01 12 / 2013
Only white women have the privilege of reclaiming the word ‘slut’ without facing any real social penalty. Miley Cyrus, for instance, is being hailed as a woman who is in control and liberated, unlike her black counterpart Rihanna. Rihanna does not get worshiped for owning her sexuality or her agency. Rihanna gets pity, scathing criticism, and popular feminist magazines wanting to ‘save’ her from exercising choices they do not agree with. Many mainstream feminists feel entitled to police Rihanna’s black female body; even Lena Dunham could not resist. However, if you look closely you can see that Miley has been feverishly studying and has been influenced by the Rihanna’s bad girl playbook.
White women may also be allowed to transcend their ‘sluttiness’ when they feel the need to do so. Both Angelina Jolie and Madonna have been able to shed their past bad girl images seamlessly. Whiteness affords white women the ability to try on different identities while their racial privilege remains intact. Because in a society that values whiteness over all else, to be white is to be human and all non-white persons must audition for their humanity.
The bodies of black women are highly politicized and critiqued no matter who they belong to, from the first lady to ‘the help.’ The physical movements and choices of black women are always viewed through a filter of suspicion. In order for me to claim my right to be a ‘slut,’ I first must win the battle to be able to fully claim my humanity."
Lutze B. (@FeministGriote)
This is a quote from her exquisite essay Why I Won’t Call Myself a “Slut” on Salon. MUST READ. An important and timely examination of sexual agency through an intersectional lens.
OK a while back someone said something about why the term ‘slut-shaming’ is problematic but didn’t want to explain why? and I think this is the criticism they were talking about. I’m really glad I found this; she makes such valuable points.
17 10 / 2013
One time Charles Murray came to my undergrad institution…
…and I punched him in the face.
OK, I didn’t, but I wish I had. What really happened is that a few minutes after he started speaking, someone pulled the fire alarm. So we all moved to another building, where the fire alarm was pulled again, but we stayed. The president of our college introduced him and in the introduction, explicitly urged us NOT to talk about the Bell Curve because Murray wanted to talk to us about his new book.
His new book, though, was also offensive. It was about how the pathway to happiness is the same for everyone: get married and have children.
Anyway, after it was over, my friends and I went up to him and started saying that the bell curve is racist, fraudulent dung. Long story short, we got into an argument that ended with him telling us black people are over-represented in the media and black single mothers are ruining the fabric of society.
The next day, the president of our college sent out a mass email to the entire school saying there was a “cloud of intolerance” over our school (in response to the fire alarms being pulled). Which I found pretty funny. Yeah, WE’RE intolerant.