“It’s OK to sit one out.”

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(Photo credit: AP Photo/Sid Hastings)

Like many people I know, I’ve been consumed with the news coming out of Ferguson, MO over the past few weeks. It’s hard to look away when a Black child is killed in the streets and all signs point to the police officer responsible for his death getting away with it. Add to that a city under siege for exercising its right to assembly, and this is perhaps the biggest news story of the year on American soil. It demands our attention.

And not just our attention, our outrage. Our support. It demands that we show up and let the family of Michael Brown and the community that held him dear know that they are not alone. It demands that we show other Black children that, yes, their lives do matter. We do care.

But if I can confess something: it’s really hard to keep doing that.

At any given moment, the number of injustices that could similarly demand our attention are too many to count. And for all of us committed to certain ideas around justice/freedom/equality and ensuring we live in a world that reflects those principles, there exists a desire to join the fight wherever it lives. But it’s draining.

I’ve attended a couple rallies/marches in support of Michael Brown, and each time I’ve found I couldn’t fully participate. Every time the chant “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” overtakes the crowd, I’ve gotten quiet. There’s something unsettling about knowing that won’t save me.

Moreover, we have been here before. Undoubtedly, we will be here again.

“It’s OK to sit one out.”  Read More »

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Counterpoint: I don’t think Taylor Swift’s new video is racist

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Last week, our very own Chloe Angyal took Taylor Swift to task over her new video, which features women of color twerking. She argues that these Black and brown twerkers are used as props in the video to highlight Taylor’s whiteness. She explains:

“There’s lots I could say about this video, but I want to compare two dance sequences, and focus on them, because I think they’re really telling. The first is the ballet sequence, with the dozen ballerinas, all of whom appear to be white, in Swan Lake style tutus and headdresses. The second is the hip hop and twerking sequence, with the half dozen Black and brown dancers in denim shorts, leopard print jackets, and chunky gold jewellery…

Compare that to the twerking sequence, when Swift is surrounded by dancers who all appear to be of colour. Again, she’s dressed the same as them, and has her hair tightly braided. But this time, while they’re all dancing, she’s either trying to dance like them (adorkably, of course; everyone knows that Princess Taylor doesn’t really twerk), or she’s gawking at them. There is honest to god a shot in which she crawls between a bunch of Black and Brown women’s legs and gazes up, wonderingly, at their shaking asses.

So Taylor Swift is not a pure white dancing snowflake swan princess ballerina, but she really wants you to know that she’s still white. That’s what I take away from this video.”

And she isn’t the only one who feels that way. Earl Sweatshirt took to Twitter to air some of his grievances as well.

Me? As a Black woman, I disagree. Read More »

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Another Indiana woman is being charged with feticide after seeking medical help

PurviPatel2A few years after Indiana tried to charge Bei Bei Shuai with feticide after she attempted suicide, the state is now going after another woman for the crime.

Purvi Patel went to the ER with vaginal bleeding after delivering a fetus at home. Initially, prosecutors charged Patel with “felony neglect,” claiming the fetus was born alive and then subsequently died. But now they’ve decided to add a charge for “feticide” –  that way, if the fetus was stillborn, as Patel claims, they’ll still hold her accountable since she admitted to taking drugs to try to self-abort. As Sally Kohn writes at the Daily Beast, the two charges directly contradict each other.  Read More »

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Thank You Wednesday: The writers and readers of Feministing

I couldn’t wait until tomorrow and make it a Thank You Thursday. I am full to bursting with gratitude, and it could cause me serious bodily harm if I were to keep it in for an extra day just for the sake of alliteration.

More than four years ago, at the 2010 Feministing annual retreat – my first – I sat in Jessica Valenti’s living room in Queens on a freezing February morning and made a proposal to the assembled crew. I was at the time the newest and most junior member of the Feministing team, and I was nervous. I was in a room full of people whose writing I had admired for several years before joining the team: Jessica Valenti, Vanessa Valenti, Courtney Martin, Miriam Pérez, Ann Friedman, Samhita Mukhopadhyay. They were (still are) pretty much the coolest women alive, and I really wanted them to think I was cool, too. Which was perhaps a bit of a stretch because I am many things, but cool is not one of them.  Read More »

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Daily Feminist Cheat Sheet

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Vintage LOLz.

What men can do to help achieve women’s economic equality.

Rebecca Traister on Beyonce: “That this is what a woman looks like when she defines herself as a feminist in 2014 tells us that its steadily-published obituaries to the contrary, the women’s movement is not only thriving, but expanding.”

A new fellowship prepares people of color for coding careers.

Matt Damon does the ice bucket challenge with toilet water to highlight the global need for clean water.

The top 5 most hardcore stunts pulled by the suffragettes.

On Sophia Vergara’s turn at the Emmy’s: “A celebration of industry diversity shouldn’t feature a Latina woman spun around like a piece of meat on a vertical spit.”

Kate Harding on why that roofie-detecting nail polish won’t prevent rape.

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