. It is time to be outspoken in the name of love. It is time to illustrate why he is not our chosen leader and put into motion the next step. Find peace and strength and love in each other and find it in yourself. The world is ready for your healing medicine, it is crying out for it. How will you act now, in the name of love, for mankind?