“For as long as there’s been a mainstream feminist movement, there have been corporations eager to capitalize on women’s desire for empowerment. And simply saying men and women should be treated equally isn’t the slightest bit risky in an era when the economy demands that nearly all women work outside the home and the biggest pop stars in America embrace the term feminist. But empowerment conferences are less a product of this friendly brand of modern feminism than they are the result of changing media business models and the rise of superficial corporate do-gooderism. Consumers are so wary of traditional advertising that one of the only ways for brands to make an end-run around skepticism is to claim, “Hey, we’re doing some good here.” As Unilever has learned with all the free press its “body-positive” Dove ads have gotten, women’s empowerment is a great theme for conscientious advertising — Bitch Magazine co-founder Andi Zeisler calls it “empowertising.” You-go-girl ads appeal to a broad demographic, but unlike championing, say, stricter environmental regulation, they put the onus for change on women themselves, not corporations or society.”—What Good Is a ‘Powerful Women’ Conference? - NYmag.com (via annfriedman)
"Basic-tagging is coolly lazy. It conveys a graduate seminar’s worth of semiotics in five letters […] But why? It seems to me that while what it pretends to criticize is unoriginality of thought and action, most of what basic actually seeks to dismiss is consumption patterns — what you watch, what you drink, what you wear, and what you buy — without dismissing consumption itself.”
“No book generated more passion among its readers than A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, a gritty coming-of-age novel. On a Pacific island, a lucky soldier given a new copy “howled with joy,” but knew he’d have to sleep on top of it if he hoped to hang onto it long enough to finish it. A 20-year-old Marine “went through hell” in two years of combat, but wrote from his stateside hospital bed that the book had made him feel human again. It might, he conceded, be “unusual for a supposedly battle-hardened marine to do such an effeminate thing as weep over a piece of fiction,” but he was now making his way through the book for the third time. In France, the colonel commanding an anti-aircraft battalion being shelled by German artillery found one of his soldiers reading the book between explosions. “He started to read us a portion … and we laughed like hell between bursts. It sure was funny.” The tough West Pointer later found a copy of his own, and was tempted to pull it out and read it while wounded and pinned down by enemy fire. “It was that interesting,” he recalled, in a letter to the publisher.”—
“He lit a cigarette. His glass of whiskey lit a cigarette. “I can only truly love my dead best friend,” he said, “but not in a gay way. Women wouldn’t understand. They’re too gay.” Both of the cigarettes agreed.”—from Mallory Ortberg’s hilarious “Male Novelist Jokes.” (via coketalk)
“The inescapable fact is that it takes a lot of money and time to be effortlessly chic. Paltrow and Lively are catering to a certain type of woman — usually upper-middle-class, often white, with cultural clout — who happens to be particularly susceptible to the “effortless” trap. It isn’t just about hair or clothes. The desire to come off like you aren’t trying too hard extends to most areas of life typically thought of as the domain of women. Home décor: “Those vintage end tables? Oh, I picked them up at a flea market.” (Don’t mention that it took months to find the perfect sofa, and it was so expensive it practically required a second mortgage.) Workout routines: “I just do a little yoga and try to take the stairs.” (Don’t mention the personal trainer.) Relationships: “We just click, you know?” (Don’t mention the couples’ therapist.) Outwardly, everything is easy.”—Why Not Admit We Didn’t Wake Up Like This? - NYmag.com (via annfriedman)
“There’s a new stereotype of Asian women that I’m troubled by. It’s the image of the Asian female competition seen on these shows - Glee, Community and New Girl.
Exhibit A: Sunshine Corazon (played by Charice) on Glee Sunshine comes to the McKinley High and proves to be a worthy replacement for some of Rachel’s solos. Rachel retaliates by sending Sunshine to some abandoned, sketchy house for a fake audition. I don’t really remember what the deal with her was, but basically, Rachel took her down.
Exhibit B: Annie Kim on Community Annie Kim is Annie’s high GPA/overachieving nemesis in their Poli Sci class and is a threat in their model UN. White Annie’s team beats Annie Kim’s after White Annie’s team suggests a union of their UN’s, gets rejected by Kim and Kim is painted as the ruthless competitor who only wants to win.
Exhibit C: Asian Jess on New Girl After Jess backslides and hooks up with her ex Paul, the experience makes him realize that his current girlfriend, “Asian Jess,” is the one for him, and Jess helps him propose to her. Both Asian Jess and Paul are also ugly criers. Clearly made for each other.
So, the first thing I will say is that all these Asian women look pretty much the same…big, plastic frames, “cute hair” (a.k.a. infantilized) with bangs and pigtails…and a not so happy white, female rival. They all have short/minor roles, and at least with Annie Kim and Asian Jess don’t have an identity of their own. The writers have clearly written them to rival their white counterparts. They don’t even get their own names.
The white women characters are threatened by these Asian women, not so much with Asian Jess, but she has taken something that was once Jess’.
These representations depict Asians as threats to the success of white women or just a joke, not real characters. None of these 3 women could have stood on their own in a scene, and were not given an opportunity to turn into someone to empathize with. Maybe Sunshine Corazon…but anyways, this is a harmful representation, especially given China’s crazy economic growth in the past couple decades, and the possibility of becoming the next superpower of the world. Couple that with the model minority myth, and how Asians are stereotyped to be smart, good at math, taking up all the spots in elite universities, these characters are a way of saying, “You can try to beat me, but I’ll still find a way to win.” After all, Jess takes the higher ground of putting Paul and Asian Jess together, because clearly she is so mature, and Annie proposes a compromise; what a team player!
I also feel like there may be an element of white fear of Asian women taking all the white men (i.e. Barney Stinson says in one episode of How I Met Your Mother that his type is “Asian”). All these representations can be seen as a fear of the loss of power of the U.S. empire and white women’s sexuality being threatened.
In conjunction to this, many Asian men in tv and movies are emasculated and are turned into awkward characters easily turned into comic relief (i.e. Ken Jeong in Community). Again, characters are not complete people, lacking the depth that makes a really compelling character. Yes, you can argue that Christina Yang’s character on Grey’s is a strong, empowering figure, but she could easily be white. Her character isn’t race-specific, and she’s within a whole class of competitive, cut-throat doctors.
This post could delve deeper into the implications of these representations, but for now, I’ll keep it simple, and maybe analyze more later. For another post, it’ll be interesting to factor in the rise Asians in commercials, to explore the disconnect/exploitation of Asians as a good economic demographic to market to, but aren’t represented in popular culture in the same way.”—Everyday I’m hustlin’: The Asian Competition (via cindymayweather)
This is overwhelmingly accurate and shitty.
Personal anecdote on the subject of Asian Annie/Jess: there is another (white) Lauren on my improv team and when I joined certain white people thought it would be a great idea to exclusively refer to me as “Asian Lauren” to tell us apart. Not my last name or initial, not a new nickname entirely. They immediately went for the racial identifier. I shut that shit down quickly because referring to me as “Asian Lauren” framed my friend Lauren (who is actually wonderful and did not participate in or condone this) as the default and me as the “other” and created a competitive relationship where there shouldn’t have been one. I don’t see why I had to be “The Other Lauren” when I am just another Lauren. It’s frustrating and telling that white folks were so quick to other me and place us in unnecessary competition with each other over something as trivial and common as sharing a first name. This could so easily have been a non issue, but of course ignorant white folks were so quick to turn it into something racially isolating for me.
From NPR’s transcript of a Morning Edition story: Group of researchers ran this interesting field experiment. They emailed more than 6,500 professors at the top 250 schools pretending to be the students. And they wrote letters saying, I really admire your work. Would you have some time to meet? The letters to the faculty were all identical, but the names of the students were all different. […] Brad Anderson. Meredith Roberts. Lamar Washington. LaToya Brown. Juanita Martinez. Deepak Patel, Sonali Desai, Chang Wong, Mei Chen. […] All they were measuring was how often professors wrote back agreeing to meet with with the students. And what they found was there were very large disparities. Women and minorities [were] systematically less likely to get responses from the professors and also less likely to get positive responses from the professors. Now remember, these are top faculty at the top schools in the United States and the letters were all impeccably written.
Two more kickers: “There’s absolutely no benefit seen when women reach out to female faculty, nor do we see benefits from black students reaching out to black faculty or Hispanic students reaching out to Hispanic faculty,” and, “In business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities.” Word, this sounds great, we’re doing great. [NPR]
But white male privilege doesn’t exist?
And then there’s this:
Milkman found there were very large disparities between academic departments and between schools. Faculty at private schools were significantly more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty at public schools. And faculty in fields that were very lucrative were also more likely to discriminate. So there was very little discrimination in the humanities. There was more discrimination among faculty at the natural sciences. And there was a lot of discrimination among the faculty at business schools.
Uh-huh tell me again how science and money are ideologically neutral.