Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: Vanity Fair, Anti-Choice Race for the Cure, & Jay-Z’s Political Correctness

Happy 2012! We’re back after a long winter break. Here’s a little of what has been going on in feminisms around the web. Vanity Fair has done it again–as per their tradition, they have relegated actresses of color to the hidden fold on their “Fresh Young Stars” of Hollywood cover. Jezebel spells out their egregious trend. This piece is a few weeks old, but it … Continue reading Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: Vanity Fair, Anti-Choice Race for the Cure, & Jay-Z’s Political Correctness

Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: All-American Muslim, Victim-Blaming Ad Campaign & “Muscular Empathy”

In an attack on women of color’s reproductive freedoms, anti-choice members of Congress have pushed for a bill called the “Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass Prenatal Nondiscrimination Act,” which seeks to prevent women of color from attaining abortions in the name of “civil rights.” Clarification: Neither Susan B. Anthony nor Frederick Douglass would have supported this BS. In some of the most public displays … Continue reading Weekly Feminist Smorgasbord: All-American Muslim, Victim-Blaming Ad Campaign & “Muscular Empathy”

Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck

illustration by Cristy Road

by Kate Wadkins

In sync with Sarah Lawrence’s recent call for papers for 2011’s Women’s History Conference, I am syndicating my review of the plenary panel from this year’s The Message is in the Music: Hip Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More with RE/VISIONIST (it is also currently published in this year’s Women’s History newsletter). Specifically Ngo and Nguyen’s papers, in the context of the Conference at large, really inspired me to pursue my thesis work on masculinities in punk rock. Watching other scholars dare to take on pop culture subjects like music gave me hope and certainty that cultural production is worthy of an historical treatment.

This article is also timely as it preempts the publication of International Girl Gang Underground, a compilation zine about the way riot grrrl has influenced punk feminist cultural production over the past twenty years. Nguyen’s early iteration of her paper, “Aesthetics, Access, Intimacy” or “Race, Riot Grrrl, Bad Feelings” will be included in the zine, nestled in among scene reports and personal stories from all over the world.

“I quit punk like 8 times,” Mimi Nguyen confessed to a full auditorium at Sarah Lawrence College’s 12th Annual Women’s History Conference: The Message is in the Music: Hip-Hop Feminism, Riot Grrrl, Latina Music & More, recollecting her contentious relationship with punk rock. As the first panel of the morning opened up, the groggy, packed audience, comprised of women of all ages and ilk, quickly awoke to Nguyen’s sharp wit and powerful presence. For the plenary panel, Fiona Ngo and Mimi Nguyen, both assistant professors at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, discussed grassroots punk scenes and their internal racial dynamics. A third panelist, Sarah Lawrence alum Christa D’Angelica, presented on what she termed a “second wave” of riot grrrl that traversed from zine[1] pages to dial-up modems in the late 1990s. Continue reading “Queering Categories, Bringing Wreck”

Heterosexism, Sex & Sexuality: A Conversation about Black Male Privilege

On Wednesday, November 3 Steven G. Fullwood, project director of the Black Gay & Lesbian Archive Project, will engage Jewel Woods, author of The Black Male Privileges Checklist, in a discussion about, you guessed it, black male privilege. Woods, the founder and director of the Renaissance Male Project, an organization committed to building a community of practice around men’s issue while addressing intimate partner violence and sexual … Continue reading Heterosexism, Sex & Sexuality: A Conversation about Black Male Privilege

Ginny Thomas reminds women we should be thanking Anita Hill

This is an excerpt from an article by Devona Walker posted on AlterNet. You can read the full article at AlterNet. The Anita Hill case was a turning point for American women, who have endured sexual harassment and gender bias on the job. Even though they dragged her name through the mud, she was unflappable on the stand and gave women everywhere in the U.S. … Continue reading Ginny Thomas reminds women we should be thanking Anita Hill

Let’s Talk About….Sex Work?

by Brittany Robinson

My interest in this topic stems from a class I took during my senior year of college called Sexual Revolutions. My professor was an amazing woman who challenged us to look at sex work as a product of our culture, not just something we can condemn or advocate under the idea that this form of work (which Ronald Weitzer in Sex for Sale says includes stripping, prostitution, peep-shows, phone sex operators, etc (1)) just emerged without our consent or awareness of it.  From this, I thought “What about sex work within my culture?”  I am an African-American woman from the South, and I have always heard women in my community treat sex as a “secret,” so when some of them learned I was taking a class that examined sex work, they wanted to know one thing: why I would feel comfortable as a Black woman discussing sex work when we have a history of sexual exploitation.  Because of their inquiries and my own, I came to formulate the argument presented below. Continue reading “Let’s Talk About….Sex Work?”

Amy Ashwood Garvey: A Revolutionary Pan-African Feminist

by Nydia Swaby

“A nation without great women is a nation frolicking in peril. Let us go forward and lift the degradations which rest on the Negro woman – God’s most glorious gift to all civilizations.”

~Amy Ashwood Garvey

Amy Ashwood's reception at Juaben. Photo courtesy Lionel Yard collection.

If you ask a Jamaican to name a national hero, the first person that usually comes to mind is Marcus Garvey, the Black Nationalist who popularized the movement of Pan-Africanism in the early 20th century. Based on his belief that the only way to improve the conditions of black people around the world was to unite them into one racial community Marcus Garvey founded the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA) in Kingston, Jamaica in 1914. The influence of “Garveyism” can be traced throughout the Afro-Caribbean, United States, and Africa. People of African heritage from every corner of the world know of Marcus Garvey’s philosophy and writings.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of Amy Ashwood Garvey, Marcus Garvey’s first wife and co-founder of the UNIA. Serving as a representative of the Pan-African movement Amy Ashwood lived a politically active life independent of her relationship with Marcus Garvey. She toured the United States, all islands of the Caribbean, South and Central America, Europe, the British Isles, and West Africa lecturing on the need for unity among people of African descent and chronicling the experiences of the people she encountered with the goal of publishing her findings. To date, none of Amy Ashwood Garvey’s manuscripts about her travels and humanitarian work have ever been published. However, two biographies have been written about her life, and she is referenced in several articles and books on Caribbean radicalism, Pan-Africanism, and Black nationalism. Continue reading “Amy Ashwood Garvey: A Revolutionary Pan-African Feminist”