SlutWalk: A Black Feminist Comment on Media, Messages and Meaning

By Tamura A. Lomax | WIMN’s Voices

If you’ve been boycotting newspapers, magazines, TV news and the blogosphere for the past few weeks, or if terms like “rape,” “slut” or even “sex” lead you to hurriedly put down the newspaper or magazine and turn the TV channel (as they do for my media-savvy grandmother), then you may not have heard about SlutWalk, a grassroots anti-violence protest movement that has piqued the international media’s imagination. It all began when a Toronto policeman told a group of York University students in January that if they didn’t dress like sluts, they could avoid being raped. (His comment: “You know, I think we’re beating around the bush here. I’ve been told I’m not supposed to say this. However, women should avoid dressing like sluts in order not to be victimized.”) Little did he know his words would become a catalyst for mass anger and action – and much journalistic attention – throughout the world.

Media coverage has ranged from simple iterations of varying press releases to reproving op-eds. The latter is multi-fold. Some, like Globe and Mail columnist Margaret Wente, find the demonstrators to be solipsistic and out of touch with reality, while others, like blogger Aura Blogando, find the demonstrations to be systemically racist. I stand somewhere in the middle. Like it or not, both Wente and Blogando make valid points. However, the nuanced critique that SlutWalk requires is lacking, particularly regarding women of color (WOC).

Continue Reading @ WIMN’s Voices

Who Run the World? Uh … Not Girls

Maybe the refrain should be “Who should run the world?” Anyway, Beyonce’s video for her  high-powered girl anthem “Run the World (Girls)” just premiered. As usual, B’s working that choreography and the beat’s so contagious it makes us all want to shake our booties and yell GIRLS when B asks “Who run the world?” Watch it for yourself here:

Don’t you wanna just put on your stilettos and kick some patriarchal butt.

BUT lest we rest too comfortably too soon on our feminist haunches, the bright and witty “Nineteen Percent” warns us that Beyonce’s anthem is more of an aspiration than a reality. Girls do NOT run the world. Nor do we want to really. Equality and an end to sexual violence will do fine thanks.

Transfiguring Masculinities in Black Women’s Studies

By C. Riley Snorton | The Feminist Wire

Although there continues to be controversy regarding whether men can create black feminist scholarship, numerous black feminist theorists have argued for the inclusion of black men and studies of masculinities as components of black feminist thought and practice.  These debates are borne out of the relationships between racism and sexism, which have been important in figuring alliances across movements while also illuminating the tensions that emerge from privileging race over gender-based oppression.  Black feminist scholars, like Angela Davis, Barbara Smith, Hortense Spillers, Valerie Smith, bell hooks, Hazel Carby, and Audre Lorde, among others, have taken this up in their work.  However, the Combahee River Collective (CRC) Statement, a founding text in black women’s studies and a theoretical blueprint for numerous movements within the last several decades, is among the earliest texts to explicitly engage and theorize an inclusive black feminist politic. More than once the authors of CRC Statement make clear their commitment to a black feminist politic that does not leave out Black men, women, and children.

Continue Reading @ The Feminist Wire

Still More Questions Than Answers in Aiyana Stanley Jones’ Killing

By Jamilah King | Colorlines

It’s been a year since 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones was killed by members of a Detroit Special Response team. The case garnered national headlines for all of the obvious reasons: an innocent child caught in police crosshairs, another black life taken in a city filled with heartache. But little Aiyana’s death was unique because it seemed to embody all that had gone so hopelessly wrong in our entertainment-driven society. The Special Response team that night had been followed by a camera crew shooting an episode of the A&E reality drama “First 48.” David Simon couldn’t have scripted it better.

Continue Reading @ Colorlines

Recy Taylor Speaks on Alabama Apology

Cynthia Gordy | The Root

Seated on the stage of a packed room at Washington, D.C.’s National Press Club on Thursday night, Recy Taylor smiled softly as the audience stood and applauded her. Dressed in a royal purple skirt suit, her gray hair curled neatly behind her ears, the 91-year-old appeared slightly overwhelmed by the attention. When a young woman standing to her left announced to her that she is “worthy of the love and admiration that every single person in this room has for you,” Taylor began to weep.

Continue reading @ The Root

What Were the Women Doing?

Carla L. Peterson | New York Times

When my great-grand-aunt Maritcha Lyons recalled in her memoir that the backroom of James McCune Smith’s store served as a “rallying centre” for public-minded black New Yorkers, she was quite specific about those who came and went. Smith’s room, she wrote advisedly, was “visited daily by men, young and old.” It was these men, she continued, who constituted the “constructive force that molded public sentiment which had much to do in bringing about a more favorable state of things affecting the colored people of the State.”

Why were women not among those who visited Smith’s backroom?

Continue Reading @ The New York Times