"Why are there no bad guys in our neighborhood?" Ivan asked me recently, after emerging from a movie theater. The previews had presented a full line-up of villains – in 3-D, no less.
Ivan had been trying hard to find some real-life miscreants, wondering daily about the boisterous youth on our block, who do a lot of shoving and yelling: "Are those bad guys?" I'd been assuring him that while these young men could be more polite, they're not bad guys. Real bad guys are very rare, I always say, but a lot of people do make bad decisions. We can all try harder to be good.
Today I say, "There are a lot more bad guys in the movies than in real life."
"Why?" he wants to know.
"Because," I explain, "the people who make the movies think that bad guys make movies more exciting."
International Day of Transgender Visibility was started just last year as a much-needed counterpart to the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which focused more on memorializing those lost rather than celebrating everything the trans community is doing today. Ironically, a recent controversy over the Tribeca Film Festival features problematic representations of trans women, and the ensuing discussion only further marginalized the trans community. And it all started with a little cis-directed flick called Ticked-Off Trannies with Knives. Yeah, you read that right.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks deserves every ounce of praise that has been heaped on it. Rebecca Skloot has one heck of a story to tell, a story that actually belongs to another woman: Henrietta Lacks.
The book is partially a retelling of Henrietta's life and her death, but also a thorough chronicle of the history of HeLa cells (so named by taking the first and last two letters of the donor's name), which were developed after Henrietta's death. These cells (pictured above) revolutionized science in so many ways it hardly seems believable that we don't have a national holiday honoring the woman. HeLa cells were invaluable in developing the polio vaccine, they were the clue to unlocking the number of chromosomes in human DNA, they were shot into space, exposed to radiation and mixed with plant cells, mice cells, cloned and still contribute every year to the development of new cancer medicine and treatment methods.
I've been craving more Sarah Haskins ever since Target Women ended, and now her new short film "DILF" (mentioned in her January interview with Jezebel) is finally online! Haskins co-wrote and co-stars in "DILF", which is exactly what you think it is about. Warring roomies, sexy parents, network drama parodies and Rashomon-style storytelling abound - watch the movie here!
OK, we are all pretty up on the concept of advertising at this point. Not to say that ads don't have an effect on us (they do), but when it comes to the reasoning behind most ad campaigns, we savvy media consumers are hip to what's going on. They're trying to sell us something. We get it. So what do we do with ads that let us "in" on the joke?
Truth time for y'all about me: I'm at a point in my identity and activism where in many spaces I no longer feel comfortable just saying that I'm a feminist by itself without adding a few words before or after. I say I'm an Indigenous feminist. I say I'm a hip-hop feminist, a reproductive justice feminist. Like many folks, I feel like I've been burned out by the mainstream usage and representation of feminism and I'm not making any apologies for what I call myself and I will talk more extensively about Indigenous/Native feminisms in another few posts.
However today I came across this blog post today on Girldrive called, "What's wrong with this feminist picture?" which detailed the absence of women of color in all the attention being paid by Newsweek and some other mainstream media to feminism as of late.
No surprise there. Look who controls the media, the power, privilege, etc.
What I did find interesting was that the author stated: "What really gets me is that the majority of young feminist activists do think of feminism in an intersectional way. Just look at the blogger rosters at blogs like Feministing, Feministe, or Racialicious. Just look at the staff at organizations like WIMN or INCITE! or the ladies in Girldrive. Young feminists are trying not to make the same mistake that some Second Wave white feminists made of being blind to race issues. "