Archives for October 2013

Why White People Can’t Quit Blackface

julianne-hough-614x400Before I saw those pictures of her online Monday morning I didn’t know who Julianne Hough was, and even after Googling her, I’m still not entirely sure. Ballroom dancer and country music singer? Which is it, Julianne, did you have a hit song or were you just on Dancing With the Stars? In any case, this weekend Julianne learned an important lesson in the life of the demi-celebrity, which is that there’s a downside to being constantly photographed: when you screw up—say, by donning blackface to dress as your favorite Orange is the New Black character—everybody sees it. Next thing you know, people on Twitter are calling you racist and bloggers are questioning your professional accomplishments. Who has time for that? Not Julianne Hough, who no doubt has a voice and/or samba lesson to get to. [Read more…]

Poor Women Overlooked in Progressive Agenda

C.Hayes photo 2012As California closed the book on the 2013 legislative session, a popular notion took hold, here and across the nation, that the Golden State is a pretty woman-friendly place. At a time when many states are losing ground in reproductive rights and women’s health care generally, California has passed legislation that increases abortion access, repeals Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider (TRAP) laws and improves pre- and perinatal health care services. These are legitimate political gains, and the advocates who achieved them should be proud.

But I worry that California progressives are prematurely popping the champagne. [Read more…]

Free Radicals, Part 2

Radfem(Read Part 1 here.) Last time, I talked about the ongoing argument in American feminism between liberals and radicals, and how our failure to distinguish between the two has left the movement ideologically confused. This confusion causes people to compare fundamentally unlike things (e.g., number of women CEOs vs. unrealistic female beauty standards), and reach conclusions that look oppositional but are really just different perspectives on the same problem. To wit: “We now have women in the Fortune 500, so sexism = OVER!” [Read more…]

Free Radicals, Part 1

femen protest

Who doesn’t love a topless protest?

Feminists fight with each other a lot; we’re a scrappy bunch. Most of the arguments are useful, a healthy airing of the differences you’re bound to find in a social movement as large and long-standing as US feminism. But there’s one particular argument I’d like to see us put to rest forever. [Read more…]